Friday, April 28, 2017

Meet the Author: Doug Cooper, Author of The Investment Club




Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.

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Title: THE INVESTMENT CLUB
Author: Doug Cooper
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pages: 362
Genre: Literary/Upmarket Fiction

Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people who live there? What brought them there? What keeps them there?

Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.

As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.

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What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Being a writer evolved for me over a long period of time. When I was in fourth grade, we wrote a newspaper article for the local paper as an assignment. The newspaper editor picked mine as one to run in the paper. In high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and won departmental awards in both math and English. But when deciding what subject to study at university, being a seventeen year-old boy, I chose math because I didn’t want to grade all those English papers. Around my junior year at Miami University in the Math Education program, I realized I made a mistake and wanted to write. I stuck it out though and graduated and worked for five years as a math teacher getting a Masters in American Studies and committed to being a writer.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I don’t go as far as to physically taking notes, but I definitely study what I’m watching and always have the closed caption on to see the dialogue as well. I also read all the message boards after the episodes to see reactions from fans and actively discuss shows with other friends who are into the same programs. I really believe we are in a golden age of television drama. So many good shows on a variety of networks.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

I’ve always been drawn to words and dialogue and was quite verbal—probably too much if you ask my mom. (Laughs) I started keeping a journal around twenty-one and kept that up for probably twenty years and have them all on a shelf at home. Nice to look back and follow the journey. Now that I’m actively writing, most of my creativity is directed toward the stories and characters, but I still journal on occasion, more when I travel, and most is done digitally with Evernote.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

Yes, I have my own consulting company that specializes in business & creative development and project management called Trubelo (www.trubelo.com), which is short for TRuth-BEauty-LOve. Doing project-based work allows me the flexibility to work my own creative projects in along with the work that is paying most of the bills. My strategy is with each book, the revenue split between books and consulting will shift more toward books until I can solely rely on writing for my income.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

1.      Turn off the editor when you’re writing the first draft. Get to a hundred pages then look back.
2.      Collaborate, don’t compete with other writers. We’re all in this together. Support each other and learn from one another.
3.      Find another source of income that allows you to keep being creative until writing will sustain you.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

I’d love to say no and that I write five pages every day. But the truth is some days I get distracted. Not all those days are bad though. Sometimes life presents opportunities that seem unimportant that when you follow, materialize into something fantastic. To take some of the pressure off about this, I set weekly goals of between 10-12 thousand words. This works better for me than a daily quota. That way if life gets in the way or I’m just not feeling it, I don’t feel obligated to force it and can focus on some other aspect of the work. Always something that can be done.

How often do you write?

When working on a new book, I set the goal of 10-12,000 words which is about 20-25 pages. When I’m really in a groove I get 4-5 pages done Monday-Friday and take weekends off.

Are you an avid reader?

I read in spurts. Usually January to May I’ll read a few books a month and taper off as the year goes on. When I’m working on the first draft and creating from the blank page, I read the most. I find it helps sharpen my voice and message and also inspire me. I’m always amazed and impressed by how many brilliant writers are out there.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading two books right now. The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley, a local Cleveland writer I know, and Jennifer Egan’s Look at Me.

What are you currently working on?

My next book, for which I’m doing the final rewriting, is called Focus Lost about when passion becomes obsession for nature photographer Gabe Adams, famous actor Levi Combs, and his agent Eva Florez after Gabe inadvertently captures pictures of Levi with underage starlet Emily James. It’s set in Los Angeles and is loosely patterned after Paradise Lost with Levi representing the devil, Gabe as Adam, and Eva as Eve.

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