Episode 26 Scott Coon Interview
Charity Bradford: [00:00:00] This is loose leaf, a multi-author podcast journal, where we talk about goals, the ups and downs of writing, and where we try to warn you off of our greatest pitfalls. Welcome back to loose leaf author podcast. Hillary and kale could not be with us this week. And I'm excited to have Scott Coon with us. He is the author of Lost Helix, his debut novel that just came out in June, 2020.
Would you like to introduce yourself, Scott?
Scott Coon: [00:00:30] Hello, my name is Scott Coon. Uh, as you stated, I, my debut novel Lost Helix, it just came out in June. It's a Young adult, science fiction, adventure story, where you follow DJ across the void as he tries to find his missing father and the mother he never knew while being chased by corporate agents.
I've been writing, uh, basically my entire life. And I first got published in, I think it was 2006 in nth degree magazine. Firewall was my first short story. And I've had over a dozen short stories published since then. I've won some accolades along the way, and this is my first novel.
Charity Bradford: [00:01:13] Okay, excellent. Well, congratulations on it. I know that's a, a big milestone for a lot of us writers to have that first novel finished. And I know you also have a YouTube station where you talk with writers. And do you want to tell us some about that?
Scott Coon: [00:01:32] Yes. Uh, my YouTube station is mostly dedicated at the moment to, uh, Lost Helix has got, uh, several things that inspired Lost Helix, uh, such as the variety of.
Um, space travels, translates space, travel that you can find in the world. And that's actually an important part of my story. Uh, and then, you know, other things, uh, size, uh, last year lakes, I've been doing reads of my short stories and I've also had Alex kina popular standup comedian. Did the, uh, reading of.
Trademark a tragedy, which is very much a comedy. And in addition to that, I've also started doing, um, some writing advice. And it's more so far. It's, uh, I've done one for log lines, which is all the most difficult two or three sentences you'll ever write in your life. It's you've just written a hundred thousand words, sum it up in.30 seconds.
Uh, but the direction I'm taking recently with that is I, I started writing basically. Science for writers for Saifai writers. And the first one I have out there is planet building, which is very different from world building the George R. Martin did a great job of planet building by throwing everything out of whack by having the moon destroyed.
So great job to him. Everybody else try creating something other than earth. Trust me. There's a lot you can do out there.
Charity Bradford: [00:03:08] Agreed. Well, earth is so unique that it would probably be more realistic if it wasn't like earth.
Scott Coon: [00:03:13] Exactly. Earth is a very unusual planet.
Charity Bradford: [00:03:16] Well, I'm excited. I actually picked your book up. I'm only about 20 pages in. But I'm really enjoying it. So DJ hasn't left yet. His dad has just come back from, uh, wherever he was. And so I have a feeling everything's about to explode, so don't no spoilers, but, um, I really am enjoying it so far.
Scott Coon: [00:03:36] I'm so glad
Charity Bradford: [00:03:37] Something that I noticed when I was purchasing it. You said in your bio, on Amazon, you're talking about science fiction and that it's really for you all about the. What comes next question. And I love that because science fiction is about asking questions and I love why don't you share with our listeners what you meant by what comes next?
Scott Coon: What comes next? But what comes next to me is, uh, Oh, well, a lot of science fiction writers do this thing. Well, what happens after that thing?
It's like a terraforming. There's all this work. Done about terraforming aliens. Uh, the second alien movie actually is centered around a planet. That's in the middle of terraforming. Um, Uh, Leviathan waits is about terraforming to terraforming, Mars gradually. So is a total recall. Um, but nobody ever talks about like, well, okay, so we get way out into deep space and your Terraform, a planet, and now it's totally ready then what?
Scott Coon: [00:04:43] Well, there's a government involved. Somebody paid a lot of money and put a lot of effort into terraforming this planet. They're not just going to say, okay, it's opening. Here you go. Have fun. No, they're going to organize this. So I actually have. A big bureaucracy. That is like a backdrop to part of the story you haven't gotten there yet.
Okay. Yeah. Well, you've heard about it. It's called new green. That's the terraforming place, so, yeah. And then there's also things like I'm also in Leviathan wakes. Uh, a multi-generational interstellar ship. So you get, you're going to be born on the ship. You're going to die on the ship. And one of your descendants is going to land at the other end.
Well, that's all very interesting and there's a lot of untold stories in there. Right. But one story I never did, I don't think anybody's ever thought about is like, okay, so you get it all the way to the other side. You unload everybody onto the planet is stripped. The, the machine for parts, we still got this big thing up in orbit.
You probably didn't take all the parts. What are you going to do with that? So I actually have them float the dome shifts that populated. Stone river floating around, out there doing things there. Yeah. Specifically. And this isn't a spoiler at all, really. And it's actually on the cover of the book. Uh, they're feeding the farmers that the miners, the people that are mining stone river are now being fed by what used to be a city city's gone.
And he filled it with dirt and. And it's actually a lot more interesting in there once you get inside those domes, it's a lot more complicated than one would think it's more than just foreign land.
Charity Bradford: [00:06:24] I can't wait to get to that point. I have some very basic questions, but at any time, if there's anything else you feel like sharing and talking about, just jump right in.
Scott Coon: [00:06:33] Okay. Sure.
Charity Bradford: [00:06:35] So you said you've been writing for many years. You started with short stories. What kind of got you interested in writing to begin with.
Scott Coon: [00:06:43] You know what that is literally a mystery. I have no clue. Uh, there were no writers around me. There was an artist, there was a musician, no writers. And for some reason, in the third grade, I spontaneously started writing poetry.
Most of the poetry centered around North mythology, but I know where that came from. Cause I was reading Thor comics, and one thing led to another and I'm writing Norse mythology. Poetry, but why poetry? I have no idea. I really, the only poem that I know of that was in my life back then was toys the night before Christmas.
So it's a mystery left, lost a time.
Charity Bradford: [00:07:24] Yeah. But Hey, that's a great place to start because I actually think poetry for me anyway, is way harder than writing a novel. It's got a lot of structure that I don't deal well with. So, wow. Third grade. That's amazing.
Scott Coon: [00:07:40] Thank you. And, uh, some of my books I lost helix does not have a poem in it, but some of the books I'm working on right now actually have poems in there that are a part of this story.
Like it one's a, a, um, mystery, thriller where a poem is actually a part of the clue is a clue to what's going on in the whole thing.
Charity Bradford: [00:08:03] That's awesome.
Scott Coon: [00:08:04] Read wrote in my life. And he was purposely bad.
Charity Bradford: [00:08:09] You wrote the poem purpose purposely bad.
Scott Coon: [00:08:12] Yeah. Yes. I wrote it as bad as like it's still qualifying as a poem.
Charity Bradford: [00:08:21] That's awesome.
Scott Coon: [00:08:23] Bad, so was bad at this. So I had to make it bad.
Charity Bradford: [00:08:27] Yeah, we'll see. I could do that. I wouldn't have to try to make it bad. So, so do you have any particular books or authors that really inspired you in your writing? I mean, I guess kind of the other side of that is why choose science fiction?
Scott Coon: [00:08:48] Well, uh, when I first started out, uh, I actually sat down when I was 21 years old in a library and made a conscious decision based on advice that I received in the Ford of appear st. Anthony book. I got a lot of good advice from Piers Anthony wrote some really good writing advice in there. Like a, you need to write three novels and throw them away.
And I wrote more than three novels and threw them away. So I'm ahead of the game on that. Uh, Kurt Vonnegut is my office. Favorite author. I think his writing is amazing and I don't think I could ever do some of the things that he can do in writing, where he jumps through time. But you don't feel like you're jumping through time.
You feel like you're. In this story in a very linear way. And I think that's just astounding that he was able to do that. His best book is his least science fiction book, which is Hocus Pocus, which has an amazing science fiction story hidden inside it. But, uh, the story itself is not as nice fiction at all.
Um, cat's cradle with Ice-Nine is an amazing story. Uh, Playing a player, piano. I actually have a story idea that I'm planning to write at some point soon, uh, as kind of a homage to that, or kind of counter that book actually. And Galapagos Glock goes was a truly amazing book where, uh, I won't give it away how that goes, but you should definitely Kurt Vonnegut.
Charity Bradford: [00:10:15] Cool. I can definitely do that. And so that's. Is that kind of what directed you towards science fiction after poetry? Or did your poetry have Saifai vibes through it? I mean, you mentioned Norse mythology, so...
Scott Coon: [00:10:29] some kind of science fiction, cause fantasy is kind of its own science fiction and that was kind of what pulled me in the direction of a science fiction over fantasy was that at the time I felt like there was a larger world that you could do more, more directions. You could go with science fiction and fantasy, but that was because back then I had a much more narrow view of what fantasy could be. Cause I thought, Oh, well, fantasy is writing in Tolkien's world and using Tolkien's uh, People and so forth, and that is so wrong. You can do so much more with fantasy than that. Uh, and I plan to write a book that it's a mix of fantasy and sci-fi in the future. So, yeah. Plus I really loved Assimov's I robot is an amazing series of short stories, compiled into a single, uh, novel kind of kind of forms or when you put them all together and nobody has done a good movie or a mini yet, and I'm waiting for it. So somebody please do that for me. Go do it right.
Do the actual stories too. The stories from my robot. Yeah. Yeah.
Charity Bradford: [00:11:44] Not their Hollywood version of it.
Scott Coon: [00:11:46] Yeah. Yeah. We'll work within that confines, but make a whole new thing. That story is a good story.
Charity Bradford: [00:11:54] Let's, let's back up a little bit and talk about some of your history, um, because I know it plays a part in the, probably the way you write, especially, um, especially lost helix. You were an army intelligence analyst and later a computer programmer. So how did that, you know, what can you talk about of how those experiences come into your writing?
Scott Coon: [00:12:21] Well, let's start with the computer programmers side of that. Uh, a lot, one thing that I find really annoying about computers today is the diversity. We do not need diversity in computer languages. We need one language and I, and somebody actually complained to me. It's like, Hey, Kurt, uh, DJ seems to be able to hack in every system.
Yeah. Cause they're all working on the same operating system. We've gotten it down to one operating system. Just a matter of knowing your way past all the variety of security around that operating system. So, you know, when I actually, when I'm, I also tried to write his computer battery in a way that was realistic to computers and also at the same time, not boring to the audience, because if you actually want it battle, you'd be bored out of your mind.
Uh, and if you watch a computer battle on say sneakers or, um, Oh, yeah, I think it was sneakers. That was a great movie, but also they just did a really bad job. Most of the time when they do a computer battle in a movie, it's like, Oh, look at all these cute little graphics, fluent flying around. Nobody's using graphics.
It's all just code. And it's all just numbers and letters and esoteric stuff flying by. Um, But for the, uh, us intelligence stuff. Uh, I was in the army intelligence for six years. I Rose to the rank of Sergeant. Uh, I worked some interesting missions and I'm not going to talk about pretty much anything that I did there.
Charity Bradford: [00:13:56] Understandable
Scott Coon: [00:13:58] And I completely understand the inner workings of the intelligence community. In a general basic sense. Like this is how you handle classified information, which drives me mad whenever I'm watching a movie like the opening to suicide squad. Oh, let's just walk into a restaurant and whip out a top secret document. Flop it down on the table. Oh, wait. Or bring me some more coffee. Oh no. I actually had that job when I was a. In the army for a brief period of time taking classified material to the base commander. And we had a double wrap that sucker and do all this other stuff and put all the proper labels on it, move it to the building across, across the security military days, unwrap everything inside another secure room and then wrap it all up again and bring it back.
So now don't do that stuff. But job title was. 98, Charlie electronic warfare signals, intelligence analyst. And that's all I'm going to tell you about my job other than ever, ever write about anything having to do with it.
Charity Bradford: [00:15:12] That is so true. There's so many, I have so many questions here. I'm trying to figure out the ones that I want to ask the most. You mentioned that you purposely. Wrote this one poem badly because that's what the, what you needed for that story. But have you ever had something that you wrote that you just absolutely hated?
You also mentioned three novels you threw away. Was that just cause you hated them or because, you know, talk about that a little bit. Let's
Scott Coon: [00:15:42] yeah, it would be those first two novels to tell you the truth. The very first one was an Anne rice knock and it was both good and bad. I mean, like it had good moments, but the overall plot just didn't happen.
There was no apply. It was just an ambling of events that occurred. Uh, but yeah, there was one part where I killed off two characters. Almost randomly. And they were very short-lived characters and it doesn't nothing wrong. And one of the members in my class got upset. How could you kill them off? They did nothing.
And that was it. I'm a writer. Now I'm stuck. I'm writing. I'm going to write that. And the novel that came after it, which was about, uh, Robots trying to get equal rights amongst man. And they end up giving up on the whole deal and just running away to Iowa and starting their own colony and defending it from us a very, very different direction from what I would later see in the matrix.
But, uh, Yeah, it, it did the same thing. It didn't actually have a plot. I mean, like if you look for it, it kind of had a plot,
Charity Bradford: [00:16:55] but it was just good practice. It was
Scott Coon: [00:16:58] basically like, there was a perfectly good plot and somebody shoved it down the stairs. It fell down the stairs, screaming and crying. And the shambles at the bottom was what I actually wrote.
Charity Bradford: [00:17:12] We've all been there.
Scott Coon: [00:17:14] Yeah. And neither of them actually had a title. I mean, like I refer to the first one is my vampire story and the other one is my robot story. I've never actually got around to titling them. Right.
Charity Bradford: [00:17:25] Yeah. The love just wasn't there.
Scott Coon: [00:17:28] No, no, just sadness.
Charity Bradford: [00:17:31] So what's the favorite thing you've ever written.
Scott Coon: [00:17:35] the favorite thing I've ever written is whatever I'm working on right now. Almost every single time. Yeah. And right now I'm working on a novel that I really love a lot. And I still have, uh, two and a half chapters that are in outline. And, but at the same time, the way I work is like kind of roll across it in waves.
So that by the time I get to the end of the first draft, I'm actually on draft five. Oh. And while I'm writing this, I also have. A writer's group, who's reading it. So I'm like charging ahead trying to, you know, let people know that Los Felix exists and I've got a second writing writer group with a different novel that is complete, but I'm charging ahead on this one and trying to make sure that I stay edited and completed.
And the working title I'll give you, the working title is Snuz. Snuz is a sneeze that never was, ah, and the main character. His knees is while there's three main characters, but the main, main character, the wizard, his knees is causing teleport. And that's like a really big problem for him. So, and it's, it's a, it's a key part of this story.
Charity Bradford: [00:18:50] It's like, what kind of trouble can you get into when you can't control a sneeze?
Scott Coon: [00:18:55] Yes. And it's, it's a stigma. It's not a good thing amongst wizards for you to not be able you sneeze and you just end up somewhere else. You're not supposed to do that.
Charity Bradford: [00:19:06] Will it also be young adult?
Scott Coon: [00:19:09] No, it be, it'll be very, very fun, but it also has, uh, some. It features some whisky and some snuff, funny snuff, which is yeah,
Charity Bradford: [00:19:26] awesome. So
Scott Coon: [00:19:28] other than that, it's mostly family friendly. Yeah.
Charity Bradford: [00:19:33] That's awesome.
Scott Coon: [00:19:34] The other one is balanced of Crimson and that's, that's set on a planet that's just overrun by crime and the main characters and assassin in a crowdsource murder world.
And he just hates the world that he's living in is very, very grim. And then there's a lot of happy cats. So, so I balanced it with joyful happy cats, including, uh, A main one important character named Mr. Snuggle whiskers. So yeah. Look forward to those books coming soon.
Charity Bradford: [00:20:07] And so is Mr. Snuggle whiskers with the assassin?
Scott Coon: [00:20:13] Actually he's with, uh, he's with the Assassin's private investigator friend, but yeah, they kind of get along and Mr. Snuggle whiskers is actually an important character who comes in and affects the applied at different times.
Charity Bradford: [00:20:31] So what do you find is the most challenging with your writing?
Scott Coon: [00:20:36] Oh, that is definitely bringing out the emotions that I want to bring out in the characters. And I have struggled with that from the beginning, my whole life. And the best thing that's ever happened to me was the publishing of the emotions.
This artist. Yeah. I strongly recommend that if you're going to be a writer and if you're not naturally spitting out like powerful, emotional scenes where your characters are showing their emotions to the reader in a way that the readers already engaged with. Go buy that book, re read the forward, always read the forward to something like that.
And you learn so much more just from that. And also always read the forward to any novel from. Any author that you love, if he puts a forward and it read that forward, it might just be some, some silly stuff about this is my life and this is the things I do with my time. Or it might actually give you some advice, even if it's just by accident, they S they often give you really good advice for writers.
Charity Bradford: [00:21:38] That's cool. I like that insight. It's interesting you mentioned the emotions thesaurus. I remember when it was still just their blog before they put it out in print and I totally agree. I have my print copy and I have shared it with many, many writers groups and said, okay, you really, we need this. And it's, it's wonderful.
Scott Coon: [00:22:00] Oh, yeah, my print copy is holding on by bare teeth. It's just, it's just, it's just threads now
Charity Bradford: [00:22:07] it's great because it gets it, it gets your mind working along those lines and, and I've found that now I can just kind of glance at it and then I'm back in that mindset and it, it just helps you to think of, well, what does this emotion really look like?
What would it really feel like? And they put so much work into that.
Scott Coon: [00:22:26] Yes, it's an excellent thing. It's an invaluable tool.
Charity Bradford: [00:22:31] Our favorite question is, would you say being a writer is a gift or a curse and why?
Scott Coon: [00:22:40] The answer to that is yes.
Charity Bradford: [00:22:44] Yes.
Scott Coon: [00:22:45] It is a wonderful, fulfilling, enriching, grueling, taxing, draining activity and while I'm doing it, I'm thinking, damn, I could just be playing video games right now. It wouldn't be any stress. I could be mouthing off to some 13 year old who just shot me and it would be a lot more, or I could just be watching cartoon and it's, I could put on Phineas and Ferb right now, that'd be awesome. And, and just be relaxing. But at the same time, when I'm like, if it's like early in the day and I'm playing video games or I'm watching Phineas and Ferb or something else, I'm thinking, you know what? You could actually be accomplishing something. You could be doing something that when you're done, you'll be tired and you know, it will drain your brain. But. What you've done has created something. And so it's really, it's definitely both.
Charity Bradford: [00:23:43] Yes, I agree. I agree. And so far, most writers I've asked that question, do agree because you have those wonderful moments where the words are just flowing and the energy is flowing and it's like, this is awesome.
But then you have those days where you're just like, I like to think of the analogy of, uh, or the visual of Harry Potter sitting there with Umbridge's pen in detention writing. I will not tell lies and it's pulling his own blood from his body. I'm like, sometimes writing feels like that. I will not tell lies.
Scott Coon: [00:24:15] Absolutely. Yes.
Charity Bradford: [00:24:19] Okay. So what do you think has been your toughest criticism so
Scott Coon: [00:24:24] far? Actually the toughest criticism. And this is based on the fact that I actually had to do something about it came before dancing lemur accepted my novel. And this is going to be a piece of writing advice. I'm going to send out to any other new writers out there.
They said, Scott, we got about halfway through your novel. We're enjoying it a lot, but we've already counted eight point of view characters. These people don't need a point of view in here. What's going where if you can cut this one, whole novel down to three point of view characters, we'll take another look.
Got it. So there's like deleted scenes in Lost Helix and yeah, I rewritten scene. That's still in there. That's very, very different from what it originally was. And I had to go through there. And the first decision I had to make was who are going to be the three main. The three point of view characters. Uh, there's a girl character in there named Maya that you haven't met yet because they say in their travels and she has a whole scene.
That's just gone. And I had to find a new way to bring that information in through either DJ corpsman or, um, DJ's dead. Cause I decided that those were the three people that you needed to know in order for this story to be told and everything else I had to rewrite this. I think I did a good job with it.
They think I did a good job with it cause they published it. Of course. So
Charity Bradford: [00:25:50] it's always a plus.
Scott Coon: [00:25:51] Yes. Yes. And uh, honestly the, the book is much better for it. It was a challenge, but the book is much better for it.
Charity Bradford: [00:25:59] Yeah. Haven't you, I don't know about you, but I've always found that sometimes the hardest criticism when you take a moment to really think about it and then like you said, put in the work. It does make the story better.
Scott Coon: [00:26:16] Yes. And everything else that they've had to sell me, I've been like bringing forward into my other novels. Like I have a whole book just sitting off to the side. That's already been through writing groups and it's like, ah, now I gotta go in there and do all those things I just learned from dancing lemur.
Charity Bradford: [00:26:30] And make it readable. That's awesome.
Scott Coon: [00:26:35] You can make it better.
Charity Bradford: [00:26:37] That's wonderful. So I know one of my favorite things is actually working with the editor. Have you, what was your experience like working with your
Scott Coon: [00:26:46] editor? I actually, uh, I went through, I hired a professional editor at one point, uh, before I found writing groups and they did a good job.
And if my book had been ready for publication, like had been like one step from publication ready, they would have done a great job for getting it that last step. But it wasn't one step. It was like 10 steps from publication. Ready. Uh, so my best editors have actually been writing groups. I know a lot of people have trouble forming writing groups, especially when you open them up to the public because you know, it's, you're rolling the dice when who's going to show up, but I lucked into a good one.
Uh, writers of Sherman Oaks is the group that I'm with. And it's just. They're wonderful people give me really good advice and they're all giving me different, good advice. So that's helped me a lot. Uh, the best editors that are professional editors that I've worked with were the ones that dancing lemur.
And I went through like four or five rounds of editings with them and, uh, almost. And every single round that I went through, I gave them, I said, yeah, you're right. 90% of the time or not, or more 90 or more, you know? And then, uh, a few times I'm like, nah, you don't understand where I'm going with this. So I'm going to stick with what I, with what I meant.
And a couple of times on those. It's come back. It's like, we understood what you meant. I'm like, Oh, okay. You're right.
Writing a book is a really, uh, Difficult process. And there's a lot of layers to it and you're not going to get it right on the first draft by a long, long margin. Uh, and the more drafts that you do, the better it gets until you get to a point where you've just got to stop.
Charity Bradford: [00:28:36] So that, that brings up a great question. How do you know when it's time to stop?
Scott Coon: [00:28:44] Ah, that's the hard part, isn't it?
Charity Bradford: [00:28:47] Because sometimes after you let it go, you're like, Oh, I coulda.
Scott Coon: [00:28:52] Lost Helix. I stopped and I felt that I was finished and I decided that I was going to get it out there. And I went through the various levels of, uh, trying to get it published and.
I was like, yeah, I'm going to just publish this on my own if nobody wants it. Uh, and I'm so glad that I didn't come to that. Cause, uh, where I'd stopped obviously was not a good place to stop and dancing lemur help need to make it a much better novel. So yeah, the stopping is that the place to stop is when somebody or you decide to publish the novel.
That's when you stop, never stop before five drafts. If you stopped four or five drafts. You're not done. You just keep going. Do it again.
Charity Bradford: [00:29:38] Totally agree. Totally agree. Okay. So we've talked about your hardest criticism. What was the best compliment you've ever been given for your writing?
Scott Coon: [00:29:48] Uh, so far. Yeah, it's definitely, um, from everybody who has, uh, written a review online about Lost helix and it's been common to basically all of them.
It's like, this is an easy, fast read. It's just enjoyable. And that's the best compliment because that's my first goal. Whatever else might be going on in the story, whatever else might happen in there. First thing I want to do is I want you to enjoy reading this. I want you to have a good time. I want you to say I loved reading that book.
I would read it again. You should read this thing. And I, and clearly I have accomplished that because they all keep telling me the same thing. This is a good fun, fast read. You just rip right through it. Yeah,
Charity Bradford: [00:30:33] well, I've, like I said, I just barely got it this weekend. And I was trying to read some of Damien's book too. I was trying to get ready for these interviews and, and I am really enjoying it. Um, and I'm looking forward to, I'm looking forward to reading time getting to finish it. I'm like enough reading in my day. So, so at least now I've got another good novel that I can get through. So I'm excited about that.
Scott Coon: [00:30:58] Oh, I'm so glad.
Charity Bradford: [00:31:00] Okay. So what do you do when you're not writing?
Scott Coon: [00:31:05] Well, uh, I've already talked about a couple of things. Like I, I watched cartoons, I watch a lot of cartoons. Uh, when I was a kid, I loved cartoons and Saturday morning was like, yeah, yeah, church was on Sunday, but Saturday morning cartoons was my religion really.
And, and. Basically the end of my cartoon watching period was noted by soul train. When soul train came on, cartoons were over for the week. Time to go outside again, cartoons have grown up with me. So now we've got like the venture brothers were a wonderful cartoon. Uh, the Simpsons have continued to be a wonderful thing.
I'm still I watching the tree house of cars right now. And he isn't forever wonderful. And Milo Murphy's law by the same guys right after, uh, I also love playing video games and I have a 60 game console, which was like all midway arcade classics. Uh, I got it mostly for Ms. Pac-Man, which I wasted so many quarters on.
Only on it. I feel like they should have just given it to me for all the questions. Okay. But, uh, and then I love hiking. Uh, when I was a kid, I used to go fishing. I was a expert in piloting a canoe with three or one person in it. And then I gradually came to realize, I really don't like fishing. I don't like catching the fish.
I don't like baiting the hook. I don't like cleaning the fish. I don't like any of that stuff. I really like nature. I'll just go hiking. So now I'm a hiker. I was in the army for six years and they would send us out on field training exercises and it was grueling and filthy and disgusting. And do you come back and you take a shower and you'd never felt cleaner in your life.
And now I do that to myself on purpose.
Charity Bradford: [00:33:00] That's great,
Scott Coon: [00:33:01] Somebody I work with told me, you know, you don't have to do that anymore. I'm like, I know what, I don't understand why I keep doing it. I seem to enjoy it.
Charity Bradford: [00:33:08] Yeah, well, I'm sure there's some beautiful places that, that you get to see that way, that you can't see any other, any other way.
Scott Coon: [00:33:15] And the only way to see it is actually to go out there and see it with your own eyes. A strange thing I do when it starts, when the sun starts going down, if I'm hiking alone or camping alone, everything's stopped. So just sit there and watch the world change colors for an hour. It's really an amazing sight.
Charity Bradford: [00:33:33] Well, we're almost out of time, but what advice would you give? I know you've already given us some advice for new writers, but if there's any one thing that you think is essential that they have in their toolbox at the beginning of their journey, what would that be?
Scott Coon: [00:33:50] Learning, you will always be learning, learn the art, learn the business, and then assume that everything changed while you weren't looking and then go and learn them all.
Charity Bradford: [00:34:03] that's so true.
Scott Coon: [00:34:05] Keep learning, learn like, uh, Learn what the market is. Uh, once upon a time, half a bookstore would be westerns. And then one day apparently people walked into a bookstore and there was no Western section anymore. It just all vanished all at once. Don't even remember that time. I was reading an article about that, but yeah, that's the sign of seismic changes that happen all the time.
So learn what. Don't chase fads learn like the big trends of what people really want to read.
Charity Bradford: [00:34:38] Excellent advice. Uh, and I love that you said keep learning because it does change so fast. I mean, I think about. When I got serious about writing in 2008, it's an entirely different world already in the publishing world.
Scott Coon: [00:34:52] Absolutely.
Charity Bradford: [00:34:53] Well, once again, I'm so glad that you've been with us. I'll make sure we have links to lost helix and our notes as well as to your YouTube channel. And, um, I hope that we get to hear from you again, sometime we'll be watching for those new books.
Scott Coon: [00:35:10] I hope so too. I hope you guys have me back on for my next book. And I hope it's both very, very soon.
Charity Bradford: [00:35:16] That would be awesome. Well, Scott, we like to, uh, we have a little saying that we like to end with and it is keep writing or start writing.