1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
When I was twenty-one, I watched Dead Man’s Shoes by Shane Meadows. I thought the film was excellent, and I could tell it had been shot on a low budget. I was studying film at university at the time, and I thought that perhaps my way into the film industry could be to write a really good self-contained story that was set in only a handful of locations – low, low budget stuff, like Dead Man’s Shoes. So, I wrote my first screenplay and called it Sophisticated Gangsters. It got picked up by a couple of local producers, but we never completed shooting owing to a complete lack of experience and expertise (not to mention money). Looking back, it’s almost certainly a good thing that film never came out, as my script was terrible. But that was my first crack at writing. I wrote more screenplays in my twenties, but I’ve still yet to do anything with them.
It wasn’t until my partner fell pregnant that I began writing my first book. Doctors told us that it was highly unlikely we would conceive naturally, and I had all but accepted that I might never become a parent. But then she fell pregnant. I started writing a journal about my experience of discovering I was about to become a father and what it was like to live with a pregnant woman. At some point, I began to wonder if other soon-to-be dads would find the story of pregnancy told from a first-time dad’s perspective to be valuable, or at the very least entertaining. So that became my first book, Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be First-time Dad.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Becoming a father and having the journey documented in journal format.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I love it when readers tell me that they responded to the book’s blend of humour and honesty, and I love it even more when they tell me that my take on pregnancy is unique and not something they’ve come across before.
But ultimately, I want readers to feel as if they are the ones who have got the better end of the deal from buying my books and taking the time to read them. When I read a book, my world view and my life experience – billions of interactions with my environment on both a conscious and a subconscious level – shape how I interpret and connect with the material. And so I find it hard to list anything specific that I want readers to take away, as every response is unique to the individual reader. But as long as they take away something positive, whatever it is, I’m happy because I feel as if I’ve done my job correctly.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
As mentioned in the earlier question, it was a fluke. If you had asked me before I became a writer what genre I would begin my career in and make money from, non-fiction parenting memoirs from a dad’s perspective would have been very far down the list.
5) Which social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’m still at the very beginning of my career, so I’m still figuring a lot of that stuff out, but Facebook and Instagram seem to be the platforms that I benefit from most. My favourite thing to do is build up relationships with my readers and rely on good old-fashioned word of mouth. I’m now experimenting with advertising, but it’s not an overnight process. Just like writing a book, it takes time to do it well.
6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just-starting authors out there?
Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Writing is a tough gig. I’m on my third book now, and it feels the same every time – hard work. Another thing I would say is that there’s this uncertainty about what you’re doing and whether your story will work. And that doesn’t go away until you’ve reached the end of your first draft, at the very minimum. In my case, I don’t really know if I’ve got anything good until the third or fourth draft. But that’s OK; I just keep at it every day. And that’s what you need to do. Don’t worry about looking up and trying to see the end; just focus on looking down and taking the next step. Then the next day, do the same thing; take one more step. Commit to giving that one step everything you’ve got. Pour your heart and soul into it. And on the following day – do the same thing again. And then again the next day, and the next. And when you get to the end, and you look up and see how far you’ve come and what you’ve got, you never know; you might just have something beautiful to share with the world.Amazon Music: Six Months of Disney+
7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
So many projects! First is the sequel to Dear Dory, which is called Dear Arlo: Adventures in Dadding. It tackles the first year of parenthood. The manuscript is locked, and it’s now with the formatting team. I think it’s due out in early September (2021). I’m over halfway through the first draft of book three in the Adventures in Dadding series. I also have plans for other non-fiction books that are related to parenthood.
Finally, I’m desperate to dive into fiction, and I have a ton of notes on two different ideas. Both of them are huge. I can see myself staying in those worlds for a very long time. I would love to do something with my screenplays as well. I’m never at a loss for ideas, and I’m deeply passionate about all of my writing projects, but I can only fully commit to one of them at a time.
About the Author
Tom Kreffer has a degree in film and television and has worked in finance for over ten years. Dear Dory is his first book.
He lives in Northampton, England with his family, whom he intends to exploit for many more story opportunities in the years to come.
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