Sunday, April 20, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Keith Hirshland


Indie Author Interview with Keith Hirshland - Author of the TV Memoir Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat).

Keith Hirshland is the son of a local television broadcast icon and a thirty-year, Emmy Award-winning veteran of the television industry. His experience has taken him all across the country, covering sport’s most famous athletes and television’s most interesting and charismatic personalities.

Interview with Keith Hirshland

Author Keith Hirshland
Author Keith Hirshland
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Keith Hirshland: I was a journalism major in college and like many wanted to write "the great American novel" but ended up working in television. I wrote all of the copy for my sportscasts and feature stories when I was on air and wrote thousands of teases, bumpers and features once I started working in network sports television.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I love Nelson DeMille, Stuart Woods, Michael Connolly and Terry Pratchett to name just a few. I buy and devour everything they write. I think my three favorite books of all time are Pratchett's Thief of Time, Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin and The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I read quite a bit and feel like I am influenced in some way, shape or form by each book I pick up. There are so many talented writers in this world.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Looking back I think I knew in high school that I wanted to be a "storyteller". I tried my hand at short stories, song lyrics, school newspaper articles and more. I didn't think of it as writing but always thought of it as telling a story. I also feel that my work as a sports television producer is all about being a story teller. It's not on paper, it's on a TV screen but it's telling a story about a sports event nonetheless.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Other than school assignments I believe the first story I ever wrote was a short story about a young man with the ability to control his own dreams and in the process of discovering how he does it finds that he can enter and control other people's dreams as well. I wrote it, hated it and forgot about it. Then a few years later a Dennis Quaid movie titled Dreamscape came out about a guy who could enter people's dreams. Oh well.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

Not really. I write in spurts. I find that there are times when I have a flood of creativity, get in a groove and write for hours on end. In the beginning I tried to sit down and make myself write something everyday but found that to be counter productive. I still write almost everything longhand in a Moleskin journal before transferring it (rewriting it most times) to my computer.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I have a great desk in an upstairs office in our home. There is lots of natural light and fresh air up there and it's a very comfortable place to write. The desk is huge (plenty of room for two computers and research material and it's made out of reclaimed telephone poles. I love it.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Nothing is easy about writing but when I do get an idea or have a thought thread off which to work the writing seems to come more easily. Getting the original words or idea on paper is easier than actually making it readable. There are lots of hard parts... Dialogue and character development are just a couple. You can write a "stick figure" fairly easily but to give that character depth and make him or her truly believable I find very, very hard. My first book was non fiction so the characters were already fully developed I just had to write about what I remembered about them. Now I'm writing fiction and making something up is much more difficult.

"Words are amazing and sadly underused by the majority of people in this world."

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I guess the sense of accomplishment. I said I consider myself a story teller and whether I'm writing a 30 second opening for a sporting event of a 500 page novel the ability to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end that people enjoy is an amazing feeling. I love it when something inspires me or makes me curious and then I am able to give that idea or inspiration life through words. Words are amazing and sadly underused by the majority of people in this world.

What inspired you to write your Memoir Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In?
I never intended to write a book, wasn't even thinking about it. Then we lost my Dad and my Mom in the space of 13 months and my wife Sarah and I were in their condo doing what grieving children do, going through closets and boxes, figuring out what we would keep and what we wouldn't. We opened one box and it contained all kinds of memorabilia that my folks had collected along the way. Naval commendations from his time serving in Korea as well as awards for and newspaper articles about the two of them starting the CBS affiliate TV station in Reno, NV. There were letters from Senators, Governors and even President John F. Kennedy. There was correspondence and pictures he had sent home from when he served in the Korean War for my Mom and his parents (my grandparents) and there were letters and pictures and ships logs and things that they had sent back to him. Looking through it all my wife teared up, stopped and looked at me and said, "I can't believe your Dad and Mom did so much in their lives. You have met and worked with hundreds of well known athletes and celebrities and have done so much yourself. Don't let this be your kids when you are gone. Don't make them sit around a box wondering why you didn't tell them about all you had accomplished. Start writing a journal, if not for you, for them." So I did and that journal turned into Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat).

Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Keith Hirshland)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
The target audience is multi layered. It's a tribute to my parents, a story of their success and in a much smaller way, mine so anyone who likes a success story should like this. But it's also a story about television and sports (predominantly golf) so people who like golf or enjoy a behind the scenes look at how television works will find the book interesting. You can buy the book on line at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com as well as several local bookstores in New Jersey and Reno, NV.

"[...] it is the first book detailing the inception and early days of the very first niche sports cable television network, The Golf Channel."

What makes your book special?
I believe it is the first book detailing the inception and early days of the very first niche sports cable television network, The Golf Channel. Dozens if people gave up lucrative, secure jobs at places like HBO and ESPN to take a chance on one man's dream. Among other things this book is a nod to those hard working, creative, unselfish people who risked everything to turn that dream into a multi-billion dollar business. We were there when Tiger Woods burst onto the scene and when Arnold Palmer and others left the stage.We had some fun along the way too.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
Beyond my wildest dreams. I hear from people almost every day who tell me that my book was interesting to them, helped educate them, or inspired them to make a life change of their own. I wrote it to honor my parents and having people tell me their story was impressive and inspirational makes the book a huge success.

How long did it take it to write the book?
All in slightly more than four and a half years.

"If you want to write just start writing."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Write. Don't worry about whether you think what you are writing is good, bad or somewhere in between. If you want to write just start writing. Figure out the details later.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am and I can. It's a mystery... Both the genre and what it is all about. The seed of the idea that came to me is a story about a young man who has recently lost his father. In life the father was a somewhat successful travel writer/restaurant reviewer, slightly less famous than Zagat. After his death the son discovers thousands of Life, Look, National Geographic and other magazines in the old man's attic and comes to realize his father never actually went to any of the places about which he opined. But he was never home either so where did he go, what did he do? So the mystery and the quest to find answers begins.

"There is nothing in the world like going into a bookstore."

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Man I hope not. There is nothing in the world like going into a bookstore. Even though I have hundreds of ebooks on my iPad nothing beats holding an actual book, turning the actual pages. I will always buy real books written by my favorite authors so I am hopeful there will always be a brick and mortar store in which I can do just that.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an iPad and a kindle but do most of my ebook reading on my iPad.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job. I am still producing sporting events for television but not as regularly as I once did. I used to travel somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 weeks a year. I stopped doing that which allowed my wife and I to finally get a puppy. She's a Bernese Mountain Dog and she is awesome. She is also pretty much a full time job.

How can readers connect with you?
Email: carryon599@gmail.com
Twitter: @khirshland
Facebook: Keith Hirshland

Thank you very much for the Interview, Keith.



About the Book Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In

Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Keith Hirshland)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Growing up in the shadow of one of network affiliate television’s groundbreakers, Keith Hirshland was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. In this gripping new memoir, readers will follow Hirshland’s stories as he participates in the creation of sports networks and works alongside the legends of broadcasting. With a career that spans more than thirty years, Hirshland has seen it all. From the meteoric rise of Tiger Woods to the Kelly Tilghman “lynching” controversy and countless stories from the incredibly successful SKINS GAME golf franchise, his amazing stories provide a behind-the-scenes look into one of the most revered industries in the world.

Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat gives readers an informative, reflective, and often humorous look at live television from both in front of and behind the camera. Offering an insider’s look at the creation of The Golf Channel and ESPN2, this gripping memoir includes stories of some of the world’s most famous athletes and TV personalities.

The first book to document the creation of the Golf Channel, Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In is a unique memoir that covers a number of fascinating industry moments. These wonderful stories are packed with larger-than-life personalities and epic moments in the world of sports.

A mesmerizing read for anyone interested in sports, television, or “behind the scenes” stories in general, Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In is sure to hook readers from the very beginning. With its eclectic mix of playful, humorous, and dramatic stories, this excellent collection is truly the entertaining, informative, and enlightening book that readers have been waiting for.




Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In with Excerpt on Amazon