- a world traveler with a sense of the absurd
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Adam G. Fleming is a novelist and leadership coach from Goshen, IN. Married with four kids, Adam brings his unique blend of cross-cultural humor to his work as a writer, speaker, and professional executive coach.
Raised in the Midwest, Adam is a world traveler and has spent significant amounts of time in Zaire/ DRC, France, Ivory Coast, and a dozen or more other countries. Adam’s primary current international project is in Egypt.
He blogs on a diverse variety of topics from fiction writing, poetry, and leadership.
Adam, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
My 3 rd son and I were just joking around last night wondering why the US Government has not yet tried to cross a narwhal with a horse to create a unicorn. With lasers that shoot out of its horn, of course, to give it military value. I said even if they could get like a half-inch horn that would be a win, and they could start working on the laser, too. Just a little laser pointer for starters, so you would know what the unicorn is looking at, and then work up to something that could really blow things up. Anyway, if I could have any pet, it would be a talking mouse. Nothing so grandiose as a unicorn, lasers or not.
Hmmm, unicorns with lasers, you say? I’m just going to back away slowly…
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I got started around 2009 or so by writing a play for stage, and I found a local community theater to stage it, I directed it and played the smallest role, like a cameo. Once they agreed to stage it, I expanded the storyline from that play into my first novel, White Buffalo Gold, which was published in 2012 and I had copies available in time for the play’s premiere. I was inspired by someone I knew when I was a kid, one of my dad’s friends who wrote a novel called Jonas and Sally which I still sell on my website. I thought, if Rich Foss can write such a beautiful novel, maybe I can write one someday, too.
I’ve written a few nonfiction books about coaching and leadership from my 15-year career as a leadership coach.
I co-wrote a few books about a character called Stetson Jeff Stetson with an author named Justin Fike, that’s kind of a cross between Chuck Norris and Forrest Gump, a silly action/adventure series with a lot of throwbacks to action movies of the 1980s. Hilarious stuff if you like tongue-in-cheek stuff that makes fun of Texans.
I recently finished my steampunk fantasy series, but it was all designed as a backdrop for another project I’ve had in the works for six or seven years, which is more like an alt-history story where there’s a kid who gets lost at a Led Zeppelin concert in 1977 and becomes a rock musician. The characters in that series will talk about the steampunk fantasy series and argue about what it means. I wanted a book for them to argue about, and I ended up with a whole series and now I’m back to working on the alt-history again.
I also just began ghostwriting. I got started with that by co-authoring a book with a marketing guy who wanted to work up a fictional story that highlighted four key principles of marketing, and his editorial team is now sending me other ghostwriting work. They say I’m a genius so I think there will be more projects from them soon.
What a wide array of writing!
What do you like to read?
I read about as broadly as I write. I prefer to read fiction, I only read nonfiction when I feel like it’s a must. I’ll read some fantasy and sci-fi but I prefer classics. To give an example, this month I completed Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead, a Robin Hood retelling; I finished Madame Bovary by Flaubert, I went through an indie story called Blood Sapphire’s Revenge on audiobook while I exercised, by Dr. Bruce Farmer, because it’s being published by a friend of mine, and I read Job: A Comedy of Justice by the famous Sci-fi writer Robert A Heinlein. I probably enjoyed Madame Bovary the most. I like satire and humor a lot. I just love to laugh.
You’re right! That’s as varied as what you write.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
Work at the same time every day.
Or write every day, or have a routine, that kind of thing.
Because of my work as a leadership coach my calendar is open to my clients to pick slots from 7 to 5, my day can be filled with paying clients or filled with working on various writing projects, never a dull moment. My routine is getting a cup of coffee and taking drugs (prescription… ha-ha) before I do anything else. If I have had six to eight meetings or hours of writing and marketing in a day, then it’s productive.
Variety is the spice of life!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that works for you
Make your dialogue natural.
Well, I don’t know if this is commonly accepted, but I believe in dialog that sounds like people talk, which means sometimes people go on rabbit trails and rarely complete their sentences. The best example of this I know is in the film The Big Lebowski. I could watch that a million times. The trick is to keep it really entertaining when your characters start talking about pointless stuff.
As long as you’re only sharing the dialogue the story needs and not the random bits between, that works for me.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Satchel Pong Chronicles Omnibus: (All 5 Books)
Follow Satchel Pong from his beginnings as a Meteorologist who is reluctant to give reports: he knows there’s a problem but has no clue how to lead a Great Migration. Together with his friends Emil Ennis and Antoinette Xho, Satchel wanders the world, seeking safety for a growing tribe of followers, while wars initiated by the Doethalian Empire distract people from the truth. Will young Wilty Zeebo be able to initiate interstellar travel? Will the disciples of St. Kipstofer, the Prophets of Doom, be able to convince people to leave their planet behind?
The Satchel Pong Chronicles includes intriguing multi-culture world-building, a quirky cast of power-hungry characters, and everything you’re looking for when it comes to steampunk: mechanically modified soldiers; communities of dirigibles known as Sky Dwellers, and the dirigible-flying pirates known as ‘Dirates’; and a doomed planet.
White Buffalo Gold
Ever since the sixth grade, Emily Zimmerman hasn’t stopped looking for traces of gold in the river that runs through her hometown, the site of a minor gold rush in the late 1800s. Geologist Owen Thibodeaux doesn’t believe there ever was gold along Nebraska’s South Loup River, so he visits the little town of Harmony to try to find hard evidence of it. The little community has a settled spirit that soothes him, so he makes it his home.
When Emily takes a job at the local nursing home, she encounters Owen, whose rich baritone voice tells incomplete stories about a small stone from Nova Scotia and the Rock of Gibraltar. Owen’s tales stir Emily’s imagination, and she determines to help Owen, now blind, re-envision his whole story.
The Stetson Jeff Adventures
A 3-novella series.
When fate brings the family business an offer that sounds just a little too good to be true, Jeff Stetson heads to the wild and wondrous city of Bangkok to take a closer look at their potential business partners.
There he discovers that the world outside of Texas is full of surprises, friends, enemies, and Pad Thai. Entered into a Muay Thai tournament after making an angry wager, Stetson Jeff will have to muster all his courage and fortitude if he wants to keep his pride and save face — literally. Can one young Texan learn the ways of Muay Thai mastery in time to overcome the forces of injustice?