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Today we are chatting with Dan Groat the author of Impressions, Monarchs and Mendicants, An Enigmatic Escape, A Punctual Paymaster, and the soon-to-be-released Pianos and Penance.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I have had 21 jobs in my life.

What novels affected you the most growing up?

To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, A Farewell to Arms.

Where did the idea for your current book come from?

Impressions is a collection of short stories and flash fiction. Most of the ideas came to me while working outdoors, gardening or cutting grass. I would play the story out in my head and later write it down. After several months, I had 55 pieces for my latest book.

Do you think there’s any way you could ever run out of ideas for books?

No, I don’t. As long as my mind works, I have confidence the ideas will come. Writing a large collection of short stories is evidence of that belief.

What is your routine for writing and has this method changed over the span of your career?

My routine is to write when I feel like it. That may be six or eight hours a day, seven days a week, or it may be three hours one day and nothing for a week. I prefer to let my own connection with the work dictate the schedule. I never feel I’m forcing anything. Of course, I don’t turn out two or three novels a year, but I’m happy with my pace. It fits my lifestyle.

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Marketing and social media is extremely important to me, although there are times when I devote more time to them than I do my writing, and that is a concern. I put pieces of my heart and soul into my books, so I want my words to meet as many people as possible.

What advice would you have for other writers?

Just do it. To thine own self be true. Use your own voice. Constantly try to improve. Be open to criticism. Write what you want to write. You can always focus on something totally commercial in the future.

What are you reading now?

Plot Perfect by Paula Munier and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.

What’s your next step?

I am currently doing rewriting on my fifth book, Pianos and Penance, Book 2 in the Gifford Ulrich Series (Monarchs and Mendicants was the first). I have also begun Book 3, Rivers and Rivals.

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