Have you ever wanted to be one of those writer's that's made it? Scott's one of them. We cover his best seller, his day job, and prove that it's cool kids who listen to audiobooks at the gym.
[00:00:00] Daniel Winter: hi guys. Welcome to Dead By Tomorrow Interviews. My name is Daniel Winter and my co-host is Andrew Monroe. As we explore different topics that are worth thinking about today, we wanna bring in guests to share their own unique perspective. We hope you enjoy hearing from our guests as much as we enjoy talking to them.
[00:00:18] Andrew Monroe: Well, hello everyone. We've got a little special episode for you guys today. Daniel is not with us at the moment, but I do have Scott Hawkins, and if you haven't heard of him, he is the author of the library at Mount Char and from all accounts, a programmer, which we'll get into more. So Scott, welcome to the show.
I'm very excited to have you. I'm glad you survived your appendicitis last week. Uh, that was a little scary. how about you tell us a little bit about yourself? , besides, you know, you're missing Oregon
[00:00:47] Scott Hakwins: Well, at the time I wrote Mount Char, I was in fact working as a programmer. these days, uh, it's more of a systems administration kind of thing. Um, I work for a large healthcare company that I probably shouldn't mention doing.
Like, the kind of the care and feeding of big data, moving insurance claims from one end of the, you know, one end of the pipeline, like doctor's offices to, to the other. so it's more systems level stuff. You know, occasional development kinda thing. and, uh, I live in, uh, a suburb of Atlanta called Canton, uh, with my wife.
And we're, we're down to one dog. We had six this time last year, and it's been a rough year for dogs. We, we got 'em all, uh, we, we got them all at the same time and they've they only live so long and so we, we've, we've had quite a few casualties over, over 2022,
[00:01:31] Andrew Monroe: That might be the saddest thing I've heard on our podcast
[00:01:34] Scott Hakwins: Oh God. Sorry.
[00:01:36] Andrew Monroe: That's, uh, no, it's okay. I laugh because I'm really depressed now. That's really, that's tough. That's a lot of loss in one year.
[00:01:43] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, it was, it was pretty brutal. Um, they had, they had good lives, so, I mean, you know, I don't know if you keep dogs, but you know, everybody is mortal and we did the best we could for 'em and it's, you know, kind of celebrate the good times and try not to,
[00:01:55] Andrew Monroe: Absolutely. No, I've, I've got one and it's, it's one of those things that you kind of put in the back of your [00:02:00] head like, well, he's just gonna live forever. Right?
[00:02:02] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yep.
[00:02:03] Andrew Monroe: And you just don't wanna think about that cuz it's
[00:02:05] Scott Hakwins: Deny it until the day. That's my approach.
[00:02:08] Andrew Monroe: I, I have probably more ability to emotionally accept people dying than I do, uh, pets dying, which is probably something wrong with me, but , it's a lot
[00:02:18] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. That's, that's, that's pretty common. There was, uh, I, there was, uh, some Brazilian horror movie not too long ago that I just couldn't watch it. It was about, um, people abandoning dogs that they like, All the dogs banded together and took over South Paulo or whatever it was, and I just couldn't watch it.
I couldn't watch the, it was like, just, you know, I can sit through, you know, martyrs or the darkest stuff you could imagine. Um, and it doesn't bother me, but you bring a dog into it, I just can't watch.
[00:02:42] Andrew Monroe: No, I totally get it. It's why I like John W so much. I assume you've seen that,
[00:02:47] Scott Hakwins: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
[00:02:49] Andrew Monroe: Best revenge. I was like, Yes, they killed a dog. Bring hell fire down on them. This is, this is the most realistic movie I've ever seen.
Kill your mom. Eh, Hey man, that wasn't cool, but you know what? We can get over this, but not the dog
[00:03:03] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that was a good, Yeah, that's a good flick. Really holding up pretty well is like a, The series is not, you know, normally the second and third movies in a series are, are pretty bad, but I actually thought the third one was pretty good.
[00:03:13] Andrew Monroe: I loved it. I, I'm very excited for the fourth to come out. Um, so far each one of them's just been on point for me, which I don't know how you do, like, it seems like such a throwaway concept. And then they just keep like, Oh, here's a good rationale on why this movie exists. You're like, Oh, okay. Yeah, I like it.
[00:03:28] Scott Hakwins: they're, they're doing good. They're doing good work. Cause they're, you know,
[00:03:32] Andrew Monroe: I've, I've got a little, uh, J Love for Japan kind of thing going on. And
that third one, and this is actually gonna segue into something about your book, so be prepared, but , I loved that they brought in this, the, the whole little ninja thing going on I the end. Without giving away too many spoilers though, at this point, if you haven't seen the third John Wick, like you're two, three years behind, so like get on that train.
But you know where the guy. Dying and he's talking to John Wick and he's like, Man, that this [00:04:00] was great. I love this. You know, he's being really like, whatever that is, that almost like respectful, friendly. Like, Hey, did you have as much fun as I did
in this combat? I just, that spoke to me on such a level. I loved it.
[00:04:13] Scott Hakwins: yeah. That's that. That was really fun. It's good the whole, Yeah. I mean, the whole thing is just, you know, it's a little bit over the top, but still cool. Maybe more than a little, but, um, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:24] Andrew Monroe: All Horse a gun or something. I loved that. I loved it.
[00:04:28] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. But that, that was what I was like, Okay, these guys are, they're really going for it.
[00:04:31] Andrew Monroe: They're just having fun. I, I don't know if you knew this, uh, and I promise we'll get to the book. Uh, the guy who made the movies who directed them was actually his stunt double from the Matrix, I think.
[00:04:43] Scott Hakwins: Oh, no, I didn't know that.
[00:04:45] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, he, he took care of him so well. Uh, Keanu Reeves took care of his stunt double, so well, the guy ended up becoming a director and then maybe not exactly as a thank you, but as a like, Hey, I really liked working with you and you know, you kind of made me who I am.
Let's make a movie specifically for you as Keanu Reeves. And that's where John Wick came from, was basically his stunt double became a director. And I was like, this is the movie made for Keanu Reeves to play to his strengths.
[00:05:11] Scott Hakwins: that's really cool. I didn't, I didn't know that. I knew, I knew the story about ke. Like, uh, take, you know, financially he gave a lot of his salary to like the FX guys on the, on the matrix. Um, and that, um, so yeah, that's actually, That sounds like Keanu. Yeah.
[00:05:24] Andrew Monroe: I could be like him. I, I am not as kindhearted or as, uh, wholesome as Keanu Reeves is. , Unless I came to someone kill my dog,
[00:05:32] Scott Hakwins: Keanu Reeves and Mr. Rogers. Man, those are the two. That's, that's what America needs.
[00:05:36] Andrew Monroe: Yeah. Geez. Only more people were like him.
[00:05:39] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:05:41] Andrew Monroe: Okay, so I, obviously I'm a fan of your book, right? Uh, , That's why I
reached out, that you did a great job.
Um, we won't, you know, make you suffer through too many compliments here. Cause I know that's gonna be awkward, but I was rereading the book in preparation for you coming on. Cause I was like, you know, it's been a little bit, it's been five years I think since I read it. [00:06:00] Uh, and that's, that's really actually how we got here was I was like, Man, I wonder if Scott's come out with another book.
I'll go look around and. You know, I was like, well, I'll reach out to him. You know, love to chat with him. So I was re-listening to it. And there's two things that came up. One, you seem to have a pretty, maybe not heavy Asian influence, but you, you seem to have a lot of Japanese things that kind of blood in from another guy who likes Japanese stuff.
Was I reading too much into that or is that something that falls into your wheelhouse?
[00:06:29] Scott Hakwins: no, it is, um, I, I actually took Japanese in college. It's the only language I ever studied in any depth. Uh, and that's where a lot of that came from. So you get, you know, there's interest in the culture and.
[00:06:39] Andrew Monroe: Hm,
[00:06:40] Scott Hakwins: That, that kind of thing. And I did, I, at the time, I was never, honestly, I really wasn't very good at it.
I studied for about three years and, you know, I was trying to watch Japanese movies and it was just, it's a tough language. Uh, but I Yes, you're, you're absolutely right about I am, I am, I was am interested.
[00:06:56] Andrew Monroe: That is funny because that is exactly, if, if you, I was to describe my dabbling in Japanese, that was, that's what mine was, three years in college, got really into it, really started with wanting to, you know, kind of watch stuff in Japanese, got heavily into it for, throughout three years, getting a minor and then, uh, you know, things kind of fall away.
But like I still have kind that cultural and language kind of view or perspective or lens added on to my traditional American, you know, view.
[00:07:24] Scott Hakwins: Yeah,
[00:07:24] Andrew Monroe: that's what really stood. I was like, Oh, he looks like he did more than just Google. A couple, uh, Japanese words here, but you know, I'm no
[00:07:31] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There were, um, yeah, I mean the, the, it was actually, it was a really cool class. The guy, uh, the, the, the school I went to had a. Like, uh, an international business department where like it was just totally immersive. Um, and they would, you know, and so like all the students for Japanese lived on the Japanese floor in some particular dorm.
And the professor that I took studied under most, um, ran all that. And so he would give, I wasn't in that depart, I wasn't in that program, but, um, a lot [00:08:00] of the kind of, they would have activities for, you know, Japanese, uh, you know, culture and that we were invited to them if we wanted to come. And I did sometimes.
So it was, it was a good experience.
[00:08:08] Andrew Monroe: That's awesome. Do you have a favorite word in Japanese that you still like hang onto.
[00:08:12] Scott Hakwins: um, yeah, uh, issuing the way the sun in this, uh, three years on a stone. So the idea was that if you sit on a stone for three years, your body heat will warm it up. And you know, the idea being that patience, uh, is the way to accomplish your goals.
[00:08:27] Andrew Monroe: That is a great idiom and I don't think I've, I've heard that Which really, Oh, that's good. I'll have to add that into the show notes so we can keep it going. . That's great. I, My personal is Go Baroo. I just thought that was just the coolest little word that doesn't exactly translate into English, but now I've gotta come up with something a lot fancier, you know, for next time.
[00:08:47] Scott Hakwins: Well, it's been a, like I said, that's, that's the one that stuck with me after God, 30 years now, I think. Um,
[00:08:52] Andrew Monroe: That's, that's a long time to try and remember stuff. Cause I, I assume you're in the same boat as me and it's just, where's the time to practice that language that nobody anywhere speaks, you know, outside of Japan.
[00:09:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah, that's, it's, it's tough to, I, uh, a buddy of mine, um, was going to Japan a couple of years ago and he practiced a little bit, but it was, you know, neither one of us were native speakers, so,
[00:09:09] Andrew Monroe: Well, we can find the bathroom
[00:09:11] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
[00:09:13] Andrew Monroe: There you go. So something else that, uh, came up while I was doing my reread on this that I was curious about again, because of hypothetically shared experiences, you seem to have a, a bit of a. I'm trying to think of the right word here. more knowledge than Google might give you about breaking and entering into places.
So hypothetically, was that something that one of your friends maybe did, Uh,
[00:09:38] Scott Hakwins: No, I.
[00:09:38] Andrew Monroe: I might have had something similar.
[00:09:40] Scott Hakwins: Nothing like, nothing like that. I had, um, I read a lot of true crime books. Uh, like, not, not, I don't, My wife, my wife likes something like the, the, you know, somebody got murdered, kind of true crime books. You know, um, I'm more on the, like bank robbers and uh, uh, you know, burglars and that, that end of the scale.
I just think, I don't know. I don't know why. I just think that stuff's [00:10:00] interesting. Um, so I've read a, I've read a lot of memoirs by people who were, you know, ultimately unsuccessful. Otherwise they wouldn't have written a memoir. But I, I don't know. That's that sort of stuff. Just always really interested.
[00:10:10] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Wink, uh, understood. Wink
[00:10:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not, and you know, I, there was a certain amount of juvenile delinquency in my background,
so, but I, I, I never to the point of breaking and entering.
[00:10:21] Andrew Monroe: See, Yeah, we, we never tried to, and I'll say we in a royal sense, um, you know, everybody's gotta have their. Little phase that they go through, I guess you could say. And some people it's, you know, alcoholism or whatever. But I, uh, I got really into getting into buildings that I wasn't supposed to necessarily in college.
We didn't, you know, take anything. Yeah, it was just urban exploring, I think was the term at the time, and it was kind of popular online, but, you know, just. Finding ways to get into a place so that you weren't supposed to. And you know, we had lock picks and bolt cutters and, you know, all this stuff. And, uh, you know, we'll leave it at that.
But it was a great time. Uh, very dangerous, but I had a blast. And so I was reading through the book. I was like, I, you know, this seems like stuff that I would, you know, Yeah. To have a little insider or knowledge on
[00:11:04] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I mean, I played around with it, but nothing,
[00:11:07] Andrew Monroe: It's just play, you know,
[00:11:09] Scott Hakwins: the, the statute of limitations is up and I didn't, I never heard anybody so
[00:11:13] Andrew Monroe: Exact. Yeah, that's, that's the goal. So those were, there was just a couple of things I thought was pretty interesting that popped out on the second read through,
[00:11:20] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Oh yeah. Internet's forever. This is gonna show up next time I do a job interview.
[00:11:25] Andrew Monroe: No, no. It's been a long time at, you know, 30 years plus. You're safe. You're safe. How did you, you became a coder, um, I assume you studied that in school, uh, and then you now is CIS admin. Um, which is, you know, basically from what I understand, most technical guys dream job because, uh, you get to tell other people what you want done.
From what I understand, I'm not super technical. I've got enough to get dangerous sometimes, but how, how did that fit with writing a book, becoming, writing multiple books? I know you've got some technical, uh, manuals as well, but.
[00:11:58] Scott Hakwins: Uh,
[00:11:59] Andrew Monroe: Fantasy [00:12:00] author, coder, you know, cis admin, pretty technical guy. do you see yourself more of and how did the two kind of branch out?
Like those don't usually go together, I guess, is what I'm getting at.
[00:12:10] Scott Hakwins: I gotcha. I, um, I mean, it, it seems like they wouldn't, but here's the thing. Um, I've talked to, I talked, I always wanted to write, getting a novel, being a novelist was always my goal. Um, and I was thinking about this in, in, you know, in college when I was picking a major and stuff, and I, I kind of naturally gravitated toward the English department.
Um, but I would also journalism or something like that. Um, but I, I was reading a. People who were, you know, working journalists, but also, you know, novelists. And they would say like, the last thing they wanted to do after they got done with a, you know, a full day job of, of work, uh, you know, do you know, writing sports columns or whatever was to come home and work on their novel.
They just didn't have, they were drained, you know, so, I, I, that's kinda why IHI away from that and, uh, I, um, I think that really holds up well. And, and as it turns out, uh, working in a technical field, um, really is, is a nice complimentary skill set to, uh, to, you know, kind of, it uses, I guess, the analytical part of your brain and you don't have to spend a whole lot of time talking and we're staring at the screen and typing.
Then at the end of the day, you can go be verbal. Um, and it's exercises, it doesn't feel like work when I, it feels like a vacation when I'm going to do the, the, the writing part, Um, as opposed to just, you know, an extension of my day job. Um, so I, in that play, in that, I actually think that would work out really well
[00:13:35] Andrew Monroe: you're getting to kind of, you get to work two sides of the coin, kind of there, you know, hey, here's, here's this analytical, we'll call it right brain side. And that kind of eats up that energy space and you get to go to the left brain side afterwards and kind of reinvigorate yourself working on something completely different.
[00:13:52] Scott Hakwins: exactly, exactly.
[00:13:53] Andrew Monroe: I like that. That makes sense.
[00:13:55] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:13:56] Andrew Monroe: And the, Oh,
[00:13:57] Scott Hakwins: flip, the flip side of it is, this is actually [00:14:00] really interesting. I, since, since I got published, I don't know why this is true, but I, I, I almost have no interest in reading fiction. Um, very little, maybe one, maybe one outta 10 books I read these days is fiction. I'm all, I'm all about the history and the memoirs and, and that kind of thing.
And I used to read that was novels used to be all I. But it kind of feels like work now. I mean, I'm like reading through this other, and I'm like, Oh, you know, you're kind of, your, uh, your own critical editor kicks in when you're reading somebody else's work and it becomes work,
if that makes
[00:14:30] Andrew Monroe: You're, you start dissecting like, how, how did they, you know, tie these two things together. You know, you're looking for the tools, you're looking for that the back end. Now, instead of enjoying the fiction, I, I get that. I've run into the same problem.
[00:14:43] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:14:44] Andrew Monroe: gotta turn your brain off.
[00:14:46] Scott Hakwins: Completely unanticipated and not, honestly, not really. All that, Not something I would've asked. I'm not, I'm not super happy about it, but that just seems to be the way it worked out. If I'm, you know, if I'm writing, I just, I gotta, I gotta read something other than fiction to unwind.
[00:15:00] Andrew Monroe: I get it. No, that's, I do think that's a trade off because. You went through that whole process and you know, in your case, I imagine it took a lot because you have a very clever book and I assume, you know, that is not something that just happens. And so now you're looking at what other authors are doing, like, Oh, that was clever.
How'd they do that? Oh, I see. And you're recognizing the bones of somebody else doing the same work you did and yeah, that's, that's tough. Bad trade off. Don't become a writer. Guys, I, You like
[00:15:30] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It's honestly, yeah, I think that's fair.
[00:15:35] Andrew Monroe: You released that, that was 2015. Correct.
[00:15:38] Scott Hakwins: Sounds right. Yeah,
[00:15:39] Andrew Monroe: So something like that. It wasn't last year.
[00:15:42] Scott Hakwins: No, yeah.
[00:15:43] Andrew Monroe: now to me, you had an incredibly successful book like library at Mount Char. You know, that's how I found it. You know, Best seller list, lots of people talking about it. Good. Reads the whole nine yards. Does that mean, you know, does.[00:16:00]
Do you consider yourself a successful, you know, novelist now, or was that just one of those things that you kind of pushed away and you still see yourself more as a successful career tech guy that just happened to have a book that, you know, made some money,
[00:16:14] Scott Hakwins: Oh, tough
[00:16:15] Andrew Monroe: assume made some money? I guess I'm making assumptions there, but
[00:16:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, it did. Okay. It, I mean, financially did okay. You can't retire off of it, but didn't hurt anything. Um, yeah. Uh, so. God, I don't know. Like I said, I always thought of myself as a writer first, and that was true even before the book, the book got published. Um, but, uh, I, as you put, you know, kind of, it's true that it's been since 2015 and I have written other stuff since then.
Just nobody's liked it much. So, I mean, I don't know. I'm not sure what to make of that. I, I, Maybe you can't catch lightning in a bottle more than once, or, or in, I always thought that it would be like somebody, like, you know, Stephen Kinger, John Grham, once you broke through and, you know, had a fairly solid reader base, um, that it would hopefully not be too much trouble to get to the second book.
But, uh, for whatever reason, in my case, that's just not happening. Um, and I've, I've, uh, I'm going, I haven't given up yet, but I'm kind of on a hiatus at the.
[00:17:11] Andrew Monroe: Sure. Well, Stephen King's a, an anomaly. like
[00:17:17] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Stephen King is a machine. I, I don't under, I don't, Yeah. Whew.
[00:17:20] Andrew Monroe: of these guys have a tap and they can just turn it on. Uh, you know, you look at other authors out there and there's people that, you know, I'll read about somebody and I'll be like, Wow, they were a really successful author. And then it's like, wow, they published like one book every 10 years and they ended up publishing six total books.
And you're like, Oh,
[00:17:38] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:17:39] Andrew Monroe: Okay. So, uh, there's, there's a lot of, you know, gaps in there. Sanderson's one of my favorite authors, and that guy puts out like three books a year,
[00:17:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:17:49] Andrew Monroe: and it's just, it, it's hard to keep up reading it.
[00:17:53] Scott Hakwins: I know, right?
[00:17:54] Andrew Monroe: they're huge. They're huge books, but, uh, yeah, Stephen King's on the same boat, you know, he is [00:18:00] one a year at minimum of scenes.
That's just outrageous to me. Uh,
[00:18:05] Scott Hakwins: I don't know how he does it. I really, I, I saw a thing with him and George R. Martin were, uh, kind of on stage somewhere and, um, George , you know, George is, you know, still kind of working on Wins a winter, um, to this day, I think. And he's like, How do you do it to Stephen King? And he's like, Oh. So, I mean, it's not just me.
So, um, Yeah, Stephen. Stephen King's an anomaly. He's that guy is, I didn't fully appreciate just how much of an anomaly until I actually got into a position where I had to book number two.
[00:18:34] Andrew Monroe: Yeah. When you're like, Hey, wait a second, I've gotta do this. And this is hard.
[00:18:40] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
[00:18:42] Andrew Monroe: I get it. What does your, uh, wife think about it? Does she, is she a big reader as well?
[00:18:46] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah, she is. Um, it's kind of an inside joke. Um, you know, in the end, uh, the very last part about Char Irwin is in, um, um, prison and he's reading Janet Ivanovich. I have not personally read much Janet Ivanovich. She had did a how to write book that I read. Um, but my wife loves her and she's just cackling over there on the, you know, on the other side of the Midland.
Um, and apparently during, and, you know, it's, she's got this whole series of, of, uh, you know, one for the money. Da da da da da, and they just get progressively more insane. No longer my wife reads, they've got like a, a, a tele, like a talking monkey or something, or maybe, I can't remember. He is a magic monkey or a talking monkey or something like that.
And she's just cackling over there about it. So, um, yes, she's a big reader as well. Not the same
[00:19:28] Andrew Monroe: Wow.
[00:19:28] Scott Hakwins: but
[00:19:29] Andrew Monroe: And, and that was, it's great juxtaposition because you've got this, you know, hardened military guy and I think you had that in that prison scene where he is like, you know, the guard's like, Oh really? And he's like, Look, I can do whatever I want. And
it's just you, you set it up so well. Cause that is a thing that a lot of people, you know, I haven't read Janet, and that's part of it.
I'm like, well, I'm, you know, I'm a dude and you know, I've,
[00:19:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:19:50] Andrew Monroe: I need swords and
[00:19:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:19:52] Andrew Monroe: Manly stuff, so we, our tastes are kind of, you know, I like that self confidence that your character, Irwin, you know, [00:20:00] has
[00:20:00] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, there's a, there's a thing, you know, you're supposed to really kind of. One of the tips that I got at a writing workshop was that when you have, uh, you want your characters to have two completely opposite traits in, in a lot of cases, um, so like, you know, David, uh, I don't, not to get too Spoily, um, you know, being like this killing machine, but he is working at Tutu, which is not like the most, you know, it looks ridiculous, but it, yeah.
Some, you know, that kind of stuff. But he, and he was mean to everybody, but he loved that that old woman in the whose house they were staying at, you know, they. He was going to like kill her when she made him wash his hands. And he's like, No, thanks grandma. And you know, she gave him a little kiss on the cheek or whatever.
Um, so everybody's got a soft spot. And even the, the mean ones have a nice spot and the nice ones have a mean spot kind of thing.
[00:20:45] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, that's great advice. I've never thought about that. No one's at least told me that, so that might be
[00:20:50] Scott Hakwins: I thought it was too. I really did. That's directly where the two two came from too. He was, I think I had him in like battle armor or something in a first draft and,
[00:20:56] Andrew Monroe: Well, he was terrifying. He, you, you killed it with some of these people and they're, There were parts in it where I'm like, man, I don't think I could. I wouldn't be able to think about that because that's not something I could have done. So I, I don't know if that's your, you know, you like horror movies and that's something I'm not usually into or like how did you get to that point where you're like, I'm gonna write these people that do some things that your everyday mortal is just not even gonna process as an option.
Cause that seemed to come up a lot,
[00:21:22] Scott Hakwins: Um, hmm. Good. Interesting question. I don't know. that was kind of the, one of the things that I've noticed, I read a lot of, I read and read a lot of, you know, kind of different mythologies over the years, and it always seemed like, uh, the gods, you know, for whatever culture you're talking about, we're basically just people who have really amplified.
Appetites, you know, if Hercules wasn't just cleaning out the stable, he was cleaning out the stables of, you know, whatever it was, that he had to divert a river to do it and all, all these things. And so it wasn't, um, it was, it wasn't, uh, so much that they were doing anything [00:22:00] qualitatively different. It was just that the, the, the, the.
intensity was turned up. So when I was doing the, when I was editing the book, anytime they were doing something that was relatively normal, um, I would try to take it and just like, turn it up to 10. or past 10, like you may remember, people have read the book, will probably remember the bull scene, um,
[00:22:17] Andrew Monroe: Yes.
[00:22:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
That that was origin. Yeah. That, that kind of took off. That, that, uh, what happened there was, um, it was, you know, don't share your catalog, uh, was one of the plot points that I just needed to have in there so that they couldn't all, and the idea was that father didn't want them all to, to gang up on him and, and, you know, kind of team together.
And, and, cause, you know, collectively they knew pretty much everything he did and they might have, you know, he did. Didn't want to be overthrown. Um, so he made, when it, as originally written, he gave, when they were all little kids, he gave them this very stern speech about how you're not supposed to share your catalogs.
And it was just a speech. And I'm like, You know what? That's not very app operatic. So what can I do that would really make an impression on people? And that's kind of where that came. Um, it was just the wor it was the worst thing I could think of. I, um, I, I just, I, I remember reading about it in like third grade or something.
My, my, one of my, uh, grade school teachers was really into mythology and she told us about it. I'm like, I'm not sure that's what you ought tell a third grader.
[00:23:17] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, Excuse me. This is the formative years. You know,
[00:23:20] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Right.
[00:23:21] Andrew Monroe: fetishes coming out of this, or some we're going dark places.
[00:23:24] Scott Hakwins: Yep. It explain. Yeah. Anyway, so yeah. Um, so yeah, that's where that came.
[00:23:30] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Well, and that, that makes sense. There was a, and I've, I've totally forgotten the books, uh, series that I was reading, but that was how this other author dealt with his gods, was he, uh, basically regular people became a God because they became the, the utmost ideal of that things, you know, whoever loved the hardest and the most and was the most.
Person feeling love became the God of love. And you know, whoever was then, this is the big plot [00:24:00] point. Whoever was best with a sword became the sword. You know, the god of swords. And uh, they basically just, you know,
[00:24:05] Scott Hakwins: Was that, was that, That sounds like the Pi Anthony stuff. Was that, was that possibly his,
[00:24:10] Andrew Monroe: oh,
[00:24:11] Scott Hakwins: He had a whole series about it like, like late eighties I think.
[00:24:15] Andrew Monroe: Uh, no, not Pierce, Anthony's, uh, this is semi-new. The how, what is his name? I'd have to go hunt it down. Uh, it's, he sounds like French or Canadian. It's something that, that's why I have trouble remembering it, that he has a non-standard American name. Uh,
[00:24:32] Scott Hakwins: Tougher to stick with you. I get it.
[00:24:34] Andrew Monroe: I'll throw it in the show notes whenever I find I really enjoyed it, but that was kind of the thing.
And I'm sure it's not original cuz what is original, but
[00:24:40] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:24:42] Andrew Monroe: you know,
[00:24:43] Scott Hakwins: Nothing. Yeah. Yep.
[00:24:44] Andrew Monroe: Nothing under the sun, so. Okay. I say that, that you, one of the things that really drew me to your, uh, book was, it seems very original. I know obviously you're pulling mythology stuff and you're pulling all these different experiences, but overall, it was a very original book.
Um, it was also a really clever book,
[00:25:03] Scott Hakwins: It's a good
[00:25:04] Andrew Monroe: and you're welcome again. We'll try not to throw too many compliments. Uh, it's tough. I know
[00:25:08] Scott Hakwins: yeah. What do you say? You
[00:25:11] Andrew Monroe: it's just like, Oh, thanks. Uh, . Please don't talk about it. You, uh, you had some, and I, hopefully you haven't read many of the reviews because I think that's bad for people. But, uh, you have a bunch of really negative reviews about people not getting it.
Do you think you might have written a book that was maybe too smart for , Some of the masses?
[00:25:34] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. People like what they like. I mean, is I, I really, I I I am 100%, uh, on, this is like one of my, my. Core cornerstones of my belief system or whatever is that you're allowed to enjoy whatever you enjoy and vice versa. I I, I I will. That is a hill I am prepared to die on. Cuz I mean, you get, uh, you know, like if you're on, if you have, if you've ever been on the internet, you know that as soon as somebody likes something, that somebody [00:26:00] else will come along and tell them why they shouldn't have liked it.
And that just drives me absolutely crazy. Um, so, and the flip side of that is if he didn't like it, he didn't like it, you know. Okay. If that's, there's others I, sorry. I'll try harder next time. , or, you know, move along. You know it's there. Once it's out in the world, there's really not much you can do about it.
I'm glad. I'm glad a lot of people liked it and I'm sorry the other ones didn't. And that's really about it, that it doesn't, honestly didn't hurt my feelings that much.
[00:26:24] Andrew Monroe: Well, and that's, that brings up a point that I run into in my day to day life. There's, I'm, I'm very easy to please in terms of like entertainment and, uh, I have other people in my life, lots of 'em actually, that it seems that they're real desires. They wanna be a critic. And it drives
[00:26:39] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:26:40] Andrew Monroe: not been able to figure out why, but it, that's part of it.
It's that your core belief you're talking about there. That's what it is. It's like, you know, if someone likes something, let 'em, let 'em like it. You don't need to convince people that they're wrong about liking something.
[00:26:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, I mean,
[00:26:52] Andrew Monroe: it. It drives me nuts.
[00:26:54] Scott Hakwins: let's say you win the argument. What do they get? Oh, now I like it. You know, I mean, no, it doesn't work like that. Just, well, you know, Well, what didn't you like about it? And then, you know, kind of you can calibrate the next time you go to the movies together. Maybe we shouldn't suggest X and instead should suggest y kind of thing, But that's as far as it goes.
[00:27:11] Andrew Monroe: and I'm convinced that whenever you come into something looking to find problems for it, you can find 'em. There is,
there's nothing that you can't find problems with. And if you want to spend your time hunting for problems and, Oh, I found problems, therefore it's bad. Like it's just, that's so unfulfilling.
Unless, I don't know, maybe that is how you get fulfilled. And maybe it's just a different version of the same argument. Hey, if that's what people like to do,
[00:27:33] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. Yep.
[00:27:35] Andrew Monroe: It drives me nuts. Cause I'm like, Hey, quit trying to talk me out of this. Like, I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed this movie. Like, you don't have to, you know, bash me in the ground about it.
I don't know, drives me nuts. So
[00:27:46] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Like this is what is the Simpsons guy? Worst episode ever.
[00:27:49] Andrew Monroe: people are like that,
[00:27:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, they really are. They're,
[00:27:53] Andrew Monroe: They are. We'll just leave it at that, I
[00:27:55] Scott Hakwins: yeah, it's fine.
[00:27:58] Andrew Monroe: I've got another question about your, uh, [00:28:00] your technical background a little bit, cuz that's always interesting and, you know, part of this, you know, dead by tomorrow we're looking at, you know, how do you, how do you bring your whole life into focus and how you do your stuff day to day, you know, as if it's meaningful.
So I figure you're working, you're making money, you know, your actual career. Uh, Day to day at least, You know, it's not that writing isn't your career, but writing is a, is a long term gambit in terms of money. You know, it took you however long, you know, years to write your first book and then, you know, it takes years for that money to really trickle and pay it back if you're lucky.
So, Was there anything while you're working this day job, uh, we'll call it, that, bled into the book? Like any parts of it that you're like, Oh, this piece of coding, or,
[00:28:47] Scott Hakwins: Oh gosh. Um,
[00:28:48] Andrew Monroe: came in or helped, you know, define what you're writing.
[00:28:53] Scott Hakwins: probably not. I, uh, there, so I, I kind of wrestled with that a little bit. Um, have you read much Neil Stevenson? Like Cryptonomic? Yeah. Yeah. So like at one point I was thinking about doing like a, you know, something kind of in that vein, like a cryptonomic, uh, or you know, ole lamb or something like that, where it's you.
All mathy. Um, and I, I honestly Stevenson, it's, it's his, he's got it, you know, it would, anything I came up with would be derivative of him. So I was trying to come up with something a little bit different and just stay away from, I mean there's, I I, I read a lot of like, biographies of mathematicians and that showed up a little bit in Mount Char here and there.
But, um, it's not like a core element of the plot really. So generally no, I was, I was try, try to stay away from the technical stuff, uh, in, in, um, in the book.
[00:29:43] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha that. It's a fair point, Stevenson. he goes deep into that technical
[00:29:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, Yeah,
[00:29:50] Andrew Monroe: and he does it really well. Um, he's,
[00:29:53] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It is. Yeah. And, um, and, and the, the other, like, again, getting back to the other thing I was saying, like, at the end of the day, I really just don't wanna [00:30:00] think about it anymore. I mean, I've, I've had, you know, Um, it's, it's, I get all that, I get all of it that I'm interested in at the, at the day job.
[00:30:08] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. That's, that's a hard line to kind of draw on the sand, I would think, for a lot of people. So that's impressive, uh, that you're like, Yep, , this is where you're gonna stay. And I'm, I'm not gonna flex my technical prowess in this book. I'm writing. A lot of people kinda wanna blend those both worlds together.
[00:30:24] Scott Hakwins: yeah, I could, I could see,
[00:30:24] Andrew Monroe: see anything then. I was, that's why I was asking, I was like, I didn't really notice it. You know, maybe some of the, the structure you're using could have been related to. Logical, but I, I couldn't find it. That's why I was asking
[00:30:37] Scott Hakwins: no. It, it probably wasn't there. Um, I, I just, and honestly, it's wouldn't even really like a hard decision for me. I just, uh, like I said, I, I, um, when I, by the time I'm done with the technical day job, I want, I, that's the last thing I wanna do more of.
[00:30:53] Andrew Monroe: I That's a totally understandable.
[00:30:56] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:30:56] Andrew Monroe: So you've talked about, uh, Stevenson and King and some of these guys. Do you, and I know you said that partly, uh, reading fiction's kind of gotten off topic for you, or at least out of your daily schedule. Do you have a favorite author that you's like, Man, if I could just read this guy, or Girl, this is who I'd read, Or, you know, was there someone beforehand and then shifted?
[00:31:16] Scott Hakwins: Oh gosh. Um, I mean, I've got probably half a dozen, uh, that I would consider favorites. Um, So, uh, Thomas Harris, who wrote The Silence of the Lambs and all the Hannibal Lector stuff is I, I think just absolutely brilliant. I, I love him. Um, he's not, I don't think he's, he's has he only rec he put one out a couple years ago, um, that I don't think did quite as well as some of his others.
And I think he's semi-retired now. But I absolutely admire his stuff and would encourage anybody who would. Anybody who's interested in the thriller side of things to, to read him, He's got some, he, he's, he's really good with taking characters that are just monsters and making them, you know, ever so slightly sympathetic.
Um, Red Dragon was just the, the, the, the pinnacle of that for me. The guy was [00:32:00] like, I dunno how familiar you're with the story, but the, the. Main, the main bad guy was a serial killer. And obviously not very sympathetic, but when you read about his childhood, it was hard not to feel at least a twinge for the guy.
Um, that, you know, monsters aren't born, they're made kind of thing. Um, so Thomas Harris
[00:32:17] Andrew Monroe: I see where that was in your writing too.
[00:32:20] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, that was, that was directly outta Thomas Harris. I, I, yep. Copy paste kind of thing. , um, I really enjoy Joe Haldeman, who's a science straight science fiction writer for the most part. Uh, I think he's also retired.
Uh, Stephen King, um, Neil Gayman. Uh, um, and you know, I've got, I've got 3000 books. I like 'em all for one reason or another, but those are probably the, those are among the people who I'll pick up without reading the blurb.
[00:32:48] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, you'd see that author and you're like, Yes. And, and that's probably a better way. Thank you for that. Next time I phrase that question is somebody you know, who's the author you pick up without even reading about, they have a
[00:32:56] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:32:57] Andrew Monroe: Reading that, Neil. No, I get, That's a good way to put it.
[00:33:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:33:02] Andrew Monroe: Do you see, uh, Neil Gaiman's releasing an album?
[00:33:05] Scott Hakwins: Is he? No, I didn't know that.
[00:33:07] Andrew Monroe: he, uh, he just dropped a single And, uh, let me preface this with, I am not a music person. Like
[00:33:14] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, me either.
[00:33:14] Andrew Monroe: audio books when I'm working out, when I'm
[00:33:16] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, me too.
[00:33:17] Andrew Monroe: it's, it's all the time. So, and it's weird for. We'll call them regular people. Uh, cuz they're like, Oh, what do you like, listen to?
I'm like, audio books. And they're like, Well, I'm meant like music. I was like, I don't know, like there's some alternative rock in there if I really need a pump up. Or like, you know, there's some things from high school or middle school or
[00:33:33] Scott Hakwins: Exactly.
[00:33:36] Andrew Monroe: I don't know,
[00:33:38] Scott Hakwins: That's, that's exact. You're the, you're the only one I've ever met who's, I'm in the exact same way. I swear to God. I, uh, yeah. Drives my wife nuts. She's, she's all, you know, American Idol and all that. And, um,
[00:33:48] Andrew Monroe: Everyone, it, people look at me like I'm a, a serial killer and I'm just like, Look, it's just, I don't know. It's music. I
[00:33:54] Scott Hakwins: yeah. It doesn't do much for me. Yeah.
[00:33:56] Andrew Monroe: want to turn everybody else off cuz we're probably the only two people in this [00:34:00] entire world. Uh, . It's goofy,
[00:34:02] Scott Hakwins: that may be true. Yeah,
[00:34:04] Andrew Monroe: But so saying that it's, I'm not usually plugged into the music scene, but because it was Neil Guyman, it kicked up into my, you know, whatever algorithms run my life at this point and was like, Hey, Neil Gaiman's got this thing.
And I was like, That, is that the same Neil Guyman? I listened to it and sure enough he,
[00:34:20] Scott Hakwins: I didn't know.
[00:34:21] Andrew Monroe: he composed an entire album hooked up with a string quartet that he really liked, and they dropped a single for Halloween basically, and it's just, Kind of fun little Halloween single with this string quartet. And they're gonna release the whole album later on in 2023 I think.
[00:34:37] Scott Hakwins: No kidding. Yeah, I will. I'll, I'll do that. I had no idea.
[00:34:40] Andrew Monroe: Mm-hmm. , I saw a comment that they were like, Neil Guyman is just gonna take over the entire, uh, artistic, you know, creativity space. And, uh, I was like, That's true. He just, he doesn't stop. He's got tired of, you know, comic books and now he's doing, it's just everything. He touches everything
[00:34:55] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, he's, Yeah, he really is. He's, He's just an amazing talent.
[00:34:59] Andrew Monroe: Does that make it hard for you? I know for me, I, I struggle and I'm obviously nowhere near the success of your book, but like seeing people like Guyman or King or Sanderson or any of these guys, it where you talked about like, you know, I don't wanna be derivative of Stevenson. It makes it hard cause you're like, I love this book, but I don't think I can, I can do what they're doing.
How do. Walk that line between people you love reading or even watching,
like, I don't get it. It's
[00:35:25] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It is, it's tough. Um hmm. I guess, uh, in the writing process, if I, you just kind of, you gotta do it with a clear, to me, like, I just don't feel good about it. If it's something that's blatantly, consciously. If, if I, if I notice that, Oh yeah. You know, Neil Gaman did x in, in terms of plot points or something in one of his books, or Stephen King did x in in plot in as a plot point in some of his books.
I'll try to stay away from that, but I think it's fair play to kind of [00:36:00] analyze their body of work and look at the techniques they use. Um, so as a for instance, Gayman seems to, a lot of the Sandman series really seemed to me to be like daytime drama. Um, that was writ with, you know, he took, he turned the characters up to 11.
He had this kind of dysfunctional family and they were all playing politics against each other. They also happened to be, you know, Gods essentially, and. I think, I think, uh, Shakespeare did this a lot, a very similar thing. You know, it was like a lot of this stuff would, a lot of Shakespeare, I think was the enjoyment for the audience was enhanced because it was all these like, you know, kings and, and occasional supernatural, you know, cameos and, and, and that kind of thing.
So, um, without. doing something with the endless probably would've not been cool, but I felt like it was fair play to come up with some, you know, to use that, uh, kind of to have a family drama that with, that had, uh, you know, larger than life, characters or characters with larger than life skill sets.
So that was fair play. So in that sense that, that's kinda where I draw the line. Plot points, no techniques. Yes.
[00:37:12] Andrew Monroe: I see. So, and that's also what you're talking about, where it becomes, uh, problematic to read other fiction
[00:37:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's part of
[00:37:20] Andrew Monroe: dissecting, you know, Hey, you know, I'll steal that technique. Or Barton steal. Yeah, we'll go with steal. Cause I,
[00:37:26] Scott Hakwins: Steel's fair? Yep.
[00:37:27] Andrew Monroe: yeah, there's that, uh
[00:37:29] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:37:29] Andrew Monroe: there's another book, The steel book.
What was it called? Do you know what I'm talking
[00:37:32] Scott Hakwins: Steal, uh, steal this book by Abby Hoffen.
[00:37:35] Andrew Monroe: Maybe it's, it's been a while, but basically that's what they're talking about. Like, Hey, there's nothing wrong. As long as you steal it, make it your own. Use it your own way. You know, take the technique but give it your own spin. It's fair, fair play,
[00:37:47] Scott Hakwins: good artists borrow Good artists. Borrow great artists steal.
[00:37:51] Andrew Monroe: Yes. I think that's what I was thinking about. So I get it.
[00:37:55] Scott Hakwins: yeah. I'm, I'm all, I'm completely on board with that
[00:37:59] Andrew Monroe: So [00:38:00] again, we, we kind of. Trying, We're trying to teach people, help people show people like, Hey, here's the kind the directions you can take your life. Uh, here's the way you go about it. So you've got two, what I would call enviable careers. You're a successful novelist and uh, like I said, most of the guys I know in tech, they get pretty excited if they can get up to that cis admin man job, because that's kind of a. You know, the, the an end all, it almost seems to be like before you become a CIO for a company on doing tech work had, what do you, what did you do to get there? You know, first on the book, was there like a, you sat down every day and wrote for three hours at, from five to seven or 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and then, you know, what was the career jump to go from a coder to a CIS admin?
Or was it just kind of fell in your lap?
[00:38:50] Scott Hakwins: Well, it was kind of a, I mean, it was kind of a. Well, I've bounced back and forth between a lot. I've wor, I've had a lot of hats. I've worn a lot of hats on the technical field. I did, I started out as like a dba and then, um, I wrote the, I wrote a Linux book back in like 2000 or 99 or something like that.
That really got me, like, comfortable with like the, the deep workings of like Linux. And that's been a really nice kind of fallback all through my career. Just, it's good stuff to know if I'm, if you're working in a Linux environment, Like kind of solid base of just whatever command does and kind of thing, um, is, is handy.
Um, uh, coding, I, I just, I I think it's more of a young man's game. Um, I'm. Probably I just don't have the, the energy and drive for it that I kind of used to. I mean, some of these guys, uh, the guys that I work with, um, are, are just absolutely super sharp, uh, Java guys and, um, I'm, I'm, my, my role is more like support and debug.
So honestly, I would say it's not like the pinnacle of the tech field. It's, it's, this is more of a, you know, like a linebacker as opposed to the quarterback kind of thing, or
[00:39:54] Andrew Monroe: I am happy to stand corrected. Like I said, I, I don't go into that world. My, my world's internet
[00:39:59] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. [00:40:00] So, I mean, but everybody, you know, everybody, but everybody contributes in their own way, et cetera, et cetera. But, um, it's a good, it is a good job.
I mean, there's nothing wrong with it. It's just like, uh, if you wanna rock the guys who are really driving,
[00:40:13] Andrew Monroe: Mm-hmm . I gotcha. So what did you start out with? Was it Linux?
[00:40:18] Scott Hakwins: Uh, my first job was on, uh, no, it was, it was like at and t Uix, I think, but this was like 93, I think. So I don't even remember anymore. It was, I, there was a database called informix, um, and I was doing programming with, uh, something called Informix for 4G that you probably never even heard of. It died out I 15 years ago.
And then just, you know, one thing, I hopped to another, I did a lot of, uh, systems programming in c for a while. Uh, I did some web development, uh, ran some web servers, um, uh, then did kind of like tool smithing for, uh, long pipelines. Um, and ended up, What I'm working on now is something, is a permit called Hadoop, which is a big data kind of ecosystem that. let you hold like petabyte scale databases and move stuff through them and that kind of thing. But that's probably not the core of the interview , so I'll just, I'll let it go with that.
[00:41:14] Andrew Monroe: No. So funnily enough, we, uh, Daniel and I, the other guy that hangs out on this podcast with me, usually, uh, we did a little monthly challenge for Sequel just back in
[00:41:24] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah.
[00:41:25] Andrew Monroe: I got a, I got a pretty okay tutorial and sequel and actually really enjoyed it. Um, So I, I'm leaning more towards databases nowadays.
Oh yeah. I love them.
[00:41:35] Scott Hakwins: Useful skill.
[00:41:36] Andrew Monroe: we were working on, and this is just a little sidebar on it, uh, and it was one of those things I was like, I didn't know the solution, you know, six months ago, but we're working on this application for getting some government grant money and they dropped us this CSV with, it was like 900,000 rows. Which is why you have a database, because Excel [00:42:00] or Google Sheets or any of these guys, they can't handle that kind of data . And so I was trying to manipulate this data with, you know, almost a million rows and it just, you know, wouldn't, I've got this.
[00:42:10] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, that's,
[00:42:11] Andrew Monroe: M into MacBook Air. And it didn't matter what my computer was doing, Excel itself was just like, No, sorry, we're good.
So I did this little V look up and it was just done. My computer's like,
[00:42:19] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:42:20] Andrew Monroe: we can't do that. And I was like, Why would you prop this to me, not gimme a database to work with instead. And you know, it's really cool to know that kind of stuff or at least know
[00:42:27] Scott Hakwins: It is. Yeah, it's handy.
[00:42:29] Andrew Monroe: So it's cool. Um, let me jump you over to the author thing then. What was your process like writing the book and has it changed since you. Uh, let's say gain success.
[00:42:43] Scott Hakwins: Um hmm. Uh, it did change. Uh, okay, so when this was, uh, Mount Char was actually the fourth kn fourth manuscript that I completed. The other three, the third one I thought was shaky. I think arguably there the case could have been made that the third one was publishable, but the first two were just basically practice.
They weren't, they weren't ready for prime time.
[00:43:04] Andrew Monroe: Sure.
[00:43:05] Scott Hakwins: The, uh, so when I was writing Mount Char, um, I would kind of do it, uh, I did it a li initially I did it a little sporadically. I would just have, I would have like an idea for a scene. Um, uh, there were like three core scenes in the book. Like the one in like with like the neighborhood picnic at the end, uh, was originally gonna be the o one of the intros, intro scenes.
Um, I'm gonna be a little vague here to avoid spoilers.
[00:43:28] Andrew Monroe: Sure.
[00:43:29] Scott Hakwins: The one where, um, Steven Carol and meet at the bar and they decided to go break into a house was another one. And I just thought it was kind of an interesting scenario. Um, and, uh, God, what was the other one? Anyway, so I had, so I had those and maybe three other scenes, um, that I just kind of worked on just cuz they were interesting.
Oh, the third one was, uh, Steve jogging through the neighborhood and, and, um, he bruns into some dogs. Uh, that actually happened to me by the way. That was, that was
[00:43:55] Andrew Monroe: No way.
[00:43:56] Scott Hakwins: No, it did. Yeah. I was, I was living in, Yeah, it was, it was actually really [00:44:00] scary . Um, I mean, they didn't, obviously didn't maul me, but it was like this kind of a, like it was this neighborhood where, The houses weren't, the neighborhood wasn't fully developed.
The street ran down maybe a half mile past where I was living at the time, and in the woods it was where people would go to drop off all their strays. There was this pack of stray dogs living in there, and they weren't happy to, they were not happy to see me. And I, man, they were, they chased me for about half a block before I was like, Ah, give you outta here.
Scariest, scariest thing in my life.
[00:44:28] Andrew Monroe: everybody thinks they're tough until you actually run up to an animal that's great to have some beef with you and you go, Oh, you know what? These, these human hands and human teeth are not prepared for just about anything. This chihuahua was gonna take me
[00:44:41] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Right.
[00:44:42] Andrew Monroe: That's wild.
[00:44:44] Scott Hakwins: yeah, so I wrote those down and I was just kind of trying to think about ways to like, rearrange them and string them out, uh, or rearrange them and maybe string them together. What you. What could the storyline be here that would connect these three things and that, and I, so I, I would like write one and then think about it for a couple weeks, then write another one and think about it for a couple weeks.
And I was a lot slower and more, um, I, I mean, I was, at that point I'd been failing to get anything published for like 25 years. I was mostly just doing it as a hobby. I kind of enjoy it. Uh, and, and eventually I was like, Oh, hey, I know how to, I know how to put all this together. And so then I sat down and got into a very focused, about six months, um, where that was really all I did.
Uh, and you know, that. That ended up working out, um, after the hook, after it got published. I did try to, I did go through a period of about five years where I was writing every day, and I put together two completed manuscripts and one half manuscript that nobody liked. Um, so they, that's, I mean, it wasn't that I wasn't wor Yeah, yeah.
It's, you know, but at least I got one. Um, at least I got one out there and I haven't given up, but I, I've, I've kind of, I've been on hiatus for the last couple of.
[00:45:52] Andrew Monroe: Sure. So how did you find, did you go find an agent? Did you find the publisher directly? You know, how did you actually get [00:46:00] to the big leagues, I guess?
[00:46:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Um, so like I said, the third book almost made it. Um, she, she, there's a, there's a process called, What you do is you send an a query letter, which is like a one page letter, you know, um, describing your book, and would you like, you know, would you like to see or, and usually like the first five pages, the manuscript or something.
Um, and the agent will. The agent's assistant more typically will at least look at it and see if it passes first cut. They will pass it on to the agent who may or may not request the full manuscript. And the next stage from that would be they will either offer representation or not. Um, in this case, uh, of my third book, um, the agent I sent it to is my now agent, uh, at, uh, Why Dawson?
A lady named Caitlin Blazedale. Um, she read the third. Liked it well enough to, to like read the entire manuscript and said it was, she didn't think it was gonna sell. Um, but get back to her with, uh, whatever I came up with next. So that was, I don't know, probably five years before Mount Char came out, uh, before I wrote Mount Char.
Um, so five years later I was like, well, I, you know, just getting, just having an agent willing to put eyes on your manuscript is a big step. That's, that's, I mean, it's, it's a hugely competitive process. So I, I, you know, shopped it to death and polished it as best I could and then queried the agent and everything really went pretty quick from there.
She read it pretty much overnight, offered representation within a week or so. And had we, we did like a couple, we did maybe two months worth of rewrites. Um, and then it sold like first week out,
[00:47:27] Andrew Monroe: a bit of a whirlwind
[00:47:29] Scott Hakwins: Whew. Best, Yeah, man. Oh, I was on top. I was on top of the world. I was really some of the best days of my. You don't really, you don't really appre appreciate succeeding at something until you failed at it for like three decades. I
[00:47:41] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, and then someone gives you that
[00:47:44] Scott Hakwins: yeah, Ronald Reagan was president when I first started sending in manuscripts. Um, so this, and this was, you know, like said, came out in 2015 or whatever.
[00:47:52] Andrew Monroe: I bet that was a nice dopamine hit.
[00:47:55] Scott Hakwins: Oh my, yes. Yeah. Big time at the Hawkins house.
[00:47:59] Andrew Monroe: So, So what did you do to [00:48:00] celebrate? I assume they gave you an advance or something of some sizeable amount. Did you go buy something cool or did you go on vacation or did you just have a little party and call it quits? And
what what was your celebration?
[00:48:12] Scott Hakwins: Well, we, I mean, we went out to dinner that night. They, you know, they don't like the advances come, I think you get, uh, typically you get like a, like 25% of the advance on, uh, I forget how it works. It was 25% on signing and 25% on. Editorial completion, another 25% on publication or something like that.
And, and I'm missing a 25% somewhere, obviously. So it wasn't like I immediately had this big check. Um, but, uh, but you know, I knew the money was coming trickling in and, um, I, I used it. I, I used it to move house, honestly. I, I, I put a down payment on a, on a, on a, on a place a few miles down the road from where I'd been living, um, which is where I'm at now.
[00:48:51] Andrew Monroe: Oh, I gotcha. Well that sounds like a worthwhile use of your money then. Sounds like it led in good directions.
[00:48:57] Scott Hakwins: Yes. Yes it did. And this,
[00:48:59] Andrew Monroe: So y'all weren't together whenever you first published,
[00:49:02] Scott Hakwins: uh oh. Um, Yahoo.
[00:49:06] Andrew Monroe: uh, you and your wife.
[00:49:08] Scott Hakwins: Well, no, we, Sorry. Yeah. Um, we were, we had just gotten married when,
[00:49:12] Andrew Monroe: Oh, okay.
[00:49:13] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Uh, I think when the book came out, we had just gotten married, but as I was writing it, we were, we were just kind of, We'd been together for like five years at that point. So, I mean, and neither of us has any kids, so we both have previously married, Neither of us have kids as kids.
So I mean, it wasn't, the difference between married and, and the transition between married and or not married and married wasn't a particularly dramatic one. It was really just we went out to Vegas and ELD married us. Um, so it did, it
[00:49:40] Andrew Monroe: Wait, did that really happen?
[00:49:41] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, no. That re
[00:49:43] Andrew Monroe: awesome.
[00:49:43] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah. Got married by Elvis.
He did a good job too. I'd definitely recommend the Elvis. And I mean, you, you know, wedding planning is that I don't think anybody's idea of a good time. And she just, she just wanted the, Yeah.
[00:49:55] Andrew Monroe: that's
[00:49:55] Scott Hakwins: wanted the white dress. So that was all we did.
[00:49:58] Andrew Monroe: I, I go to Vegas probably a little too [00:50:00] much
[00:50:00] Scott Hakwins: Oh, do you? Yeah.
[00:50:01] Andrew Monroe: Oh yeah. And it's, it's always one of those things I'm like, I can see it. And they have some nice places, you know, all the, the hotels, they've got some really much better, at least than Amarillo, Texas, uh, chapels or, you know, places to get married.
And, uh, I can see the appeal. Take all the headache out, you know, if you wanna invite people. Vegas is there, Everybody likes to go to Vegas. I like it.
[00:50:22] Scott Hakwins: Buddy of my buddy, Good buddy. Good friend of ours, uh, did the same thing. He, it was years before I met him. Um, he and his wife, uh, they, there's like a drive through wedding chapel in Vegas, and that's what
[00:50:32] Andrew Monroe: No way.
[00:50:33] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. A literal drive through. It's just, eh, So they were passing, they were going from kelp. Passing through on their way from California to Georgia. You wanna get married? Sure. Let's pull in here. You know?
[00:50:45] Andrew Monroe: That's just wild. I haven't seen that. I'll next, I'll be back for CES in January. I'll go look for it.
[00:50:50] Scott Hakwins: yeah,
[00:50:52] Andrew Monroe: See? if I can find the drive through.
[00:50:53] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Elvis is cool though. I definitely, I definitely recommend Elvis. I didn't, I haven't seen the drive through.
[00:50:58] Andrew Monroe: See, I'm, I, I'm not married and my girlfriend, if that became the, uh, the situation, I think I would be in a world of pain if I tried to suggest something like that
[00:51:08] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's all about what the bride wants. It really
[00:51:11] Andrew Monroe: Yep. I'd be in a, I'd be in, I think that'd be a blast, honestly. But I, I would be overruled very quickly. I'm fairly certain.
[00:51:18] Scott Hakwins: yeah.
[00:51:20] Andrew Monroe: uh, sorry, I had another question with.
Uh, the earnings, just cuz this is always something interesting to me cuz writing is fun for a lot of people, but making it a career is a whole different ballgame. It's not even the same game. Um, I understand you have to earn out that advance that you were talking about the 25 percents. Uh, what was your timeframe on that?
I assume you've earned it out because again, your book seemed to have done really well,
[00:51:45] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, that's a good question. Um, I think it was about three years before it turned out.
[00:51:50] Andrew Monroe: Three years, were you worried at all?
[00:51:54] Scott Hakwins: Um, Well, you don't have to give the advance back. So, I
mean, I figured anything was, anything was gravy. Um, and [00:52:00] I mean they, you, there are ways to make a profitable, I have been told, I don't really know what, I don't really know what this means specifically, but I've been told that even if a book doesn't earn out its advance, it can still be pretty profitable, uh, for the house.
So, but earning out your advance is obviously better than not earning it out. And I, I did, and it's been, it's been several years, so it's, I mean, it's still, it seems to be selling pretty steadily.
[00:52:22] Andrew Monroe: That you still get your royalties, uh, monthly, yearly or something now, Right.
[00:52:27] Scott Hakwins: Bi-annually.
[00:52:28] Andrew Monroe: Buy annually twice a year.
[00:52:30] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:52:30] Andrew Monroe: Interesting. Uh,
[00:52:31] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:52:32] Andrew Monroe: Well that's cool. Congratulations again. Um, I've always just wondered about that cause I know there's a lot of people, especially on their, you know, first published book. And this is completely from a theoretical reading about other people's experie.
Uh, viewpoint, but I understand a lot of people don't usually earn out their first book, and it's okay because it's like, well, we try and, we'll, you know, release a couple more books and we expect down the road we'll start earning out commissions or, uh, royalties,
[00:52:57] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. I think that, I think that's the kind of the general policy, but again, they don't, you know, everybody's deal is a little different, so I, I, I, I don't think there's a one size fits all answer, but yeah, I think that's, I think that's fair.
[00:53:10] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Are you still in contact like on a regular basis with your agent or did she
[00:53:14] Scott Hakwins: Uh, well, I haven't had much, I haven't had a whole lot to send her lately, so I don't wanna like call, You know, one thing I've noticed, one thing I've noticed about publication or about um, the, the publishing industry is the emails tend to be really shorten and to the point. So it's not like we sit around and like, you know, gossip or whatever.
Um, so I, you know, I check in with her once or twice a year and, uh, you know, have you got anything? Well, not yet. And you know, that, that's kind of that, so,
[00:53:38] Andrew Monroe: luckily they work with multiple people and it's her day job, so . She probably doesn't wanna take her work home
[00:53:43] Scott Hakwins: she's probably, She's probably ready to strangle me at this point. I do need to get something out to her.
[00:53:47] Andrew Monroe: Well, I won't tell her. We'll just not mention that you came on here and you were really busy writing and Andrew who
[00:53:54] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:53:55] Andrew Monroe: That's cool. Sounds like a good person. I mean, anybody who is, you know, and obviously it's [00:54:00] her job, but anybody who helps move that book forward, especially a good book, um, they're, they're a win in my heart, so
[00:54:07] Scott Hakwins: She's phenomenal. She, No, she's, I was just gonna say she's helped a lot of writers, um, you know, Charlie STRs, Charles STRs,
[00:54:12] Andrew Monroe: Charles Strasson, off the top of my head,
[00:54:14] Scott Hakwins: uh, he's, he was one of my favorites. Um, also a programmer slash uh, writer. He, he was, I read, um, it was a good story. Okay. I, I had read a lot of his stuff.
Uh, he was one of the reasons actually, that I, uh, applied to. This particular agent was because I knew she represented him and he's just this phenomenal guy. I remember the, the way, uh, the, the way I I first got introduced to his work was in one of those, um, year's best, uh, science fiction and fantasy collections.
And he had this one short story that really called it Colder War that really just knocked my socks off. And then like two days later, this was, I, I was looking for some kind of really obscure technical issue. Uh, for, with a, with a scripting language called Pearl. And damn, it wasn't, He wasn't damn if he didn't have the answer.
This was back when Enet was still, so I, I go into this pearl for him and it was like the same guy. It had the same email addresses and everything and I was like, How, who is this guy?
[00:55:11] Andrew Monroe: he's haunting you.
[00:55:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It was just better at everything that I wanna do than I am. It was,
[00:55:18] Andrew Monroe: That's pretty cool.
[00:55:19] Scott Hakwins: yeah, we've swapped emails a couple times since then. He, he is a really cool.
[00:55:23] Andrew Monroe: Wow. No, I haven't heard him, but I'll go, I'll look his stuff
[00:55:26] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, definitely ch yeah. Uh, the laundry files I think is what he's best known for, but he's is short fiction is phenomenal too.
[00:55:32] Andrew Monroe: Okay, I'll check it out. I, there's very few things I won't read. I'm pretty, pretty open. I enjoy most of it. Um, also completely unrelated, but something just based on our conversation here. You might, like, I just watched the first episode of The Peripheral, uh, yesterday. It's Oh, it's so cool.
[00:55:51] Scott Hakwins: It is really fantastic. Yeah.
Um, I had, Yep,
[00:55:55] Andrew Monroe: I haven't even read the book, which really upsets me cause I'm a Gibson fan.
[00:55:58] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, Me too. Yoga. Are you good? [00:56:00] Yeah. Love Gibson. Um, it's good to see him finally getting some justice. The movie adaptations that have been made of his stuff were little shaky.
[00:56:08] Andrew Monroe: Well, if this thing doesn't just kill it, like, I mean, the quality is there. It, We watched the first episode seriously just last night and it was just, I was like, Wow, this is gonna be great. I'm excited. So I'm trying to share it.
[00:56:21] Scott Hakwins: good. I, episode two was equally good. Um, I haven't watched the third one that dropped on Friday, but that's probably what I'm gonna do with this afternoon.
[00:56:28] Andrew Monroe: Good, Good. Keep me posted on it. Let me know what you think. Cause I, I'm gonna hit probably the second one. Probably won't be today, but sometime this week. Hopefully I'll make some time for it. Uh, they're long. I was not ready for how long the episodes
[00:56:39] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Me either.
[00:56:40] Andrew Monroe: uh, , but I'm, I'm, I'd rather that than not.
[00:56:44] Scott Hakwins: Well, the same guy I did. Westworld, like the first season of Westworld, honestly, is one of the best things I've ever seen on television.
[00:56:49] Andrew Monroe: that, that makes sense. I hadn't put that together, but I could see the quality, their,
[00:56:54] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah.
[00:56:55] Andrew Monroe: on course. And the intro, the intro should have given it away. Uh, just watching the intro was like, Man, this reminds me of something else I've watched. Now that you said Westworld, it just snapped. I was like, Oh yeah.
That, that's what it was.
[00:57:06] Scott Hakwins: I think it's Jonathan Nolan and maybe a couple of the other partners from, uh, from the first season of Westworld.
[00:57:12] Andrew Monroe: Cool. Well, yeah, for everybody listening, uh, the peripheral is gonna be the next hot thing. I hope it was
[00:57:17] Scott Hakwins: it is, it is. It's absolutely
[00:57:19] Andrew Monroe: mm-hmm. .Well, Scott, I think I've, I've eaten up your hour. Is there anything else you want to toss out there? Anything that I haven't asked you that you, like, people need to know this about you, or your book, or, you know, what you're doing next, or anything like that? Or, you know, a cool quote you got whatever you want to, you know, finish this out with.
[00:57:37] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. I, I don't, honestly, I don't have much. My only, my, my only thoughts would be like, if you wake up in the middle of the night with a really strong stomach pain, go to the er, don't wait. Uh, the, the appendicitis thing, don't, don't torture yourself.
[00:57:50] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, just get taken care of. Oh God, that scares me. I am, I think, you know, partly cuz I'm running around without insurance is probably why it scares me.
[00:57:59] Scott Hakwins: Oh [00:58:00] yeah. Oh boy. That would be scary.
[00:58:02] Andrew Monroe: Well, and it's one of those things, most everything else is like, eh, you can kind of blame yourself if something happens to you or not. But, uh, appendicitis is just
[00:58:09] Scott Hakwins: Yeah,
[00:58:10] Andrew Monroe: roll of the dice that you can just get you
[00:58:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It's like, what did I do to deserve this? I mean, you know. Oh
[00:58:17] Andrew Monroe: I get it. Well, sincerely, thank you for making time. I know you've got a lot of stuff going on in your world, uh,
and you know, like losing an organ
[00:58:25] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I didn't lose it. We know just where it is, but
[00:58:29] Andrew Monroe: Oh, okay. Well hopefully you didn't keep it by the way. Uh, that would be
good. Well, thank you again. Uh, I really have enjoyed this. It's always fun to meet somebody else who, uh, likes books more than music, so that's worth it by itself.
[00:58:41] Scott Hakwins: We should start a club. Yeah,
[00:58:43] Andrew Monroe: All two of us, we might find a third in, you know, Japan or China or
[00:58:46] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, right. Big world.
[00:58:47] Andrew Monroe: trium front. . Well, thank you again. Uh, I'll have everything linked in the show notes to Scott's website and his book. And, uh, if you really wanna get, technically he's got some programming books on Lennox that you can go look at. That's not my cup of tea, but, uh, we'll have everything out there. So to everybody listening, thank you for coming on.
Thanks for supporting Scott, and we look forward to connecting with you.
[00:59:09] Scott Hakwins: Likewise. Thank you very much. It's been real pleasure.