Episode 22 – David Konrad – Project Adventure: Heart of the Island

Overview

David is a stay at home dad living in Munich, Germany with his wife and twin boys. He has lived throughout the world and uses his experience with various cultures to write a series of adventure books for kids.

He began writing while staying at home and has turned it into a career. The stories are action, adventure stories that kids (and adults) can easily love.

Website

David Konrad author website

Book

YouTube

Transcript

[00:00:46] Stephen: today.

I’m talking with David Conrad. He has written a series of adventure books. The first one is heart of the island. The second is rumble at the zoo topics and stories that kids would love. Please check them out if you’d like [00:01:00] to read some great adventure books with your kids. So here’s David. Well, David, thanks for coming on and taking some time to talk to me.

Uh, I can’t wait to find out more about your books, uh, before we get started. Tell me a little bit about, uh, and of course the people listening, but tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from bit about your background outside of.

[00:01:22] David: Uh, well, I’m originally Croatian. So I come from a city called saga in Croatia.

Um, but I’ve been moving and moving around a lot. I’ve been living in the various various places. Um, actually even with my family, I’ve moved around a lot. I have, uh, a five and a half year old twin boys and, uh, But that did not stop us from, from, uh, spending some time and then living in [00:02:00] Moscow and in London and Madrid.

Uh, we’re back at Munich now. So in Germany. Um, so I have a lot of, um, yeah, you can call that experience. Um, Uh, with, with various cultures and, and, and, uh, countries and languages and stuff. Um, so yeah, my background is a name in engineering, uh, but, um, I’ve, uh, decided a couple of years ago to step away from all of that.

And, um, Be a stair stay on death for a while. Uh, which then of course, uh, led to, uh, this, this new project remind the steer career of mine, which will hopefully kick off. So, uh, yeah, but I, [00:03:00] yeah, so I decided, because I was of course, you know, growing up and even in, in, in my, in my adult, uh, years of really low.

Uh, always loved to read and I always wanted to write, but, you know, I would always, uh, how it sort of happens. You just don’t have time for it or the, or the inspiration or whatever, you know, what needs to happen for, for a person to actually start writing. Right.

[00:03:30] Stephen: Well, uh, it sounds like a, with two, with twins that are five, that sounds.

Um, not much time to write anyway,

[00:03:40] David: because a

computer to another country for work. So I was a stay at home, a single dad for most of this time. Um, so for the weekends, but, uh, you know, [00:04:00] You get things organized. And then, uh, what are you going to do when, when you do have some time when your hands then, you know, I was, um, uh, I mean, we’re now covering two to one of the other questions on video might be, it might be asking me, this is, you know, why did I start writing this.

Um,

it’s a complicated, well, not a complicated story, but, uh, It’s a funny story because I actually, I started to watch some videos on cooking and stuff, and then it led to watch your videos or webinars on writing. And then, you know, then I just, one day decided that I should actually try it out, you know, so,

[00:04:55] Stephen: and that’s actually not unusual.

I think a lot of people have gotten into [00:05:00] it in the last decade, in that same type of way. Uh, and, and your books. I guess your, your twins helped inspire the writing you’re doing

[00:05:11] David: well. Not really. I mean, because they’re not, they’re still not able to actually read those books, these books. I do enjoy thinking that soon, my boys are gonna start reading my books and they’re gonna love them.

You know, I’m hoping, uh, that they have to, um, but. It was more how to put it. It was just a, a test of my abilities at first. Like I, um, I wasn’t sure that, uh, that I’m able to tackle a full-size adult level. Um, and so I started off. [00:06:00] With, with, um, a fairly, I mean, a shorter and

[00:06:07] Stephen: just tell us a bit about the books

[00:06:12] David: the books are. I have at this point, I have two books out to publish books. A third one is coming in the old part of the series. Um, And there are basically, they’re very straightforward. Uh, kids adventures. So middle grade, middle grade ages, seven to 12, let’s say, um, um, The books are actually like they’re carefully, carefully planned and adjusted to that particular target, target, uh, audience.

Um, that means that, you know, I’ve taken every precaution that there’s no, [00:07:00] uh, you know, uh, language. Harsh language or anything like that in the books. Uh, there aren’t even like, I’m not even using references that that kids might not understand. So it’s all here. It’s, it’s old. I mean, it’s, I would even call it scientifical approach, but the books themselves, they’re fun and easy to read.

Just good old fashioned adventures. Some kids getting.

[00:07:34] Stephen: Sorry, what are the titles?

[00:07:36] David: The titles of the book, one of the, the series name is project adventure. Um, and book one is called heart of the island. Uh, and then book two is called the rumble at the zoo. Um, and the, you know, the third, the third book coming out, uh, will be [00:08:00] called the courtside mystery.

It’s like an homage to, to basketball, which is, uh, yeah, so it’s just, um, my, my way of having fun with it. More

[00:08:12] Stephen: or less. Right. And I think, uh, you got to make sure you’re having fun with it. If you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point of writing it?

[00:08:19] David: Uh, absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s, you know, in, in, in most of the characters are based on either on, you know, on, on myself or my, uh, well, my former self when I was a kid and my friends at that age, or, you know, I’m using names that mean something to me or, you know, so I’m having fun with it.

I’m having definitely.

[00:08:41] Stephen: So because you’ve moved around, lived in various countries and I, I do find that interesting that your wife worked in another country, uh, here in the states. We don’t get to say that a whole lot. My wife is

[00:08:54] David: from the state sexually,

[00:08:55] Stephen: so, oh, really? Okay. I love that. You know, [00:09:00] trying to not really trying out, but you know, being in different countries that gives you a different perspective.

So the, the books, what’s the setting for those where where’s that at?

[00:09:11] David: It’s very generic. It’s a part of the thing that I’ve actually problem, because I managed to, to the world that I created is very generic. I mean, that’s the part of what I told you about before the. Distinctive references in there. So it’s, you know, it’s a cap, it’s a lake, it’s a, an island.

It’s not, the setting is very, um, every kid can, uh, hold themselves or. Uh, and so it shows the photography and just be there. It’s not, it’s not like they need to know that this is your, this is from, so this is dos. So this is whatever. No, it’s, it’s, it can be anywhere. It [00:10:00] can be, you know, outside, um, outside of your door.

I mean, it’s.

[00:10:07] Stephen: And so it seems to appeal to any country, any culture? Well,

[00:10:15] David: I wouldn’t say the culture. I would, I would say that the books, um, I mean, obviously the, I think they’re written mostly for, for the U S markets, I would say like, you know, Western market, typically the Northern Western Europe, north America.

Yeah, but that’s that’s, um, it even so it’s, it’s very, very generic.

[00:10:43] Stephen: Okay. And do you have the book in available in various countries?

[00:10:50] David: Yes. The book is available on Amazon, uh, in all markets, all available Amazon markets. You’ll be able to find the paperback [00:11:00] and the Kindle version for. So they haven’t been translated to any other languages.

Okay. Yeah.

[00:11:09] Stephen: I was going to say, I was wondering if you did any translations, have you done anything with audio books or anything like that

[00:11:15] David: and no, not yet. Um, I’m not sure. Well, with audio books, um, possibly I’ll do something with that. Uh, In the future, but no, not, not at the moment. No.

[00:11:33] Stephen: So through this whole process, uh, getting started, writing, writing a couple of books, you know, choosing, uh, the setting and making it middle grade type of book.

Uh, what have you learned from all of this and what would you do different or what are you doing different with your third book, as opposed to your first book?

[00:11:56] David: Well, um, I was lucky to have, uh, [00:12:00] to, to, uh, follow a really good editor, uh, from the start. So, uh, because my, the first manuscript first draft that I produced, um, and I thought, okay, that, that that’s, that’s my book.

It sounds great to me, you know, that’s. I was, I was proud them and then I sent it off to my editor and she came back to me with, you know, um, comments it’s gone. Uh, I mean, actually she was really, she was actually motivated me tremendously and she was, uh, I still remember today.

It was, this book is well-written blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But you know, there’s a, and then there was a couple of pages of, um, that helped me [00:13:00] tremendously. And, uh, with her advice, I actually managed to create the whole series. To finish the first book book primarily, and then actually to create a series out of it, because I did not, I didn’t start off as, as, uh, um, I didn’t think that I was writing a series to be honest.

I mean, that just kinda happened. Um, uh, I, uh, realized that I could turn it into a very episodic episodic series. Uh it’s it’s so the, the, the, the, the books. I do not have to be read in, in certain order. It is better if you read them from the start, but you know, they’re just like episodes kind of

[00:13:48] Stephen: like the old Hardy boy books, each one

[00:13:51] David: living separately.

Exactly. That’s exactly what the editor told me that they watched this episode. The [00:14:00] series can turn into a concerning fly out myself.

Oh, I used

[00:14:07] Stephen: to,

[00:14:09] David: yeah, it went through my done, enjoy my books.

[00:14:13] Stephen: Uh, so, uh, it sounds like, uh, having an editor helped you a lot, um, because I know there’s a lot of debate at times, Hooper like, oh, you don’t need an editor, blah, blah, blah. But it sounds like you had a really good experience and learned a lot just from the editing process.

[00:14:29] David: Absolutely. I will recommend everybody, uh, every. Aspiring writer to just find themselves. Actually I did too. I, I did I invested money to, to, to developmental, um, uh, reports, uh, to adjusted, gauge the difference to see what I, what I, what I felt was right for me. And then, and then I, I moved on with this [00:15:00] particular, um, so, you know, it’s.

As hard, as hard as it is to write the book, to like create them, to actually, um, develop a story and the plot and everything it’s even harder to, um, To get it to the point where you could be, uh, where you really ready to publish, you know, you cannot publish it without the, without editors. It’s just awkward.

[00:15:35] Stephen: Okay. So, uh, when you’re writing, uh, what software do you use?

[00:15:41] David: Uh, I use, you know, the, the, the, the wifi wifi connection, my, my, my MacBook, um, pages. That’s it. No. Yeah, I actually, I use a notebook and a pencil to, [00:16:00] to do my, my, uh, uh, outline or outline. Um, I work a lot on mindless. In fact, in book number three, my outline.

I kinda over, over, over estimated myself. So I thought that I, the outline doesn’t have to be so detailed. Um, and then I got stuck with

the next book is going to be, you know, back to back to basics, uh, uh, you know, uh, old school where you invest more time into, um, developing the plot and even some details, uh, in the outline, which I do a chapter by chapter. Basically then you just sit down and write the chapters and then it’s super easy to write.

And that’s a trick that I learned from [00:17:00] RL Stine, which whose, uh, whose, uh, masterclass actually, I, I watched on a platform called a masterclass.

[00:17:10] Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve I’ve watched the same. It’s good.

[00:17:16] David: He is that that’s masterclass is the reason why I consider myself to be, you know, a quote unquote writer today. So

[00:17:28] Stephen: nice.

So, uh, from people that have read the book, what type of feedback have you been getting and have you changed or learned anything from that?

[00:17:37] David: Uh, well, so far the. No, the feedback up in receiving I’m getting is just amazing. It’s. Uh, I did not expect that to be honest. So far, I have not received a single suggestion, even [00:18:00] let alone predict or critique.

And it’s been all very positive. People really respond well to books. So the plot to the characters, I’ve received some professional reviews as well. Um, The platform’s color like a read. See, uh, it’s a British, uh, platform where you, uh, basically tended to, uh, connect the readers with the, within the, in the dependent and self published authors and books.

[00:18:37] Stephen: Yeah. I use Reedy and they’ve got the Reedsy discovery. Exactly

[00:18:41] David: it leads to discovery. That’s it? That’s it. So my book is there the, the best, uh, the first book was the best, uh, rated, um, most upvoted middle grade book. It’s been top book for weeks now. So [00:19:00] I’m really, really, really happy with the feedback it’s been.

[00:19:08] Stephen: Nice. Great. Um, so, um, what, uh, other services or software are you using and how are you marketing to get the word out?

[00:19:20] David: Well, that’s the thing. I mean, that’s, that’s the, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I mean, that’s how the park with this thing, uh, it goes again now with the experience that. Lighting and publishing writing three in publishing two books so far, um, that kind of becomes the easiest part now.

Um, I, I’m now in a position where I can say, okay, uh, I’m going to do this series for a while. I’m going to write four or five books a year. And I have no problem with that. Like that’s because I’m probably being lazy, you know, [00:20:00] but to market this books, Yeah, it’s, there’s a lot of, a lot of books out there and, uh, it’s just difficult to get, gets your message across and to answer a question what I’m using, um, at the moment, not much.

So I’m using stuff like this, like reads the discovery and some of these platforms like good reads. And, um, I did a countdown deal on, on Amazon ones, but I dunno, I didn’t. See much, uh, much benefit. Uh,

[00:20:38] Stephen: uh, have you done any like author visits or school visits with kids or anything like that? Library talks?

[00:20:45] David: No. No, I haven’t actually. Well, first of all, I think that that kind of a thing works in the U S mostly, I don’t think. Typical here in Europe, um, [00:21:00] like school, was it some stuff and particularly in, in, in, I mean it would, this would COVID this shows, um, yeah, other limitations, uh it’s it’s not possible to do, um, any visits or anything like that at the moment.

Um, maybe the future. Yes, but, but for now, no. So now what I’m doing, just to answer your question real quick, I’m actually trying to, um, see if I can work with a, a, a, um, a coach, um, basically, uh, an author brand coach. Uh, so with this person, I can then, uh, Develop my, my, my Brian and my, my author’s platform, but more, uh, [00:22:00] you know, try to use some, some available, uh, social networks and stuff like that.

I mean, primarily Instagram and Facebook code, so on and so forth. Um, but that’s, that’s a. Again, I’m not, I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough. Maybe I’m going to have to start doing some paid advertisements and stuff like that. We’ll

[00:22:22] Stephen: see. Okay. Okay. So David, a little off of, uh, your books, um, what are, what’s like one or two of your favorite books and authors?

[00:22:33] David: Oh, well, my favorite author, uh, is, uh, lead child. I mean, uh, Jack Reacher is, uh, my favorite all time. Favorite fictional character. And, uh, I just love, uh, he’s writing these books. I would agree it’s bad for years though. Uh, read them all, bought them all. [00:23:00] Uh, yeah. And then actually I like to think that, you know, that the lead shells flighting has brushed off on me.

Uh, uh, I feel like I have this. Yeah, certain, uh, edge to my writer that he does.

[00:23:21] Stephen: Do you ever, uh, do you ever like open up one of his books and read a chapter or something before you start writing? Kind of get the feel?

[00:23:30] David: Um, well actually I follow him on Twitter and then he has a lot of these coats and stuff on Twitter all the time.

And then I, I, I constantly do have, uh, You know, Jack, Richard, my, uh, sub council somewhere there, but also, I also tend to like, just a occasionally we’ll just go through my Kindle library and just pick up one of those books that I haven’t have, because I just liked [00:24:00] the style so much. Okay, but I’m a huge talking fan.

Um, so George Martin, I love these fantasy books and stuff as well. Um,

[00:24:15] Stephen: do you think you might write more fantasy type books in the future?

[00:24:20] David: Not so sure about that. I think that this suits me better because even though I do like fantasy genre and books, I, um, Well, I mean, never say never, but I’m not, I’m not, I’m feeling more comfortable with the, with the, um, real life, uh, type of, uh,

[00:24:46] Stephen: all right. So, and you’ve lived in a couple of different countries. Do you have a favorite bookstore that we could pass on to others to check out?

[00:24:56] David: Uh, well, that’s

[00:24:59] Stephen: a [00:25:00] tough one.

[00:25:02] David: That’s a tough one there because you know, to be very good, to be honest, last time I bought a book story, right. A real bricks and mortar called our bricks and mortar, um, store that that will be.

Some, some German language course book. I don’t remember books, buy books online. I mean that’s yeah. So,

[00:25:36] Stephen: so before we go, David, uh, do you have any advice for new authors, someone that’s still struggling to get their book written?

[00:25:45] David: Um, I would say depending on the genre, depending on the target audience, um, I would suggest to all of them to go and masterclass platform because [00:26:00] there’s, they’re massive.

I’ve, I’ve seen them all. I have, uh, listened to or watched elastic classes from the James Patterson, from Ben brown, from. Both of them. Also some of my favorite authors, um, Malcolm Gladwell, RL, Stine, whatever, whatever you’re writing. You’ll find somebody there that that will be close enough to help you, uh, you know, get it going because the.

People who don’t write. They think it’s really difficult to sit down and start writing because they’re looking at the blank page. And it’s true. If you, if you just sit down and say, okay, now let’s start writing your book. You’re just going to get lost. And. Your thoughts, and won’t be able to create a technique, how to write a book, how, [00:27:00] how to create an outline for a book, how to develop a book over one single one, single idea, one a single seat.

Because for example, I have no, in my, in my head, I have a, a seed in my mind, you know, my boys are gonna be floating on a, on a, on a piece of ice. And I’m going to develop a book around that, you know,

ask myself, okay, so where is that going to be? What are they going to do that? How do they get there? And then one single scene you’re having in your head. But to get there, you need to know, you know, you need to know and understand why this outline is so important and how you construct it, how you build it.

Chapter over the time. So that would be my advice to aspiring writer.

[00:27:57] Stephen: And I agree. I like masterclass. Um, my [00:28:00] one son has autism, but he likes to cook. So there’s some good cooking classes on there.

[00:28:04] David: Absolutely seeing them all almost killer as my favorite, I have to say.

[00:28:11] Stephen: Okay. All right. Well, Dave, uh, tell us one more time before we go.

Uh, the name of your book and your series so people can find it online.

[00:28:21] David: So the series name is project. And both one is called Heartland. The Oland, a book two is called rumble at the zoo. And, uh, so those are the two books that are, uh, published at the moment. There is a series on Amazon.

[00:28:42] Stephen: Okay. And when do you think book three might be out?

Well,

[00:28:47] David: three, unless a monitor comes back to me with. More cons than usual. Uh, it shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be ready [00:29:00] to be published within a couple of weeks. So I would say,

[00:29:06] Stephen: okay, well that’ll probably be right about the time this episode actually goes live, so that’ll work. Perfect.

[00:29:13] David: Um, fantastic. Fantastic.

Yeah. I can’t even I’ll live on, I’ll send you a, uh, an email with the, uh, when I, when I, what I know it exactly. Um, maybe so ankles.

[00:29:25] Stephen: All right. Great. Well, David, I appreciate you taking some time to talk to me today and I hope your books do well. They sound really great. I also write middle-grade and I liked the adventure stories.

So, uh, hopefully, uh, your series will take off a little better for you. Well, thank you.

[00:29:42] David: And, uh, I would actually be really interested to find, find out a bit more about your books. Maybe you can, uh, also send any. Some of the titles and stuff, because I like to, I like to visualize. [00:30:00] Um, you know, to, to check my competition,

[00:30:05] Stephen: not so much competition because you know, middle grade, they read a lot.

So if they read, they’ll read a lot,

[00:30:13] David: there’s no competition.

[00:30:18] Stephen: I’ll send you some copies to see if your boys like them.

[00:30:22] David: Yeah. Well, it’ll be, it’ll be great. Yeah, definitely. And thank you for a time. Thank you for inviting me to do this podcast. Yeah, the first

[00:30:34] Stephen: for me. Good. Well then I’ll add another one to my list of first time interviews.

[00:30:41] David: Great. Um,

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