We had the good fortune of connecting with Darryl Bollinger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darryl, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
No surprise in the writer,
no surprise in the reader.
– Robert Frost
Posted at my desk. To me, it captures the essence of writing. A great story has to appeal to the reader on a visceral level. To do that effectively, the author has to experience the same emotions as the characters.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always wanted to write but didn’t have the confidence to do it as a career so I went into business instead. I spent 37 years in the business arena, 28 of that in health care. During that time I was a “closet” writer, finally finishing my first novel in 2010 when I started writing full time. I went to my first writer’s conference in 2011, where I shared it with an agent, and realized it wasn’t ready for prime time. I then wrote my second novel and published it in 2012. I’ve since published six more, winning multiple awards, and I’m working on number 8. By the way, the first novel is still in my file cabinet. I think my business experience gives me a unique perspective and a broad network of resources. I’ve worked for Fortune 100 companies and I’ve started and built my own businesses. I’ve learned to be honest with myself, acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses, but I’m not afraid to take risks and challenge myself. Plus, I’ve had to learn the craft of writing, which is a never-ending journey, as well as the ins and outs of publishing.
Readers say that my books are authentic and I’m constantly asked if they are real. I like to say that my novels are fiction rooted in reality.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh my gosh, there’s so many things to do in the area, the hard part would be deciding. Tons of outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, kayaking, skiing, biking, fishing–you name it. I love hiking and would definitely include a few hiking days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s America’s most visited national park with over 800 miles of trails and lots of wild life including bears and elk. The Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe white-water rafting on the Nantahala, or tubing down the French Broad. Asheville has so much to offer. It’s a great foodie town, with so many wonderful restaurants and breweries. For starters, Curate and 12 Bones for eats, Wicked Weed and Highland Brewing for beer, to mention a few. The Biltmore House and the Grove Park Inn would have to be on the list. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial for writers, of course. I’d check the Orange Peel and Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre for live music. Arts and crafts abound as well. We’d have to look at the calendar for current activities to see what’s going on in the area. I’d want to leave plenty of time for exploring as well, looking for new venues, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, off-the-radar places. Talk with the locals (always helpful) about what’s new.
I’m exhausted already and I know I’ve left places out!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve had the good fortune to have known an incredible number of wonderful people who have helped me in so many ways. It’s hard to pick just one. My seventh grade math teacher, Mrs. Neal, is one that frequently comes to mind when I’m asked this question. She was a chain smoking redheaded Irish woman with a temper to match. She didn’t hesitate to throw a piece of chalk or an eraser at an inattentive student. That was back in the day where you could do that sort of thing. She was tough, and a lot of my classmates weren’t fond of her.
Giving her the right answer wasn’t sufficient. You had to explain how you arrived at it. She would give you more credit for understanding the process. I give her full credit for teaching me to think. I regret that she passed away before I could ever tell her what a positive influence she was and to this day, I strive to thank those who’ve helped me along the way.