Friday, January 28, 2011

I Need Friends Friday: Dan Harrington

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Dan Harrington is our INFF guest today. He is a professional freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Village Soup, The Kennebec Journal, Inside Pro Wrestling/The Wrestler, Portland Magazine, and LDS Church News. He has a book out and currently available, Who's At the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries. Dan can be found online at his website and as a regular contributor to the Man Cave Authors blog.
SME: Welcome to INFF.

Dan Harrington: Thank you for having me, Sarah. I appreciate it very much. Being in this secret chatroom is exciting!

*note to reader: my INFF interviews are conducted in an ultra-secret, very swank chatroom!*

SME: I know. Very top secret!

Dan Harrington: That's my favorite kind of secret.

SME: The bottom secrets aren't as fun.

Dan Harrington: Those ones are usually called newspaper headlines

SME: Once the newspapers know, all bets are off.

Dan Harrington: Exactly. Someone might actually read them.

SME: We wouldn't want to risk that. Thus, the top secrets are kept.... well, secret.

Dan Harrington: Some things are so secret that I don't even tell myself about them.

SME: I probably have those kind of secrets, too.
So, Dan. You are a writer--something of which I wholeheartedly approve. What got you started?

Dan Harrington: I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I've always loved stories. There's a feeling you get from a good story that you can't get from anywhere else.

SME: So you wanted to not only have that feeling yourself, but provide that feeling for others?

Dan Harrington: Mostly myself. I'm kind of selfish that way.

SME: Maybe it's an author thing. I'm the same way. One of the reasons I enjoy writing so much is the opportunity to entertain myself.

Dan Harrington: If I didn't entertain myself, who would?

SME: Testify!

Dan Harrington: Seriously, writing is the only kind of work I know of where I feel like I've really accomplished something unique.

SME: Tell us about your book.

Dan Harrington: My book "Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries" is the true story of how I became friends with Mormon missionaries in Maine
Notice all the M's. I'm hoping to get an M & M ad

SME: That would rock.

Dan Harrington: It's mainly a human interest story about what it's like to investigate the LDS Church and eventually not convert.
I'm told that's how the book is different from most LDS fair.

SME: That sounds really interesting. Has it been well received?

Dan Harrington: So far, yes! I'm very excited. All the missionaries in the book have praised it--including their parents. I heard from one of the elder's moms who thanked me for being a friend to her son, and that meant a lot to me. Becky Thomas of Mormon Times also gave me an endorsement for the back cover.
I really tried to emphasize being open-minded in the story. I really came to care about my missionaries, as I'm sure most church investigators do. In fact, I just saw one last week when he returned to Maine for a visit.

SME: That's great. I think too often people concentrate on what makes us different from one another instead of realizing how much everyone has in common, regardless of religion, nationality, politics, etc. I wish more people would choose to care about each other.

Dan Harrington: Me too, and I'm glad so many reviewers have appreciated that in my book and my experience.

SME: Well, congratulations to you on the book and the praise. I hope you have lots more of both in the future!

Dan Harrington: Me too. I'm really thrilled with how open the Utah community has been with the book so far.

SME: Are you working on anything currently?

Dan Harrington: I write for a newspaper so I'm working on a couple stories for that. I'm also doing book promotion which is more time consuming that I expected.

SME: I don't think most authors realize just how much time goes into things other than writing once you have a book out. I was pretty shocked, myself.

Dan Harrington: It's not something anyone thinks about or they ever talk about in school. They think once the contract is signed, the checks start rolling in with ease. I wish that were true!

SME: Wait. Checks? (just kidding)

Dan Harrington: You must get direct deposit.

SME: So, while I was hanging out over on your website I discovered that you are part of a brand new multi-author blog. Tell us a little about that.

Dan Harrington: Sure! I'm pretty new to blogging, and I was surfing around seeing the different types of blogs on the web. I saw a bunch of group authors blogs and started thinking, "I wish someone would invite me to be part of a group blog."
Then I realized, "Why not start one myself!" So I contacted some writers I've been corresponding with, and they liked the idea. We call it the Man Cave Authors blog because most of the group blogs I've noticed are by women. Plus, I thought the name would stick out. The guys all liked the name.
It consists of me, Michael Young who designed the site--Thanks, Mike!--David J West, J. Lloyd Mogran and Frank Cole.

SME: I loved the name. I laughed out loud--it's fun, memorable and totally perfect for an all-guy blog team.

Dan Harrington: I'm glad you think it's memorable. Most people do get a kick out of it. It just started recently, and we're all excited.

SME: Well, in honor of the Man Cave Authors and man caves in general, I have invented a game for you to play entitled... "What's In Your Man Cave?" -- wanna play?

Dan Harrington: Sure, but I'm not sure you really want to know. ha ha!

SME: Here's how it'll work. I'll give you two different items that might be found in a man cave. You tell me which you would rather have if you had to pick. Then we'll pit that option against another possible item, until we discover what your ultimate man cave item would be!

Dan Harrington: Sounds fun. Let's do it!

SME: Okay, first dilemma: Would you rather have a singing mounted fish or a dart board?

Dan Harrington: dart board

SME: Okay. Dart board or a ping-pong table?

Dan Harrington: we're getting tricky!
Dart board because I'm not good at ping-pong, and I want to beat my friends.

SME: Well thought out. Alright, a dart board or a pool table?

Dan Harrington: Pool table just because it's cooler and offers more of a man cave atmosphere--a true centerpiece.

SME: Wow. I didn't know guys ever used the word "centerpiece."

Dan Harrington: I used a dictionary.

SME: Okay--that makes sense, then.
Pool table or an arcade game of your choice.

Dan Harrington: Arcade game! I love those machines, and it would be X-Men by Konomi. It allowed six players. I still dream about that machine from my years as a teenager.

SME: If you've been dreaming of it since your teen years, that'll make the final choice that much harder!!!

Dan Harrington: The suspense is killing me!

SME: Your beloved X-Men by Konomi arcade game or.... a collection of fantastic historical romance novels a la Jane Austen?

Dan Harrington: This one is so hard to choose, but the X-Men arcade game squeaks out for the win.

SME: Man. I bet that was close. Life is full of tough choices.

Dan Harrington: I know it, huh! But the great thing about a group man cave is that every guy brings one item. Michael Young will provide the most expensive stuff. I'll bring the dart board.

SME: Who's gonna bring the romance novels?

Dan Harrington: We'll have to draw straws for the romance novels.

SME: Somehow I can't picture the Man Cave authors ever arriving with Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre under their arm.

Dan Harrington: I don't know. David West might like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. But I think our next meeting will consist of a Rambo marathon. I think that's on the schedule.

SME: I almost forgot to ask the #1 INFF interview question. What's your favorite continent?

Dan Harrington: North America, but Europe would be second. I think those are your favorites too, right?

SME: They absolutely are. And in that order. I knew I liked you.

Dan Harrington: Thanks! No interview is quite like yours!

SME: That's gonna be my new slogan. "No interview is like an INFF interview"

Dan Harrington: Right on!

SME: You ready for the weekly trip to the portrait gallery?
I think it'll only add to this celebratory spirit we have going here.

Dan Harrington: I can't wait. I've always wanted to be a stick man.

*draws a museum-quality portrait with minimal effort and maximum talent*

Dan Harrington: It looks JUST like me!!!

SME: wahoo!!

Dan Harrington: Wow, are you sure that's not a Polaroid?

SME: And I provided you with a pair of man-cave-approved slippers, perfect for kicking back and enjoying that Rambo marathon!

Dan Harrington: I love it!

SME: I have to say this, because I've been thinking it ever since I saw your picture on your website. Has anyone ever told you you look like Howard Tayler?---->

Dan Harrington: No, they haven't.
I can see the resemblance! I try to get people to say I look like Vin Diesel, but they never follow through.

SME: I try to get people to say I look like <---Amy Adams, but they always settle for the Wendy's girl.--->

SME: Well, that brings us to the final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Dan Harrington: 1) Where else can you get a stick man portrait that looks EXACTLY like you?
2) Everybody needs friends--especially on Friday!
3) Unique humor you can't find anyplace else!
4) The fun games that you don't want to end!
5) You're interviewed by a fellow author! Oh, the camaraderie!

SME: Camaraderie is one of the best parts of being an author.

Dan Harrington: Yes, it's like being in a not-so-secret society.

SME: Agreed. Well, thanks for joining us for INFF!

Dan Harrington: Thanks for much for having me. It was fun, and I highly recommend INFF!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Dan said...

Thanks for the terrific interview and portrait, Sarah! It was fun and memorable!

Michael Knudsen said...

Great interview. I like the rapid-fire style, more like an instant-message conversation than a list of questions answered. That's the way we should always do it!

J Lloyd Morgan said...

Great interview. If you've not read Dan's book yet, why not? It's a excellent read. :)

Jordan and Heidi Jensen said...
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