1. Have you always been interested in writing?
I've never really been interested in writing at all, but I've always felt I had a story to tell that could possibly inspire others.
2. What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The hardest part of writing my book was having to look at things from my past that were painful. When I wrote or retold a story I would experience a full spectrum of emotions: anger, guilt, sadness, excitement, and anxiety.
3. Why did you decide to make your book available for free online?
I wanted to reach as many people as possible and hopefully inspire others. I really believe my story can serve as a lesson and motivation for anyone who is in a similar situation, addicted to drugs, in trouble with the law, or otherwise in a bad place. I know that if I can turn my life around, then anyone can.
4. How has your experience with Toastmasters helped you as a writer?
In 1999, Toastmasters played a small part in building my confidence up but didn't help me as a writer. It was actually during the time, as president of a local club, that I went to Glendale Community College to ask a professor in the Creative Writing Department if she thought someone could help me write my story. She told me, "Nobody will help you unless you are famous." I left saddened and thought that possibility didn't exist for me any longer. I struggled with trying to write since I only have a GED and didn't care for English class in school. However, in 2007, the general manager of a car dealership I worked for gave me a copy of the book, Think and Grow Rich. Because of the inspiring story of Henry Viscardi, the man born with no legs, and other stories in this book, it became crystal clear to me that I would produce a book. I then called the head of the creating writing department at California State University Northridge and talked to Dr. Haik. This time I shared my story with her and told her what I was going to do. I then asked, "Who do you have that can help me?" I was definite, which is the first principle in the book, Think and Grow Rich. She could only respond by saying, "I have a student named David Riesman. He's taken 5 of my classes and is in the Master's Program. He'll do a great job for you."
I'm creating a short talk about this experience and the importance of being definite, of being a walking and talking exclamation point rather than a wandering question mark. Once we commit and are definite, Providence moves, too! Seas part for us when we magnetize our minds and are definite!
5. What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on booking more speaking engagements and promoting my book, Escaping My Shadow. I'm trying to get as much coverage as possible and hope my story can reach everyone who needs a little inspiration or motivation to improve their lives.