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Digger Cartwright - My Own Words

Author | Industrialist | Philanthropist

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Interview by Mdluchies: The protagonist in Conversations on the Bench is Sebastian. Who is Sebastian?

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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DC: Sebastian was one of the main figures of Thinking Outside the Boxe.  He was in his 50s.  He was morbidly obese, but he didn’t let it get him down.  He was brilliant.  He was quick with a joke and with statistics.  He had a mastery of economics and a good grasp of world affairs.  He could debate with you.  

He could be devil’s advocate.  He was a mentor for a lot of folks.  He was the life of the party.  He had this aura about him.  He just emitted this tremendous amount of positive energy.  You couldn’t help but like the guy.  The women all loved him; they thought he was a giant teddy bear.  The guys loved him because he was like a brother to you.  He was always a very positive person.  He offered such encouragement and support to his friends.  He was just a good man and a good friend to a lot of people, particularly his colleague at Thinking Outside the Boxe, Robbie.  They were this Mutt and Jeff duo.  Sebastian was this loud, garrulous person, large in stature, who was the center of attention.  Robbie was this reserved, quiet, but highly intelligent friend who tried to motivate Sebastian to get out and do more after he became disabled and was forced to retire.  Thinking Outside the Boxe was Robbie’s way of keeping Sebastian involved, keeping him “in the game” as Sebastian like to say.  

Sebastian grew up in Charleston, South Carolina during segregation and desegregation.  He was of Spanish, Filipino, French, American Indian descent, so he didn’t feel he ever quite fit in with the whites or the blacks in Charleston.  Growing up, he had to try to find his place in a tough world.  And throughout his life he would just keep accumulating these very worthwhile life lessons that he tried to share with anyone who would listen, and he found an apt pupil in Robbie.  He encouraged Robbie.  He gave him advice.  He was a confidant.  He was like Robbie’s big brother.  And when you read the conversations and understand the lessons he was offering up, you really see Sebastian for the warm, caring, and insightful guy that he was.  There are very few people like him in the world.  If you’re lucky enough to find someone like him, don’t take them for granted.  They have a lot to say, and we can learn a lot from listening to what they have to say.  

 

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Interview By Mdluchies: ML: What was your inspiration behind the Conversations on the Bench?

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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 was actually asked to write Conversations on the Bench by the founder of Thinking Outside the Boxe as a tribute to his good friend and colleague, Sebastian.  I met Sebastian on one occasion and over the course of a couple days got to know him and hear a little of his story.  He was a larger than life type of guy, a real life of the party.  He just had this tremendous positive energy about him, and he had a story that I knew had to be told.  I was a little hesitant at first to undertake a project that was out of my comfort zone, but the more I learned about this guy, the more I wanted to write this book.  He was a truly inspirational figure to a lot of people, and I figured it was my calling to tell his story.  It was almost as if Fate had arranged this.  I get invited to this symposium being held by this think tank that I hadn’t heard of at that point.  This was back in 2007.  I get introduced to the two principals of this think tank, the real brains behind the operation, and I was intrigued by these two individuals and their story.  It fascinated me.  Then I get asked to write this book.  One thing led to another, and now we have Conversations on the Bench, which is a great tribute to this brilliant individual.     

 

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You must certainly enjoy writing, as you have several works under your name. What’s been the most challenging part of the writing, editing, or publishing process for you? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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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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Each step of the process has its own unique challenges. The writing process is a challenge unto itself. While I’m generally pretty disciplined at sitting down and writing during the time I had schedule for that, I inevitably get interrupted or delayed or sidetracked. That’s one problem. Occasionally, I’ll be writing and box myself in with the storyline. I usually have an outline but the story itself as I’m writing it is pretty fluid. I change things while I’m writing. I’ll take the story in a bit of a different direction or I’ll introduce something that changes the outline a bit. So, writing itself is a bit of a challenge, but I like that. It keeps things interesting. I do my best to catch errors in the manuscript while I’m writing to make the editing process a little smoother, but I’m a writer and not an editor. I’ve been lucky to work with some really good people who have handled the editing process. They’ve gotten to know my writing style and tone, so they don’t go crazy in making edits that affect the story, characters, tone or style. Probably the biggest challenge is marketing the books. I made the decision many years ago to go the self-publishing route, so I’ve turned the entire process into a business. As with any business there a number of challenges, and I’ve found that marketing and gaining exposure has historically been the hardest part of the process. Luckily, I’ve built a good team for marketing, so it’s not as difficult as it once was, particularly with the various social media platforms that allow you to reach far more people than through traditional marketing methods.

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What inspired you to write such a book, and how much research went into it? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Robbie actually encouraged me to write the book. We were playing golf after the Thinking Outside the Boxe symposium that I attended in 2007 in Myrtle Beach, and he asked if I would be interested in writing this book that told Sebastian’s story. I was a little hesitant at first since I had never written a nonfiction book before, but as I talked to Sebastian over the course of a couple days, I realized that I needed to write this book. I felt that Sebastian’s story need to be told and memorialized in a work that other people could benefit from for years to come. So, Robbie and I started a series of conversations of our own so that I could get an understanding of what he and Sebastian had talked about over the years. I finished the manuscript in 2012, so it was a project that was five years in the making. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of conversations with Robbie to really get to know the situation and to get to know Sebastian, but it was time well spent. Sebastian’s story needed to be told, and I told it.

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Was “Conversation on the Bench” inspired by true events? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Yes, Conversations on the Bench was inspired by true events and true people. The story really revolves around Sebastian Peréy and his young friend Robbie and their conversations over a period of years. Robbie met Sebastian in the mid-1990s. They both worked at a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Robbie was a full-time college student studying finance, and worked full time. Sebastian worked two jobs—tax investigator by day and hotel reservationist by night—but had an educational background in economics. They would spend hours talking about anything and everything, and thus began a lifelong friendship. After Robbie graduated from college, Sebastian had some very poignant words of wisdom and anecdotes to share to help the young college grad. Robbie ended up starting his own successful business at about the same time that Sebastian was forced to retire due to health issues. That gave them the opportunity to spend a lot of time together, Sebastian mentoring Robbie and giving him encouragement and Robbie integrating Sebastian in the business as much as possible. They ended up starting a think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe, to share their writings about any topic they could debate as well as their economic commentaries and research. As Sebastian’s health declined, Robbie was there to offer support and encouragement. These two guys had this great brotherly relationship. Robbie even referred to Sebastian on many occasions as the brother he never had. And I think Sebastian liked that and really thought of Robbie as his little brother. He was there for Robbie to give him advice on women, relationships, business, whatever, and all the advice came from Sebastian’s own experiences. It’s the type of friendship that very few people are lucky enough to find in this life. It’s really just a heartwarming and truly inspirational friendship that I have recounted in Conversations on the Bench.

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Your new book “Conversations on the Bench: Life Lessons from the Wisest Man I Ever Knew” seems like a guide book of sorts, can you describe it for us? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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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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Conversations on the Bench is an inspirational book that chronicles a number of conversations between two friends, Robbie and Sebastian. Most of the conversations took place on a bench outside a local pub or outside a restaurant or at a golf course. Basically, the conversations span a variety of topics but in each conversation Sebastian provides a lesson to Robbie. These are life lessons that you pick up along the way—things that you can use in business situations, personal relationship, and perspectives on life and living life that you may not have considered. There’s no book where you can go look them all up…at least until I wrote Conversations on the Bench. It’s wit and wisdom from Sebastian, who was a remarkable individual with a very unique set of life experiences, as could only be told by Sebastian. So it is a guide book of sorts, a guide book in life and a primer for life.

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As an Industrialist, and Philanthropist, do you find those two aspects align or are they at odds with each other? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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They’re very much aligned. My business interests make the money that I can then contribute to various causes. I’m certainly not an Andrew Carnegie or a John D. Rockefeller or a John Paul Getty, but someday I hope to be of their caliber. Right now, I’m just doing what I can to build my businesses and help worthwhile organizations. I’m very cognizant of the pain and the suffering in the world around us, and I’ve been blessed with a modest degree of success. I am happy to give back to other causes and organizations that help those in need. If I make more, I’m happy to give more. Some people who have big businesses and who are extremely successful get greedy. The more they have, the more they want. They could do so much good if they put their mind and their resources to making the world a better place. Some people take success too far in that they lose sight of doing what’s right. I’m a pretty grounded person, so I just keep it real and do what I can.

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So what does an Author, Industrialist, and Philanthropist do with their day? RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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My day is usually pretty busy. When I get up in the morning I try to get up to date on what’s happening in the world. I’ll listen to the news headlines, maybe check out what the stock market futures are indicating, and read The Financial Times or The Wall Street Journal. That gets me prepared for the business day. I divide the working day between actual business operations, that’s the industrialist part, and writing. When I get to the office, I usually check e-mails, go over memos and reports from staff, solve any problems that need my attention, and so forth. I’ll usually have meetings throughout the day or just have normal work related projects to do. If things are running smoothly with business, I’ll take some extra time to work on my next novel or I’ll write an article or a blog post if I’m in the mood. Lunch meetings are a big thing with either staff or business associates or prospective business associates. Sometimes I just never know where the day is going to take me or where I may end up—three martini lunch or emergency round of golf in the afternoon or locked in my office writing after having some creative spark of genius or embroiled in some tough negotiations.

From time to time I’ll be invited to some charitable event as a guest or as a participant, so I’ll go to whatever event that may be. That’s the philanthropist part of my day. Sometimes it’s a luncheon where they’re raising money for an organization or a cause or sometimes it’s a golf tournament. Sometimes I’m asked to show up as a guest to help raise money and sometimes I’m invited to donate money. In any case, I usually try to make it to these type of events to show my support for good causes. It’s really all about giving money and raising money for worthwhile charitable causes. I have a few that are very near and dear to me, and I try to support them in whatever way I can. Of course, animals and animal welfare are very important to me, and I’m always looking for ways to help no-kill animal shelters and organizations that care for all kinds of animals. I try to help encourage shelters to adopt a no-kill policy and help educate pet owners on being responsible pet guardians. I feel that I’m very fortunate to be where I am in life, so if I can give a little of my time and my money to help bigger causes and help animals or people in need then it’s my honor and duty to do so.

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What advice would you give to other authors who have ideas for writing an inspirational book but aren't sure how/where to start? Interview by "With Five Questions"

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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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The first thing you have to do is identify someone or something, maybe an event in someone's life, that has been inspirational for you or others. It's really not hard to find something inspirational to write about. Unfortunately, most people aren't really looking for inspiration. Most people are too wrapped up in their daily lives to see the inspiration in the world around them. Maybe you write about someone who has overcome some great adversity in life. Maybe they fought and beat cancer or some other life-threatening or debilitating disease. Maybe they defied the odds of growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood only to go on to great success. Probably the most likely source of inspiration is an older person who can share their life story. If you ever sit and listen to someone like my grandmother, it's fascinating to hear her recount her childhood, growing up during the Great Depression, World War II and the greatest generation, and so on. The world is full of inspirational people if we just take the time to listen to them, and I venture to say that if you just keep your eyes and ears open, you may find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. But don't just limit your search for inspiration to people. We're surrounded by a wonderful world of nature and animals of all kinds that can offer inspiration just from the sheer miracle of life and survival. Ultimately, as a writer, you have to be aware of the people and the world around you all the time.

http://withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-digger-cartwright-author.html

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How have you balanced your career in business with your interests in writing and publishing? Interview by "With Five Questions"

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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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It's been difficult to balance the two. When I started writing, I did it as a hobby primarily. I did it because I just enjoyed it and wanted to tell some stories. It wasn't really a priority for me. When I could find time, I sat down and wrote a little bit. But the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write even more. I wasn't satisfied with having a book sitting incomplete, so I started to schedule more of my time for writing. I had to keep in mind that business was what made money. In the early days, writing only cost me money in terms of time, and writing at that point didn't have much financial return. As I wrote more, I started to dedicate a little more time each day to writing until I finished a particular project. That's really how I still do it. I don't write full time. I still have business to tend to, but I really try to manage my time well. There's always going to be sleepless nights when I'm working on a project or missed meetings or cancelled lunches, but I've come to accept that.

In the past few years, however, I've really started to focus more and more on writing as a business unto itself. I've chosen to go the independent, self-published route for a number of reasons that are neither here nor there, and that has really gotten me to examine and get deeply involved in the business aspect of being an independent, self-published author. I've really integrated the entire process from writing to marketing into my overall business structure and found some synergies there. I've adopted the perspective that as a writer I'm creating a product and it's my company's job to sell copies of my book. It's been a very entrepreneurial endeavor in writing a book and bringing it to market. That's one of the primary reasons that I'm working on setting up the National Federation of Self-Published Author Entrepreneurs as an outlet and resource for other self-published authors who are serious enough about writing to undertake it as an entrepreneurial business venture. If you're a writer who is serious about your work, you can turn your writing endeavors into a business. Just like any entrepreneurial venture, it's not necessarily easy, and it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. But if you dedicate yourself to it and have a passion for it, you can make self-publishing a successful enterprise.

http://withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-digger-cartwright-author.html

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What are the unique challenges of writing nonfiction compared with writing fiction? Interview by "With Five Questions"

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With fiction you can do just about anything. You can suspend reality, and the bigger the lie is, the more believable it is to some extent. With fiction, the writer is bound only by the bounds of his own imagination. It's like an artist with a blank canvas. You start with nothing and slowly but deliberately fill the canvas and bring the picture to life.

Nonfiction is a little more restrictive. Nonfiction is sort of like paint-by-number. You've got a pre-established set of lines and you just have to paint inside the lines. You might get away with changing up the colors a little bit, but you've got to stay in the lines. Nonfiction is reality. You're just re-telling what has already happened. Now, as an author you can take certain liberties and change up the scenery. Maybe you make it raining in a scene where it was a sunny day. Maybe the people involved don't remember where a certain conversation that is being recounted took place, so you have to create a scene where there was not one. With a work of fiction, you get to create the people and everything about them. With nonfiction, you have to get to know the people you're writing about and try to convey a factual representation of them as best you can.

With Conversations on the Bench, I was able to obtain the crux of the lessons and the conversations through interviews with one of the characters in the book. There may not have been a record of exactly when the conversation took place or who else may have been there or in what circumstance the conversation came up or exactly what was said in the conversation. So, as the author, going back to the artist example, I had a paint-by-number that had some missing lines. I had to create those missing lines, then fill in inside the lines with the right color and the right amount of that color. It was certainly a challenge for me going from fiction to a factually-based storyline. You've got to know the people you're writing about pretty well. It took me time and a lot of telephone conversations to get the story from Robbie and get to the point where I felt comfortable that I knew him and Sebastian.

http://withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-digger-cartwright-author.html

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Could you tell us a little bit about the real life friendship that inspired Conversations on the Bench? Interview by "With Five Questions"

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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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Robbie was a young college student when he met Sebastian in the mid-1990s. They met while both working at a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Robbie was a full-time student studying finance, business, economics, etc. and worked full time. Sebastian had an educational background in economics and worked two jobs--tax investigator by day and hotel reservationist by night. They would spend hours talking about everything going on in their worlds and the world at large. And thus began a lifelong friendship. After Robbie graduated from college, Sebastian had some very poignant words of wisdom and anecdotes to share to help the young college grad get through some tough times. Robbie ended up starting his own successful business at about the same time that Sebastian was forced to retire due to health issues. That gave them the opportunity to spend a lot of time together, Sebastian mentoring Robbie and giving him encouragement, and Robbie integrating Sebastian in the business as much as possible.

They ended up starting a think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe, to share their writings about any topic they could debate as well as their economic commentaries and research. As Sebastian's health declined, Robbie was there to offer support and encouragement, just as Sebastian had been there for him. These two guys had this great brotherly relationship. Robbie even referred to Sebastian on many occasions as the brother he never had. And I think Sebastian liked that and really thought of Robbie as his little brother. He was there for Robbie to give him advice on women, relationships, business, whatever, and all the advice came from Sebastian's own experiences. It's the type of friendship that very few people are lucky enough to find in this life. It's really just a heartwarming and truly inspirational friendship that I have recounted in Conversations on the Bench.

http://withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-digger-cartwright-author.html

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As an author of several mystery novels, what motivated you to shift gears with your latest project and write an inspirational book? Interview by "With Five Questions"

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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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Actually, it wasn't my idea to write my latest book, Conversations on the Bench. I was asked if I would be interested in writing a book about Sebastian, the central figure of this novel. What really motivated me to undertake the project was Sebastian himself and the story he had to tell. I only met him in person at a symposium hosted by the think tank that he had been instrumental in establishing. Over the next couple days I got to know him and his colleague, and I realized that he had a very fascinating perspective on life that was really the result of his own unique set of life experiences. The more I learned from my few conversations with Sebastian at that symposium and the more I subsequently learned from Robbie, the founder of the think tank, the more motivated I got about writing this inspirational book. It was clear to me that Sebastian's story needed to be told. He had such a huge personality that you couldn't help but like the guy, and I think everyone did. Everyone that I talked to had something good to say about Sebastian or had some story to tell about him and how he had impacted their life. He was always very positive and encouraging, and he was always there for his friends. He was just a remarkable individual and the more I got to hear his story, the more inspired I was. And ultimately, this entire project, Sebastian's story, has really had a very big impact on my life, just as Sebastian himself had a big impact on the lives of people who knew him.

http://withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2013/05/meet-digger-cartwright-author.html

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What tips do you have for young aspiring writers? Interview by learnfreemarketing | on May 20, 2013

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Writing takes a lot of hard work, patience, and dedication. Most of the time, writing is a labor of love, it’s a passion. You don’t get noticed overnight, and if you’re in it to get rich and famous, you’re probably going to be disappointed. You shouldn’t be writing because you think it’s going to make you rich and famous. You should be writing because you enjoy it and it’s a personally rewarding experience for you and it may bring joy and entertainment to others. If you end up getting rich and famous, good for you. I’m certainly not trying to be discouraging, but the fact is a lot of writers never get recognized, never get an agent, and never get published by a major publishing house. If you’re serious about writing, make sure you have a good story to tell. Make sure your manuscript is professionally edited and polished. You can’t throw something together haphazardly and say it’s ready to be published. You’ve got to make sure that your final product, your final manuscript, is the best that it can be. It can’t just be good. It has to be great. There’s a lot of competition out there. I think there will be something like 2 million books published this year. You’ve got to make sure yours is exceptional if you want to be successful. Then you have to decide if you want to go the traditional route of trying to find an agent to get your book published by a major publishing house or if you want to self-publish. There are pros and cons to both. A lot of people have made a decent living through self-publishing. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and really want to take charge of marketing your own work, you might be a candidate for self-publishing. Here again, nothing happens overnight. You’ll need to be patient. You’ll need to be dedicated and disciplined. And don’t get discouraged if you’re not as successful as you hoped or if you get turned down by agents or publishers. If you believe in yourself, keep working on it. When you get bucked off the horse, you’ve got to get back in the saddle and keep at it. The same goes for writing. If you believe in yourself and your work, keep going. Write more and more. The more you write, the better you’re going to get at it. Listen to criticism; it can be helpful. You may want to take some classes or workshops to help improve your skills. But if you’re an aspiring writer, you need to be aware of the challenges, you need to believe in yourself, and you need to be patient.

http://www.empowernetwork.com/learnfreemarketing/blog/digger-cartwright-interview/

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Tell us a little more about Conversations on the Bench. What is the story or inspiration behind this book? Interview by learnfreemarketing | on May 20, 2013

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Conversations on the Bench is an inspirational book about two very good friends and some of the conversations they had that were pretty insightful and filled with simple life lessons that you have to pick up along the way in life. I wrote Conversations on the Bench as a tribute to Sebastian Peréy at the request of his friend and colleague from the think tank they had formed back in 2003. I only met Sebastian on one occasion, at a symposium hosted by their think tank, but over the course of a couple days, I had the privilege of getting to know him and hearing a little of his story. He was a larger than life type of guy in more ways than one. He was big in stature, weighing in at over 400 pounds, but he had this positive energy about him that was captivating. You met the guy and you felt like you had known him for a long time. You just wanted to get to know him and hear his story. It was as if you could tell he had something interesting to say. Sebastian was a truly inspirational figure to a lot of people, including Robbie, his friend and colleague at the think tank who actually encouraged me to write the book. I was intrigued by Robbie and Sebastian, and I ultimately decided that I needed to tell their story. So I learned as much as I could about Sebastian from Robbie through telephone conversations over the course of about five years. Now, we have Conversations on the Bench as a great tribute to Sebastian, a brilliant individual and just an all around good guy.

Sebastian and Robbie spent countless hours toiling over life and worldly problems. Wherever they went, whether it was a local pub, a restaurant, or the golf course, they would find a bench and they would sit and talk for hours on end. They would talk about problems, the economy, women, business challenges, you name it. And Sebastian was sure to share his own wit and wisdom, a wisdom that can only be gained through a collection of unique life experiences. Conversations on the Bench is a compilation of some of Sebastian’s greatest life lessons as presented through various conversations he and Robbie had over the years. I’m confident that Conversations on the Bench offers something for everyone and that everyone can find something they can relate to in the book.

http://www.empowernetwork.com/learnfreemarketing/blog/digger-cartwright-interview/

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Who were some of your favorite authors growing up? Interview by learnfreemarketing | on May 20, 2013

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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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I’ve written five books, Murder at the Ocean Forest, The Versailles Conspiracy, The House of Dark Shadows, The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance, and Conversations on the Bench. I’m working on the sixth one, a drama entitled Gems & Jewels. I’ve been asked which one is my favorite many times, but I don’t know that I can say that I favor one over the other. When you’re a writer, each books is a labor of love, they’re like my children. Each one is different, and I love each one of them for what makes them unique.
Murder at the Ocean Forest is my favorite setting, the old Ocean Forest Hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The book is set at the hotel in the 1940s. The hotel was demolished in the 1970s, so all that is left are a few pictures. I really like how The Versailles Conspiracy and The House of Dark Shadows end. I think the endings are both memorable, and they leave you guessing. The Maynwarings is a mystery and political thriller set in the Old West, so I think that’s a pretty unique spin on a western. You don’t see many westerns anymore in the first place, so it’s special for that reason as well. Conversations on the Bench is special in that it’s a really inspirational book, and it’s about people that I actually know. Few writers get to write an inspirational story about people they know, so it’s unique from that perspective. But what I think is most special about Conversations on the Bench and why it endears itself to me so much is that people can take something away from it, they can learn something from the lessons in it and possibly find inspiration that may change their own lives.

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How did you get into writing? Interview by learnfreemarketing | on May 20, 2013

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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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I think my first writing experience was writing a different ending to a book that I had finished reading. I didn’t like the ending, so I sat down and re-wrote the last couple of chapters. I quickly realized that I really enjoyed writing, particularly creative writing. Up to that point, most of my writing had been research, commentaries, or articles. So, I stepped out of the box and started writing short stories and a couple of screenplays. My writing progressed from there to novel. I wrote The Versailles Conspiracy first, but I didn’t really like the first version so I put it away for a couple of years. I wrote Murder at the Ocean Forest next. Once I started writing I never really stopped. I went from Murder at the Ocean Forest back to The Versailles Conspiracy then The House of Dark Shadows, The Maynwarings and Conversations on the Bench. I’m still writing articles and commentaries about various subjects—the economy, politics, business—but I’m doing less of that and focusing more on creative writing. I think it’s somewhat therapeutic for me, and it gives me a chance to escape from the stress of the real world and get lost in a world that I’m creating.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 3: 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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What are your other interests other than writing?

Business is very important to me. I’ve got good people working for me and that helps free up some of my time to write, but nonetheless, I’m still the boss and I’ve got work to do when it comes to the businesses.

Outside of business and writing, I like to get in some golf every now and then. I’m afraid I don’t get to play as much as I would like, but I do enjoy trying out new courses and seeing if I can beat the course or if the course will beat me. I end up losing to the course most of the time. I play in a lot of charity golf tournaments to help raise money for various causes, so I’m killing two birds with one stone—I get to help out worthwhile organizations and enjoy a round of golf. It’s a win-win.

I like animals, so I’m always looking for ways to help homeless and neglected or abused cats and dogs and other creatures. I want to do what I can to help alleviate the suffering of innocent little creatures who are just looking for a forever home. I’m very interested in finding ways to help stop animal abuse and neglect and stop the senseless killing of animals in shelters simply because they don’t have a home. I’m always researching no kill organizations and trying to help educate people about the importance of having their pets spayed or neutered.

And I am really big into the WWE. I’m a life member of the WWE Universe. I love watching it on TV and going to live WWE events throughout the year as time permits. I’m the WWE Universe Best Dressed Fan. I got that nickname from a guy who was sitting near me at Wrestlemania 27 in Atlanta. WWE provides good, clean entertainment, and I really enjoy being part of the energy and excitement at their live events. 

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 3: Question 4

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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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Do you write on other business related articles other than books under the mystery genre?

I have written a number of articles and opinion pieces on business, the economy, politics, and other current matters or events. A good deal of what I’ve done in the past few years outside of writing mystery novels has been for Thinking Outside the Boxe, which is a private think tank that writes commentaries on a wide range of issues. They have a symposium every year with panelists to discuss currents events. I’ve participated in that forum several times over the last six years. It’s a good way to step away from the fictitious world that I immerse myself in when I’m writing a mystery novel and talk about real life events and every day issues that affect people throughout the world. I’m a problem solver. I have to solve problems in my businesses all the time, and there are plenty of problems in the United States and elsewhere, both political and economic problems, that need to be solved. I stay current with what’s going on in the world, so I like to contribute my thoughts and opinions on how we can fix some of these problems. Sadly, I haven’t gotten any calls from anyone who has read any of my commentaries to say they liked the idea or that it was a good or a bad idea or that they’d like to try out my idea to see if it would fix some of our problems here in America. But I like expressing my opinions and giving my solutions, and Thinking Outside the Boxe has been kind enough to let me contribute to their website and their efforts, so I’ll just keep talking about what’s important in the world we live in and try to make the world a better place.

So, there’s the economic and political articles that I write as well as the mystery novels, but my newest book that is coming out at the end of April is a motivational book called Conversations on the Bench. It’s about a very inspirational person that I had the pleasure to meet a few years back. He was a great thinker who also liked to solve problems and who had an abundance of personality and charm and wisdom. He had a lot of life lessons to share with people, and he did just that. Even I got the benefit of some of his words of wisdom and anecdotes. This was really stepping out of the box for me to write a story that wasn’t a mystery but that was inspired by actual people and events. I certainly enjoyed the experience, and I hope readers like Conversations on the Bench, but after that I’m going to stick with fiction with a mystery theme.  

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 3: Question 3

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, 09 April 2013
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What is the most challenging aspect(s) about writing a psychological thriller like The House of Dark Shadows?

A psychological thriller like The House of Dark Shadows is basically writing about a mind game. Not only does it involve a mind game among the characters, but as the writer you’re also playing a mind game with the readers. As the writer, you’ve got to be very careful and very creative in how you present the story. In The House of Dark Shadows you’ll notice that the story is told complete from one character’s point of view. You’re privy to some of his thoughts and emotions, and the reader can get in his head a little bit. However, the readers don’t get any insight into what the other characters are thinking. Instead, you get one character’s perception of what he thinks they may be thinking or what their emotions are; you get his perspective and his perspective alone. Obviously, if you were able to get inside other characters’ heads in the book, you would be able to figure out what was going on pretty quickly. Because of the set up of all of this, you leave the reader wondering whether their take on the book is right or not. Did this really happen or was it part of the character’s imagination or what? Can you take the explanation at the end at face value or was there more to it? Who was the good guy and who was the bad guy? Was everything really as it seemed or not? I’ve had readers tell me that they weren’t sure how to take the ending of the book, that it could go a couple of ways, and I’ve had readers argue both perspectives and not come to a firm conclusion about it. Thus, that’s the nature of the psychological thriller, in my opinion. Some people don’t like that there isn’t a fully explained and clear conclusion, but I liken it to the twist in Alfred Hitchcock’s works—it leaves you wondering for days after you’ve finished the movie or in my case the book.   

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