#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
Well my path to writing has been a long, winding journey. I grew up in St. Louis, 2nd oldest of 4, relatively poor. My dad was a cab driver for 22 years, and worked as a security guard at a casino outside of St. Louis for 9 years before retiring recently. My mom worked as a secretary during my upbringing. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. I put myself through engineering school at University of Missouri-Columbia, worked in the communications equipment industry for 9 years before going back to graduate school. After getting my MBA from SMU in Dallas I landed on Wall Street where I became the first semiconductor analyst who focused on the communications industry, a 10 year career I left in January 2008 to focus full time on getting my message out of helping to save our culture of marriage. What I enjoy most is reading, having read hundreds of non-fiction books before taking up the task of writing “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”. Although my background didn’t set me up for a writing career I find writing exhilarating and cathartic. My other joys in life are soccer and music. I have even recently formed an alternative rock band with some friends as the lead singer. The name of the band is Gilgamesh, so keep an eye out for use. Again, my interest in writing is used here to write the songs for the band. We have completed our first song and are working on more. I have played soccer since I was 5. The apex of my career was scoring the 3rd goal in the semifinals of the Big 8 soccer championship in college. We went on to win that game 3-1 and the finals. And I take relationships very seriously, something I hadn’t realized until the relationship I thought was going to last a lifetime fell apart.
#2- Your book, Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage, was prompted by childhood experiences, a relationship experience, research books, and your chosen career path. Tell us a little about that, because I also feel this is what gives you the expertise to write this work of nonfiction.
My biggest influence, and the reason I have taken on the challenge of saving marriages, were my parents, who again just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. And their influence wasn’t because of anything they ever said to me, but what they did, stayed married. What makes this more important was they had the typical marriage of couples from their generation, full of fights, but they managed to stick it out. They taught me that divorce was not an option, that quitting was not the path to take. My mom actually had my career mapped out when I was a kid to be a priest, something I took very seriously. I was an altar boy (no, I do not have any stories) and studied the bible intently. Although I haven’t read the bible since I was a kid I have used a lot of what I learned in my book. And then I discovered girls. Although my career was extremely successful I never met a girl who lit up my passion, until at the height of the market I met a girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and then we started arguing. Towards the end we went to a therapist looking for help solving our relationship troubles. When I realized he wasn’t really helping I decided to tackle the issue myself, although that relationship ended. Writing this book was my cathartic reaction to that pain. So I studied like a Wall Street analyst, reading over 100 books in a period of 10 months, which equates to 2 ½ books a week, straight for 10 months. I believe this may be one of the most researched books ever written. And at the end of this research my confidence in my ability to solve the relationship problem resulted in the book, after 9 months of writing. The bottom line is a professional psychologist could not have written such an expansive book as “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” because of the limitations of the industry. My joke is the 100 books read included nearly 2 dozen relationship books and the only books read that were fiction were the relationship books. In fact, the first title concept I came up with was “Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth” to demonstrate just that point.
#3- You have been interviewed on NBC’s South Florida Today show and Lifetime’s The Balancing Act show discussing and promoting your book. What was that experience like for you?
The funny thing about that question is the answer is that it was frustrating. I have worked with many people since dedicating my life to this career and the constant advice I get is sound bites, keep my message as limited as possible. My numerous TV interviews ranged from 4 to 7 minutes, a very short time to get my message out. But that has taught me that I need to develop a platform where I get to spend more time with the audience. I am in the process of developing a motivational speaking tour where I will get to spend a lot more time getting my message across.
#4- How have you handled any negative reviews, criticism, or publicity that has come your way?
In stride. I am used to negative feedback on my project. The biggest criticism I get about my book is its length and depth. In fact, after writing my book I figured I would just call up a publisher or agent, tell them I solved the marriage problem, and get my book published. The only agent I was able to even get to look at my manuscript read the first few pages, said the average American reads one book and year, that this books was too deep, and that it wouldn’t sell. I have had to fight that ever since. If you were to watch the interview with the first couple I worked with you would see them answer the question about the length and depth of the book at the end of the interview. The husband referred to it as the bible.
#5- What authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?
I really didn’t read that much as a kid, something that makes my choice of writing as a career even more dumbfounding to me. But as an adult I became a voracious reader. I have read hundreds of books as an adult, all non-fiction. Of recent books I have read my favorite author is Carl Jung, whose writings were extremely influential on my book, making up nearly 20% of the content. The messages and work of Dan Brown was also a major contributor. Currently I am reading the entire catalogue of Norma Lorre Goodrich, who has actually discovered the non-fiction Holy Grail. Her writings are amazing. Other authors I have read and enjoyed are too numerous to mention.
#6- Are there any new books in the works for you, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
Yes there are 2 books in my head right now. The next one, as soon as I can get around to writing it, is going to be “The 10 Steps to Spirituality”. My web site name is www.HappyRelationships.com. You can also keep up with my blog at questforthehappymarriage.blogspot.com/.
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Why don’t I answer that question the way I try to end every discussion, with my favorite quote. “There is no such thing as a failure who keeps trying, coasting to the bottom is the only disgrace”. And Kelly thank you so much for your time.