Interview with J. Scott Savage
Got a dream burning in your soul but you’re not sure you can do it? Ever wanted to be an author but thought, nah, not in the cards? Think again! Enjoy this delightful, inspiring, and helpful interview with author J. Scott Savage and his initial accidental success! His journey of fears, self-doubt, and ultimate success will make you laugh and go a-ha about your own life, your own dreams, and your own incredible just-waiting opportunities to become. Learn how to positively wend your way, involve your family, and land on your feet with whatever your core desire may be. Truly, this interview was a delight from start to finish, enjoy!
(Transcript of podcast interview below.)
Connie: Hi, I’m Connie Sokol, a national speaker, bestselling author program, founder, and mother of seven and loving it. I’m reaching and teaching 1 million listeners to live a purposeful, organized, and joyful life. You can too, so let’s go.
Connie: What does that look like? And then we’re gonna talk about keeping family in the mix. How do you balance both his dream you want to accomplish but then having your family come along for the ride, right and be all in. So we’re going to talk about that today. First, let me just give you a quick bio. If you’re go on, if you had been in a cave for the last 20 years, you’re not sure who this is. He actually, and I love this part the best, he published his first book when he was 38 48 people see to be tiles. She was clicking in her sixties that’s when she started, right then. He’s since then publish 18 novels for both adults and children and we’re going to talk about that switched over and just a little bit and he’s received many awards and also the love and adoration of many fans.
Connie: He also works full time as a marketing and sales exec and the software industry is a father of four and Yummy, a grandfather ed fix with seven way and he is a husband to the most amazing woman in the world. And we’re going to talk about that too because I meet her at the grocery store. We happen to live in every area and I have some my best conversations with her. She is incredible. And the two of you are dynamic duo. So without further ado, let us move forward. First and foremost, I want to just jump right into what, what happened at age 38 that you started with publishing your, your personal, of course that’s not what you started writing, but what happened? What, what was the catalyst there?
J. Scott: Sure. So I, you talked to a lot of authors who say, you know, I knew growing up I wanted to be an author and looking back there were lots of things where, you know, I loved creative writing, I loved making them stories, all those things. But I never had the author visit that I do at school, so I never had anyone tell me you can be an author. And so it was kind of like that dream, you know, of like, oh I want to be a race car driver and astronaut, you know, whatever. Depending on what was popular at the time, you know, but it never occurred to me that I could do that. And so I, I, I’ve been in sales and marketing for a long time. Um, I kind of climbed that corporate ladder and, and two things kind of happened at about the same time.
J. Scott: One was, um, I became a CEO of an internet company and, and that’s like a long all in of itself. And, and it was Kinda the best of times, the worst of times, you know, um, we sold the company for over a hundred million dollars one day, seven month old company. The next day the market crashed. Um, there was a lot of stress. Um, and I went to a conference of CEOs and these were some of the top people at the time in the world. And I met them and, and some of their spouses and stuff. And, and I don’t want to put a blanket statement, but in general, I, I didn’t want to be one of them. I their focus, I mean, lots of, of family issues. And, and, and for, for most of them, it was really clear that their company was far more important than their family. And that just kinda hit me a little bit, and I’m like, what am I doing here?
J. Scott: Where do I want to be? And at the same time, because of the stress, I started writing this story and I really, I have never submitted a book. I’d never been to a writing conference at the time. There was no, you know, like, you can go on now and blog, how do you know, publish a book, whatever, that wasn’t there. So, um, I started writing the, uh, some chapters about high tech thriller, just as a way of stress relief and, and something that I enjoyed doing, you know, and, and I had some friends and family who encouraged me and said, you know, hey, are you going to write more? You’re going to write more? And, and I finished and I got done. And, and my older sister, who I love, and she’s published a couple of books, DM Blackhurst, um, said to me, so what are you gonna do with this?
J. Scott: W you know, what do you, what are you gonna do with this book and, and are you going to get it published? And I saw it, I would have no idea how to do that, you know, and she, she pointed me to covenant, who’s a small Utah publisher. And she said, hey, they’re doing mysteries and thrillers. And I said, but it’s not, it’s not Mormon, you know? And she said, no, no, they, they’re doing straight ministry. So I sent it to them and I went on with my life and six months later, one of my kids came in, they’re like, dad, there’s someone on the phone from like a publisher. And I’m like, wait, what is it? And that was the way I heard. They called me and said, hey, we read your story and we really like it. We’d like to publish it. And so it’s not the typical story of jumping into publishing, but, but it was a dream. You talk about dreams, you know, I didn’t realize it was a dream that I had had all along until that dream started to come true. Just a little bit. And then I was like, wow, this is really what I want to do.
Connie: W and I loved the way you said that, that until it started to come true just a little bit. We kind of think it’s this, it’s got to be a J K Rowling. It’s gotta be something that can knock the world. Right? And so we’re just going to you a white knuckle until we find that thing. But I love it. It’s almost like an accidental success where you’re doing a little doing a little of what you love and you kept what mattered most first. That to me resonates so big is that you weren’t afraid of, I’m going to have to give up my dream. If I focus on having a good healthy family, I’m going to focus on that first and those doors and things kind of fell into place. I love that. So what happened with that? After you got that for, did you start saying, I’m going to carve out time now for this particular thing, or was it still I got to keep the day job and do this with my left toe?
J. Scott: Yeah. So there I think for a lot of dreams, again, people kind of come back and they talk about, um, you know, I want to be a full time writer. And I think what most people don’t realize, and I’ve had a lot of lunches where I say, no, I don’t want him. I don’t want to burst that bubble for you. But, but there are very few people enlist either either your cost of living is really low, you know, you’re a newlywed couple. Right, exactly. You know, but for the most part, most authors have another job. And so, you know, whether it’s, it’s, you know, I, there’s a lot of moms who are like, you know, I’m balancing my kids and I’m balancing, you know, my house and an a job and all these things I’ve got going on. And I was in the same situation.
J. Scott: Um, we left, uh, left Silicon Valley at that point, came to Utah, which was, we, my wife and I both felt like this was a really important move. Um, and I started writing, but it was still, you know, it’s like, okay, I’ve, I’ve got a nine to five jobs, so I either write early in the morning and for me, I’m kind of a night owl. And so I would write later at night and the dream was always there about doing more. But I, I remember I’d, I’d been living here in Spanish fork for about, um, who maybe about nine months and, and again in our ward, he’s like, so you write books? And I said, I do. And he goes, do you mind me asking like, like, how much do you make per book? And I told him, you know, and he kind of looks at me and he’s like, and how long does it take a writer to write a book? And I told him and he was like, why do you do that?
Connie: The dirty little secret about being an author, right?
J. Scott: That’s exactly it. There, there are the JK Rallins, but for most authors, and unfortunately my income has, has come up over the years, but it hasn’t ever been that one home run. And I guess in a way, I mean I’d love to have, you know, been like Stephanie Myers or J K rally or whatever, but I also look back at my writing talent or, or lack thereof at that point. And I’m sort of glad that my first book was put under that level of scrutiny. You know, I, I don’t know how my, uh, ego would have held up under that.
Connie: Yes. Well, and you bring up such a good point. I think there is this idea in anyone’s mind if any dream, they just want to do a plus B equals c and then that shows that they’re successful. Right? Then we’ve proved to family and friends that we really always success, but you are exactly spot on. If anyone out there has read Blake Snyder save the cat, he talks about that of, he said, you know, those people who get that one hit wonder, pray for them because the rest of us have to actually learn our craft. And just like you said, you’re not under that such horrible scrutiny and you’re not under such pressure to keep producing at such a high level, that way you’re able to develop. And speaking of it sounds like you started in the adult genre and then kind of switched to, um, to kids. So talk about that because it sounds like it was a bit of a journey that way.
J. Scott: Well, so this was a funny thing. I tell people, um, the success that I’ve had in writing for kids is mostly because I’ve given myself permission to fail. Um, and, and what happened was, uh, I would go do author things. We have a great community of authors here, you know, and, and so I’d go do events and, and I, and I had friends who wrote kids books. Um, and most of the kids books had some fantasy elements, which I loved. That’s what I love to read. You know, Harry Potter was really big at the time, you know, and, and, uh, and so I would love to write them and my brother would ask me, hey, you know, when are you gonna write them? My younger brother who, you know, we played the video games and watched all the movies and yeah, I, I can’t, I, I write adult books and, and I write like thrillers and mysteries.
J. Scott: I can’t write fantasy and I can’t write kids books. And I was actually, um, I was, uh, in the Denver airport and it was for a business trip and I got a call from a good friend of mine and, and he was so excited that he had signed a contract with shadow mountain. And I have no idea who that was, but he said, yeah, they’ve done, you know, fable haven with Brandon Wall. And they’ve done 11 thumps with over sky. And they do tours and they do posters and they do, you know, book trailers, all this amazing stuff. Right. And so, you know, I think all of us, like you have someone who’s a friend who calls and gives you good news and there’s the angel on the one shoulder. That’s right. That’s awesome. You know, there’s the little like devil and there’s a little, it’s like, Oh God, I wish, you know, I could get something like that.
J. Scott: But I thought, you know, I, I, I don’t write kids books and I don’t write fantasy. So as cool as that would be, that’s not what I do. So that night I got to my hotel, my head, a business meeting in the morning and you know how you have like kind of a story and it’s in your head. And I had this idea that I thought if I’d ever tried to write a fantasy, which I knew I could, what would happen if you had your main character be a boy or a girl in a wheelchair? If you had someone with a disability, how would that the story will, these characters were talking to me and I was like, just stop. That doesn’t, I can’t write that. I know I can’t. And finally it was about two in the morning and I was like, you need to go to sleep and kind of get out of, so I thought, well here’s what I will do.
J. Scott: I will sit down, open my, you know, my big heavy laptop at the time, you know, at the hotel desk. And I would try to write one chapter. And once I read that, I can’t write that, then my, my voice is you’ll go away and I can just focus on what I’m doing. So, um, I sat down and I started writing and I wrote and I wrote this boy in this wheelchair and these kids were wanting to push him down the stairs and he imagined this world that he called far world. And, and um, at a certain point I looked over at the desk and there was something there on the side of this hotel room desk. And I’m like, what is that? And I kind of reached out and it was a little line of light and I’m like, where is that light coming from?
J. Scott: And I looked behind me and the hotel curtains behind me were open about an inch and the sun I through. And I looked down at my watch and it was seven 30 and I’d been riding for a little over five hours and I’d written the first 5,000 world words that ultimately who came forward. And even then, you know, I would ask my wife all the time like, if this is bad, tell me. In fact, I published it with shadow mountain, but there’s a really terrible story that I wanted to show it to covenant, quite published the other things with, but I was really worried that they might say, well, this is one of our authors will just say, yeah, it’s fine. So I sent it to them under a pen name. I just said, well then I forgot that I had emailed it under a pen name.
J. Scott: So later when shadow mountain had accepted it and everything was good, I called my editor at covenant, good friend of Mine, Chris, and I said, hey Kirk, I want, I’m looking to them, I’m going to be publishing this far world with shadow mountain. And I started to tell him about it. He said, that sounds really familiar, right? I’ve read that. And I said, no, no, no one’s read it. I just said to shut him out. And he’s like, no. He goes, I got that in an email. And I went, oh my gosh, I forgot. And he’s like, yeah, I emailed you back like six times, wasn’t it? Like it was like my grandfather’s name that I used you to hell. Or like I am so sorry. And there was a little, a little contention at first like, where are you trying to trick us? And I’m like, no, I just, I really thought that it would be bad. And so I didn’t want you guys to say, Oh yeah, this is nice. You know, I’m patting me on the head like, can’t you? Yeah. But, but that ended up being what I love going and, and not that I might not go back and write in a goal book at some point, but I just discovered that for me, that older middle grade, that kind of magical time where kids are discovering somebody, things like that. That is, that’s just the heart of what I do. So that’s, that’s what I right now.
Connie: Do you know what I love about your story is, I think this is so true to your true self too. I think that’s one of the hardest personally, John has to write because you have to still be in that magical state of mind. You have to think like a child, but write adultish and you cannot condescend to them. And being able to do that, not very many people can do that and do it well because it doesn’t come off. So for you to be able to tap into who you really are and then share that from such a genuine place that talk about, you know, a writer’s authenticity. I love that. And another thing that I love that you shared for those that are listening are going to still relate to this. Where you said, I knew that I couldn’t write that. I knew that I could not do that.
Connie: I think there was a part in all of us that is that rational creature or rational angel that says, would you just act your nine to five job and just put this away please and be an adult. Right, but it’s on paying the mortgage. Right. But there’s part of his that keeps fighting to come up and saying, this is part of me too, this part of living, so I love that you acknowledge that. And then the other piece I love as you said, and I just sat down and wrote, I love that you just said, I’m just going to do one chapter. I know when I’m working with women helping them do the same thing. I will say the same thing. I’ll say, just put your bum in the chair and do 100 words. Just do that. Just do that and then walk away. Just walk away. No one has to see it and I love that. I love that you just allowed yourself to open the door and then see what was behind it and not be afraid of that. And I also can still relate to the angel and the devil when something good happens to someone else. I think everyone listening can relate to that. That just happened to me last night. A friend got a speaking request. I’m like, well, why are we saving my life?
J. Scott: Right?
Connie: Okay, now I feel really bad. You know what happens. So I love this. This is the evolution of being a writer. It’s not a skipping steps. It’s this journey of opening yourself up and learning about who you are and what you really want and how you can do it. So I’m loving this. So let’s kind of segue just for a bit. With you made that journey you crossed over, you found this group, which is so beautiful and keeping the door open for any future adult books. I love that. I can’t wait, but I love what you’ve been able to do with keeping this in pace with your family. This has been such an amazing gift that you and your family have as well as such a great example to authors everywhere because I get this question all the time, especially as a woman where we have something added on where with all the kids and everything like that, for us to actually take our own personal time and then to use it for writing is like, you know, unheard of. Right? But it’s changing, which is so wonderful. So talk us through what your wife’s response was to this. And then how did you, did you guys consciously decide we’re going to do this together and this is what it’s going to look like? Or did you let that unfold? How has, how that developed?
J. Scott: Well, so I mean the first thing again, when I published my first book, it was like, okay, that’s it. You know, I’m getting a a cabin by the lake, you know, cause you have, you have no idea how much you make is not there. Like, again, there just weren’t numbers there. Right. I remember like, uh, I went to the library and there was writer’s market, which was mostly just listings. And then there was like fiction and all the fiction was, you know, you publish a book and you go on tour and you’re rich. And so, you know, our first kind of conversation was, well, am I going to, you know, is this what I’m gonna do full time? And we both agreed where like financially we,
J. Scott: we don’t want the stress. I mean, I’d done some startups and things in the past, you know, and it’s like I would rather we both felt like, let’s make sure that financially we’re, we’re in a good place. And, and that was great because once we realize how much officers making stuff, and again, not that you can’t make more, but in general it’s, it’s a hobby that pays for itself for the most part. So, um, that was great. We moved out here to Utah. Um, I started doing events. Uh, people would come and ask you to, to teach a class or right in. And I found that that was, that I enjoyed and something that I did well and my wife would generally come to me, not, not always because our kids were a little bit younger at the time, but especially as, as our oldest kids were in high school and they could watch the younger kids, we would try to do that more and it kind of became a date night thing.
J. Scott: Well. Then as I moved into writing for kids, there’s a lot more like, like authors will say to me, well I just want to write a good story. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to have to deal with the rest of it, you know? And it’s like, well, I mean that would be nice. But you know, there’s not, I mean there’s, there’s podcasts like we’re doing here, you know, with, with shadow mountain, there’s a tour that somewhere between six to eight weeks, you know, there’s, there’s reaching out to two librarians there, schools contacting some stuff. And, and so one of the things that we decided ourselves and, and this has really worked out well, and it’s something that I talked to a lot of of, of any kind of creative person about is that a lot of times you have to, you have to find that creative time for yourself.
J. Scott: Like we talked about, right? So you’re like, okay, my family’s here, my job is here, you know, my maybe church responsibilities or whatever over here. So here is where my, my creativity, my my, for me, my, my writing time is, well, if you continue to keep those separate and there are times when you need that, but if you keep those separated, then if one starts to grow, you know, if your, your church responsibilities get bigger or your family responsibilities or your work or whatever, in this case you’re writing, if that starts to grow, if there’s not an overlap, it starts to push things out. And I talked to a guy one time who was a professional golfer for awhile and he told me some crazy statistics of the number of professional golfers who ended up getting divorced when they, when they went on tour. And I’ve seen similar things, not necessarily divorce, although sometimes with writing where as writers become more successful, their personal relationship suffers.
J. Scott: And so we made a decision, you know, I don’t, all of my events that are booked, I typically book through my wife. She keeps the calendar, she coordinates. It’s nice for me because she can say, Oh, you’ll love this presentation that he does on this. And she can also be the one that says, yes, here’s how much this costs. You know, and if they’re uncomfortable with that, you know, then that, that’s totally fine, you know? But, but she does all that. But we also, we talk about all the books that we’re writing, you know, I’m constantly discussing, I just just turned in a on Monday, a new book and you know, I’ll tell you about that, but, but one of the issues that we had is, is I took a week off work because this was due on Monday and I had some kind of hard editing to do and I would have times where like suddenly it just on me, I’m like, okay, this whole section of the book doesn’t work.
J. Scott: Like, like this is, this is not going to work because I didn’t do this. I didn’t set this and stuff. And we talk about it and she listened, you know, and give me some advice and stuff. And then just talking it through with her, it’d be like, well, but you know, if I did this, this could come back and work. So she does editing with me. We do events together. Um, and, and I will tell you that, that, especially with a situation where you’ve had, you know, authors who have ended up in bad situations, you know, at conferences or been accused of things or whatever, it’s nice to be able to say, yeah, you know, when I go to conferences, my wife has always there not, not that I need her to like protect me from anything, but just that I think people look and say, oh, this is a married, you know, you know what I mean?
Connie: Yeah. It’s a, it’s a package deal.
J. Scott: It is a package deal. Yes. So that’s really what, for us, what’s happened is it’s great that my writing career has grown and that’s been a wonderful thing, but it hasn’t grown at the expense of my family life. You know, I’ve got them all involved at one of my favorite things is I have a little, um, a routine we do. And it’s been tougher as we’ve had kids that are, you know, gone. But we try to get as many as, as are here. When I finish a book, um, I invite all my family in and everyone writes the last word. So everyone, you know, I, I dictate what it is and they type out the end of the book, you know, and my, my sick is six or seven, Gosh, I think he’s seven now he’s starting second grade. So my seven year old grandson, um, he came in and uh, and he’s like, Grandpa, are we going to do the words today? And I hadn’t said, but he knew that the book was being turned in. And so I think that having whatever your dream is with your family life, when you can do it as a really positive thing,
Connie: I love that. And I love the intentional behaviors and choices behind that because it can get away from you before you even know it. And this is man or woman. And I think that’s so beautiful. The intention behind everything that you’ve done. I know that we’ve done that thing, thing that my kids, they would, every time I’d finish a book, we’d go to dinner, I’d have them drive with me to go and take it to the thing, to the publisher, and we’d like to celebrate. And when something came out, had a little orange thing on bestseller, we’d be like, well, I’m cooking all the time, right? So I’m like, okay, let’s go out to dinner, go to dinner. Right. I loved you. And they would go with me when I would go to places, they take the money, they talk to people. And I was just talking to a friend about this the other day, is that, you know, when you share everybody, everybody in the family shares their talents and not at the expense of the family.
Connie: But when they share, they see you fail, they see you succeed, they see you deal with situations, they see you. And then they learn. My sweet daughter, who is now on a church mission, she’s in France, and we were talking about how her early days of exchanging money, I’m talking to customers are selling the books I’m doing. I’m taking things to, you know, when I’d speak at education week, which I still do, but we take and we’d lug all this stuff and all of these things, it’s taught them these are business principles, this is what you do. These are good healthy ways to have real relationships and business and relationships with trust. So all of this matters and I love, it’s a beautiful vehicle or a family come together and celebrate one another and I can’t tell you how many kids that they of mine started wanting to write a book. Now they’ve grown up into their own things, right? But like at eight and nine he wanted to start writing a book and, and wanted to paint or do their drawings and it sparked their ability of seeing their dreams.
J. Scott: I think that is such an important thing you talked about like moms especially, you don’t hear dads doing this as much, but you hear moms all the time saying, my family is suffering because I’m doing this and I’m not making enough money to justify it or whatever. And, and the things they don’t realize is your kids, just like you said, your kids are seeing you live your dream, they’re seeing you use the talents that you have been given and, and fill the measure of your creation. And, and maybe they have a cereal for dinner some nights, you know, or maybe that the yard isn’t as well taken care of. Or maybe, you know, the house isn’t as clean, but they’re not going to remember those things. They’re going to remember that you lived your dream and that’s going to give them the confidence to live their dreams. And I just think that is, is huge. So I totally applaud you for that.
Connie: Well, I, and you know what’s beautiful is that I think doing this as a family and involving a family, it’s made me a more efficient writer because I know when they come home from school, then that’s it. Right. Have to, when they’re gone, even if I only had an hour, maybe three times a week, or if I had half an hour in the morning that I could get up, man, I was prepared while I’m putting in wash. I’m thinking in the back of my mind, okay, that scene, blah, blah, blah. Okay, this is what I need to get accomplished when I’ll sit down. And maybe that’s how I’ve written 17 books because I’m in my kids. You only have this much time. You better make it worth it, worth your while, no fees, additional gifts and benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily see. And I love this. So kind of stuff going off of those kinds of surprise benefits you would not maybe look for or recognize kind of in that. Going back to that failure aspect, I want to talk about that for a minute because people know cerebrally that they’re going to expect failure, whether they’re pursuing a writing dream or a business dream or whatever it might be. But it’s always a shock when it happens to you and it can really cut your legs out from under you. How did you deal with failure?
J. Scott: So there’s a story that I like to share and this is, I had just come back from my mission. I was living in California at the time. I’d come back from serving an LDS mission. Um, and, and I was going to a community college and it was right before school is going to start, so kind of limited classes. So I was kind of figuring out what I could register for. And this was before you could do anything online. Right. You know,
Connie: I remember those days. Yeah, they had drop cards. Oh yeah.
J. Scott: So, yeah, exactly. So I’m getting everything done. And I saw a PE class that was a cross country class and I thought, well, you know, I, I like to run. I mean I haven’t run in two years, but I like to run, so I’ll sign up for that. So I did, I signed up for it and it was at the end of the school day. And so I went out to where everyone was and immediately I realized that something was like not quite right. Like, like these are like, it’s like walking into a stable of thoroughbreds, you know, all these, these, uh, men and women that all look like, like world-class runners, you know, and here I haven’t run for two years and you know, whatever my children, yeah, exactly. And, uh, I discovered pretty quickly that what this was, was not a PE class.
J. Scott: I’d signed up for it, but the actual college cross country team, um, and worse than that, this was a team that had won the, uh, the Community College, California State Championship, like 16 years in a row. Um, and I, I was like, oh my bad, you talked about the drop card. I’m like, I will bring you the dental card, you know, and, and the coach said, no, no, don’t come run with us. And I said, no, I haven’t run for two years. And he said, you know, that’s fine. We’d love to have you. You know, I mean, it’s, it’s not a big deal. And, and uh, I said, well, you know, I’m signed up. I mean, I, I, I hate to drop something. So I went and I ran. And the very first practice they had, they said, okay, we’re going to do six miles of five sevens.
J. Scott: And I’m like, what are, what are five sevens? And they said, well, you run a five minute mile and then you’re in a seven minute mile is rest. And then you run a five minute mile and you do this for six miles. And I was like, I’ve never run a five minute mile in my life. I don’t even think I can run a seven minute mile, you know? And so I ran and I came in dead last. I’ve everyone, I mean, they were all done and drinking their Gatorade when I got done. And I said, well that’s just fun. But he said, no, come back. And somehow he convinced me to constantly come back, you know? And, and so I came in last every practice and then we had our first multi school meet and there were like eight schools there. And I thought, well surely I won’t come in last.
J. Scott: There has to be someone in these eight schools that slower than I am. No, no, I can’t dead last year. And um, and so I really wanted to drop out, but he kept convincing me to come. And you know, if this was like a, a book or a movie, there’d be like some magical ending. You know where the, the star runner drops out? No, no. I came in last every single race, every practice, you know, I had terrible leg cramps. I mean all this stuff. Right. And so the end of the season we’re done. And I was like, okay, thanks guys. You know, they had a little party and then I was done. And my dad said, hey, there’s a five mile church race coming up. Um, like a steak run or no, I think maybe it was community. Anyhow, it was some sort of five mile race and would you come in and run this with me?
J. Scott: And I said, no, no, I am done. You know, and exactly. So he bribed me with something and I went and ran, it was a Halloween race and it was a five mile race and I started running and I was doing good. I was, I was passing people and I was feeling good and I started to push it a little bit more and a little bit more. And by the end of the race I came in second place, just just a hair behind the, the first place runner. And it was my, my pace was just under six minutes for the five miles. It was, you know, much faster than I’d ever, you know, I’d ever run. And, and what I discovered was that all the time that I thought I had been failing, all of these failures were actually part of succeeding. And I’ve had the same exact experiences in my writing.
J. Scott: I mean, I, I launched my fall world series. I was so excited because this was, this was it. Like I had made it finally, you know, and just as the series was going to come out, the recession hit and shadow mountain has said, you could not have picked a worst time to start a series with this, you know, and, and so that series went off and on really did not do well. And I had quit my job to go market full time, which was a huge, you know, I thought mistake, got in a lot of debt, um, discovered later on that that was actually building up a foundation for everything that I’ve done. And, and that it was a big reason why shadow mountain had me come back later. But then I got to deal with, with Harper and it was a three books, six figure deal.
J. Scott: Um, national publisher, big agent. Uh, I got all the recognition. It was a a junior library guild selection and an Amazon book of the month and a Barnes and noble select books started. Kirk’s you’d be like everything you’d want, right? So I thought, well now, now I have made it. Um, but their marketing department had already decided what they were going to market and that wasn’t one of the books. And so that series did not Cheryl so well, they, they actually had added a fourth book with all the, uh, recognition. But with no marketing, no one bought that book, you know? And, and there were just these times when I thought, you know, I just, I’m not going to be able to do this anymore. Like I have failed. There were lots of times, cause I teach a lot, you know, and, and there were times where you just think, why am I, why am I bothering trying to teach people when they must be looking at me and going, God, this person can’t even succeed themselves. You know, why, why are they trying to tell us? But, but again, as I look back at that, you know, so many of the things that I thought were failures, so many of the Times that, you know, I thought, well, that was such a dumb thing that I did. I look back and I’m like, you know, I, I’m not j k rallying, but I have built up a pretty big following. I’ve, I’ve gotten pretty successful. And again, I believe that it’s because of all those failures along the way.
Connie: Oh, I love what you bring up. And that it seems to me what you’re talking about is this perception of success. Again, we’re back to that a plus B equals c, but it’s not like that. It’s not that simple equation. It’s a calc equation. It’s over this to the fourth power, you know, divided by it’s, it’s a journey because we’re becoming, and you’re exactly right. Those things that we think that they were just, they didn’t have any ROI, they didn’t do anything for us, but they actually do come into play. I just had that experience recently where I wrote a book seven years ago, right? And it’s just been like sitting there. You, everybody has one, right? A little baby and you’re like, oh, I want to dress it cute. And I love that one but it’s not going anywhere. And then I was teaching women how to do writing and I can totally understand what you’re saying.
Connie: I’m teaching this and I know things, but I’m thinking what am I doing with that? And I had to take my own advice and then I reached out to a boutique publisher and she said, yes, I absolutely want to publish that. So I’m on that road and it’s like a full circle when we’re this. But then it actually is all part of that again, package deal. It’s all part of that journey. And there isn’t any skipping those steps though. It looks like some people do. There isn’t any skipping. You get it on the, I will say like child having a child either get it on the beginning or the middle or the back end. I mean you just get it. So I love what you’re sharing because I think people listening would not know that about your story and know about those times when you were hitting those lows and still moving forward. I think there was a quote from a Jay z that said the genius of what we did with the Beyonce, I think the genius of what we did is that we kept going. We didn’t stop. We didn’t just let those things, those setbacks say, okay, I’m done. That it’s almost that, um, the compound effect, you know, where you’re going, you’re going, you’re putting the pennies in pennies, pennies, and then boom, it starts getting traction. Did you find that that’s what happened for you?
J. Scott: Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and I would say, I mean there are like, like I just had a good friend who recently just posted to Facebook and she said, you know, I, my dream has always been publishing, but, but I’ve found that I’ve hung onto that dream because I felt like I had to and I’ve got these other things. So I want to say that there are people who find other dreams, you know, it’s not like, okay, if you stop this wondering that you’re a failure. But, but it was that traction for me. This is something that I love doing, even when I thought I shouldn’t be teaching. I loved teaching. You know, when I’ve gone on tours, I’ve had these, wow. Just, I had one experience where, um, I called kids up. So I’m typically like talking to like second through sixth graders. Right. Um, and right and, and, and it’s, it’s hard.
J. Scott: You’re tired cause you do four assemblies a day, but you get these connections. So I met this one school and my wife wasn’t with me this time. I called her afterwards, but, but I’m at the school and I kind of look at kids, cause I call some kids up where we do a thing where we make a story. So you have a hero and goal and obstacles and, and they come up and we talk about how to get through a story. Well this, this was a third to sixth grade and I noticed one boy who was sitting kind of off to the side and he had kind of a lot of teachers around him and he was much bigger than the other students and he was watching very intently. But his expression never changed. You know, didn’t smile, didn’t laugh, you know, just watching and, and so I just kind of watch him out of the corner of my eye.
J. Scott: Well, when I called up, I said, do I have anyone who wants to be an obstacle, you know, has a great idea for an obstacle. And his hand went up and I thought, well, I’m gonna call on him. So I called him up and right away I could see the teachers, like two teachers kind of go over and whispering and they’re kind of looking over him like, no, no, we’re good. Everything’s fine here. You know, we’re, we’re, we’re good. So they kind of sat down and, and um, and so I got the first obstacle and I came to him, he was the second obstacle and I said, um, you know, do you, do you have an obstacle that you want to be? And, um, he just looked at me and he said, obstacles get in our way. And that’s what I taught him. And I’m like, yeah, that’s right.
J. Scott: And I said, would you like to be like a monster or a dragon or, and he said, pickle. So like, awesome. Okay. So we had a giant pickle who came and, you know, they had to go cash in. The kids clapped. They loved it. They laughed, you know, I mean, it went, it went great. And when we get done that, the kids will come and help us. And, um, I give each of the helpers a, a poster and, and the other kids can come and get them to the signing, but the kids will come and help me get a poster. And I handed him this poster and he just took it and he was like running his hand across it like this, you know, and just kinda touching it. And he goes back to the teachers and he’s just like beaming and he’s holding this and touching it.
J. Scott: And the other kids are like, you know, talking to them and the teachers and man has got me, you know, if I got done and uh, you know, I finished and everything was great and I got in my rental car and I called my wife and I’m driving and I’m cool, you know, and I’m like, hey. So I, you know, I had this experience and I started to tolerant, man, I had to pull over. I just lost it, you know, and it just like, just this kind of moment, you know? And so I think that you really do, you have lots of moments that are hard, but then you have these other moments, you know where you, you get a tiny little taste of what your, what your talent is doing for other kids and wow, just you know.
Connie: Yes. Oh my goodness. I just love, I love that you shared that because you keep the core of what matters in what you’re doing and that’s always seeing people. It’s not just checking up another thing and it’s another assembly. It’s another day. You are truly being present with them because that person just like us, we were influenced by other people and they looked at as they saw us and we’re handing that baton and we’re passing that baton and you have no idea the seeds that you’re planting with just the little things that you’re doing. That seems so normal. I will get emails or texts from people from 10 years who’s heard something 10 years ago or read something and this is not that because me magical meat I’m talking about, this is what we all do. We all have spread seeds and we don’t know unless someone takes a moment and says this matter to me and look, look at the way have influenced all of these kids that you’ve opened this file drawer, especially in this day and age of fit inside and twitch your thumb in this ability to have imagination and to validate. You can do something. You could be a pickle, you can, you can imagine something and it’s okay. I love that. I can’t even tell you how jealous I am of these kids in those assemblies. I can’t even imagine how much fun and how wonderful that must’ve been. Oh, I would’ve loved that as a kid. Well,
J. Scott: you know you’re what you’re saying about those seeds as the one thing that I share with, with anyone who’s creative and, and, and I don’t care if you, you know, maybe you’re, you, you self published a book and it got read by five people or you wrote a short story and or you, you wrote a memoir of your family or you painted opinion, whatever it might be. People need to understand that their, their art, their talent, those are changing lives and they don’t always get to see it right away. Yes. But they absolutely change lives and most of the time you don’t get to see it. And, and that’s, that is better than any bestseller list or award or you know, anything is just having that, that one kid who you discover, right. I’ll tell you one more story and like you said, we have, you know, everyone has them.
J. Scott: This is not us being, you know, special or whatever. But I got an email one time and it was from that, that first book, that Far World Book that I didn’t think I could write that first book. And, and I got an email and it was from a 16 year old boy and he was in the hospital for an eating disorder and he’d been there for several weeks and he said, I just want to tell you, you don’t know who I am. I’ve never met you. I mean, I don’t know how he got my books. They’re in, in, I think it was in Pittsburgh. Um, but he had these books and he said, I just wanted to tell you that I really feel like you have saved my life. He said, this has been a really hard thing for me and I have your first three far road books on my nightstand. I’m reading the first one and usually it’s late at night when I start to just get anxious and stressed and, and, and I open up your book and I read about Marcus and [inaudible] and when I read about what they’re doing, I know that I can accomplish these things and he’s like, I just felt like I had to reach out to you and say thank you. You know, and, and that, that’s one kid, but people change lives, art changes, lives, creativity, changes, lives. You know, it’s, it’s, there’s a reason that we’ve been given those talents.
Connie: Oh you are still done is so tender and so spot on and that everyone in their sphere can do that. We have potential individually to do that. And like you said, we will probably not 98% of the time. No, but like when I do TV and they said for every comment that we get, that means that that reflects about 15,000 people’s views. So one little comment, you can imagine how many people have been effected positively. Ah, we could go on for ever part two on creativity and helping our kids into that later. People want to get ahold of you, like anyone listening and like the stories that you’ve shared. What’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?
J. Scott: So, um, my website is JScottsavage.com. Um, I’ll be, I’ve got a new book coming out fall of 2020 called the Wonderland Diaries. That’s a really fun story about what if wonderland was a real place. And there’s a talking about, you know, kids this, this is deals a lot with dyslexia. So I’m really excited about this one. Um, on Facebook, J Scott Savage, I love having people friending me and hearing their stories. That’s again, that kind of blending. If you, if you friend me on Facebook, you’re going to get my writing stuff but you’re probably going to also see, you know, pictures of my grandkids and stuff like that, you know, so blends together. But those are, I’m, I’m on Twitter and stuff like that too. But if you just, if you look for J Scott Savage, I, I um, I don’t go by Jeff because there is a Jeff Savage who has written a bunch of kids sportsbooks. Um, and so just so that’s not confusing, but if you search for J Scott Savage, you’ll find all my books if you want my adult books. Those are under Jeffrey S. Savage sometime.
Connie: Fantastic. And please give our love to Jennifer. I have to share one last quick thing that has stuck with me. We were at, I was teaching a newer, I’m teaching there two at a LDS story makers conference is bay conference like six – seven hundred people. It’s huge. And they asked people to go up on the stage and share one word that was meaningful and I will never forget it was going joyful or successful or whatever. And you got up and you said there is only one word. There has only ever been one word and that to make me a success. And that is Jennifer. Okay, so give our love she’s been with us in spirit.
J. Scott: I totally, will, thanks so much.
Connie: All right. Take care and remember, join us for more Balance Redefined Radio, you can subscribe below and you can also check out more episodes and remember, make this year your year to get Balance Redefined.