• Amy's Bookshelf Reviews

Featured Author: Scott Semegran

Q: In three words, describe yourself.

A: Award-winning Writer / Cartoonist

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: I have written eight books. Seven of them are currently published: To Squeeze a Prairie Dog, Sammie & Budgie, BOYS, The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, and Mr. Grieves. One is out of print.

Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

A: To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel was released yesterday, February 1, 2019.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: Most titles I came up with after I finished writing the books, except for Sammie & Budgie which I came up with before even starting the book. To Squeeze a Prairie Dog had a few variations of this idiom before I started writing but I settled on this title about halfway through this book.

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: In my latest book, my initial thought would be that all the workers in Unit 3 were the most interesting to me because I had elaborate backstories for them before starting the book. But I will settle on Rita Jackson who is the matriarch to five children and thirteen grandchildren. I loved that her motivations were rooted in family as well as for her coworkers, who she cared for so deeply.

Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: Endearingly Humorous Fiction

Q: Without quoting your back cover blurb, tell me about the last book you published.

A: Blurb for To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: Five under-appreciated bureaucrats forge an unlikely bond of love and respect while trying to win a pot of cash from the government that will change their lives forever. The crotchety governor has selfish plans of his own for the lowly government workers and a snooping reporter discovers a couple of dark secrets, threatening to ruin everything for all involved.

Q: Quote your favorite line from one of your stories. Indicate the line, and then the book title.

A: “The clickity-clack of the computer keyboards of the three workers typing in the back of the small office space was like the cacophony of a chorus of cicadas.” -- To Squeeze a Prairie Dog

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I’m a husband and a father to four kids, two cats, and a dog. I like to travel and brew beer. I’m a music, movie, TV, comics, and literature nut.

Q: Who are your top THREE favorite authors?

A: Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Chabon

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: The Unlounging: From a Belly Full of Beer to a Craw Full of Time. Read this book right now!


Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: This is an interesting question for me because I’ve done both. For my latest book, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog, I started by writing extensive backstories for the five main characters, then I developed a very extensive spreadsheet with all the chapters and where the various novel components would occur i.e. stakes, plot points, pinch points, climax, and conclusion. But for all of the Simon Adventures book (there are three books in this series), I began with starting Point A and ending Point B and I just wrote the middle as it came to me because I knew where I needed to end (the endings of all three books were known to me before I started writing the books).

Q: Why do you write?

A: I write because I love the creative juice I get from writing. I love the creative process. And I love hearing what readers think of my stories.

Q: Do you currently have a WIP? If yes, what’s the title, and is it part of a series or standalone?

A: I have a nugget of a story for a new novel that I have been jotting notes down for but the name is top secret. Since To Squeeze a Prairie Dog just came out, I have promote this book in the coming months, plus record more audiobooks.

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: I’ve read and reread all of my books a lot. I still enjoy reading them.

Q: I play music when I write, and depending on the setting or mood of the story depends on what I listen to. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what genre or artist/band do you listen to?

A: When I was younger, I did not listen to music when I wrote. But I do now. In fact, I find it harder to write without music now. I have a few go-to albums I listen to, classics that I love so much that hearing them does not distract me: Blue Train by John Coltrane, Come With Us by The Chemical Brothers, Since I Left You by The Avalanches, Take Care Take Care Take Care by Explosions in the Sky, to name a few. I LOVE music!

Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the blurb that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

A: The synopsis, by far! Mostly because it is hard for me to distill my novels down to their tiniest essential elements. I’m too close to the books to describe them from such a high level, so I’ve had to ask my editors and proofreaders to help me with the synopses and blurbs for my books.

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: To me, being a successful writer means enjoying the work you do, feeling satisfaction for completing the projects you start, and publishing your work any way you can. I love seeing my books on the shelf in a bookstore or in a reading / audiobook app.

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: I want to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: Please support your favorite authors (like me!) by buying their books, leaving ratings and reviews for their books, and tell all your friends and family to buy their books.

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