Welcome to our Author Interview series.
Today we're featuring an interview with Rick Mussey, author of An Attitude of Gratitude, How God Overcame the Adversities in My Life. Our author interview series provides an opportunity for our readers to get to know our authors on a deeper level and also learn more about the types of books we're publishing.
Rick Mussey, born May 7, 1948, grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio. After marrying his high school sweetheart, they moved to North Canton, raising two daughters. Rick has had success for three decades in the sales arena; he earned his Elite (world class) ranking in powerlifting (1982) and also won bodybuilding competitions (1984 and 1986.). In addition to a brief stint as a male model, he has found joy in writing. He has written articles for Powerlifting USA and Blade Magazine. An Attitude of Gratitude is his first book effort. Rick and his wife, Linda reside in the Sturbridge allotment in North Canton, Ohio.
A Christian-based autobiography of a man who grew up in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area during the Fifties and Sixties, relocated to North Canton in 1971 and spent the next four decades pursuing success in his job, competitive strength sports and trying to be a quality father and husband. After his successes in the first two endeavors, at age fifty-eight he was faced with his greatest challenge – an unexplainable life-threatening illness. This experience finally opened his eyes to his creator – acknowledging that it is God who has directed all of his successes (and failures) throughout his life. Rick learned that God does things in His time – not ours. He has also learned to give more than he takes in his life. The book gives sound advice to people of all faiths and hope to those who are still searching for inner peace and true happiness in their own lives. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done in your life; the real purpose of each life is to know, acknowledge and love your God on a daily basis.
Why should readers take a chance on your book?
This book will make the reader laugh, cry and realize that there is someone else out there who has had numerous encounters with life’s ups, downs and in-betweens . . . and survived to write about it! Anyone who grew up during the Fifties and Sixties can relate to this story. The reader follows the writer’s love of music which is woven throughout the book. Athletic endeavors including baseball, competitive powerlifting and bodybuilding show both the good side and the under-belly of sports in a very honest manner. Both men and women will also relate to my conflicted and sometimes addictive nature toward the opposite sex during my twenties and thirties. The chapters are mostly short and easy to read, while keeping the theme of the story growing and interesting. I introduce my thoughts regarding spirituality in Chapter Thirteen, and build on this theme with each following chapter. In Chapters Twenty-four through Twenty-eight I reveal an unknown illness, which becomes life-threatening and finally is dealt with both physically and spiritually. Although I am proud of the first five parts of the book, it is Part Six (with six short chapters) which I feel most readers will really relate to and appreciate – what’s really important in life. Included at the back of the book is a list of my favorite inspirational songs which helped me during those trying times, plus a pictorial section in both black and white and color showing me from ages six to the present.
How did your book come to life?
After five years of persistent encouragement and persuasion from my wife, I decided that my life’s story would be worth writing and reading about. There was also a strong calling from the Lord for me to write about the miracle which He performed on me – to tell my story to a world sadly in need of a real testimony of faith and complete belief in God.
Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?
An Attitude of Gratitude makes the reader aware that what they may have gone through in their own lives is just the prerequisite beginning; assuring them that there is a far greater power out there watching over them, guiding them and patiently waiting for that moment in their lives when they turn to Him and acknowledge Him as I have done. For some (as with me) it may take several decades of unfulfilled experiences to occur before that very special moment happens.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Four months of six to eight hours – daily. Ironically, I was able to title all parts and chapter names very quickly – the actual book took months of re-writing and editing.
What are you doing to market the book? Are you using social media?
I created my web site (www.rickmussey.com) prior to the publishing date; I also went on Facebook early May 2012 to promote the book. I tell every person I meet about my book, and I have contacted two well-know current national celebrities about An Attitude of Gratitude. I am expecting a response from them soon. I have sent copies to the three area newspapers and contacted the four Cleveland-area television stations as well. Promoting your book is a full-time job (unless you’re already well-known and / or a celebrity.)
Why did you decide to publish with Infinity Publishing?
I spent months doing research on numerous publishers. After careful consideration, I narrowed my decision down to two companies: Infinity Publishing and Xulon Press, a Christian-based publisher. I chose Infinity because of their openness in answering my many questions, the color format available to me at a very affordable price-point and the solid reputation of the company. Infinity is also one of the Outstanding Self-Publishers in Mark Levine’s “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition.” I remain very pleased with my choice of publisher and whole-heartedly recommend Infinity Publishing to any and all authors, both new and experienced.
List three adjectives that describe your book as a whole:
Enjoyable; Believable; Inspirational.
Who inspires you?
Jesus Christ. My wife, Linda. The Amish community here in Ohio. And many of the people I have known throughout my life. I am also very inspired by “the numerous and unknown underdogs in life.”
Where do you find your ideas?
Once I fully committed myself to writing this book, I began to reflect back on my life, and most of what I wrote just flowed mentally. I really didn’t use any notebooks because events all came back to me in a natural progression as I wrote the book. There were also incidents and occurrences which I chose to keep out of the book, so as not to offend anyone or to reveal too much of the ugliness of my life during my twenties and thirties.
How do you research your books?
Although I have written articles for magazines, this is my first book. I wanted to write about a subject that I really knew a lot about – what better subject than yourself? In the future, I may write more about how spirituality removes the doubts in our lives and answers those “un-answerable” questions.
How long have you been writing?
I have written short articles for the past thirty years, but until I wrote this book, I never really considered myself as having any talent as a published author.
What drives you to write?
As I grow as a human being, I find writing to come naturally and somewhat a relaxing pastime. As I write, I usually listen to music on my computer. Perhaps sub-consciously, I am inspired by the words to songs. By the way, my musical tastes are rather eclectic – soft adult-oriented pop to New Age.
What is your writing process?
After conceptualizing a story, I sit in front of my computer and just start typing. I have found that it is an easy process for me to put words, sentences and thought-processes together in a coherent manner. Of course, that doesn’t mean that my first draft is my final draft!
If you could visit a place for research, where would it be?
Most likely the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Just to experience the awesomeness of nature inspires me.
What do you see next for your career as a writer?
My immediate focus is on the success of An Attitude of Gratitude. I truly believe that once people read my book, they will not only enjoy it but also recommend it to their friends and family members. As I point out on the last page, I am also donating ten percent of all proceeds to a Lakota-Sioux Indian school. That is very important to me, as I am part-Lakota Sioux and I want to give back to those who really need it.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
For most of us, self-publishing is the only way to go. I really didn’t shop my book around to traditional publishers – I don’t deal with rejection well! I’ll never understand why a traditional publisher accepts some of the trash that they do (simply because a “celebrity” on a reality television show decides to “write a book.”) There are certainly far more worthwhile books to be published and read by self-published authors. My focus is to spread the word on the miracles of God which occur on a daily basis throughout this world.
If you were told your stories were unbelievable and not written very well, would you continue to write?
I wrote my book to help readers realize that all humans make mistakes; but that God forgives them regardless. My book is the truth regardless of what any critic may say.
Would you ever consider converting one of you stories/published books into a screenplay? And if you could corroborate with someone, who would it be?
Absolutely. I would want to corroborate with someone like Ron Howard.
While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?
Most of the time, my thoughts seem to flow in a natural progression. Rewriting has never been a big part of my writing style. Now, editing, that is another story!
Which do you prefer to write – full length novels or short stories?
Short stories are really easy for me. But after writing this book, I would say that I would like to write another book sometime in the near future. I would have to find the right subject in order to have the passion (and devote the time) necessary to complete something really worthwhile reading.
What are your strengths as a writer?
Being able to devote the thought process and time required to write a truly interesting story.
Where did you grow up? How did your hometown (or other places you have lived) inspire your work?
I grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Parma. During the Fifties and Sixties, Parma became one of the fastest growing suburbs in Ohio and a real melting pot of nationalities. Parma Senior High School had around 3,000+ students, so there was always the opportunity to meet new people. I enjoyed growing up where I did, although dealing with parents who drank and argued nightly wasn’t any fun. I also enjoyed re-living those experiences growing up in Parma; I never envisioned doing the things that I did as an athlete, a husband and father, and sales professional. There were certainly incidents that I regret looking back, but overall I would not have missed it for the world.
Do you like to travel? If so where is your favorite city?
I have traveled extensively throughout the greater Midwest United States, New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California. I have also traveled to Canada and Cancun, Mexico. My favorite city would have to be San Diego, CA. Truly beautiful!
What is your favorite food? Do you have a favorite restaurant you’d recommend if we ever visit your city?
Prior to open-heart surgery, filet mignon was my favorite. Since then, I have really bonded well with chicken and turkey meals. I also eat more salads than I ever have. As for good restaurants, we are really fortunate to have many here in the greater Canton area. Linda and I prefer The Bonefish Grill, Ninety One, Ruby Tuesday, Hartville Kitchen and Rockne’s.
Does your family support you in your writing career?
Linda is my number one supporter. My daughters also support my writing efforts with words of encouragement. They have both told me how proud they are to have a father who has a published book.
What are you currently reading?
“The One Year Worship the King Devotional” by Chris Tiegreen.
What is the best book you've read?
“The Magic of Believing” by Claude Bristol.
State five random facts about yourself.
I am a life-long obsessive-compulsive person and not ashamed to admit it.
I enjoy people who know how to talk about subjects other than themselves.
It wasn’t until I turned fifteen that I found out that I was adopted by my father.
I did male modeling at the age of thirty-eight.
I have finally learned how to forgive myself for anything bad I did in the past – because I know that Jesus has, and that is all I need to know.
If you had to choose, which writer would you like to have mentored you?
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
The aforementioned Claude Bristol; Earl Nightingale; John F. Kennedy; Joel Osteen.
If there were one wish you could ask the genie in the bottle to grant, what would it be?
To make misery and suffering non-existent for all people of this earth.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
On-line at http://www.buybooksontheweb.com and also Amazon.com. Both soft cover and hardbound versions are available now, with the e-Book version coming September 2012.