Dan O’Brien interview with David Alan Binder

posted Oct 26, 2016, 8:55 PM by David Alan Binder

Dan O’Brien interview with David Alan Binder

 His bio from Website:

Dan O’Brien is an owner of the Cheyenne River Ranch just west of the Badlands National Park and North of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He lives and shares his life on the ranch with his wife Jill, and their old friend Erney Hersman.

Dan has been a wildlife biologist and rancher for more than thirty years. He is also one of the most celebrated falconers in America today, and was a prime mover in the restoration of peregrine falcons in the Rocky Mountains in the 1970s and 80s.

Dan is one of the most powerful literary voices on the Plains. Described by the New York Times as “a writer with a keen and poetic eye…”, his novels include, The Spirit of the Hills, In the Center of the Nation, Brendan Prairie, The Contract Surgeon, The Indian Agent and Stolen Horses. Dan’s memoirs on falconry, The Rites of Autumn and Equinox, are intimate and revealing explorations of his life-long search for wildness on the Great Plains. Dan’s other non-fiction book, Buffalo for the Broken Heart explores the history of his ranch and the conversion from beef to buffalo, was chosen for One Book South Dakota in 2009. Dan’s latest non-fiction book, Wild Idea – Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land is a sequel to Buffalo for the Broken Heart.

Dan is a two-time winner of the National Endowment for the Arts’ individual artist’s grant, a two-time winner of the Western Heritage Award, and a 2001 recipient of the Bush Creative Arts Fellowship.

In addition to writing, Dan divides his time between working on the ranch, teaching ecology, and writing and serving on the Black Hills branch of The Nature Conservancy.

From Wikipedia:  Dan O'Brien is the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants for fiction, A Bush Foundation Award for writing, a Spur Award, two Wrangler Awards from the National cowboy Hall of Fame, and an honorary PhD from the University of South Dakota.  His books have been translated into seven foreign languages and his essays, reviews, and short stories have been published in many periodicals including, Redbook, New York Times Magazine, FYI and the New York Times Book Review.

 Website:  http://wildideabuffalo.com

You Tube video  - a beautiful look at bison / buffalo on the plains of South Dakota:            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUYBb750_dU

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-Broken-Heart-Restoring-Black/dp/037576139X

     1.     Where are you currently living?

40 miles east of Rapid City SD

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

That, no matter how obscure your topic – there are people out there somewhere who are interested.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

That a nearly illiterate guy like me can do it.

 

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

Self-publishing is a job in itself. It’s nice to have a pro helping with that end of things.

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I have had several. Mostly in NY but, for the current book, University of Nebraska Press. Lincoln NE.

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I hate the idea of eBooks, but they sure are convenient to read. Afraid we’re stuck with them.

 

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Write a really good book. There is no conspiracy to keep people unpublished. 

 

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Again, write a really good book. There are lots of agents waiting for you to send such a book to them.

 

8.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Read, read, read. Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. If it’s not right – rewrite it.

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

If you stay at it – a couple pages a day – pretty soon you have a book.

10.                        How many books have you written?

About 14.

11.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

More reading. Really understand how a book creates motion in the reader, then do it.

 

12.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?  

Good stories already have twists. Look hard.

13.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

The ability for the printed words to disappear. What you want is just the memory of the story.

 

14.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I am a writer, not a promoter. I go to places to read or sign, but I try to leave the promotion to promoters – which includes the folks who read the books.

 

15.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have read more when I was younger.

 

16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Finishing is everything.

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