Interview with Author Scott Semegran

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.

The Interview

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

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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.

https://instagram.com/scott_semegran

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3409317.Scott_Semegran

https://www.twitter.com/scottsemegran

https://www.facebook.com/scottsemegran.writer/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/scott-semegran

https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/172809

https://www.amazon.com/author/scottsemegran

And my website:

https://www.scottsemegran.com/

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To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel by Scott Semegran Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A group of state employees discover who they are and dream big in author Scott Semegran’s novel “To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

This is the story of J. D. Wiswall, a sincere young man from a small town, who joins a state government agency in a data entry department comprised of quirky clerks. Quickly endearing himself to the diverse group in Unit 3, J. D. learns his coworkers have a pact to share the $10,000 prize if they win a cost-savings program for a suggestion that could save the government money, in turn helping them rise above their own personal struggles. A multimillion-dollar cost-savings suggestion is accidentally discovered by J. D.’s supervisor, the goof-off alcoholic Brent Baker. This lucrative discovery catches the attention of crotchety Governor Dwayne Bennett, a media-hungry demagogue, who turns the coworkers of Unit 3 into props for his selfish political reasons. The publicity surrounding the clerks piques the interest of a newspaper reporter, Esther Jean Stinson, whose investigative reporting threatens to reveal the governor’s career-ending secret, as well as jeopardizes the prize that the clerks so desperately desire.

Along with J. D. and Brent, the lives of the amiable coworkers in Unit 3 are revealed. There is Rita Jackson, the kind matriarch of her large brood, who spends her time outside of work caring for her five struggling children and thirteen wily grandchildren. Then there’s Deborah Martinez, a single mother to a felonious son, who struggles to keep her head above her sinking financial woes. There’s also Conchino Gonzalez, a quiescent giant of Mexican and Japanese descent, who street races at night to relieve worries about his ailing grandfather in Japan. Finally, J. D. has dreams bigger than his small hometown can provide, and Brent wants nothing more than to drop the bureaucratic routine to become a rock star with his bar band.

A few blocks away from the agency that houses Unit 3, Governor Bennett, a smarmy politician who whizzes around the Governor’s Mansion on a gold-plated wheelchair, parades the unwitting clerks in front of the local media in an attempt to raise his sagging poll numbers. But reporter Esther Jean sees through the governor’s bald-faced motives and uncovers secrets not meant to be revealed. Will her revelations keep Unit 3 from receiving their elusive prize?

From award-winning writer Scott Semegran, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog is an American, modern-day tale with working-class folks—part fable, part satire, and part comedy—revealing that camaraderie amongst kind-hearted friends wins the day over evil intentions. 

The Review

This book was very well done. A classic literary tale filled with humor and down to earth characters, readers will instantly connect to the characters that make up the book’s core group, Unit 3. The struggles and personalities of each character were both relatable and recognizable, making the story feel real and personal to the reader in a unique way. The story was not only funny in many spots, but also was a great story of greed, dreams and hope for a better tomorrow, all themes explored throughout the novel.

The novel also does a great job of exploring those in power who use everyday people to get ahead in their own personal goals. Politicians, state employers and those enchanted with greed all seek to further their own gains, but this book does a wonderful job exploring what happens when a makeshift, dysfunctional family works together and stays true to themselves to overcome the odds. The writing in this book was real, honest and funny, and did an incredible job painting a picture of these individuals and the life they led.

The Verdict

This is a must read for anyone who enjoys classic, American literature. A real world look into the life of state employees in the state of Texas and the everyday people who come together to make the system run smoothly was a fascinating read. Filled with humor, wit and relatable characters, there was something for everyone in this book. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel” by Scott Semegran today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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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.

https://instagram.com/scott_semegran

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3409317.Scott_Semegran

https://www.twitter.com/scottsemegran

https://www.facebook.com/scottsemegran.writer/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/scott-semegran

https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/172809

https://www.amazon.com/author/scottsemegran

And my website:

https://www.scottsemegran.com/