I write in the Nonfiction genre, and Further Than Yesterday (FTY) is the first volume of a trilogy and there will be two more installments of the “Further Than” series. The genre was literally thrust upon me as FTY is truly my story, very autobiographical and very personal. But it represents only a part of my life’s journey, one which I feel comfortable sharing so that others who struggle with Mental Health issues, primarily PTSD will reach out and get help. The appeal is in the results of watching others regain control over their lives as part of the treatment process.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
I believe the most challenging part of the process is objectively trying to evaluate the relevance of subjective experiences. Will the reader relate? Did I capture the emotions I was going for? Will this make sense to the reader? A huge part of the solutions to these questions comes in the edit and revisions phase. Having an editor who understands the issues and is willing to either call “BS” or conversely encourage you to delve deeper into areas that you may wish to gloss over.
When and where do you do your writing?
I find that my actual writing for me is done in front of the keyboard, in my office/den. I tend to be surrounded by my books, my dog, my aquarium, my music and my ever present coffee cup. I am truly addicted to coffee. But there are times when I will go to certain areas to write as the setting is such an integral part of the setting that you need to have been there or be present to truly capture the nuances of the environment. If you want to write about deserted beaches go walk one, soak in the experience, make notes, take pictures and try and employ as many senses as possible while there. It will reflect in the authenticity of your writing.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
I think the biggest lesson I have learned in promotion to individual readers is to set the hook and let the reader delve in and find out where the book takes them. In a group setting the strength lies in being to address the group, and lend a true voice to a passage that you read. It will help the readers throughout the rest of the book. I often read a passage called “The Nightmare Begins” and then take them into a later passage which gives them a glimpse into the Hell that PTSD is and how my service dog has had such a positive effect on my life.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I think that the pride comes from hearing individuals relate to capturing the raw emotions and how it has served as the springboard for them to reach out for help for themselves or a loved one. Inspiring others to take action was the goal, and I know I have hit it. The book speaks to veterans, military personell, mental health sufferers and advocates, those with PTSD, Service Dog Handers and dog lovers as a whole. With so many interested segments in the readership, it is a balancing act. But those who suffer who need inspiration, Further Than Yesterday, That’s All That Counts delivers the message of Hope and Motivation.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Wow, the Million Dollar question. I am going to go with someone who has passed because there is always hope that I will cross paths with the living. That being the case, going with Abraham Lincoln. Specifically I would love to sit down and talk about the Civil War, the anguish he went through in the tough decisions, but mostly I want to talk about the “Gettysburg Experience” immediately following the Battle and during the period of the Gettysburg Address.
Cous, a Royal Military College graduate with a degree in English, was injured doing Search and Rescue in 1986, and was awarded the Star of Courage. He has battled PTSD ever since, and in 2012 was paired with his PTSD Service Dog, Thai. As a result, his wife Jocelyn and he co-founded Paws Fur Thought, an initiative that fund raises and advocates to pair other disabled veterans with their Service Dogs. “Further Than Yesterday” is the first volume of a pending trilogy. Cous has been awarded a Mental Health Inspiring Lives award and recognized as the PetLynx Urban Animal Innovator of the Year in 2014. When not busy writing and delivering motivational speeches, Cous can be found reading, traveling, studying history, fishing, listening to music and walking his dog at the beach. Cous also shares the house with his wife, her Service Dog, several cats and their grown daughter Jennifer when she chooses.
On Facebook: Paws Fur Thought - http://on.fb.me/1RADHd5
On Facebook: Further Than Yesterday - http://on.fb.me/1H9Ftwk
On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1H9FdgG