Featured Interview With Roger McEwan
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I’m just about to turn 52 and I grew up and still live in Palmerston North, New Zealand, which can be charitably described as a great place to raise children and uncharitably as dull. It’s not as bad as John Cleese (UK comedian), who was probably having a bad day, made out when he called it ‘the suicide capital of New Zealand’. It’s relatively small, with a population of around 80,000, but it’s big enough to have all the amenities you need for a great family life – quality education, affordable housing and space in which to run and breathe. What it lacks is the dynamic pulse of a large city in which sports events, theatre, historic sites and the general hub-bub make you feel you’re in the centre of the world.
Compensating for this, Palmerston North has few of the issues that plague large cities – pollution, over-crowding, lack of living space, unaffordable housing unless you’re a millionaire, traffic, crime and, more recently and alarmingly, terrorism. Ordinary and typical are probably words that sum up Palmerston North.
I have two children, Rog who is now 17 and then Liv (Olivia) who is 16, and I share their care with their mum (my Ex) Rose. To find out more about how all this works, you’ll need to get a copy of my book!
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have always loved books and reading. My children now tell me – dad, you don’t need any more books or bookcases. I should “recycle” some of my books but I just love being surrounded by books, it has an old world feeling of charm and peace that my tablet and phone will never provide!
I needed an event to start writing and that was initially my divorce and then when my next relationship terminated suddenly.
When I became a single dad I felt the urge to capture what was happening in my life but not for a book, just so I had a mechanism to help me understand. When my plans were once again thrown into disarray I started writing what became The Single Dad’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was a cathartic way for me to come to terms with everything and I found writing incredibly liberating.
My luckiest break came when I first approached a literary consultant with my early chapters. Geoff Walker had a wealth of experience in the book industry and provided invaluable help throughout my first book writing journey. He was wonderful and I’ll never forget his initial words – there is some great stuff here but it’s a little clumsy! At that point it would have been easy to be put off but Geoff’s well chosen words inspired me to carry on.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My taste in books is eclectic and I’m just as happy reading one of the latest thrillers from Lee Child or Michael Connolly as going through a history of Word War I. Time is always my enemy when it comes to reading and I have become addicted to audio books which I play in the car (except when I have the children who insist on “their” music).
Many authors have inspired me and it is almost impossible to single out particular authors. If I had to name one then it would be George Orwell. A man not only ahead of this time but incredibly in tune with his time. Some of the lessons in his work have been missed by generation after generation.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
The Single Dad’s Guide to the Galaxy was a project that started to help me come to terms with my single dad status and then blossomed into a book as my journey continued. The title suggests it is just for single dad’s (maybe a marketing error) but the book has been written so that any parent, male or female, can stand in my shoes and through understanding a little of my world, reflect on how they may change their world for the better.
As an “indie” author getting the word out has been very difficult but I was fortunate to secure a distributor in New Zealand and now my book proudly sits in most book stores and libraries. I don’t have the marketing clout to rival the big 5 but I try and make up the difference in enthusiasm. It gives me great pleasure to check out a library and see copies of my book have been borrowed, it may not help make me a fortune but it does mean the world of one parent and their children may improve. That alone all the effort worthwhile.
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