Author of the best seller "The Library at Mount Char," and undercover SysAdmin by day.
Have you ever wanted to be one of those writer's that's made it? Scott's one of them. We cover his best seller, his day job, and prove that it's cool kids who listen to audiobooks at the gym.
"Born in Idaho in 1969, I grew up in South Carolina. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S.C.S. in computer science in 1991 and an M.S. in 1993.
Since then I’ve worked a variety of computer jobs, usually having something to do with Unix / Linux, though there have been occasional forays into Windows development."
Seriously, this guy is too interesting. Can't wait to see what he puts out next.
You can read the blurb at Amazon, here's Andrew's personal thoughts on it after finishing the second round a couple of weeks ago:
"Phenomenally original story. This was my second read through, and it’s always such a surprise re-reading a book and realising how much you forgot. It does a really good job of being clever and surprising in equal measure. Also, without giving too much away, it’s an excellent crack at the timey-whimey stuff."
Three years on a stone.
This series plays with gods as well, which is always an interesting concept as Scott mentioned.
An adaptation of a William Gibson novel. So far, it's exceptional.
A highly recommended sci-fi author from Scott.
"System administrators—also known as sysadmins—are information technology (IT) professionals who make sure an organization’s computer systems are functioning and meet the needs of the organization. Sysadmins support, troubleshoot, and maintain computer servers and networks."
The technical genius of writers. Seriously, if you have any desire to feel like your learning while reading...
Scott's exceptional literary agent. Everyone need's a Caitlin in their corner.
Neil Gaiman coming in hot with a single? This is the best time line.
[00:00:00] Daniel Winter: hi guys. Welcome to Dead ByTomorrow Interviews. My name is Daniel Winter and my co-host is Andrew Monroe.As we explore different topics that are worth thinking about today, we wannabring in guests to share their own unique perspective. We hope you enjoyhearing from our guests as much as we enjoy talking to them.
[00:00:18] Andrew Monroe: Well, hello everyone. We've gota little special episode for you guys today. Daniel is not with us at themoment, but I do have Scott Hawkins, and if you haven't heard of him, he is theauthor of the library at Mount Char and from all accounts, a programmer, whichwe'll get into more. So Scott, welcome to the show.
I'm very excited to have you. I'm glad you survived yourappendicitis last week. Uh, that was a little scary. how about you tell us alittle bit about yourself? , besides, you know, you're missing Oregon
[00:00:47] Scott Hakwins: Well, at the time I wrote MountChar, I was in fact working as a programmer. these days, uh, it's more of asystems administration kind of thing. Um, I work for a large healthcare companythat I probably shouldn't mention doing.
Like, the kind of the care and feeding of big data, movinginsurance claims from one end of the, you know, one end of the pipeline, likedoctor's offices to, to the other. so it's more systems level stuff. You know,occasional development kinda thing. and, uh, I live in, uh, a suburb of Atlantacalled Canton, uh, with my wife.
And we're, we're down to one dog. We had six this time lastyear, and it's been a rough year for dogs. We, we got 'em all, uh, we, we gotthem all at the same time and they've they only live so long and so we, we've,we've had quite a few casualties over, over 2022,
[00:01:31] Andrew Monroe: That might be the saddest thingI've heard on our podcast
[00:01:34] Scott Hakwins: Oh God. Sorry.
[00:01:36] Andrew Monroe: That's, uh, no, it's okay. Ilaugh because I'm really depressed now. That's really, that's tough. That's alot of loss in one year.
[00:01:43] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, it was, it was prettybrutal. Um, they had, they had good lives, so, I mean, you know, I don't knowif you keep dogs, but you know, everybody is mortal and we did the best wecould for 'em and it's, you know, kind of celebrate the good times and try notto,
[00:01:55] Andrew Monroe: Absolutely. No, I've, I've gotone and it's, it's one of those things that you kind of put in the back of your[00:02:00] head like, well, he's just gonnalive forever. Right?
[00:02:02] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yep.
[00:02:03] Andrew Monroe: And you just don't wanna thinkabout that cuz it's
[00:02:05] Scott Hakwins: Deny it until the day. That'smy approach.
[00:02:08] Andrew Monroe: I, I have probably more abilityto emotionally accept people dying than I do, uh, pets dying, which is probablysomething wrong with me, but , it's a lot
[00:02:18] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. That's, that's,that's pretty common. There was, uh, I, there was, uh, some Brazilian horrormovie not too long ago that I just couldn't watch it. It was about, um, peopleabandoning dogs that they like, All the dogs banded together and took overSouth Paulo or whatever it was, and I just couldn't watch it.
I couldn't watch the, it was like, just, you know, I can sitthrough, you know, martyrs or the darkest stuff you could imagine. Um, and itdoesn't bother me, but you bring a dog into it, I just can't watch.
[00:02:42] Andrew Monroe: No, I totally get it. It's whyI like John W so much. I assume you've seen that,
[00:02:47] Scott Hakwins: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
[00:02:49] Andrew Monroe: Best revenge. I was like, Yes,they killed a dog. Bring hell fire down on them. This is, this is the mostrealistic movie I've ever seen.
Kill your mom. Eh, Hey man, that wasn't cool, but you knowwhat? We can get over this, but not the dog
[00:03:03] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that was agood, Yeah, that's a good flick. Really holding up pretty well is like a, Theseries is not, you know, normally the second and third movies in a series are,are pretty bad, but I actually thought the third one was pretty good.
[00:03:13] Andrew Monroe: I loved it. I, I'm very excitedfor the fourth to come out. Um, so far each one of them's just been on pointfor me, which I don't know how you do, like, it seems like such a throwawayconcept. And then they just keep like, Oh, here's a good rationale on why thismovie exists. You're like, Oh, okay. Yeah, I like it.
[00:03:28] Scott Hakwins: they're, they're doing good.They're doing good work. Cause they're, you know,
[00:03:32] Andrew Monroe: I've, I've got a little, uh, JLove for Japan kind of thing going on. And
that third one, and this is actually gonna segue into somethingabout your book, so be prepared, but , I loved that they brought in this, the,the whole little ninja thing going on I the end. Without giving away too manyspoilers though, at this point, if you haven't seen the third John Wick, likeyou're two, three years behind, so like get on that train.
But you know where the guy. Dying and he's talking to John Wickand he's like, Man, that this [00:04:00] wasgreat. I love this. You know, he's being really like, whatever that is, thatalmost like respectful, friendly. Like, Hey, did you have as much fun as I did
in this combat? I just, that spoke to me on such a level. Iloved it.
[00:04:13] Scott Hakwins: yeah. That's that. That wasreally fun. It's good the whole, Yeah. I mean, the whole thing is just, youknow, it's a little bit over the top, but still cool. Maybe more than a little,but, um, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:24] Andrew Monroe: All Horse a gun or something. Iloved that. I loved it.
[00:04:28] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. But that, that was what Iwas like, Okay, these guys are, they're really going for it.
[00:04:31] Andrew Monroe: They're just having fun. I, Idon't know if you knew this, uh, and I promise we'll get to the book. Uh, theguy who made the movies who directed them was actually his stunt double fromthe Matrix, I think.
[00:04:43] Scott Hakwins: Oh, no, I didn't know that.
[00:04:45] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, he, he took care of himso well. Uh, Keanu Reeves took care of his stunt double, so well, the guy endedup becoming a director and then maybe not exactly as a thank you, but as alike, Hey, I really liked working with you and you know, you kind of made mewho I am.
Let's make a movie specifically for you as Keanu Reeves. Andthat's where John Wick came from, was basically his stunt double became adirector. And I was like, this is the movie made for Keanu Reeves to play tohis strengths.
[00:05:11] Scott Hakwins: that's really cool. I didn't, Ididn't know that. I knew, I knew the story about ke. Like, uh, take, you know,financially he gave a lot of his salary to like the FX guys on the, on thematrix. Um, and that, um, so yeah, that's actually, That sounds like Keanu.Yeah.
[00:05:24] Andrew Monroe: I could be like him. I, I amnot as kindhearted or as, uh, wholesome as Keanu Reeves is. , Unless I came tosomeone kill my dog,
[00:05:32] Scott Hakwins: Keanu Reeves and Mr. Rogers.Man, those are the two. That's, that's what America needs.
[00:05:36] Andrew Monroe: Yeah. Geez. Only more peoplewere like him.
[00:05:39] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:05:41] Andrew Monroe: Okay, so I, obviously I'm a fanof your book, right? Uh, , That's why I
reached out, that you did a great job.
Um, we won't, you know, make you suffer through too manycompliments here. Cause I know that's gonna be awkward, but I was rereading thebook in preparation for you coming on. Cause I was like, you know, it's been alittle bit, it's been five years I think since I read it. [00:06:00] Uh, and that's, that's really actually howwe got here was I was like, Man, I wonder if Scott's come out with anotherbook.
I'll go look around and. You know, I was like, well, I'll reachout to him. You know, love to chat with him. So I was re-listening to it. Andthere's two things that came up. One, you seem to have a pretty, maybe notheavy Asian influence, but you, you seem to have a lot of Japanese things thatkind of blood in from another guy who likes Japanese stuff.
Was I reading too much into that or is that something thatfalls into your wheelhouse?
[00:06:29] Scott Hakwins: no, it is, um, I, I actuallytook Japanese in college. It's the only language I ever studied in any depth.Uh, and that's where a lot of that came from. So you get, you know, there'sinterest in the culture and.
[00:06:39] Andrew Monroe: Hm,
[00:06:40] Scott Hakwins: That, that kind of thing. And Idid, I, at the time, I was never, honestly, I really wasn't very good at it.
I studied for about three years and, you know, I was trying towatch Japanese movies and it was just, it's a tough language. Uh, but I Yes,you're, you're absolutely right about I am, I am, I was am interested.
[00:06:56] Andrew Monroe: That is funny because that isexactly, if, if you, I was to describe my dabbling in Japanese, that was,that's what mine was, three years in college, got really into it, reallystarted with wanting to, you know, kind of watch stuff in Japanese, got heavilyinto it for, throughout three years, getting a minor and then, uh, you know,things kind of fall away.
But like I still have kind that cultural and language kind ofview or perspective or lens added on to my traditional American, you know,view.
[00:07:24] Scott Hakwins: Yeah,
[00:07:24] Andrew Monroe: that's what really stood. I waslike, Oh, he looks like he did more than just Google. A couple, uh, Japanesewords here, but you know, I'm no
[00:07:31] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There were,um, yeah, I mean the, the, it was actually, it was a really cool class. Theguy, uh, the, the, the school I went to had a. Like, uh, an internationalbusiness department where like it was just totally immersive. Um, and theywould, you know, and so like all the students for Japanese lived on theJapanese floor in some particular dorm.
And the professor that I took studied under most, um, ran allthat. And so he would give, I wasn't in that depart, I wasn't in that program,but, um, a lot [00:08:00] of the kind of, theywould have activities for, you know, Japanese, uh, you know, culture and thatwe were invited to them if we wanted to come. And I did sometimes.
So it was, it was a good experience.
[00:08:08] Andrew Monroe: That's awesome. Do you have afavorite word in Japanese that you still like hang onto.
[00:08:12] Scott Hakwins: um, yeah, uh, issuing the waythe sun in this, uh, three years on a stone. So the idea was that if you sit ona stone for three years, your body heat will warm it up. And you know, the ideabeing that patience, uh, is the way to accomplish your goals.
[00:08:27] Andrew Monroe: That is a great idiom and Idon't think I've, I've heard that Which really, Oh, that's good. I'll have toadd that into the show notes so we can keep it going. . That's great. I, Mypersonal is Go Baroo. I just thought that was just the coolest little word thatdoesn't exactly translate into English, but now I've gotta come up withsomething a lot fancier, you know, for next time.
[00:08:47] Scott Hakwins: Well, it's been a, like I said,that's, that's the one that stuck with me after God, 30 years now, I think. Um,
[00:08:52] Andrew Monroe: That's, that's a long time totry and remember stuff. Cause I, I assume you're in the same boat as me andit's just, where's the time to practice that language that nobody anywherespeaks, you know, outside of Japan.
[00:09:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah, that's, it's, it'stough to, I, uh, a buddy of mine, um, was going to Japan a couple of years agoand he practiced a little bit, but it was, you know, neither one of us werenative speakers, so,
[00:09:09] Andrew Monroe: Well, we can find the bathroom
[00:09:11] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
[00:09:13] Andrew Monroe: There you go. So something elsethat, uh, came up while I was doing my reread on this that I was curious aboutagain, because of hypothetically shared experiences, you seem to have a, a bitof a. I'm trying to think of the right word here. more knowledge than Googlemight give you about breaking and entering into places.
So hypothetically, was that something that one of your friendsmaybe did, Uh,
[00:09:38] Scott Hakwins: No, I.
[00:09:38] Andrew Monroe: I might have had somethingsimilar.
[00:09:40] Scott Hakwins: Nothing like, nothing likethat. I had, um, I read a lot of true crime books. Uh, like, not, not, I don't,My wife, my wife likes something like the, the, you know, somebody gotmurdered, kind of true crime books. You know, um, I'm more on the, like bankrobbers and uh, uh, you know, burglars and that, that end of the scale.
I just think, I don't know. I don't know why. I just think thatstuff's [00:10:00] interesting. Um, so I'veread a, I've read a lot of memoirs by people who were, you know, ultimatelyunsuccessful. Otherwise they wouldn't have written a memoir. But I, I don'tknow. That's that sort of stuff. Just always really interested.
[00:10:10] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Wink, uh, understood.Wink
[00:10:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not, and youknow, I, there was a certain amount of juvenile delinquency in my background,
so, but I, I, I never to the point of breaking and entering.
[00:10:21] Andrew Monroe: See, Yeah, we, we never triedto, and I'll say we in a royal sense, um, you know, everybody's gotta havetheir. Little phase that they go through, I guess you could say. And somepeople it's, you know, alcoholism or whatever. But I, uh, I got really intogetting into buildings that I wasn't supposed to necessarily in college.
We didn't, you know, take anything. Yeah, it was just urbanexploring, I think was the term at the time, and it was kind of popular online,but, you know, just. Finding ways to get into a place so that you weren'tsupposed to. And you know, we had lock picks and bolt cutters and, you know,all this stuff. And, uh, you know, we'll leave it at that.
But it was a great time. Uh, very dangerous, but I had a blast.And so I was reading through the book. I was like, I, you know, this seems likestuff that I would, you know, Yeah. To have a little insider or knowledge on
[00:11:04] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I mean, I played aroundwith it, but nothing,
[00:11:07] Andrew Monroe: It's just play, you know,
[00:11:09] Scott Hakwins: the, the statute of limitationsis up and I didn't, I never heard anybody so
[00:11:13] Andrew Monroe: Exact. Yeah, that's, that's thegoal. So those were, there was just a couple of things I thought was prettyinteresting that popped out on the second read through,
[00:11:20] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Oh yeah. Internet'sforever. This is gonna show up next time I do a job interview.
[00:11:25] Andrew Monroe: No, no. It's been a long timeat, you know, 30 years plus. You're safe. You're safe. How did you, you becamea coder, um, I assume you studied that in school, uh, and then you now is CISadmin. Um, which is, you know, basically from what I understand, most technicalguys dream job because, uh, you get to tell other people what you want done.
From what I understand, I'm not super technical. I've gotenough to get dangerous sometimes, but how, how did that fit with writing abook, becoming, writing multiple books? I know you've got some technical, uh,manuals as well, but.
[00:11:58] Scott Hakwins: Uh,
[00:11:59] Andrew Monroe: Fantasy [00:12:00] author, coder, you know, cis admin, pretty technicalguy. do you see yourself more of and how did the two kind of branch out?
Like those don't usually go together, I guess, is what I'mgetting at.
[00:12:10] Scott Hakwins: I gotcha. I, um, I mean, it, itseems like they wouldn't, but here's the thing. Um, I've talked to, I talked, Ialways wanted to write, getting a novel, being a novelist was always my goal.Um, and I was thinking about this in, in, you know, in college when I waspicking a major and stuff, and I, I kind of naturally gravitated toward theEnglish department.
Um, but I would also journalism or something like that. Um, butI, I was reading a. People who were, you know, working journalists, but also,you know, novelists. And they would say like, the last thing they wanted to doafter they got done with a, you know, a full day job of, of work, uh, you know,do you know, writing sports columns or whatever was to come home and work ontheir novel.
They just didn't have, they were drained, you know, so, I, I,that's kinda why IHI away from that and, uh, I, um, I think that really holdsup well. And, and as it turns out, uh, working in a technical field, um, reallyis, is a nice complimentary skill set to, uh, to, you know, kind of, it uses, Iguess, the analytical part of your brain and you don't have to spend a wholelot of time talking and we're staring at the screen and typing.
Then at the end of the day, you can go be verbal. Um, and it'sexercises, it doesn't feel like work when I, it feels like a vacation when I'mgoing to do the, the, the writing part, Um, as opposed to just, you know, anextension of my day job. Um, so I, in that play, in that, I actually think thatwould work out really well
[00:13:35] Andrew Monroe: you're getting to kind of, youget to work two sides of the coin, kind of there, you know, hey, here's, here'sthis analytical, we'll call it right brain side. And that kind of eats up thatenergy space and you get to go to the left brain side afterwards and kind ofreinvigorate yourself working on something completely different.
[00:13:52] Scott Hakwins: exactly, exactly.
[00:13:53] Andrew Monroe: I like that. That makes sense.
[00:13:55] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:13:56] Andrew Monroe: And the, Oh,
[00:13:57] Scott Hakwins: flip, the flip side of it is,this is actually [00:14:00] really interesting.I, since, since I got published, I don't know why this is true, but I, I, Ialmost have no interest in reading fiction. Um, very little, maybe one, maybeone outta 10 books I read these days is fiction. I'm all, I'm all about thehistory and the memoirs and, and that kind of thing.
And I used to read that was novels used to be all I. But itkind of feels like work now. I mean, I'm like reading through this other, andI'm like, Oh, you know, you're kind of, your, uh, your own critical editorkicks in when you're reading somebody else's work and it becomes work,
if that makes
[00:14:30] Andrew Monroe: You're, you start dissectinglike, how, how did they, you know, tie these two things together. You know,you're looking for the tools, you're looking for that the back end. Now,instead of enjoying the fiction, I, I get that. I've run into the same problem.
[00:14:43] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:14:44] Andrew Monroe: gotta turn your brain off.
[00:14:46] Scott Hakwins: Completely unanticipated andnot, honestly, not really. All that, Not something I would've asked. I'm not,I'm not super happy about it, but that just seems to be the way it worked out.If I'm, you know, if I'm writing, I just, I gotta, I gotta read something otherthan fiction to unwind.
[00:15:00] Andrew Monroe: I get it. No, that's, I dothink that's a trade off because. You went through that whole process and youknow, in your case, I imagine it took a lot because you have a very clever bookand I assume, you know, that is not something that just happens. And so nowyou're looking at what other authors are doing, like, Oh, that was clever.
How'd they do that? Oh, I see. And you're recognizing the bonesof somebody else doing the same work you did and yeah, that's, that's tough.Bad trade off. Don't become a writer. Guys, I, You like
[00:15:30] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It's honestly, yeah, Ithink that's fair.
[00:15:35] Andrew Monroe: You released that, that was2015. Correct.
[00:15:38] Scott Hakwins: Sounds right. Yeah,
[00:15:39] Andrew Monroe: So something like that. Itwasn't last year.
[00:15:42] Scott Hakwins: No, yeah.
[00:15:43] Andrew Monroe: now to me, you had anincredibly successful book like library at Mount Char. You know, that's how Ifound it. You know, Best seller list, lots of people talking about it. Good.Reads the whole nine yards. Does that mean, you know, does.[00:16:00]
Do you consider yourself a successful, you know, novelist now,or was that just one of those things that you kind of pushed away and you stillsee yourself more as a successful career tech guy that just happened to have abook that, you know, made some money,
[00:16:14] Scott Hakwins: Oh, tough
[00:16:15] Andrew Monroe: assume made some money? I guessI'm making assumptions there, but
[00:16:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, it did. Okay. It, I mean,financially did okay. You can't retire off of it, but didn't hurt anything. Um,yeah. Uh, so. God, I don't know. Like I said, I always thought of myself as awriter first, and that was true even before the book, the book got published.Um, but, uh, I, as you put, you know, kind of, it's true that it's been since2015 and I have written other stuff since then.
Just nobody's liked it much. So, I mean, I don't know. I'm notsure what to make of that. I, I, Maybe you can't catch lightning in a bottlemore than once, or, or in, I always thought that it would be like somebody,like, you know, Stephen Kinger, John Grham, once you broke through and, youknow, had a fairly solid reader base, um, that it would hopefully not be too muchtrouble to get to the second book.
But, uh, for whatever reason, in my case, that's just nothappening. Um, and I've, I've, uh, I'm going, I haven't given up yet, but I'mkind of on a hiatus at the.
[00:17:11] Andrew Monroe: Sure. Well, Stephen King's a, ananomaly. like
[00:17:17] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Stephen King is amachine. I, I don't under, I don't, Yeah. Whew.
[00:17:20] Andrew Monroe: of these guys have a tap andthey can just turn it on. Uh, you know, you look at other authors out there andthere's people that, you know, I'll read about somebody and I'll be like, Wow,they were a really successful author. And then it's like, wow, they publishedlike one book every 10 years and they ended up publishing six total books.
And you're like, Oh,
[00:17:38] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:17:39] Andrew Monroe: Okay. So, uh, there's, there'sa lot of, you know, gaps in there. Sanderson's one of my favorite authors, andthat guy puts out like three books a year,
[00:17:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:17:49] Andrew Monroe: and it's just, it, it's hard tokeep up reading it.
[00:17:53] Scott Hakwins: I know, right?
[00:17:54] Andrew Monroe: they're huge. They're hugebooks, but, uh, yeah, Stephen King's on the same boat, you know, he is [00:18:00] one a year at minimum of scenes.
That's just outrageous to me. Uh,
[00:18:05] Scott Hakwins: I don't know how he does it. Ireally, I, I saw a thing with him and George R. Martin were, uh, kind of onstage somewhere and, um, George , you know, George is, you know, still kind ofworking on Wins a winter, um, to this day, I think. And he's like, How do youdo it to Stephen King? And he's like, Oh. So, I mean, it's not just me.
So, um, Yeah, Stephen. Stephen King's an anomaly. He's that guyis, I didn't fully appreciate just how much of an anomaly until I actually gotinto a position where I had to book number two.
[00:18:34] Andrew Monroe: Yeah. When you're like, Hey,wait a second, I've gotta do this. And this is hard.
[00:18:40] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
[00:18:42] Andrew Monroe: I get it. What does your, uh,wife think about it? Does she, is she a big reader as well?
[00:18:46] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah, she is. Um, it's kindof an inside joke. Um, you know, in the end, uh, the very last part about CharIrwin is in, um, um, prison and he's reading Janet Ivanovich. I have notpersonally read much Janet Ivanovich. She had did a how to write book that Iread. Um, but my wife loves her and she's just cackling over there on the, youknow, on the other side of the Midland.
Um, and apparently during, and, you know, it's, she's got thiswhole series of, of, uh, you know, one for the money. Da da da da da, and theyjust get progressively more insane. No longer my wife reads, they've got likea, a, a tele, like a talking monkey or something, or maybe, I can't remember.He is a magic monkey or a talking monkey or something like that.
And she's just cackling over there about it. So, um, yes, she'sa big reader as well. Not the same
[00:19:28] Andrew Monroe: Wow.
[00:19:28] Scott Hakwins: but
[00:19:29] Andrew Monroe: And, and that was, it's greatjuxtaposition because you've got this, you know, hardened military guy and Ithink you had that in that prison scene where he is like, you know, the guard'slike, Oh really? And he's like, Look, I can do whatever I want. And
it's just you, you set it up so well. Cause that is a thingthat a lot of people, you know, I haven't read Janet, and that's part of it.
I'm like, well, I'm, you know, I'm a dude and you know, I've,
[00:19:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:19:50] Andrew Monroe: I need swords and
[00:19:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:19:52] Andrew Monroe: Manly stuff, so we, our tastesare kind of, you know, I like that self confidence that your character, Irwin,you know, [00:20:00] has
[00:20:00] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, there'sa, there's a thing, you know, you're supposed to really kind of. One of thetips that I got at a writing workshop was that when you have, uh, you want yourcharacters to have two completely opposite traits in, in a lot of cases, um, solike, you know, David, uh, I don't, not to get too Spoily, um, you know, beinglike this killing machine, but he is working at Tutu, which is not like themost, you know, it looks ridiculous, but it, yeah.
Some, you know, that kind of stuff. But he, and he was mean toeverybody, but he loved that that old woman in the whose house they werestaying at, you know, they. He was going to like kill her when she made himwash his hands. And he's like, No, thanks grandma. And you know, she gave him alittle kiss on the cheek or whatever.
Um, so everybody's got a soft spot. And even the, the mean oneshave a nice spot and the nice ones have a mean spot kind of thing.
[00:20:45] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, that's great advice. I'venever thought about that. No one's at least told me that, so that might be
[00:20:50] Scott Hakwins: I thought it was too. I reallydid. That's directly where the two two came from too. He was, I think I had himin like battle armor or something in a first draft and,
[00:20:56] Andrew Monroe: Well, he was terrifying. He, you,you killed it with some of these people and they're, There were parts in itwhere I'm like, man, I don't think I could. I wouldn't be able to think aboutthat because that's not something I could have done. So I, I don't know ifthat's your, you know, you like horror movies and that's something I'm notusually into or like how did you get to that point where you're like, I'm gonnawrite these people that do some things that your everyday mortal is just noteven gonna process as an option.
Cause that seemed to come up a lot,
[00:21:22] Scott Hakwins: Um, hmm. Good. Interestingquestion. I don't know. that was kind of the, one of the things that I'venoticed, I read a lot of, I read and read a lot of, you know, kind of differentmythologies over the years, and it always seemed like, uh, the gods, you know,for whatever culture you're talking about, we're basically just people who havereally amplified.
Appetites, you know, if Hercules wasn't just cleaning out thestable, he was cleaning out the stables of, you know, whatever it was, that hehad to divert a river to do it and all, all these things. And so it wasn't, um,it was, it wasn't, uh, so much that they were doing anything [00:22:00] qualitatively different. It was just thatthe, the, the, the.
intensity was turned up. So when I was doing the, when I wasediting the book, anytime they were doing something that was relatively normal,um, I would try to take it and just like, turn it up to 10. or past 10, likeyou may remember, people have read the book, will probably remember the bullscene, um,
[00:22:17] Andrew Monroe: Yes.
[00:22:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
That that was origin. Yeah. That, that kind of took off. That,that, uh, what happened there was, um, it was, you know, don't share yourcatalog, uh, was one of the plot points that I just needed to have in there sothat they couldn't all, and the idea was that father didn't want them all to,to gang up on him and, and, you know, kind of team together.
And, and, cause, you know, collectively they knew pretty mucheverything he did and they might have, you know, he did. Didn't want to beoverthrown. Um, so he made, when it, as originally written, he gave, when theywere all little kids, he gave them this very stern speech about how you're notsupposed to share your catalogs.
And it was just a speech. And I'm like, You know what? That'snot very app operatic. So what can I do that would really make an impression onpeople? And that's kind of where that came. Um, it was just the wor it was theworst thing I could think of. I, um, I, I just, I, I remember reading about itin like third grade or something.
My, my, one of my, uh, grade school teachers was really intomythology and she told us about it. I'm like, I'm not sure that's what youought tell a third grader.
[00:23:17] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, Excuse me. This is theformative years. You know,
[00:23:20] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Right.
[00:23:21] Andrew Monroe: fetishes coming out of this, orsome we're going dark places.
[00:23:24] Scott Hakwins: Yep. It explain. Yeah. Anyway,so yeah. Um, so yeah, that's where that came.
[00:23:30] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Well, and that, thatmakes sense. There was a, and I've, I've totally forgotten the books, uh,series that I was reading, but that was how this other author dealt with hisgods, was he, uh, basically regular people became a God because they becamethe, the utmost ideal of that things, you know, whoever loved the hardest andthe most and was the most.
Person feeling love became the God of love. And you know, whoeverwas then, this is the big plot [00:24:00]point. Whoever was best with a sword became the sword. You know, the god ofswords. And uh, they basically just, you know,
[00:24:05] Scott Hakwins: Was that, was that, That soundslike the Pi Anthony stuff. Was that, was that possibly his,
[00:24:10] Andrew Monroe: oh,
[00:24:11] Scott Hakwins: He had a whole series about itlike, like late eighties I think.
[00:24:15] Andrew Monroe: Uh, no, not Pierce, Anthony's,uh, this is semi-new. The how, what is his name? I'd have to go hunt it down.Uh, it's, he sounds like French or Canadian. It's something that, that's why Ihave trouble remembering it, that he has a non-standard American name. Uh,
[00:24:32] Scott Hakwins: Tougher to stick with you. Iget it.
[00:24:34] Andrew Monroe: I'll throw it in the show noteswhenever I find I really enjoyed it, but that was kind of the thing.
And I'm sure it's not original cuz what is original, but
[00:24:40] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:24:42] Andrew Monroe: you know,
[00:24:43] Scott Hakwins: Nothing. Yeah. Yep.
[00:24:44] Andrew Monroe: Nothing under the sun, so.Okay. I say that, that you, one of the things that really drew me to your, uh,book was, it seems very original. I know obviously you're pulling mythologystuff and you're pulling all these different experiences, but overall, it was avery original book.
Um, it was also a really clever book,
[00:25:03] Scott Hakwins: It's a good
[00:25:04] Andrew Monroe: and you're welcome again. We'lltry not to throw too many compliments. Uh, it's tough. I know
[00:25:08] Scott Hakwins: yeah. What do you say? You
[00:25:11] Andrew Monroe: it's just like, Oh, thanks. Uh,. Please don't talk about it. You, uh, you had some, and I, hopefully youhaven't read many of the reviews because I think that's bad for people. But,uh, you have a bunch of really negative reviews about people not getting it.
Do you think you might have written a book that was maybe toosmart for , Some of the masses?
[00:25:34] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. People like whatthey like. I mean, is I, I really, I I I am 100%, uh, on, this is like one ofmy, my. Core cornerstones of my belief system or whatever is that you'reallowed to enjoy whatever you enjoy and vice versa. I I, I I will. That is ahill I am prepared to die on. Cuz I mean, you get, uh, you know, like if you'reon, if you have, if you've ever been on the internet, you know that as soon assomebody likes something, that somebody [00:26:00]else will come along and tell them why they shouldn't have liked it.
And that just drives me absolutely crazy. Um, so, and the flipside of that is if he didn't like it, he didn't like it, you know. Okay. Ifthat's, there's others I, sorry. I'll try harder next time. , or, you know,move along. You know it's there. Once it's out in the world, there's really notmuch you can do about it.
I'm glad. I'm glad a lot of people liked it and I'm sorry theother ones didn't. And that's really about it, that it doesn't, honestly didn'thurt my feelings that much.
[00:26:24] Andrew Monroe: Well, and that's, that bringsup a point that I run into in my day to day life. There's, I'm, I'm very easyto please in terms of like entertainment and, uh, I have other people in mylife, lots of 'em actually, that it seems that they're real desires. They wannabe a critic. And it drives
[00:26:39] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:26:40] Andrew Monroe: not been able to figure outwhy, but it, that's part of it.
It's that your core belief you're talking about there. That'swhat it is. It's like, you know, if someone likes something, let 'em, let 'emlike it. You don't need to convince people that they're wrong about likingsomething.
[00:26:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, I mean,
[00:26:52] Andrew Monroe: it. It drives me nuts.
[00:26:54] Scott Hakwins: let's say you win the argument.What do they get? Oh, now I like it. You know, I mean, no, it doesn't work likethat. Just, well, you know, Well, what didn't you like about it? And then, youknow, kind of you can calibrate the next time you go to the movies together.Maybe we shouldn't suggest X and instead should suggest y kind of thing, Butthat's as far as it goes.
[00:27:11] Andrew Monroe: and I'm convinced that wheneveryou come into something looking to find problems for it, you can find 'em.There is,
there's nothing that you can't find problems with. And if youwant to spend your time hunting for problems and, Oh, I found problems,therefore it's bad. Like it's just, that's so unfulfilling.
Unless, I don't know, maybe that is how you get fulfilled. Andmaybe it's just a different version of the same argument. Hey, if that's whatpeople like to do,
[00:27:33] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. Yep.
[00:27:35] Andrew Monroe: It drives me nuts. Cause I'mlike, Hey, quit trying to talk me out of this. Like, I enjoyed this book, Ienjoyed this movie. Like, you don't have to, you know, bash me in the groundabout it.
I don't know, drives me nuts. So
[00:27:46] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Like this is what is theSimpsons guy? Worst episode ever.
[00:27:49] Andrew Monroe: people are like that,
[00:27:51] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, they really are. They're,
[00:27:53] Andrew Monroe: They are. We'll just leave itat that, I
[00:27:55] Scott Hakwins: yeah, it's fine.
[00:27:58] Andrew Monroe: I've got another question aboutyour, uh, [00:28:00] your technical backgrounda little bit, cuz that's always interesting and, you know, part of this, youknow, dead by tomorrow we're looking at, you know, how do you, how do you bringyour whole life into focus and how you do your stuff day to day, you know, asif it's meaningful.
So I figure you're working, you're making money, you know, youractual career. Uh, Day to day at least, You know, it's not that writing isn'tyour career, but writing is a, is a long term gambit in terms of money. Youknow, it took you however long, you know, years to write your first book andthen, you know, it takes years for that money to really trickle and pay it backif you're lucky.
So, Was there anything while you're working this day job, uh,we'll call it, that, bled into the book? Like any parts of it that you're like,Oh, this piece of coding, or,
[00:28:47] Scott Hakwins: Oh gosh. Um,
[00:28:48] Andrew Monroe: came in or helped, you know,define what you're writing.
[00:28:53] Scott Hakwins: probably not. I, uh, there, soI, I kind of wrestled with that a little bit. Um, have you read much NeilStevenson? Like Cryptonomic? Yeah. Yeah. So like at one point I was thinking aboutdoing like a, you know, something kind of in that vein, like a cryptonomic, uh,or you know, ole lamb or something like that, where it's you.
All mathy. Um, and I, I honestly Stevenson, it's, it's his,he's got it, you know, it would, anything I came up with would be derivative ofhim. So I was trying to come up with something a little bit different and juststay away from, I mean there's, I I, I read a lot of like, biographies ofmathematicians and that showed up a little bit in Mount Char here and there.
But, um, it's not like a core element of the plot really. Sogenerally no, I was, I was try, try to stay away from the technical stuff, uh,in, in, um, in the book.
[00:29:43] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha that. It's a fairpoint, Stevenson. he goes deep into that technical
[00:29:49] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, Yeah,
[00:29:50] Andrew Monroe: and he does it really well. Um,he's,
[00:29:53] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It is. Yeah. And, um,and, and the, the other, like, again, getting back to the other thing I wassaying, like, at the end of the day, I really just don't wanna [00:30:00] think about it anymore. I mean, I've, I'vehad, you know, Um, it's, it's, I get all that, I get all of it that I'minterested in at the, at the day job.
[00:30:08] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. That's, that's a hardline to kind of draw on the sand, I would think, for a lot of people. So that'simpressive, uh, that you're like, Yep, , this is where you're gonna stay. AndI'm, I'm not gonna flex my technical prowess in this book. I'm writing. A lotof people kinda wanna blend those both worlds together.
[00:30:24] Scott Hakwins: yeah, I could, I could see,
[00:30:24] Andrew Monroe: see anything then. I was,that's why I was asking, I was like, I didn't really notice it. You know, maybesome of the, the structure you're using could have been related to. Logical,but I, I couldn't find it. That's why I was asking
[00:30:37] Scott Hakwins: no. It, it probably wasn'tthere. Um, I, I just, and honestly, it's wouldn't even really like a harddecision for me. I just, uh, like I said, I, I, um, when I, by the time I'mdone with the technical day job, I want, I, that's the last thing I wanna domore of.
[00:30:53] Andrew Monroe: I That's a totally understandable.
[00:30:56] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:30:56] Andrew Monroe: So you've talked about, uh,Stevenson and King and some of these guys. Do you, and I know you said thatpartly, uh, reading fiction's kind of gotten off topic for you, or at least outof your daily schedule. Do you have a favorite author that you's like, Man, ifI could just read this guy, or Girl, this is who I'd read, Or, you know, wasthere someone beforehand and then shifted?
[00:31:16] Scott Hakwins: Oh gosh. Um, I mean, I've gotprobably half a dozen, uh, that I would consider favorites. Um, So, uh, ThomasHarris, who wrote The Silence of the Lambs and all the Hannibal Lector stuff isI, I think just absolutely brilliant. I, I love him. Um, he's not, I don'tthink he's, he's has he only rec he put one out a couple years ago, um, that Idon't think did quite as well as some of his others.
And I think he's semi-retired now. But I absolutely admire hisstuff and would encourage anybody who would. Anybody who's interested in thethriller side of things to, to read him, He's got some, he, he's, he's reallygood with taking characters that are just monsters and making them, you know,ever so slightly sympathetic.
Um, Red Dragon was just the, the, the, the pinnacle of that forme. The guy was [00:32:00] like, I dunno howfamiliar you're with the story, but the, the. Main, the main bad guy was aserial killer. And obviously not very sympathetic, but when you read about hischildhood, it was hard not to feel at least a twinge for the guy.
Um, that, you know, monsters aren't born, they're made kind ofthing. Um, so Thomas Harris
[00:32:17] Andrew Monroe: I see where that was in yourwriting too.
[00:32:20] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, thatwas, that was directly outta Thomas Harris. I, I, yep. Copy paste kind ofthing. , um, I really enjoy Joe Haldeman, who's a science straight sciencefiction writer for the most part. Uh, I think he's also retired.
Uh, Stephen King, um, Neil Gayman. Uh, um, and you know, I'vegot, I've got 3000 books. I like 'em all for one reason or another, but thoseare probably the, those are among the people who I'll pick up without readingthe blurb.
[00:32:48] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, you'd see that author andyou're like, Yes. And, and that's probably a better way. Thank you for that.Next time I phrase that question is somebody you know, who's the author youpick up without even reading about, they have a
[00:32:56] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:32:57] Andrew Monroe: Reading that, Neil. No, I get,That's a good way to put it.
[00:33:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:33:02] Andrew Monroe: Do you see, uh, Neil Gaiman'sreleasing an album?
[00:33:05] Scott Hakwins: Is he? No, I didn't know that.
[00:33:07] Andrew Monroe: he, uh, he just dropped asingle And, uh, let me preface this with, I am not a music person. Like
[00:33:14] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, me either.
[00:33:14] Andrew Monroe: audio books when I'm workingout, when I'm
[00:33:16] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, me too.
[00:33:17] Andrew Monroe: it's, it's all the time. So,and it's weird for. We'll call them regular people. Uh, cuz they're like, Oh,what do you like, listen to?
I'm like, audio books. And they're like, Well, I'm meant likemusic. I was like, I don't know, like there's some alternative rock in there ifI really need a pump up. Or like, you know, there's some things from highschool or middle school or
[00:33:33] Scott Hakwins: Exactly.
[00:33:36] Andrew Monroe: I don't know,
[00:33:38] Scott Hakwins: That's, that's exact. You'rethe, you're the only one I've ever met who's, I'm in the exact same way. Iswear to God. I, uh, yeah. Drives my wife nuts. She's, she's all, you know,American Idol and all that. And, um,
[00:33:48] Andrew Monroe: Everyone, it, people look at melike I'm a, a serial killer and I'm just like, Look, it's just, I don't know.It's music. I
[00:33:54] Scott Hakwins: yeah. It doesn't do much forme. Yeah.
[00:33:56] Andrew Monroe: want to turn everybody else offcuz we're probably the only two people in this [00:34:00]entire world. Uh, . It's goofy,
[00:34:02] Scott Hakwins: that may be true. Yeah,
[00:34:04] Andrew Monroe: But so saying that it's, I'mnot usually plugged into the music scene, but because it was Neil Guyman, itkicked up into my, you know, whatever algorithms run my life at this point andwas like, Hey, Neil Gaiman's got this thing.
And I was like, That, is that the same Neil Guyman? I listenedto it and sure enough he,
[00:34:20] Scott Hakwins: I didn't know.
[00:34:21] Andrew Monroe: he composed an entire albumhooked up with a string quartet that he really liked, and they dropped a singlefor Halloween basically, and it's just, Kind of fun little Halloween singlewith this string quartet. And they're gonna release the whole album later on in2023 I think.
[00:34:37] Scott Hakwins: No kidding. Yeah, I will. I'll,I'll do that. I had no idea.
[00:34:40] Andrew Monroe: Mm-hmm. , I saw a comment thatthey were like, Neil Guyman is just gonna take over the entire, uh, artistic,you know, creativity space. And, uh, I was like, That's true. He just, hedoesn't stop. He's got tired of, you know, comic books and now he's doing, it'sjust everything. He touches everything
[00:34:55] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, he's, Yeah, he really is.He's, He's just an amazing talent.
[00:34:59] Andrew Monroe: Does that make it hard for you?I know for me, I, I struggle and I'm obviously nowhere near the success of yourbook, but like seeing people like Guyman or King or Sanderson or any of theseguys, it where you talked about like, you know, I don't wanna be derivative ofStevenson. It makes it hard cause you're like, I love this book, but I don'tthink I can, I can do what they're doing.
How do. Walk that line between people you love reading or evenwatching,
like, I don't get it. It's
[00:35:25] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It is, it's tough. Umhmm. I guess, uh, in the writing process, if I, you just kind of, you gotta doit with a clear, to me, like, I just don't feel good about it. If it'ssomething that's blatantly, consciously. If, if I, if I notice that, Oh yeah.You know, Neil Gaman did x in, in terms of plot points or something in one ofhis books, or Stephen King did x in in plot in as a plot point in some of hisbooks.
I'll try to stay away from that, but I think it's fair play tokind of [00:36:00] analyze their body of workand look at the techniques they use. Um, so as a for instance, Gayman seems to,a lot of the Sandman series really seemed to me to be like daytime drama. Um,that was writ with, you know, he took, he turned the characters up to 11.
He had this kind of dysfunctional family and they were allplaying politics against each other. They also happened to be, you know, Godsessentially, and. I think, I think, uh, Shakespeare did this a lot, a verysimilar thing. You know, it was like a lot of this stuff would, a lot ofShakespeare, I think was the enjoyment for the audience was enhanced because itwas all these like, you know, kings and, and occasional supernatural, you know,cameos and, and, and that kind of thing.
So, um, without. doing something with the endless probablywould've not been cool, but I felt like it was fair play to come up with some,you know, to use that, uh, kind of to have a family drama that with, that had,uh, you know, larger than life, characters or characters with larger than lifeskill sets.
So that was fair play. So in that sense that, that's kindawhere I draw the line. Plot points, no techniques. Yes.
[00:37:12] Andrew Monroe: I see. So, and that's also whatyou're talking about, where it becomes, uh, problematic to read other fiction
[00:37:18] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's partof
[00:37:20] Andrew Monroe: dissecting, you know, Hey, youknow, I'll steal that technique. Or Barton steal. Yeah, we'll go with steal.Cause I,
[00:37:26] Scott Hakwins: Steel's fair? Yep.
[00:37:27] Andrew Monroe: yeah, there's that, uh
[00:37:29] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:37:29] Andrew Monroe: there's another book, The steelbook.
What was it called? Do you know what I'm talking
[00:37:32] Scott Hakwins: Steal, uh, steal this book byAbby Hoffen.
[00:37:35] Andrew Monroe: Maybe it's, it's been a while,but basically that's what they're talking about. Like, Hey, there's nothingwrong. As long as you steal it, make it your own. Use it your own way. Youknow, take the technique but give it your own spin. It's fair, fair play,
[00:37:47] Scott Hakwins: good artists borrow Goodartists. Borrow great artists steal.
[00:37:51] Andrew Monroe: Yes. I think that's what I wasthinking about. So I get it.
[00:37:55] Scott Hakwins: yeah. I'm, I'm all, I'mcompletely on board with that
[00:37:59] Andrew Monroe: So [00:38:00]again, we, we kind of. Trying, We're trying to teach people, help people showpeople like, Hey, here's the kind the directions you can take your life. Uh,here's the way you go about it. So you've got two, what I would call enviablecareers. You're a successful novelist and uh, like I said, most of the guys Iknow in tech, they get pretty excited if they can get up to that cis admin manjob, because that's kind of a. You know, the, the an end all, it almost seemsto be like before you become a CIO for a company on doing tech work had, whatdo you, what did you do to get there? You know, first on the book, was therelike a, you sat down every day and wrote for three hours at, from five to sevenor 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and then, you know, what was the career jump to go from acoder to a CIS admin?
Or was it just kind of fell in your lap?
[00:38:50] Scott Hakwins: Well, it was kind of a, I mean,it was kind of a. Well, I've bounced back and forth between a lot. I've wor,I've had a lot of hats. I've worn a lot of hats on the technical field. I did,I started out as like a dba and then, um, I wrote the, I wrote a Linux bookback in like 2000 or 99 or something like that.
That really got me, like, comfortable with like the, the deepworkings of like Linux. And that's been a really nice kind of fallback allthrough my career. Just, it's good stuff to know if I'm, if you're working in aLinux environment, Like kind of solid base of just whatever command does andkind of thing, um, is, is handy.
Um, uh, coding, I, I just, I I think it's more of a young man'sgame. Um, I'm. Probably I just don't have the, the energy and drive for it thatI kind of used to. I mean, some of these guys, uh, the guys that I work with,um, are, are just absolutely super sharp, uh, Java guys and, um, I'm, I'm, my,my role is more like support and debug.
So honestly, I would say it's not like the pinnacle of the techfield. It's, it's, this is more of a, you know, like a linebacker as opposed tothe quarterback kind of thing, or
[00:39:54] Andrew Monroe: I am happy to stand corrected.Like I said, I, I don't go into that world. My, my world's internet
[00:39:59] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. [00:40:00] So, I mean, but everybody, you know,everybody, but everybody contributes in their own way, et cetera, et cetera.But, um, it's a good, it is a good job.
I mean, there's nothing wrong with it. It's just like, uh, ifyou wanna rock the guys who are really driving,
[00:40:13] Andrew Monroe: Mm-hmm . I gotcha. So what didyou start out with? Was it Linux?
[00:40:18] Scott Hakwins: Uh, my first job was on, uh,no, it was, it was like at and t Uix, I think, but this was like 93, I think.So I don't even remember anymore. It was, I, there was a database calledinformix, um, and I was doing programming with, uh, something called Informixfor 4G that you probably never even heard of. It died out I 15 years ago.
And then just, you know, one thing, I hopped to another, I dida lot of, uh, systems programming in c for a while. Uh, I did some webdevelopment, uh, ran some web servers, um, uh, then did kind of like toolsmithing for, uh, long pipelines. Um, and ended up, What I'm working on now issomething, is a permit called Hadoop, which is a big data kind of ecosystemthat. let you hold like petabyte scale databases and move stuff through themand that kind of thing. But that's probably not the core of the interview , soI'll just, I'll let it go with that.
[00:41:14] Andrew Monroe: No. So funnily enough, we, uh,Daniel and I, the other guy that hangs out on this podcast with me, usually,uh, we did a little monthly challenge for Sequel just back in
[00:41:24] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah.
[00:41:25] Andrew Monroe: I got a, I got a pretty okaytutorial and sequel and actually really enjoyed it. Um, So I, I'm leaning moretowards databases nowadays.
Oh yeah. I love them.
[00:41:35] Scott Hakwins: Useful skill.
[00:41:36] Andrew Monroe: we were working on, and this isjust a little sidebar on it, uh, and it was one of those things I was like, Ididn't know the solution, you know, six months ago, but we're working on thisapplication for getting some government grant money and they dropped us thisCSV with, it was like 900,000 rows. Which is why you have a database, becauseExcel [00:42:00] or Google Sheets or any ofthese guys, they can't handle that kind of data . And so I was trying tomanipulate this data with, you know, almost a million rows and it just, youknow, wouldn't, I've got this.
[00:42:10] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, that's,
[00:42:11] Andrew Monroe: M into MacBook Air. And itdidn't matter what my computer was doing, Excel itself was just like, No,sorry, we're good.
So I did this little V look up and it was just done. Mycomputer's like,
[00:42:19] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:42:20] Andrew Monroe: we can't do that. And I waslike, Why would you prop this to me, not gimme a database to work with instead.And you know, it's really cool to know that kind of stuff or at least know
[00:42:27] Scott Hakwins: It is. Yeah, it's handy.
[00:42:29] Andrew Monroe: So it's cool. Um, let me jumpyou over to the author thing then. What was your process like writing the bookand has it changed since you. Uh, let's say gain success.
[00:42:43] Scott Hakwins: Um hmm. Uh, it did change. Uh,okay, so when this was, uh, Mount Char was actually the fourth kn fourthmanuscript that I completed. The other three, the third one I thought wasshaky. I think arguably there the case could have been made that the third onewas publishable, but the first two were just basically practice.
They weren't, they weren't ready for prime time.
[00:43:04] Andrew Monroe: Sure.
[00:43:05] Scott Hakwins: The, uh, so when I was writingMount Char, um, I would kind of do it, uh, I did it a li initially I did it alittle sporadically. I would just have, I would have like an idea for a scene.Um, uh, there were like three core scenes in the book. Like the one in likewith like the neighborhood picnic at the end, uh, was originally gonna be the oone of the intros, intro scenes.
Um, I'm gonna be a little vague here to avoid spoilers.
[00:43:28] Andrew Monroe: Sure.
[00:43:29] Scott Hakwins: The one where, um, Steven Caroland meet at the bar and they decided to go break into a house was another one.And I just thought it was kind of an interesting scenario. Um, and, uh, God,what was the other one? Anyway, so I had, so I had those and maybe three otherscenes, um, that I just kind of worked on just cuz they were interesting.
Oh, the third one was, uh, Steve jogging through theneighborhood and, and, um, he bruns into some dogs. Uh, that actually happenedto me by the way. That was, that was
[00:43:55] Andrew Monroe: No way.
[00:43:56] Scott Hakwins: No, it did. Yeah. I was, I wasliving in, Yeah, it was, it was actually really [00:44:00]scary . Um, I mean, they didn't, obviously didn't maul me, but it was like thiskind of a, like it was this neighborhood where, The houses weren't, the neighborhoodwasn't fully developed.
The street ran down maybe a half mile past where I was livingat the time, and in the woods it was where people would go to drop off alltheir strays. There was this pack of stray dogs living in there, and theyweren't happy to, they were not happy to see me. And I, man, they were, theychased me for about half a block before I was like, Ah, give you outta here.
Scariest, scariest thing in my life.
[00:44:28] Andrew Monroe: everybody thinks they're toughuntil you actually run up to an animal that's great to have some beef with youand you go, Oh, you know what? These, these human hands and human teeth are notprepared for just about anything. This chihuahua was gonna take me
[00:44:41] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Right.
[00:44:42] Andrew Monroe: That's wild.
[00:44:44] Scott Hakwins: yeah, so I wrote those down andI was just kind of trying to think about ways to like, rearrange them andstring them out, uh, or rearrange them and maybe string them together. Whatyou. What could the storyline be here that would connect these three things andthat, and I, so I, I would like write one and then think about it for a coupleweeks, then write another one and think about it for a couple weeks.
And I was a lot slower and more, um, I, I mean, I was, at thatpoint I'd been failing to get anything published for like 25 years. I wasmostly just doing it as a hobby. I kind of enjoy it. Uh, and, and eventually Iwas like, Oh, hey, I know how to, I know how to put all this together. And sothen I sat down and got into a very focused, about six months, um, where thatwas really all I did.
Uh, and you know, that. That ended up working out, um, afterthe hook, after it got published. I did try to, I did go through a period ofabout five years where I was writing every day, and I put together twocompleted manuscripts and one half manuscript that nobody liked. Um, so they,that's, I mean, it wasn't that I wasn't wor Yeah, yeah.
It's, you know, but at least I got one. Um, at least I got oneout there and I haven't given up, but I, I've, I've kind of, I've been onhiatus for the last couple of.
[00:45:52] Andrew Monroe: Sure. So how did you find, didyou go find an agent? Did you find the publisher directly? You know, how didyou actually get [00:46:00] to the big leagues,I guess?
[00:46:01] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Um, so like I said, thethird book almost made it. Um, she, she, there's a, there's a process called,What you do is you send an a query letter, which is like a one page letter, youknow, um, describing your book, and would you like, you know, would you like tosee or, and usually like the first five pages, the manuscript or something.
Um, and the agent will. The agent's assistant more typicallywill at least look at it and see if it passes first cut. They will pass it onto the agent who may or may not request the full manuscript. And the next stagefrom that would be they will either offer representation or not. Um, in thiscase, uh, of my third book, um, the agent I sent it to is my now agent, uh, at,uh, Why Dawson?
A lady named Caitlin Blazedale. Um, she read the third. Likedit well enough to, to like read the entire manuscript and said it was, shedidn't think it was gonna sell. Um, but get back to her with, uh, whatever Icame up with next. So that was, I don't know, probably five years before MountChar came out, uh, before I wrote Mount Char.
Um, so five years later I was like, well, I, you know, justgetting, just having an agent willing to put eyes on your manuscript is a bigstep. That's, that's, I mean, it's, it's a hugely competitive process. So I, I,you know, shopped it to death and polished it as best I could and then queriedthe agent and everything really went pretty quick from there.
She read it pretty much overnight, offered representationwithin a week or so. And had we, we did like a couple, we did maybe two monthsworth of rewrites. Um, and then it sold like first week out,
[00:47:27] Andrew Monroe: a bit of a whirlwind
[00:47:29] Scott Hakwins: Whew. Best, Yeah, man. Oh, Iwas on top. I was on top of the world. I was really some of the best days ofmy. You don't really, you don't really appre appreciate succeeding at somethinguntil you failed at it for like three decades. I
[00:47:41] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, and then someone givesyou that
[00:47:44] Scott Hakwins: yeah, Ronald Reagan waspresident when I first started sending in manuscripts. Um, so this, and thiswas, you know, like said, came out in 2015 or whatever.
[00:47:52] Andrew Monroe: I bet that was a nice dopaminehit.
[00:47:55] Scott Hakwins: Oh my, yes. Yeah. Big time atthe Hawkins house.
[00:47:59] Andrew Monroe: So, So what did you do to [00:48:00] celebrate? I assume they gave you anadvance or something of some sizeable amount. Did you go buy something cool ordid you go on vacation or did you just have a little party and call it quits?And
what what was your celebration?
[00:48:12] Scott Hakwins: Well, we, I mean, we went outto dinner that night. They, you know, they don't like the advances come, Ithink you get, uh, typically you get like a, like 25% of the advance on, uh, Iforget how it works. It was 25% on signing and 25% on. Editorial completion,another 25% on publication or something like that.
And, and I'm missing a 25% somewhere, obviously. So it wasn'tlike I immediately had this big check. Um, but, uh, but you know, I knew themoney was coming trickling in and, um, I, I used it. I, I used it to movehouse, honestly. I, I, I put a down payment on a, on a, on a, on a place a fewmiles down the road from where I'd been living, um, which is where I'm at now.
[00:48:51] Andrew Monroe: Oh, I gotcha. Well that soundslike a worthwhile use of your money then. Sounds like it led in gooddirections.
[00:48:57] Scott Hakwins: Yes. Yes it did. And this,
[00:48:59] Andrew Monroe: So y'all weren't togetherwhenever you first published,
[00:49:02] Scott Hakwins: uh oh. Um, Yahoo.
[00:49:06] Andrew Monroe: uh, you and your wife.
[00:49:08] Scott Hakwins: Well, no, we, Sorry. Yeah. Um,we were, we had just gotten married when,
[00:49:12] Andrew Monroe: Oh, okay.
[00:49:13] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Uh, I think when the bookcame out, we had just gotten married, but as I was writing it, we were, we werejust kind of, We'd been together for like five years at that point. So, I mean,and neither of us has any kids, so we both have previously married, Neither ofus have kids as kids.
So I mean, it wasn't, the difference between married and, andthe transition between married and or not married and married wasn't aparticularly dramatic one. It was really just we went out to Vegas and ELDmarried us. Um, so it did, it
[00:49:40] Andrew Monroe: Wait, did that really happen?
[00:49:41] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, no. That re
[00:49:43] Andrew Monroe: awesome.
[00:49:43] Scott Hakwins: Oh yeah. Got married by Elvis.
He did a good job too. I'd definitely recommend the Elvis. AndI mean, you, you know, wedding planning is that I don't think anybody's idea ofa good time. And she just, she just wanted the, Yeah.
[00:49:55] Andrew Monroe: that's
[00:49:55] Scott Hakwins: wanted the white dress. So thatwas all we did.
[00:49:58] Andrew Monroe: I, I go to Vegas probably alittle too [00:50:00] much
[00:50:00] Scott Hakwins: Oh, do you? Yeah.
[00:50:01] Andrew Monroe: Oh yeah. And it's, it's alwaysone of those things I'm like, I can see it. And they have some nice places, youknow, all the, the hotels, they've got some really much better, at least thanAmarillo, Texas, uh, chapels or, you know, places to get married.
And, uh, I can see the appeal. Take all the headache out, youknow, if you wanna invite people. Vegas is there, Everybody likes to go toVegas. I like it.
[00:50:22] Scott Hakwins: Buddy of my buddy, Good buddy.Good friend of ours, uh, did the same thing. He, it was years before I met him.Um, he and his wife, uh, they, there's like a drive through wedding chapel inVegas, and that's what
[00:50:32] Andrew Monroe: No way.
[00:50:33] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. A literal drive through.It's just, eh, So they were passing, they were going from kelp. Passing throughon their way from California to Georgia. You wanna get married? Sure. Let'spull in here. You know?
[00:50:45] Andrew Monroe: That's just wild. I haven'tseen that. I'll next, I'll be back for CES in January. I'll go look for it.
[00:50:50] Scott Hakwins: yeah,
[00:50:52] Andrew Monroe: See? if I can find the drivethrough.
[00:50:53] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Elvis is cool though. Idefinitely, I definitely recommend Elvis. I didn't, I haven't seen the drive through.
[00:50:58] Andrew Monroe: See, I'm, I, I'm not marriedand my girlfriend, if that became the, uh, the situation, I think I would be ina world of pain if I tried to suggest something like that
[00:51:08] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's all aboutwhat the bride wants. It really
[00:51:11] Andrew Monroe: Yep. I'd be in a, I'd be in, Ithink that'd be a blast, honestly. But I, I would be overruled very quickly.I'm fairly certain.
[00:51:18] Scott Hakwins: yeah.
[00:51:20] Andrew Monroe: uh, sorry, I had anotherquestion with.
Uh, the earnings, just cuz this is always something interestingto me cuz writing is fun for a lot of people, but making it a career is a wholedifferent ballgame. It's not even the same game. Um, I understand you have toearn out that advance that you were talking about the 25 percents. Uh, what wasyour timeframe on that?
I assume you've earned it out because again, your book seemedto have done really well,
[00:51:45] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, that's a good question.Um, I think it was about three years before it turned out.
[00:51:50] Andrew Monroe: Three years, were you worriedat all?
[00:51:54] Scott Hakwins: Um, Well, you don't have togive the advance back. So, I
mean, I figured anything was, anything was gravy. Um, and [00:52:00] I mean they, you, there are ways to make aprofitable, I have been told, I don't really know what, I don't really knowwhat this means specifically, but I've been told that even if a book doesn'tearn out its advance, it can still be pretty profitable, uh, for the house.
So, but earning out your advance is obviously better than notearning it out. And I, I did, and it's been, it's been several years, so it's,I mean, it's still, it seems to be selling pretty steadily.
[00:52:22] Andrew Monroe: That you still get yourroyalties, uh, monthly, yearly or something now, Right.
[00:52:27] Scott Hakwins: Bi-annually.
[00:52:28] Andrew Monroe: Buy annually twice a year.
[00:52:30] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:52:30] Andrew Monroe: Interesting. Uh,
[00:52:31] Scott Hakwins: Yep.
[00:52:32] Andrew Monroe: Well that's cool.Congratulations again. Um, I've always just wondered about that cause I knowthere's a lot of people, especially on their, you know, first published book.And this is completely from a theoretical reading about other people's experie.
Uh, viewpoint, but I understand a lot of people don't usuallyearn out their first book, and it's okay because it's like, well, we try and,we'll, you know, release a couple more books and we expect down the road we'llstart earning out commissions or, uh, royalties,
[00:52:57] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. Yeah. I think that, Ithink that's the kind of the general policy, but again, they don't, you know,everybody's deal is a little different, so I, I, I, I don't think there's a onesize fits all answer, but yeah, I think that's, I think that's fair.
[00:53:10] Andrew Monroe: I gotcha. Are you still incontact like on a regular basis with your agent or did she
[00:53:14] Scott Hakwins: Uh, well, I haven't had much, Ihaven't had a whole lot to send her lately, so I don't wanna like call, Youknow, one thing I've noticed, one thing I've noticed about publication or aboutum, the, the publishing industry is the emails tend to be really shorten and tothe point. So it's not like we sit around and like, you know, gossip orwhatever.
Um, so I, you know, I check in with her once or twice a yearand, uh, you know, have you got anything? Well, not yet. And you know, that,that's kind of that, so,
[00:53:38] Andrew Monroe: luckily they work with multiplepeople and it's her day job, so . She probably doesn't wanna take her work home
[00:53:43] Scott Hakwins: she's probably, She's probablyready to strangle me at this point. I do need to get something out to her.
[00:53:47] Andrew Monroe: Well, I won't tell her. We'lljust not mention that you came on here and you were really busy writing andAndrew who
[00:53:54] Scott Hakwins: Yeah.
[00:53:55] Andrew Monroe: That's cool. Sounds like a goodperson. I mean, anybody who is, you know, and obviously it's [00:54:00] her job, but anybody who helps move thatbook forward, especially a good book, um, they're, they're a win in my heart,so
[00:54:07] Scott Hakwins: She's phenomenal. She, No,she's, I was just gonna say she's helped a lot of writers, um, you know,Charlie STRs, Charles STRs,
[00:54:12] Andrew Monroe: Charles Strasson, off the topof my head,
[00:54:14] Scott Hakwins: uh, he's, he was one of myfavorites. Um, also a programmer slash uh, writer. He, he was, I read, um, itwas a good story. Okay. I, I had read a lot of his stuff.
Uh, he was one of the reasons actually, that I, uh, applied to.This particular agent was because I knew she represented him and he's just thisphenomenal guy. I remember the, the way, uh, the, the way I I first gotintroduced to his work was in one of those, um, year's best, uh, sciencefiction and fantasy collections.
And he had this one short story that really called it ColderWar that really just knocked my socks off. And then like two days later, thiswas, I, I was looking for some kind of really obscure technical issue. Uh, for,with a, with a scripting language called Pearl. And damn, it wasn't, He wasn'tdamn if he didn't have the answer.
This was back when Enet was still, so I, I go into this pearlfor him and it was like the same guy. It had the same email addresses andeverything and I was like, How, who is this guy?
[00:55:11] Andrew Monroe: he's haunting you.
[00:55:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It was just better ateverything that I wanna do than I am. It was,
[00:55:18] Andrew Monroe: That's pretty cool.
[00:55:19] Scott Hakwins: yeah, we've swapped emails acouple times since then. He, he is a really cool.
[00:55:23] Andrew Monroe: Wow. No, I haven't heard him,but I'll go, I'll look his stuff
[00:55:26] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, definitely ch yeah. Uh,the laundry files I think is what he's best known for, but he's is shortfiction is phenomenal too.
[00:55:32] Andrew Monroe: Okay, I'll check it out. I,there's very few things I won't read. I'm pretty, pretty open. I enjoy most ofit. Um, also completely unrelated, but something just based on our conversationhere. You might, like, I just watched the first episode of The Peripheral, uh,yesterday. It's Oh, it's so cool.
[00:55:51] Scott Hakwins: It is really fantastic. Yeah.
Um, I had, Yep,
[00:55:55] Andrew Monroe: I haven't even read the book,which really upsets me cause I'm a Gibson fan.
[00:55:58] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, Me too. Yoga. Are yougood? [00:56:00] Yeah. Love Gibson. Um, it'sgood to see him finally getting some justice. The movie adaptations that havebeen made of his stuff were little shaky.
[00:56:08] Andrew Monroe: Well, if this thing doesn'tjust kill it, like, I mean, the quality is there. It, We watched the firstepisode seriously just last night and it was just, I was like, Wow, this isgonna be great. I'm excited. So I'm trying to share it.
[00:56:21] Scott Hakwins: good. I, episode two wasequally good. Um, I haven't watched the third one that dropped on Friday, butthat's probably what I'm gonna do with this afternoon.
[00:56:28] Andrew Monroe: Good, Good. Keep me posted onit. Let me know what you think. Cause I, I'm gonna hit probably the second one.Probably won't be today, but sometime this week. Hopefully I'll make some timefor it. Uh, they're long. I was not ready for how long the episodes
[00:56:39] Scott Hakwins: yeah. Me either.
[00:56:40] Andrew Monroe: uh, , but I'm, I'm, I'd ratherthat than not.
[00:56:44] Scott Hakwins: Well, the same guy I did.Westworld, like the first season of Westworld, honestly, is one of the bestthings I've ever seen on television.
[00:56:49] Andrew Monroe: that, that makes sense. Ihadn't put that together, but I could see the quality, their,
[00:56:54] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, yeah.
[00:56:55] Andrew Monroe: on course. And the intro, theintro should have given it away. Uh, just watching the intro was like, Man,this reminds me of something else I've watched. Now that you said Westworld, itjust snapped. I was like, Oh yeah.
That, that's what it was.
[00:57:06] Scott Hakwins: I think it's Jonathan Nolan andmaybe a couple of the other partners from, uh, from the first season ofWestworld.
[00:57:12] Andrew Monroe: Cool. Well, yeah, for everybodylistening, uh, the peripheral is gonna be the next hot thing. I hope it was
[00:57:17] Scott Hakwins: it is, it is. It's absolutely
[00:57:19] Andrew Monroe: mm-hmm. .Well, Scott, I thinkI've, I've eaten up your hour. Is there anything else you want to toss outthere? Anything that I haven't asked you that you, like, people need to knowthis about you, or your book, or, you know, what you're doing next, or anythinglike that? Or, you know, a cool quote you got whatever you want to, you know,finish this out with.
[00:57:37] Scott Hakwins: I don't know. I, I don't,honestly, I don't have much. My only, my, my only thoughts would be like, ifyou wake up in the middle of the night with a really strong stomach pain, go tothe er, don't wait. Uh, the, the appendicitis thing, don't, don't tortureyourself.
[00:57:50] Andrew Monroe: Yeah, just get taken care of.Oh God, that scares me. I am, I think, you know, partly cuz I'm running aroundwithout insurance is probably why it scares me.
[00:57:59] Scott Hakwins: Oh [00:58:00]yeah. Oh boy. That would be scary.
[00:58:02] Andrew Monroe: Well, and it's one of thosethings, most everything else is like, eh, you can kind of blame yourself ifsomething happens to you or not. But, uh, appendicitis is just
[00:58:09] Scott Hakwins: Yeah,
[00:58:10] Andrew Monroe: roll of the dice that you canjust get you
[00:58:12] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. It's like, what did I doto deserve this? I mean, you know. Oh
[00:58:17] Andrew Monroe: I get it. Well, sincerely,thank you for making time. I know you've got a lot of stuff going on in yourworld, uh,
and you know, like losing an organ
[00:58:25] Scott Hakwins: Yeah. I didn't lose it. We knowjust where it is, but
[00:58:29] Andrew Monroe: Oh, okay. Well hopefully youdidn't keep it by the way. Uh, that would be
good. Well, thank you again. Uh, I really have enjoyed this.It's always fun to meet somebody else who, uh, likes books more than music, sothat's worth it by itself.
[00:58:41] Scott Hakwins: We should start a club. Yeah,
[00:58:43] Andrew Monroe: All two of us, we might find athird in, you know, Japan or China or
[00:58:46] Scott Hakwins: Yeah, right. Big world.
[00:58:47] Andrew Monroe: trium front. . Well, thank youagain. Uh, I'll have everything linked in the show notes to Scott's website andhis book. And, uh, if you really wanna get, technically he's got someprogramming books on Lennox that you can go look at. That's not my cup of tea,but, uh, we'll have everything out there. So to everybody listening, thank youfor coming on.
Thanks for supporting Scott, and we look forward to connectingwith you.
[00:59:09] Scott Hakwins: Likewise. Thank you very much.It's been real pleasure.