Friday, September 5, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Jim Landwehr

Hey y'all! Today I am happy to have author Jim Landwehr, who wrote Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, with us for an interview and giveaway. So, without further ado, let's get started!

1.)    Hey Jim! Thank you so much for being here today! Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your book, Dirty Shirt

Sure, thanks for hosting me, Paige. My book Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, began as a simple attempt to document stories of trips I took to the area with my brothers and friends in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Over time, the stories became numerous and detailed enough, to consider making it into a book. My writing instructor asked if I had considered doing just that. I said no. She said do it. I did, and 260 pages later, I had a Dirty Shirt.

2.)    When did it first click for you that you liked to write?

I have always liked to write, but my first memory of actually doing it was in fourth grade. I wrote little stories on half-pages of paper and made a book out of them. Interestingly enough, I met my wife through writing as well. We became pen pals in the late 80’s and because the written word allows a bit more transparency, we became good friends, then dated and married. Coming up on 25 years!

3.)    What made you decide to write this memoir in particular?

It was mainly the feeling that I needed to preserve these stories of family relationships, adventure and bonding for future generations. Then, as I workshopped the stories in my writing class, people kept saying how much they enjoyed the humor and could relate to the pieces and characters. It was an organic outgrowth of just “getting the stories down,” as my writing instructor Kathie Giorgio always encouraged. Get them down. Fix them and rearrange them later.

4.) Do you currently have any other books in the works(would love to read more from you some day!)?

Yes, I do. I have a collection of poetry that I’m hoping will be published by early spring. I’m also working on a book about the house I grew up in in Minnesota with my five siblings and our single-parent mother in the seventies. It, too, will include lots of humor and a few stories about my obsession with fire as a kid.

5.)    What was your favorite thing about writing Dirty Shirt? Least favorite?

The best part was taking what I thought was just an average, kind of fun story and recreating it to be funny, entertaining, and something that people could relate to. The least favorite part was the third and fourth edits of it when I began to look at the book as my “problem child.” I was easily distracted by my newer, “shinier” pieces and dreaded going back to refine Dirty Shirt. I’m glad I did though, because it made a good book much better.

6.)    Do you like reading yourself? What are some of your favorite books?

Yes, I love reading. Unfortunately when a book comes out an author is dedicated to making it succeed by spending oodles of time promoting it (or paying a publicist to do it, which eats into your profits), so I don’t get near the time to read that I would like. I have a few authors who I can’t get enough of including Wisconsin’s own Michael Perry, Bill Bryson and Donald Miller. I can read fiction, but it seems I’m reading a lot more nonfiction lately. For a link to some of my favorites visit: Books By Jim Landwehr’s Bed. Like I said, I wish I had more time to read, but as a writer, writing comes first, reading second.

7.) When writing, do you stick to a strict schedule, or do you tend to mix it up a bit?

Random times, usually at night. I do write pretty religiously on Saturday afternoons for a couple of hours at a coffee shop.

8.) If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life, and that song only, what would it be? Why?

You Took, by the Church. It comes from one of my favorite albums of all time, The Blurred Crusade. It is one of the most complex songs I’ve heard, with tempo changes and lots of jangly guitar work throughout. I never tire of it.

9.) Seven is my favorite number! Could you sum up Dirty Shirt in 7 words? 

Stories of adventure, family, laughter and loss.

Thank you for the chance to talk about my writing and my book, Paige. Dirty Shirt can be found at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and iTunes. 
I absolutely loved reading Dirty Shirt and now two of you will get the chance! Jim has graciously offered to do a giveaway here on Electively Paige where two of you will get the chance to win an e-copy! Giveaway will end 9/19, so y'all have plenty of time to earn those extra daily entries for tweeting and the bonus entry. :) Good luck! I hope you love the book as much as I did!

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