This month’s author interview is with David S. Rider
Dave’s book will take you on a journey as he fights the demons that torment him while discovering who he is as a photographer and artist. A very inspirational read that is sure to lift your spirit, and maybe change the way you look at life. Along with the inspirational story, this book is filled with images of Dave’s artistic style as he captures the beauty of nature found in Northern Michigan.
Dave, please tell us a little about yourself, including your hobbies and interests
My name is Dave Rider, and I am a fifty-four-year-old father of two adult children. I married my wife thirty-five years ago when I was nineteen and she was seventeen. I was born in the predominantly blue-collar town of Ypsilanti, Michigan, but moved my family to the pristine area of Northern Michigan in 1991. My wife and I still live in the log home we built ourselves. I have a deep passion for nature, and the Detroit Tigers baseball team.
You recently published, Another Sunrise, what is the book about?
Another sunrise is about my journey. It takes the reader along with me as I battle the demons of living with terminal cancer. It is an inspirational account of how I was lifted from the depths of depression by looking through the lens of a camera. I have emptied my soul into its message. I hope that it might help others who feel the same way I did before a gift from my daughter changed everything.
“Another Sunrise” is an interesting title. How did you decide on the title?
There is a beautiful lake near my home that has been one of my favorite subjects when I photograph nature. I often get out of bed early in the morning to watch as the sun rises over the picturesque setting. I have learned to live life one day at a time, and deeply appreciate what each sunrise represents; the gift of another day.
For all its beauty, for all its grandeur, and for all its magnificence, the part I love most about the sunrise is to be there at the exact moment when it first appears above the horizon. For me, it is more than just its beauty – it is what it represents. As the sun rises, it is a confirmation to me that I have been given another day. A day to have new experiences; to be with my wife; to learn new things; to become wise; to show compassion; to be kind; to enjoy life; and witness the amazing beauty of nature.
Did you follow a more traditional publishing route or self-publish?
Although I would have loved to have had a literary agent who could have secured a traditional publisher for my book, I was very frustrated by the time that process seemed to require. Since I have been told that my time is limited, I chose the one that I could expedite. Publishing is something that I knew very little about, but I have never been one who is afraid to fail. Until I became sick, I was in the technology field, and spent a lot of time working on and designing computer software. I was often frustrated with the time that it took to try to make a program perfect. Then I read something someone once said about releasing a computer program to the consumers (I believe it was Bill Gates from Microsoft). He said if you wait until it is perfect, you will never be ready to release it. With that in mind, I allowed myself to overcome the fear of failing with my book. I told myself that it is okay to fail as long as I am passionate about the message.
What were the biggest challenges faced by self-publishing and how did you overcome them?
My book is only available in the eBook format on Amazon. I find that there are still a lot of people who want to hold a book in their hand, and are reluctant to try a kindle even though you can download free readers for your phone or computer. Unfortunately I don’t have the means to handle the cost associated with self-publishing print versions. I have been exploring some options like Kickstarter in order to find funding for printing and marketing my book. However, time is a major factor.
How do you market your book?
I have struggled with this. I was not prepared for the amount of work that is required to adequately market a book. I thought that once I finished the book that my work was done; little did I know it was just starting. The local CBS news affiliate did a story about me, and I saw a spike in sales, but have found it hard to maintain the momentum. Social media has helped, but marketing, to me, is the most difficult aspect of self-publishing. I am still trying to learn, so I read as much as I can about the subject. However I really rely a lot on word of mouth.
Do you read reviews of your book? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
I do read them, but they don’t influence my writing in any way. I write about things that inspire me. I believe that because my book is non-fiction, and my health issue is terminal, there aren’t too many people who would take the time to criticize me. I understand that some could, but the message is what is truly important. There will always be negative people in the world. I simply see no benefit in worrying about what someone thinks about my writing. This is probably because I write for those who want to be uplifted in their life. I write to inspire.
What advice can you offer to new writers?
I don’t know that I am someone who others should be looking to for advice. However the best advice I can give is about life in general. Find a passion in your life. Believe in yourself, and be proud of your accomplishments.
Do you have a routine for your writing, or do you only write as and when you feel inspired?
Being inspired is very important. I have tried many times to sit down and write without feeling truly inspired. This has been a total waste of time. I have several unfinished books in my files because I started with an idea which wasn’t backed by passion. This becomes frustrating to me. I do believe that if you have a really good story you can become passionate about it. An example of this is something that I recently posted on the Writing Forums non-fiction page titled “So this is Fate.” It is about a life changing experience I recently had while on an ATV ride along the trails in the Huron National Forest. I wasn’t feeling that I was doing any justice to the story, so I grabbed my laptop, and headed to the trails. I sat against a tree at the exact spot that this event took place, and suddenly I felt the passion. Two hours later I had my story. I think that a person has to experiment with what works for them.
Who are you favourite authors and why?
I am intrigued with Ernest Hemingway. I think I relate to him because I tend to write short, simple sentences much like he did. I am also interested in the fact that he seemed to find a lot of his inspiration in Northern Michigan. His torment is something that I can relate to as well. I have often become concerned about the fact that, when I write, I isolate myself; often to the point that I feel depressed. There is no way I am going to crawl up on a roof and shoot myself, but I understand how he could have been driven to that. Writing can be very lonely, and that is why the message is the most important aspect of the process to me.
What are your current projects?
Because my book “Another Sunrise” covers a very sobering topic, I decided that I didn’t want to be known as someone who can only write about those types of situations. A few days ago my wife was half-heartedly scolding me about some trivial matter. I turned to her, and said, “Darling – please forgive me. I have failed you miserably as a husband, and I am deeply embarrassed.” We both laughed. It dawned on me that maybe I should write a book about finding humor in a cynical world, so I pushed the other 8-10 ideas I have started to the side. It probably won’t ever become a sitcom, or movie, but hopefully it will make people smile.
Why does photography play such an important part of your life?
I have always loved nature. The beauty that nature has to offer lifts my spirit. I find that, whenever I am feeling down, going for a hike with my camera around my neck seems to have a magical effect on me. Whenever I look through my lens, I only focus on things that I find beautiful; there is no negativity – only good. I don’t want to waste one moment of time being negative. Therefore photography allows me to look at the world with an optimistic and positive attitude.
You’ve taken thousands of photographs, which is your favourite and why?
This has been the hardest question for me to answer. In fact I have taken a couple days to think it over. The truth is that I don’t think of my photos in that sense. I enjoy a nice framed image from nature as much as anyone, but my photos are about the moment. They are about letting go of everything that burdens my soul. I cannot possibly say one photo has accomplished that better than any other.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
First of all thank you for reading. I am deeply grateful that you took the time to consider what I have to say. I hope that I have touched you, and that life is a little easier to navigate because of what I have written. Please understand that life is a journey, and not all journeys end as we may hope. The important thing is to let go of the past; don’t worry about the future, and live in the moment.
Where can people buy “Another Sunrise”
My blog can be found at: www.houseupnorth.com
My Facebook page can be found at: DaveRiderPhotography
Thank you for this opportunity.