This interview discusses To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel by Scott Semegran, which Anthony Avina gave a rating of 10/10 for his book review.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I began writing in earnest literally the day after graduating college with a degree in English way back in 1993. Over the years, I have published poetry, short stories, comic strips, and novels. Novels and short stories are what I have kept at the longest and find the most joy in writing and publishing these days.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Oh, man. That’s a loaded question. I have a few answers: 1) To be honest, I wrote this story for my wife. Having written quite a bit before that didn’t particularly tickle her fancy, I set out—as a challenge to myself—to create a story that would inspire and affect her deeply. She said I accomplished that so I consider it a success. 2) I wanted to write a novel that was endearing but not saccharine and quirky but not snarky. That was a huge challenge! 3) I wanted to explore the power of friendship amongst a group of people with very different backgrounds and personalities. I felt the current state of the U.S. needed that.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That camaraderie amongst kind-hearted friends wins the day over evil intentions. I truly believe that.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I have mostly written literary fiction, usually with elements of humor or satire. That’s my jam. I’ve been inspired by Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Charles Bukowski, Michael Chabon, and the like. I hope to have a lasting legacy like these authors.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I would ask Rita to bake me her famous banana bread. Food is the key to my heart. I love food. I love to cook. And I love when my wife cooks for me.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I feel the following have helped me the most: Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, and Instagram have helped the most with finding new readers. BookBub used to be more of a promotional service but they are now enhancing their site to accommodate reader reviews and book recommendations from authors. Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram are all great, too.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Develop a thick skin. You’ll hear “No” or “This is not for me” a lot for a very long time. But if you stick at it, develop your craft, and continue to put stuff out there, you’ll eventually find your readers if your talent develops. Find someone to help with editing. Seek out reviews and accept constructive criticism. But mostly, listen to your creativity when it beckons.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
My latest novel, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, will be published February 1, 2019, so I am in promotion mode right now. I will be recording the audiobook version in the coming month, narrated by yours truly. And I have a seedling of an idea for a new story germinating in my brain. I’ll probably start writing that in early 2019.
About the Author
Scott Semegran lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, four kids, two cats, and a dog. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. He is a bestselling, award-winning writer and cartoonist. He can also bend metal with his mind and run really fast, if chased by a pack of wolves. His comic strips have appeared in the following newspapers: The Austin Student, The Funny Times, The Austin American-Statesman, Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, Seven Days, The University of Texas at Dallas Mercury, and The North Austin Bee. Books by Scott Semegran include Sammie & Budgie, Boys, The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, Mr. Grieves and more.
And my website: