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My Christmas Wish List

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Wednesday, 24 December 2014
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I was asked today what I wanted for Christmas.  It is rare that I exchange gifts for Christmas.  What do you buy someone who has everything they want or who gets what they want throughout the year?  As a child the prospect of waking up and finding that special toy you’ve been looking forward to under the Christmas tree is very exciting; you’re full of anticipation.  As an adult, the gift exchange seems to lose its luster.  I’ve advocated with friends and family to give to the charity of one another’s choice in lieu of a gift exchange.  Christmas is the season for giving and showing goodwill.  What better way to accomplish that than by giving to charitable causes, particularly charities dedicated to helping those in need? 

 

For me the joy now is making a difference in the life of one in need rather than receiving a gift.  I believe that if the money is going to be spent over the holidays (and people love to spend over the holidays) it is put to better use for charitable causes.  My preference is to find charitable causes and provide them with supplies that can be used as opposed to strictly cash contributions which may or may not directly benefit those in need.  I would encourage you this Christmas season to seize the opportunity to donate to charity and to make a difference in the life of one in need.  And this helps to make the world a better place.    

 

Since the question was posed to me, I thought I would take an opportunity to consider some of the things I want for Christmas.

 

1. I want loving homes and warm beds for all the orphaned animals in shelters who are just waiting to find their furever homes and their family.  They are lost, scared, and abandoned, living in cold cages.  These animals can offer you much love and affection and can make such a difference in your life.  Give one of them a chance this Christmas.  

 

2.I want an end to animal cruelty.  Those willing to harm innocent, helpless animals are vile individuals who are no better than those willing to harm innocent children.  Animals are not here to be abused or harmed simply because they’re animals.  They deserve to be loved and respected.  Those engaged in animal cruelty should be prosecuted in the same manner as child abusers and molesters. 

 

3.I want an end of to the senseless euthanizing of stray and orphaned animals.  Why should these animals be put down simply because they haven’t found a furever home in a certain amount of time?  We need to put an end to the death row in animal shelters.  We’ll keep violent murderers and rapists serving life sentences in prison alive at a tremendous cost to the taxpayers (upwards of $50,000 per year) along with lifers for other non-violent crimes.  Yet, we’re unable to keep orphaned and abandoned animals alive.  We’re quick to give them a death sentence but we won’t execute the violent prisoners serving life sentences.  Who can contribute more and make a difference in others’ lives—the shelter pet or the murderer?  LET’S END THE DEATH ROW IN ANIMAL SHELTERS!

 

4.I want more respect for indie authors.  There is no doubt that indie authors are looked down upon by the mainstream publishing houses and critics.  We’re seen as inferior.  We’re seen as unworthy.  We’re seen as amateurs.  We’re not taken seriously.  As a result, the opportunity for our works to be published by mainstream publishing houses is limited.  To be sure, there are a lot of indie authors who aren’t really serious about writing.  They throw together an e-book hastily and without true dedication to the art of writing; they give all indie authors a bad name.  But, there are many indie authors who take the art of writing very seriously.  We are the ones who are dedicated to our work.  These indie authors produce a wide variety of works—some of which are marginal, some of which are good, some of which are very good, and some of which are excellent (the diamonds in the rough).  Being an indie author is difficult; most of us write because we love the art.  We dedicate ourselves to our work and spend countless hours writing a book.  We deserve to be taken seriously and shown respect.     

 

5.I want more patience.  I want the manuscript I’m working on done and done now, but a good manuscript isn’t written overnight or with haste.  It takes time.  I want things done in a timely manner, and I often get frustrated when tasks aren’t accomplished in a timely manner for whatever reason.  Patience is a virtue.  I need more patience.

 

6.I want Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss from WWE NXT to be the next divas on Monday Night RAW.  I’m quite tired of the Bella twins and all the girls who want to be superstars on Total Divas.  AJ Lee has carried the divas division for the last nearly two years.  She’s a GREAT diva, but she needs some competition.  The divas division needs some new personalities to spice it up.  Sasha Banks and Alex Bliss are talented wrestlers and have great presence.  WWE, bring them to RAW (and SmackDown) and spice up the divas division!  

 

7.I want to see more people giving to charities.  Christmas is the season for giving and showing goodwill.  What better way to accomplish that than by giving to charitable causes, particularly charities dedicated to helping those in need?  Why not let the charities benefit rather than the retailers?  My favorite charitable organizations are no-kill animal shelters.  For me the joy is making a difference in the life of a homeless animal in need.  If the money is going to be spent over the holidays (and it will be), let’s put it to better use for charitable causes.  Rather than send a check to the shelter and not know how the money will be used or if it will be used to directly benefit the animals, I like to send or deliver supplies and care packages.  The bags of food and the litter, the toys, the bleach, the paper towels, and all the other supplies are going to be put to good use feeding and caring for homeless animals.          

 

8.I want the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl.  What can I say?  The Ravens didn’t do well this year, and I’ve long been a fan of America’s Team.  The Cowboys are playing well and have the potential to go all the way to the Super Bowl.  I hope they can do it.  They’re long overdue for a championship.

 

9.I want more focus on the meaning of Christmas and the Christmas spirit.  Society has gotten too materialistic and has moved away from celebrating Christmas to celebrating materialism and consumption.  In the process, they are hoping to fill a void in life left by the absence of any religious foundation.  There are those who are trying to phase Christmas out and replace it with a more abstract, “Happy Holiday.”  Let’s get back to some basics.  Keep Christ in Christmas.  Keep the spirit of kindness, giving (charitably) and goodwill alive and well.  Let’s keep in mind that Christmas isn’t about gifts and the individuals.  It’s about something bigger than any one of us individually.  Take the Christmas message and Christmas spirit to heart and use it to make the world around you a better place.    

 

10.         I want all the elderly in nursing homes and their own homes who have been forgotten by friends and family or who may not have either to be remembered and to feel the spirit of Christmas.  They may be in need of the basic necessities in life—food, clothing, company, etc.  Remember, sometimes we take for granted the basic necessities that we have.  For the old and the infirm in nursing homes, some time with others to talk and socialize may be all that it takes to make a difference.  And the simple act of caring and giving can do wonders in the lives of those who feel lost, abandoned, and forgotten.  Keep these people in mind this Christmas. 

 

 

About Mr. Cartwright Digger Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versailles Conspiracy, a modern day political thriller, Murder at the Ocean Forest, a traditional mystery novel set in the 1940s, The House of Dark Shadows, a psychological thriller, and The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance, a mystery set in the Old West.  His latest book, Conversations on the Bench, is an inspirational/motivational novel.  His books are available in hardback, paperback, and e-book format through his website, www.DiggerCartwright.com, on-line booksellers and bookstores.     

 

Mr. Cartwright has contributed to a number of articles on a wide range of financial, strategic planning, and policy topics.  He frequently contributes articles, commentaries, and editorials focusing on current economic and political topics for the private think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe.

 

Mr. Cartwright is an enthusiastic supporter of local no-kill animal shelters, the Wounded Warrior Project, and local Meals on Wheels programs.

 

He enjoys golf, participating in charity golf tournaments, and attending WWE events.  He divides his time between Washington, D.C., South Carolina, and Florida.

 

     

Press Contact: 

Executive Assistant to Mr. Cartwright

Telephone:  888-666-1036

Website:  http://www.DiggerCartwright.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/DiggerCartwright

Twitter:  @mysterydigger

Blog:  www.MysteryDigger.com

Daily News Briefing:  www.MysteryWriterNews.com

 

 

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 8

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Tuesday, 31 December 2013
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Miss Matisse: I will have to check out (Conversations on the Bench) for myself when I can find some extra time to sit down and read! It sounds very interesting…  How long have you been writing?

Digger Cartwright: Many years off and on. I guess I’ve really taken it seriously and been dedicated to writing since 2000. That’s when I sat down and wrote Murder at the Ocean Forest, and I’ve been writing ever since. I tried the traditional means of getting Murder at the Ocean Forest published until I finally decided to self-publish in about 2005.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 7

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: Yes, I love the worldwide web for the simple fact that now it’s not only Americans who can reap benefits, EVERYONE in the world now can! The “Indie” route whether writing, being a shop owner, music etc. I would say is definitely the way to go nowadays! What genres of stories have you written about?

Digger Cartwright: The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance is a western set in Carson City, Nevada after the Civil War. The House of Dark Shadows is a psychological thriller that is very character driven with what I like to think of as an Alfred Hitchcock-like twist at the end. The Versailles Conspiracy is a modern day political thriller with international intrigue, murders, conspiracies, and a lot of twists and turns that stretch from high society country clubs to strip clubs to political organizations throughout the world. Murder at the Ocean Forest is a period piece set in the 1940s at the famed Ocean Forest hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s a traditional mystery along the lines of an Agatha Christie book where the “locked door” mystery keeps readers trying to solve the puzzle. But there’s also an international intrigue aspect to this once since it’s during World War II. Conversations on the Bench is an inspirational or motivational story that’s based on actual events. It’s a collection of life lessons shared between two friends, and as I’ve said time and time again there is something in that book for everyone who reads it.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 6

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Tuesday, 17 December 2013
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Miss Matisse: This is ALL excellent information and advice you have given to our readers who may be interested in becoming an author, and I’m positive that they will take away a lot from it! Are you currently a published writer? If so, could you elaborate on this a bit…If not, have you ever thought about publishing your books?

Digger Cartwright: When I first started writing, I was one of these authors who had been brainwashed that you have to have an agent to get your book published and be successful. After several years of rejections, hundreds of letters that went unanswered, and getting nowhere, I decided to abandon that failed strategy and self-publish my books. It was probably one of the best decisions I could have made. Since then, I’ve had my team of marketing folks working on different strategies to get word out about each book, interact with the fans and readers, and gain more exposure for me and my work. It’s not easy, but it can work. The entire indie author space has really blossomed as a result of e-books and readers and the internet and social media. Now indie authors can reach just as many readers and potential fans as the traditional publishers. There are tons of marketing options and an abundance of resources for self-published authors. I look at it as another business venture, and I’m in the process of setting up the National Federation of Self-Published Author Entrepreneurs as a resource for indie authors who decide to go the self-published route.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 5

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: You are speaking like a true professional! Others don’t always realize just how much can go into writing stories. It takes some serious time, effort, and it isn’t always for everybody! What advice would you give up and coming writers who are interested in your field?

Digger Cartwright: Work hard and give your best. Writing isn’t easy. It’s a big commitment, and it’s very time consuming. Good work isn’t something that you can just throw together in a few days. Those manuscripts end up on the trash heap of history. You have to stay focused and give the best you’ve got. You’re competing with millions of new manuscripts that are produced each year. Poor quality work or marginal work isn’t going to be competitive.

Be disciplined. Allocate a certain amount of time each day or every other day or whatever schedule works for you to your writing and keep that schedule until you’re done. This is a very tough one. If you get started, you can’t walk away for any period of time. If you do, it may be months or years before you come back to it, if you ever do. Once you get out of your routine, it’s hard to get back into it. I know this is tough; I’ve had to struggle with it in the past and still struggle with it since I’m balancing work (running my businesses) with writing.

Decide if you’re going to seek the traditional means of publishing or if you will self-publish. This is tough for most people. They’ve been led to believe that you have to get an agent and that agent will get you published and you’ll be the next bestselling author. It’s tough to get an agent and then it’s tough for that agent to sell your work. Self-publishing was once poo-pooed upon, particularly by the agents and publishers, but the rise of the internet and on demand publishing has really taken the stigma away from self-publishing. Several bestselling authors started out by self-publishing. I chose the self-publishing route because it gives you control over your work and how it’s marketed and distributed. There are pros and cons to both, so make sure you research each option and decide what’s best for you.

Don’t get discouraged. If you go the traditional route, you’re going to get rejection letters and lots of them. If you go the self-published route, your sales may not be up to expectations. It’s going to be discouraging from time to time and it’s going to be frustrating, but you can’t let it get you down. If you’re serious about your work, you’ve got to go full speed ahead. Keep sending out letters. Keep marketing your book. Look for more and better ways to reach agents and readers. Too many writers get discouraged and give up. Let me be clear. Not everyone can be a bestselling author. It doesn’t work that way. I’m saying don’t get discouraged too early until you’ve given yourself a chance. If it doesn’t work out after you’ve put forth the effort, so be it. At least you will have given it your best shot.

Make sure you have a backup plan. There are millions of books that are published each year but only a few of them are commercially successful and enable the writer to earn a living. My advice is having a career first and write on the side until your writing takes off. Too many people put all their eggs in one basket and take a gamble on their writing careers only to get disappointed. Ever heard the term starving artist?

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 4

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: I’ve realized in the years I’ve done online sales, and writing myself that a degree isn’t always required, and a handful of the authors that actually don’t have degrees are the BEST ones out here! I commend you for pursuing your passion, and those classes that you took have paid off! What would you say is your process when it comes to writing? i.e. How do you normally begin?

Digger Cartwright: It normally starts with an idea. I’ll jot down some notes on paper. Yes, I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to that. I like to write ideas down on a legal pad or notepad. Sometimes the story comes into focus first and sometimes the characters come into focus for me before I have the entire story in my mind. Sometimes this happens almost overnight and sometimes it takes days, weeks or months. I’ll make a list of the characters and a little description of them including things like how they look, dress, act, and so on. I’ll make an outline of the plot and work out the sequence of events so I have something to follow when I sit down to actually write the manuscript.

I have to make a decision as to what style and tone I want the book to have. Is it going to be fast paced or slow moving and methodical? Is it going to be character driven or story driven? Is it going to be dark? What’s the best style for the genre that it’s in? I have to make all these decisions, then it’s really just a matter of doing the work and putting the words on paper. Sometimes I’ll skip around once I have the outline. I have been known to write the ending first once or twice, and sometimes I’ll just work chronologically from the first event all the way through to the end.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 3

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: Wow! I’m actually quite shocked at how you can remember everything from the titles of your books that you’ve written, all the way up to which stories have been the favorites amongst your fans, and why they’ve been favorites! Your quality of writing is phenomenal might I add…I’d say our readers are in for a definite treat! Do you have any degrees or formal training in writing?

 

Digger Cartwright: I do not. I had a lot of practice diagramming sentences in school when I was a kid, so it really helped with grammar and sentence structure. I always had a fondness for literature, so I took a good deal of literature classes in college and that required a good deal of writing. Aside from that, I’ve really just had to pick it up along the way. As I mentioned before, I was always a prolific reader, so I picked up a lot in terms of style and technique from other writers over the years.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: That is so interesting! I like the fact that you’ve read stories and have thought about how you could make them better, plus the fact that you really delve deep and get creative which I highly respect! Creativity is something that comes naturally to certain people and this is what leads me to my next question… What would you say has inspired/motivated you to do what you do in everyday life both personally and professionally?

Digger Cartwright: I want to do the best job I can at whatever I do. I really enjoy what I do in terms of business and writing, so perhaps it’s self gratification that motivates me along with a desire to give back to worthwhile causes and bring some entertainment to others’ lives. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done. I work hard to make each book I write something interesting and unique that the readers can enjoy.

Of course, some people like some of my books better than others. A lot of readers really dislike Murder at the Ocean Forest; they find it long and drawn out and difficult to read. It was done that way deliberately. Some readers like the fast pace of The Versailles Conspiracy. A lot of people don’t like the ending of The House of Dark Shadows. Surprisingly, most people like The Maywarings: A Game of Chance, in part I think because there aren’t many westerns anymore.

Overwhelmingly, Conversations on the Bench has been most readers’ favorite. There’s something in that book that everyone can relate to.

At the end of the day, whether they love a particular book or hate it, they agree that it’s well written and reflective of my desire to produce quality books. I could turn out ten books a year that are all crap or marginal or I can produce one or two per year that are outstanding. To me quality is more important than quantity. It’s really satisfying that readers appreciate the hard work that goes into each of my books to paint a picture for the reader of the setting and the people. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face or help them escape from the reality of everyday life for a little while by getting lost in one of my books, I think I’ve done something special for them.

Perhaps more important than this is the ability to give back and help causes that are near and dear to my heart. When you’ve been fortunate in life to enjoy a degree of success, it’s always good to give back. I’m always trying to find ways to help charities and promote their work. If my business and writing enable me to make a contribution to a local no-kill shelter that saves a homeless animal and feeds it and cares for it until it finds a forever home, I’ve made a difference.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 1

Posted by Digger Cartwright
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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: Hello Digger, so…first things first, what an awesome name you have! Would you mind telling our readers a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

Digger Cartwright: I’m a businessman and entrepreneur first, and in the process of starting and running businesses I’ve had to do a great deal of writing over the years. Predominantly, it’s been in the form of business plans or research reports or articles for trade publications. Over the years I also did a lot of letter writing to politicians to give my commentaries on issues effecting America, business or the economy. I’ve done a lot of writing of commentaries for think tanks, like ThinkingOutsideTheBoxe.com, but it’s more along the lines of presenting a case and offering interpretations and solutions.

I think what really got me started writing was that I didn’t like the ending of a particular book so I set about to write the ending that I liked. There were some short stories along the way and teleplays before I decided to make the plunge into my first novel. I actually wrote The Versailles Conspiracy first as a quasi screenplay/novel. After that I didn’t do much for a couple of years until I got the idea for Murder at the Ocean Forest, which became the first novel I actually published.

I’ve always been very creative, ever since I was a child, and I’ve liked to be the storyteller at times, so perhaps there’s always been the writer in me. I’ve always been an avid reader, so there has always been part of me that said I can do that or I can write a better story than that. Some say I have a flair for dramatics. So overall, writing is a good fit for me. I’ll let the readers be the judge of that.

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JP: What’s next for Digger Cartwright?

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DC: I’ve been getting a lot of encouragement on the heels of “Conversations on the Bench” to write another inspirational book. Folks that have read it have really enjoyed it and said the book really spoke to them. I’m not sure if that’s a function of my storytelling or of Sebastian’s storytelling and wisdom.

I don’t know what the follow up or next inspirational subject would be. I’ve thought about it long and hard. If I were to do another motivational book it would probably be called “Conversations on the Links” and would revolve around conversations I’ve had with people that I’ve golfed with over the years.

As I think about it, there have been some pretty good conversations on the golf course, and I’ve been lucky to be part of those with both friends and colleagues. I’m not sure it would be as moving as “Conversations on the Bench” or as meaningful, but it’s a consideration.

I’m currently working on a drama entitled “Gems & Jewels”. It’s about a powerful family that owns mining operations for precious stones and the associate retailing enterprise. It’s sort of a modern-day Dallas or Dynasty but in a different industry. It has the family drama, business drama, backstabbing, wheeling and dealing, sex and intrigue. It’s also a bit of a departure from my normal writing, but it’s going to be an interesting series.

I have plans for follow ups to “The Versailles Conspiracy” and “Murder at the Ocean Forest” and a sequel for “The Maynwarings” in addition to several new ideas that I’m working on. So, I’ve got a lot in the works, but time for writing is a premium between everyday life and business. But I think my readers will really enjoy some of the upcoming projects.

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JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Conversations on the Bench”?

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: “Conversations on the Bench” was a bit of a different writing process for me. Basically when I start a fiction novel, I first make some notes about what I want to happen and who I want the characters to be. I formulate the story and create an outline of sorts as a guide for the story. Then, I just start writing.

Since “Conversations on the Bench” was based on real people and actual events, I had to take a bit of a different approach. It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of the project, since it represented a departure from my normal style and genre.

I only met Sebastian and Robbie on one occasion before I started writing the book. Granted, that one occasion involved interaction over a couple days, but that was hardly enough to be familiar with either of them to be able to write the book.

So, after I had committed to writing this, I had many phone conversations and some e-mail exchanges with Robbie. This was a lot of research that needed to be done so that I could capture Sebastian and his lessons in the book. I’d call Robbie and let him talk for as long as he wanted to talk. He’d tell me stories and explain the lessons and in what context Sebastian had made the lessons relevant to him. This part of the process took the longest.

It probably took three or four years off and on. I’d get sidetracked or Robbie would get sidetracked, and sometime it would be tough to connect and talk. But once I got all the information I needed, I sat down to write the book and pretty much took the same approach as with any other book.

I had a good deal of notes about the main characters, so I didn’t have to create them out of nothing. I sorted through all the notes and organized them then made an outline of what I thought would be the best way to present the conversations and lessons. Once I started writing it took me about seven months to finish the manuscript.

All told it was a much lengthier process from start to finish than what is normal for me. “Murder at the Ocean Forest” took me about three months to write. “The Versailles Conspiracy” took a couple of years. “The House of Dark Shadows” and “The Maynwarings” took about seven months each. “Conversations on the Bench” was a much bigger project. It took a lot longer. I don’t rush things, because I don’t want to release a book that isn’t exactly up to my own personal standards, and I think the readers and fans appreciate that.

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JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Conversations on the Bench” getting out to the public?

Posted by Digger Cartwright
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DC: It’s all about creating awareness of your book. There’s something like two million books getting published each year either in print or digital format, so it’s real easy to get lost among the sea of new works out there. My team has established a good following among our readers and fans via social media and traditional online outlets.

You just have to get the book in front of people, get it in their hands. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. With “Conversations on the Bench”, the book has something for everyone. It doesn’t matter your age or gender or religion or education or position in life or how much money you have.

There’s something in “Conversations on the Bench” that each person who reads it can relate to or take away from it. This book probably has a broader appeal to people for that very reason than perhaps my mystery novels, so “Conversations on the Bench” is simply appealing to the motivational or inspirational need in people’s lives and encouraging them to pick it up and see if Sebastian’s wisdom helps them.

When it comes to other books, like my mystery “Murder at the Ocean Forest” or my western “The Maynwarings” for example, success is largely a function of building a presence, awareness, and reputation. Anyone can write a book. That doesn’t mean that it’s good or commercially marketable, but just about anyone can write a book if they take the time and inclination.

Fewer people are going to write a second book or a third or a fourth and so on. I think the more you write the more credibility as a serious indie author that you gain. I think that plays a big role in making an indie book successful, as it gives readers and fans a sort of stability and confidence in your writing endeavors. And you’ve got to communicate with your readers and fans, make them aware of your books and keep your name in front of them. Social media and the online world make that a lot easier.

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JP: What sets “Conversations on the Bench” apart from other books in the same genre?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: I think most other inspirational books tell one person’s story and how they overcame some adversity in life. “Conversations on the Bench” is a collection of life lessons told through a series of conversations that Sebastian had with Robbie. It’s an older brother-like figure sharing wisdom that he’s gained throughout his life and through his own experiences.

This isn’t the story of someone who had a hard life or had to fight some disease or overcome a debilitating injury. Unless you fought the same disease or had the same injury or a similar circumstance, it’s hard to relate to that person. It’s great to read their stories and you get a sense of satisfaction that if they overcame adversity so can you.

“Conversations on the Bench” has some lesson or some bit of insight that everyone can use. Not every lesson or every bit of wisdom may be relevant to the reader, but everyone can find something in the book to relate to. I’ve been told by readers that they feel like the book is speaking directly to them, and I think that’s what’s really important and what sets it apart from other motivational or inspirational books.

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Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Conversations on the Bench”?

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Digger Cartwright: The inspiration for “Conversations on the Bench” came from two friends, Sebastian and Robbie. Sebastian was a mentor to Robbie, sort of like Yoda to Luke Skywalker.

They shared a lot of common interests—politics, economics, wine, good conversations and debate, beautiful and intelligent women. But this book is really about Sebastian and the wisdom he had and shared not just with Robbie but with others. This is a tribute to the impact that Sebastian had upon many people in life.

He was a larger-than-life figure—one that would stand out in a crowd for his size and equally large personality. He was the type of guy you could turn to for good, solid, nonjudgmental advice. “Conversations on the Bench” was a project that I undertook at the behest of Robbie who wanted to share with others the lessons that Sebastian had share with him.

None of these lessons are any earth shattering revelations. They’re all things that you pick up in life along the way, but they’re shared from Sebastian’s perspective based on his own experiences.

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Interview by Mdluchies: Why do you choose to write?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: I guess I’ve always had an interest in or passion for writing.  I’ve written numerous articles about various subjects—business, politics, entertainment, society.  I think writing novels is rather therapeutic for me.  I have the chance to decompress from the stress of the real world and get lost in a world that I’m creating.  And I’m a pretty analytical person, so I like writing mysteries that require a good deal of planning and analysis.  In the business world, I have to solve problems from time to time, so I guess mystery novels are an extension of problem solving.  I present a problem in the book, collect the evidence, then solve the problem or have some resolution to the problem.  Writing is a somewhat natural extension of my business side, and I find it very relaxing to sit and create books for other people to read and enjoy.  And on top of all that, it’s really a rewarding experience to write a novel, and I’m not talking in the fame or financial sense.  When you finished that book and have the printed book in your hand, it gives you this overwhelming sense of accomplishment.  It’s refreshing.  It’s rewarding.  It’s relaxing, and I think it’s a great escape from the realities of life.    

 

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Interview by Mdluchies: What has been your favorite project as an author?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: I don’t know that I could pick out a favorite project of the books that I’ve written.  They’re all labors of love, and they’re all like my children.  I’ve dedicated a great deal of time and energy to bringing these books to fruition, and they’re all so distinctly different that it’s tough to say I have a favorite.  Having said that, my new book, Conversations on the Bench, was particularly rewarding for different reasons.  I got to step out of my mystery writing frame of mind where you create everything from scratch and step into the role of being a storyteller of the lives of actual people.  I got to meet and get to know a couple of very interesting people and tell their story.  In doing this, I found myself very inspired by the protagonist of the book.  His story was very uplifting and motivational, and it was very emotional.  It was a chance to share with others some wit and wisdom that everyone can relate to in some way.   It’s sort of like stating the obvious, but the lessons are coming from this very fascinating individual and are explained in a way that only he could explain them.  So, I would say that Conversations on the Bench was a very interesting and rewarding experience, but all my books have been very enjoyable projects for me.     

 

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Interview by Mdluchies: How did you get your start as a writer?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Digger Cartwright: I think my first writing experience was writing a different ending to a book.  I didn’t like the ending.  I thought it should end a different way, so I sat down and wrote the last two chapters the way I figured they should be.  I guess I realized at that point that I enjoyed creative writing.  I started out by writing some short stories and screenplays.  I wrote an early version of The Versailles Conspiracy that was my first attempt at a full length novel.  It came out more like a movie, so I locked it away.  My writing progressed from there, and I wrote Murder at the Ocean Forest as my first full length novel.  I was in the back of a limo on a long trip and I wrote the outline for the novel and made a lot of notes 

about the characters.  When I got home, I started working on it and never really stopped writing.  I went from that back to The Versailles Conspiracy then to The House of Dark Shadows then The Maynwarings and now Conversations on the Bench. 

 

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Interview by Mdluchies: How can people find out more about the book and your writing?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: The book is available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.  We have a website for the book itself, ConversationsOnTheBench.com. You can find a lot more information about this book, my other books, and me at my own website, DiggerCartwright.com.  I also want people to know that I will be donating a portion of the sales price from all sales my website to the Sebastian G. Perey Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Coastal Carolina University through the end of this year.  It’s a good scholarship that helps deserving economics students, so you’re getting a good book and helping make a difference through the scholarship.  

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Interview by Mdluchies: Who was the book written for and what do you hope that the reader will take away from the book?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: The book is written for just about anyone.  It doesn’t matter how old you are.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, white or black, young or old, a CEO or a blue collar worker.  There is something in this book for everyone.  I don’t think anyone can read this book and not take something away from it.  Sebastian’s lessons speak to everyone, and I think anyone can relate to something he has to say.  I’ve actually had people tell me that they read the book and it’s as if Sebastian is talking directly to them.  They’ve currently got a similar situation or they had a similar situation, so they say they can relate to what he’s saying. 

I hope readers take away a few things from the book.  I want people to be inspired by Sebastian’s personal story.  He overcame a lot in his life.  He didn’t let his disability keep him down.  He looked out for his friends, and most importantly, he made a difference to a lot of people in the world.  I want readers to take away some of the lessons he offered in the conversations he had.  They’re nothing earth shattering. They’re nothing really ground breaking, but they’re all things that wise people learn through life experiences.  People like Sebastian take the time to analyze situations and take something away from each situation.  They take time to reflect on life and things that have happened.  They take time to share this with other people to help make a difference in their lives.  I want people to take away an awareness for people around them and hopefully to treasure someone like Sebastian that they may know.  I would hope that people would take away a sense of inspiration that they too can make a difference in someone’s life.   

 

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Interview by Mdluchies: Conversations on the Bench is inspired by actual events. How much of the book comes from real life experiences?

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: A good deal of the book is factually based.  Once I decided that I had to tell Sebastian’s story, I spent several years, off and on, having conversations with Robbie who recounted a lot of the conversations he had had with Sebastian over the years.  On occasion he had tremendous detail about the time, place, and events surrounding the conversations.  I understand that he kept detailed notes about things he felt were important.  Now there were a lot of gaps in his memory and his notes from time to time, so I had to fill in the blanks and create the scenes.  What I tried to do was get a whole chronology from the time he met Sebastian until the time we started writing the book.  I had him give me significant events, people in their lives, people who they had encountered at various places, and so on and so forth.  What I did was try to fit everything together so I didn’t have to make things up.  I did have to make a few people so that the story flowed and made sense, and I did have to alter a few situations so that other people could more easily relate.  But it’s important to keep in mind that all of Sebastian’s lessons as discussed in the book were the actual lessons that Sebastian shared with Robbie.  The presentation of those lessons may have been dramatized when needed or when there was insufficient information about the circumstances surrounding the conversations Robbie and Sebastian had, but the lessons themselves are Sebastian’s lessons and anecdotes. 

 

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