While it's always interesting to read what other authors think of a book, I also wanted to find out what Keith's rock and roll colleagues thought about his "other" career."A beautifully wrought tale of courage, hope, and awakenings of all kinds."
~ Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants "Heart and humor are inseparable in Keith Cronin's engaging debut."
~ Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue
"A work that will make readers laugh and think."
~ Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line
MS: How did your rock 'n roll friends react when they heard about your book?
I think some of them are scratching their heads about this different side of me, but others are extremely supportive, and some of them have been very patient and enthusiastic readers and reviewers of early drafts of my work. I got to chat with Pat Travers recently, and he was thrilled to learn I had a novel coming out. He's the first person I can distinctly remember telling me I should write a book, and I think he was pretty happy to learn that his advice had actually led to something, some 20 years later.
MS: How do you manage two very different creative careers?
By taking what I learned from one and applying it to the other. From my music career, I know how to do the hard, focused work necessary to attain professional results, so I apply that discipline to writing. And I learned the hard way how crazy the music business was, which prepared me for the equally bizarre world of publishing. I also learned the importance of people skills. You can't succeed in either industry without a lot of support, and you won't garner that support by being a jerk. (At least not unless you can prove your ability to make other people rich while still being a jerk.)
But balancing the two careers has actually been pretty easy, because each one gives me a break from the other. But no matter which direction I'm pursuing, I'm still involved in some kind of creative effort. That's essential to me: the desire to constantly create has been a defining characteristic for me and my immediate family for as long as I can remember. So it's nice to have more than one option for pursuing that desire.
What's next for Keith Cronin writer?
KC: Tough call. Promoting this book seems to be a fulltime job, but I know that the next book won't write itself. I'm currently toying with a modern-day retelling of a famous old novel I dearly love, with the added twist of putting it into a rock n' roll context. But in the interest of following my own advice, I first want to think it through, and make sure I understand where the market might be for such a story.
The other thing I want to do is to learn to write faster. The two novels I've written each took more than two years to complete. I'd like to see if I can take what I've learned over the past decade - both about writing and about project management - and try to condense the process. This market is so challenging, and I hate the idea of putting years of work into a book that may not sell. But one thing I'm sure about: I want to continue to write for female readers. I think that's the audience where the kind of thing I write will most likely resonate; plus, they're just so much better-looking than male readers!
MS: One more question: Is it a spoiler for you to reveal why there's a Buddha in the cereal bowl?
Well, you may never see the Buddha actually in a cereal bowl in Me Again, but he does keep turning up in some unexpected places. And the Cheerios? They put in a brief cameo during one of the bigger emotional revelations in my book. How I ever came up with the idea of combining those two disparate images is something that probably wouldn't make sense to anybody who isn't familiar with the weird way my mind works. Ah, but you've seen that first-hand, Mary, so you can probably easily imagine the warped logic behind that creative impulse. If nothing else, I don't think there are many book covers that will be confused with mine. I mean, I never heard anybody say, "Oh, no - not ANOTHER Buddha-in-a-cereal-bowl book cover!"
Is there anything you'd like to add that I didn't ask? Go for it!
Lots of authors are offering freebies to try to attract readers. So here's mine: I would LOVE for you to read my book for free. All you need to do is ask your local library to order the book. Five Star, my publishing house, specializes in selling hardcover fiction to libraries. So by asking your librarian to order my book, you're helping my book succeed, and getting to read it for free. How cool is that?
MS: Keith, thanks so much for taking part in this interview. Me Again is next on my TBR list. Can't wait!
Readers, as further evidence that Keith is an all around cool, nice guy, he's donating 25% of his earnings from Me Again to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association that focuses on reducing risk, disability, and death from stroke through research, education, fund raising and advocacy.