Guest Writer: An Interview with Author Robert “Digger” Cartwright

RobertJRGraham.com Interviews Robert “Digger” Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels.

So what does an Author, Industrialist, and Philanthropist do with their day?

digger1My 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.

As an Industrialist, and Philanthropist, do you find those two aspects align or are they at odds with each other?

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.

digger2Your 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?

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.

Was “Conversation on the Bench” inspired by true events?

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.

What inspired you to write such a book, and how much research went into it?

digger3Robbie 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.

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?

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.

 

Pick up “Conversation’s on the Bench” from Amazon.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta

FREE eBook Gift for Signing Up
Get Your FREE eBook

Subscribe to Robert's mailing list and get a FREE eBook offer.

Leave a Reply

FREE eBook Gift for Signing Up
Get Your FREE eBook

Subscribe to Robert's mailing list and get a FREE eBook offer.