Today I had the pleasure of interviewing author Carson V. Heady about his books and writing and he was kind enough to answer my questions :)
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Carson V. Heady: Absolutely, and thank you so much for your time and interest; I’m honored. For starters, I am a single Dad to the most amazing little girl. My entire career has been in sales and sales leadership, and I am very passionate about working hard, supporting those who work for me and doing everything I can to show others how they can find the success they crave. I love sports, films and music. Finally, I love to write. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. It is very therapeutic.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Carson V. Heady: Wow. Yes; I wrote short stories that featured my friends and I in different fantastical situations. For instance, in one, we were all officers on a spaceship traveling through space and kind of doing a Star Trek-type thing. In another, we were time travelers. It was funny because the kids in my class loved it and were thrilled to be featured, and I was my own worst critic.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Carson V. Heady: Inspiration has always come to me through films and stories. If I had to pinpoint my biggest inspirations, they were probably films of the 1980’s and the books I grew up reading: Sherlock Holmes, The Hardy Boys, James Bond. People doing fantastic things in a realistic world.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Carson V. Heady: It’s my therapy. There is really very little it cannot cure. Writing through a problem allows you to analyze and attack it from all angles. There is also the self-discovery; you learn so much about yourself and the world you are writing about when you are putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys. I love embarking on a journey and not knowing exactly where it will end. The journey, not the destination, is the most rewarding part.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your upcoming book “While the Salesman is Away, And Other Stories” and the main character Vincent Scott?
Carson V. Heady: Absolutely! “While the Salesman Is Away, And Other Stories” is my second book and the sequel to “Birth of a Salesman.” BOAS was really my passion project; I look back on it and it feels so long ago but it was such a part of me. Vincent Scott is the protagonist and the sequel more or less focuses on other players from the first book. I won’t give any real spoilers because if you have not read the first one, the second picks up right where it left off…literally minutes after, however it does it from a different vantage point. I took a page from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “The Spy Who Loved Me” and decided to focus on the other, very interesting characters in this world. Nevertheless, this, like its predecessor, will be a how-to or self help book within a novel. This time around, though, there are a few different stories included rather than just one about one central character. As for Vincent Scott, he is a leader, a Type-A and a visionary. He also has a lot of trouble falling in line and playing the “corporate game.” Much of the first story deals with his decisions surrounding whether or not to get involved in an investigation of his unethical supervisor who is committing dozens of corporate crimes. The fallout from the first book bleeds directly into the second. But Vincent is what a lot of us are: a flawed protagonist dealing with real decisions, real heartache, real betrayal and real ramifications of his sometimes emotion-fueled actions.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?
Carson V. Heady: A few years back, I found myself writing a lot of articles for a work newsletter that were about sales. I led conference calls, wrote scripts and had so much material on sales and sales leadership. I remember thinking, “I would love to write a book.” That’s just it, I had always wanted to write a book. The problem was, I did not want to write just another sales book. It has been done to death. There are a billion different ways to sell and a billion sales books; I wanted to do something unique. That is where I came up with the idea to do a sales book within a novel about a character who “wrote” the book within the book. Over my career, I’ve seen so much and experienced so much, I knew I could write something that anyone anywhere who has had a job could relate to. The point of the story was just to show others, “Hey, you’re not alone. Other people deal with these crazy situations and decisions.” And “Birth of a Salesman” was born.
Books & Writing: How long have you been working on the book?
Carson V. Heady: Officially, I started in August of 2009 and finished in the spring of 2010. Unofficially, I would have to say I’ve always been working on it. I utilized stuff I had written more than ten years ago as influence in putting this book together. That is why it was so personal and is so personal. I really put everything I had into it. It’s funny, because I was really touched by inspiration and I just seized it. I was a man on a mission. The first draft was over 600 pages. The hard part was cutting it down to 338.
Books & Writing: I understand the book is a sequel to “Birth of a Salesman”. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Carson V. Heady: Absolutely. The thing with “Birth of a Salesman” is that it was a statement on 10 years in this character’s life; the decisions that led him to make a very defining decision at the climax of the story. But, like life, there is no happy ending or sad ending, there’s just life. The journey continues, and I wanted to explore what happens next in this world. “While the Salesman Is Away” jumps right back in while the water is warm; many other characters factor into the story, and I felt it important to look at that. I envision a third entitled, “The Salesman Against The World” to at least wrap up this character’s arc. In addition, as I alluded to before, there is also a book within a book format this time around. In “Birth of a Salesman” it was “The Selling Game.” This time around, it’s “The Surviving Game”; how to survive and adapt in our challenging world and workforce.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?
Carson V. Heady: You know, I’m always working on something. I think we all are. But nearest and dearest to my heart right now are “While the Salesman Is Away, And Other Stories” and trying to hammer out a screenplay for “Birth of a Salesman.” There have been very few really touching sales stories translated to screen. The “Birth of a Salesman” message is powerful and I think it could make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why I write.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Carson V. Heady: Don’t throw anything away! You never know when you may recreate something or it may come in handy. I utilized a lot of past writing to put my book together, and still get a kick out of the short stories I find in boxes in my closet. Also, like any goal in life, just keep moving towards it, a step at a time. Seize inspiration when you have it, because it will not always be there. And remember that other people out there can learn and be inspired from your journey. We are all very similar in that vein. When you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down somewhere. You may not get that thought back.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Carson V. Heady: That’s tough to say, because I read such a broad spectrum of things. Nothing is off limits. To prepare for “While the Salesman is Away,” I read several stories gravitating on a comeback theme. I’m inspired by any profound commentaries on life that make me realize that other people wonder the same things I wonder, fear the same things I fear and face the same tough moments and decisions that I face. Knowing we’re not alone in the world makes all the difference in the world when we are making the decision to either be a bystander or take the flying cannonball leap into the deep end of the swimming pool of life. But my favorite author of all time is Ian Fleming, of the James Bond novels fame.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Carson V. Heady: “Birth of a Salesman” is available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. There is also an audio version on Amazon. I write articles for several online publications and keep up a blog. You can find links to these at http://www.carsonvheady.com
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Carson V. Heady: My website is http://www.carsonvheady.com and I have social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. At last count, I have 33 videos I have recorded around the sales and sales leadership themes. Some of them are just me having fun. I think we all need to let loose every once in a while. Finally, I have a blog as well.
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Carson V. Heady: Readers are why we write. While “Birth of a Salesman” has statistically sold more copies than 95% of books, I haven’t sold enough to retire. I did not write it for the money. I did it for the fact that every week I meet a reader online from another country and get to have a dialogue with that person. We write because we want to make a difference, leave a legacy and touch someone. If someone was positively impacted by my work, I made a difference. That is what this enabled me to do, and I pray we all get that feeling in our lives. So, all I can say is thank you to the readers, because they are why I am so passionate about doing this. And I pray all their goals become reality.
Below is an excerpt from the book Birth of a Salesman!
Light slowly began to encroach the darkness that enveloped the apartment room. Asleep on the couch, covered in a blanket lay Vincent Thomas Scott, III. For that moment, and that moment alone, there was calm.
Vincent is a man whose astounding attributes vastly overshadow his glaring weaknesses. He is a showstopper; a game-changer. His bloodstream flows with the perfectly balanced cocktail of adrenaline, vodka and caffeine, each taking turns running his engine. He is exceedingly intelligent, witty, boyishly handsome, occasionally arrogant, and yet sentimental. Jaded and cynical from his experiences, yet so full of love for his 2-year old princess of a daughter. A bachelor by trade, Vincent is scarred from a few that mattered of the many women that had crossed his path. Numbed by numerous letdowns of life and the antidepressants his chaotic existence had driven him to years ago, he seldom let himself feel much of anything anymore.
Vincent is a man; flawed yet redeemable in many ways. He is not indestructible, not bulletproof, yet puts up a front of both.
His greatest joys: the smell of his daughter’s hair, her hand in his, the way she calls his name and runs to him when he arrives to pick her up at the sitter’s and the way she would just come up to him for no reason and hug him or declare her love.
There were the cheering crowds and ovations. A basketball player in his youth, Vincent chose work over pursuit of that dream and has had to settle for the adoration of his workforce.
He took pride in the fact he was able to touch so many people in a positive fashion on a daily basis. He truly made a difference and changed lives for the better, even if it was on a small scale – for now.
His greatest weaknesses: vast insecurities that are deeply buried – a fear of not being loved, wanted or of being abandoned or taken advantage of – and he masks them with the guise of an inflated ego. He regularly uses alcohol to supply antiseptic to his incurable pain; it is the ache of a man who had spent the sum of his 31 years attempting to find solace in a world he was coming to realize was cold and brutal. The measure of this man is that the things that have not killed him have made his ambitions stronger.