update: July 26, 2010
One of Alex’s stories, “The Size of the Skip” received an honorable mention for the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition (2010). Look for “The Size of the Skip” in his upcoming “Three Scoops” Is A Blast! due out August (2010).
Meet Alex Carrick: economist and author in this week’s spotlight. His first book, “Two Scoops is Just Right” is a compilation of two-minute humorous short stories. He shares about his next book, “Three Scoops” Is A Blast, writing life, and social networking.
A) I’ve been an economist for 38 years, specializing in the construction industry, both in Canada and the United States. I write one or more economic stories per day and also make a lot of public presentations in many cities across the continent. I’ve written about the latter experience, which terrifies many people and is still not comfortable even for me after all these years, in one of my stories.
Besides those bare bones about my professional life, I have a wonderful wife, with whom many of your readers are probably familiar – Donna Carrick – who is also a writer, mainly in the crime and suspense field. We have three children (Tom, Ted and Tammy-Li), the youngest of which was adopted from China. Their ages are 25, 12 and 8. It’s a diverse group to say the least. Five of us trying to get out of the house in the morning strains the capacity of our showering and bathing facilities. Much of our family life centers around our cottage on Georgian Bay in Ontario. That’s also where the dog and the cat have their most fun.
Q) I follow you on Twitter; how important is social media to you, and how would you persuade (assuming you would) other non-social-ites to join?
A) I’ve been completely surprised by how much I like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I have no doubt that we are pioneers in this area and social media will only grow more important in the future. It is changing media news, public opinion and politics on a daily basis. Our children will establish their “platforms” much earlier than we have been able to do. And they will keep the friends and contacts they meet on the Internet for their whole lives.
With respect to writing, and if one self-publishes, the social media is by far the best way to promote one’s book. Historically, authors had to count on attracting a publisher for their work or it would remain stuffed under their mattress. Now, through blogging, tweeting links and posting excerpts on Facebook, authors don’t have to remain in the shadows. They can find their audience, which surely is what writing is all about.
Finding people with similar interests in cyberspace spurred me on even more. The chat groups such as #writechat, #storycraft, #scriptchat, #Litchat and #amwriting are lively and fascinating examples of how powerful social media is becoming. Through them, I was introduced to #fridayflash, a site where writers submit short stories of less than 1,000 words each week. This launched me from straight humor into slightly more serious material, although still with an entertaining bent. I must also confess to sometimes violating the strict word-length guideline to extend over into a couple of thousand words.
Donna and I are also taking advantage of another huge trend underway among book readers. We are making our works readily available on Kindle and in Kindle-format for PCs, laptops and cell phones. One can easily download a Kindle apps for free for almost any electronic device. We also have various file versions of our books on Smashwords and through other new Internet suppliers such as (Indie)pendent Books.
Q) Share a bit about what you’re working on, how you developed into the writer you are, and what’s next for you.
A) I was asked by my company to start writing an economics blog a couple of years ago. To break up the tedium of what is essentially pretty dry material, I started writing funny blog entries on the weekend and at night to post on my personal web site (www.alexcarrick.com). Surprisingly, I fairly quickly had quite an inventory of stories. Donna had already been through the self-publishing process, which I had followed closely, so I thought why not do the same myself.
Plus I quickly recognized the potential to be realized from actually publishing a book and sending it out into the world. My first anthology, “Two Scoops” Is Just Right has received good critical reviews (e.g., MidWest Reviews gave it 5 stars) and I am deeply gratified when I hear or read comments from readers that they like the material. Two Scoops is comprised of 78 funny, original short stories that are of a lifestyle nature. There are also some short fiction pieces, but more on that in a moment.
My next group of stories – set in the past, present and future and with often surprising, ironic or twist endings – are just now being printed in my second book, “Three Scoops” Is A Blast. This should be ready by August. One can order my books in paperback form on Amazon or through almost all other major book sellers by searching under my name or book title.
That’s it for now, Roxie. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Let’s keep the book-reading excitement going.
Thanks Alex! Check out his web site, social network links, and book locations:
My web site: www.alexcarrick.com
I’d love more followers on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alex_Carrick
I’m also on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Reviews for Two Scoops: http://tinyurl.com/yemg9wd
Both paperback and e-versions through (indie)pendent books http://tinyurl.com/33u8qw2