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Read Your Way Through the 1990s


Photo of Zachery Daniel, author of his debut novel, Manifest Destiny

00:00:00] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Zachary Daniel, welcome to the Bookaholic Podcast.

[00:00:05] Zachary Daniel: Hi. Thanks for, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to, to be on and yeah, it was it's a great day.

[00:00:13] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Let's dive into your journey. First of all, before we go into your book and your characters and your storyline and the world that you've created, let's talk about how you got onto the road of being a writer.

Everybody has such a different journey of folks that I've interviewed, and I'm always interested in how you embarked on this. So what happened to you, Zachary?

[00:00:37] Zachary Daniel: Yeah. So, you know, I, I think it's probably pretty common that most people don't plan on writing a book. You know, write out the, you know, as, as something that they're gonna do.

But it kind of just, you kind of just fall into it at some point. And I, my it first started in college where I kind of. Had this idea in my head for a movie, it kind of just came to me. And I thought, oh, I really think this would make a good movie. I think I'd really like to see this come to life.

But I'm like, I can't do a movie. I can't you know, direct or have a budget or anything, but I can bring it to life through a book. So that was kind of, yeah. The impetus that, that brought the story on. And And that's kind of what started it, you know, being in college a little younger and then not having a lot of formal writing background, creative writing, background experience.

You know, it took me a long time a lot of kind of growth as an author and a writer . To, to make it kind of where it is today. And I used to hate writing. I used to, yeah, I used to hate English. I, I was used to be really bad at grammar and spelling. And then my freshman year of college I was put in a class of, as the only native English speaker in a class of Chinese exchange students.

Okay. Which didn't make any sense to me, but the teacher that I had she really focused on our essays could only be 250 words or 500 words long. Okay. So she really emphasized spending. You know, as much, basically making each word mean as much as possible. Yeah. And it kinda, it kind of gave me an appreciation for writing that you could fit so much into, like, into so little.

And yeah, so that really was kind of the, the thing that turned in in my head as far as my, my views on writing. And it made, when I had the idea for the, the book, it made it all the more, Kind of, you know, motivating to do because I kind of had that, kind of, had that appreciation and curiosity for, for that.

So yes,

[00:02:37] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: yes, yes, yes. Now did you, eventually, now, so did you just base your writings based on that particular education? Or did you hire a book coach or a copy editor? How did you get it to be

[00:02:51] Zachary Daniel: Publishable. Yeah. It started, you know, I kept it mostly to myself for the first few years of mm-hmm. I'm writing it, you know doing revisions and stuff and then I hand it off to a couple friends and family.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And it would kind of be my motivation to like, cause you kind of run it out on yourself and then you get feedback from friends and family and it kind of res you You know, to, to make improvements and to go through another draft. Right. So after a few friend and family, I hired a freelance editor.

Mm-hmm. He went through it a couple times. You know, I'm sure your audience is probably familiar with Upwork. Yes. So, yeah, this is a great platform. I found a lot of really good really good, you know professionals on there. Yeah. So I did a couple edits through that. Someone on Upward, and then I approached a a kind of.

I would say a hybrid approach publishing company. Yes. Which we can kinda, we can kind of get into a little bit. You know, they kind of do the whole publishing process for you. Mm-hmm. But, you know, it's not, it's kind of self-publishing. It's kind of traditional publishing. Like that hybrid. Yes. And they went through it again, so the editor went through it twice and that's kind of where it got to, you know, the, where it is today, the professionally.

Published. And, and published. Yes. So yeah, it was definitely a journey. And you know, I would say from the time that I had the idea to, the time I finished the book and published was probably like six, seven years.

[00:04:17] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Wow. Wow. I, you know, I've had, like I said, I've had close to, I'm getting close to a hundred.

Interviews and I've, I've talked to so many people and everybody's journey is different, but I have had some writers who've done the hybrid journey and you know, so different people have had different journeys and some people have even had their books on hold for longer than the six or seven years that you're speaking of.

I mean, you know, so, so, hey, so hey. Your first book got out pretty early. Compared to some of my other guests. But you know, it's just kind of funny though that you know, these books are your babies or people's babies and but, but it's a good thing that people. You know, just do not just throw out anything.

Everybody that I've spoken to have really taken care of their baby and made sure that it was readable and edited properly and, and went through the proper process. And so I, I like to celebrate authors who have taken that time to want to put something really good out there, something really worthy.

And, you know, there's so many steps to having a brilliant book. You know, I do like to focus on people who. There's fine authors out there all over the place, but you know, if you keep looking at the New York Times Bestsellers list, you're gonna miss these people because the difference between a New York, New York Times bestselling author versus other authors is marketing.

You know, and can you, can you get out there now? Not to take away from the James Patterson's and David Balducci and Colleen Hoover and all these people, not to take away anything away from them, but they've got lots of marketing behind them, you know? So, but I love bringing people who have gotten fine books written and we wanna get those books out to the world as

[00:06:14] Zachary Daniel: well.

Yeah. No, that's, that's awesome. And yes. It's a good cause because I, I do agree. I, I didn't really know anything about the book publishing process until I, you know, started to get into it. And I mean, you're exactly right. It, it is about marketing.

[00:06:31] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: It's about marketing. And if you don't know how to market, you know, or if you're not willing to market, if you're just like, I'm a writer, well, you're, you're.

Baby, your book is not going to go anywhere. Yeah. Unless you embrace marketing, you know, so that's another thing that I wanna get out to the audience. You know, if you're, you're an avid reader who is chomping at the bit to write something you write it and people are not just going to come because you wrote it.

You have to put it out there, and you have to be happy of what you're putting out there.

[00:07:04] Zachary Daniel: Yeah, you, you have to be proud of it. And yes, because yeah, it's out there. It's out there forever and it's out there forever. It's out there forever. There forever. There's no taking aback and exactly, exactly.

The marketing, the marketing's big. And that's kind of partially why I went the hybrid. I'm like, you know, You know, I wanted to give, you know, I spent so much time on the book, like you said, it's your baby and mm-hmm. You just wanna give it the best chance possible to succeed. You know, whether, you know, you hit what you think is succeeding or not, but you just, you just wanna leave it all out on the table cuz it's, it's such a big, you know, time, commitment, and accomplishment.

Unless you're turning out books like, you know, every six months, like some authors, but, you know, to, to most of us, you know, it takes years and. And you just wanna do it the best you can.

[00:07:54] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Well, those who are turning books out every six months have a writing machine. I mean, you know, James Patterson can throw out probably about four books a year, but he does again, he's got that marketing machine behind him and he does a lot of co-writing with other authors.

You know, he even wrote a book with Dolly Parton, so, so, you know, you know, if you got, if you got all that going for you, of course you can throw out four books a year, but Exactly. But let's dive into the book now, and now you've, you've got one of my favorite genres that you've written, a mystery thriller, and the name of your book is, again, manifest Destiny.

Correct. Correct? Yes. Okay. Okay. Now I often say to people, I judge books by their covers, definitely. And yours is the cover is a watch and the watch is cracked. And so we're gonna see why we have that visual once we understand what the book is about. So give us a, give us a background of the book.

What's going on in this book.

[00:09:02] Zachary Daniel: Yeah, so it's you know, if I'm just put setting it's East Coast in the nineties, mm-hmm. You know, the main, the main character Nick, he's in his early thirties, mid thirties, and his father was, was murdered when he was a teenager. His father was, was everything to him, his idol, who he wanted to be his best friend.

And, you know, he was taken away from him in an apparent robbery. There was no. No one was ever found. No one was ever charged. They had a couple suspects, but nothing really materialized. Wow. You know, fast forward to the present and Nick has carried that, you know, anger and grief and, and, and all that into his adulthood, and he's let it affect a lot of different aspects of his life.

Wow. And he's, he's had a couple of events in his past that kind of he releases that anger in, in kind of unhealthy ways. So I would think of like, you know, I wouldn't say like a vigilante or like somewhat you know, somewhat Dexter ish. Okay. As far as like, you know, how he releases that and he does that on his father's anniversary.

So you know, the progression of the book is a lot. A good amount of first, third or half can be kind of put in flashbacks of those kind of events, but Gotcha. He, he's basically letting control a lot of his life. And he has a best friend who's a police officer who also lost his father at the same time.

Oh. Now he, he lost his father to a heart attack. So it was, you know, no one's fault or, you know, no one, you know. It's perpetrated that. Right. And he's, he's definitely had peace with that. So him and Nick are, you know, kind of catching up over dinner and his best friends, you know, talks about, you know, I wish I could.

Have you move on from this. Like you need to move on from this. This has been a drag in your life for too long. You know, you're living in the past, all this, and Nick's like, I just want closure. You know, you had closure, your father, and, and so Nick basically asked his friend to re-look into his father's murder.

Okay. Tried to, tried to gain closure and Right. You know, his father was murdered in the seventies. DNA technology is just coming out in the nineties. So that's kind of the impetus of, oh, being able to maybe crack this case because now DNA technology's up. Got you. Got. And so there's kind of the underlying, you know, the underlying investigation kind of is, is the theme driving the, under the, under the plot.

And then Nick's also kind of just. Healing and then kind of rediscovering life, reconnecting with his family, his, his mm-hmm. Niece, his nephew his mom, kind of dealing with the, the demons that he's been living so long with and mm-hmm. You know, as the investigation kind of unearths more and it kind of gets more intertangled it kind of all culminates together as past and present in kind of a way that.

Well, I, I, I, you know, of course don't spoil any ending, but No, no, don't, yeah, yeah. But it yeah, they definitely come together in an explosive way and the investigation takes a turns and think, and. Yeah, it gets, it gets, it gets pretty wild. Okay. It gets pretty, pretty intense at the end.

[00:12:20] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Oh, wow. Okay.

All right. So, and as you said, you, you first formulated this as a movie. Mm-hmm. So, and now you've written the book. And so now it could have the possibility of a movie or a TV show. So who would you envision the stars today, a celebrity today to play those two roles, the main roles in your

[00:12:45] Zachary Daniel: book? Oh, that's a good question.

Probably the main character, mm-hmm. A younger Edward Norton. Oh, okay. I think that, you know I think a younger Edward nor would fit, and then the, the best friend would be probably like Jonathan Majors. Okay. Okay. Or yeah, probably Jonathan Majors is the one that comes to mind. Okay.

[00:13:10] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Okay. That, that gives you, you know, some insight a little bit to the, you know, as well, characters that you would hope to play.

These two in your book now, I noticed that you. The father was killed in the seventies, and the DNA n the majority of the book takes place in the nineties when the d n A technology comes out. So you had to create a world in this book that flashed back, I suppose, to the seventies, but an even greater flashback for you writing to the nineties Now.

I'm gonna ask you, what do you really know about the seventies and nineties? I know you dunno anything about the seventies at all. Yeah,

[00:13:57] Zachary Daniel: no. In the

[00:13:57] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: nineties. Maybe you were born in the nineties. I'm not sure.

[00:14:02] Zachary Daniel: Yeah, no, I was born in 95, which is. When the book takes place.

[00:14:06] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Well, that's, that's when I got married.

I got married in 95. And you were born in 95. Yeah. So, so, so, but it's always curious as to ask a person, how did you research the world of the nineties and the seventies for your book?

[00:14:24] Zachary Daniel: Yeah. Luckily I, you know, the fla, you know, the flashbacks of seventies is really only. Hands gentle. There's not really much context in there.

Okay. But a lot of nineties stuff. You know, I, I was careful to avoid my, I would say my, my, one of my best friends is engineer and he's like very detail oriented. So when he read the book, he was like, I'm looking for all the, you know, Non congruent mistakes. He's like looking up all the different places that I say, or you know, I have a baseball game in there and I made sure that the baseball game was the, you know, you know, the right baseball game on the right day.

Yeah, the general feel for the, you know, the nineties and some of the flashbacks I kind of avoided, I kind of avoided dating it. You know, putting in too many references that, that date it to the nineties. Yeah. With, you know, it could trip you up with certain, like, clothing styles or you know, I do use a couple like phone references, but it's all, you know, there's no cell phones obviously, or I think I do, I think I do have one cell phone in there, but obviously it's like the huge big box phone and a Yes.

Made sure that it was the right type of, you know, Nokia. That's right. All my, all the references I have in the nineties, I made sure to, to do correct and date properly, but I didn't have a lot of certain clothes or. Certain style of, you know, interior design or anything that kind of Right. Dates it into the nineties.

[00:15:58] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Right, right, right. So, well, if if it becomes a movie, you'll have all types of creative consultants. True. Yeah.

True.

[00:16:05] Zachary Daniel: Bring all of that in. Oh, very true. Yeah. The next, next thing to write is the, the screenplay.

[00:16:13] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Oh, yes, yes,

[00:16:14] Zachary Daniel: yes. So I I actually, it was, it was, I did a book signing, the only in-person book signing I did back at my local library.

And it was probably the highlight of the whole me writing the book, like even better than publishing it because I had, I, you know, did my local library. My mom was so excited. She put up like flyers around town. Oh my gosh. And it was, it was really, and there was like 50. Probably like 50 people that showed up.

Well, hey, and that's good old teachers from elementary school that I hadn't seen in in 20 years. Showed up and it was just, it was just really awesome.

[00:16:51] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Wow, that's a great feeling. That's definitely a great feeling. Now, how did you come about the cover of your book? Like, again, going back, I judge books by the cover and if it looks cheap, if it looks like it doesn't match what the book is supposed to be, I don't pick it up.

And so I like, I like your cover. So why, why the watch? Because we're now, it tick away at his future. I gotcha. He dwelled on his past. Now it takes away his future. Got it, got it, got it. But very nice cover. So how did you get it designed?

[00:17:24] Zachary Daniel: So I, the publishing company did the designing. Okay. You know, I had something I also liked about the hybrid approach is I had a lot of creative freedom.

And that exactly. I, whatever, at the end of the day, whatever I say goes and which I kind of liked, but obviously they were kind of driving the process, but Right, right. I gave them some covers that I liked. They basically gave me a bunch of designs and then I started picking and narrowing what I wanted.

I was really impressed that they picked out the watch because if there's one symbol throughout the entire book that you could have on the cover, it would be the watch. Oh, okay. Okay. So I was really impressed with that because whoever was the designer obviously had gone through the book at least.

Relatively carefully and, and kind of deduce that that was the one thing. Mm-hmm. It, the watch is an important object in the book. Okay. His dad wears that watch and then Nick wears the same watch. Gotcha. It's, it's an important piece of. Piece of the story. And then the brokenness is just because basically, you know, when his father's murdered, it's like time, you know, time froze and he's living in the past and Right.

Kind of a, a play on that.

[00:18:36] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Exactly. Exactly.

[00:18:38] Zachary Daniel: Wow. Yeah. So the, yeah, the Manifest Destiny, the title itself comes from, you know, that, that old, what was that old historical term where, you know, you couldn't hold Colonial the united, colonial United States, east of the Mississippi, it was inevitably gonna span ocean.

Ocean. You know, it was a manifest destiny that we were gonna Oh, conquer the, conquer the continent, basically. Yes. Yes. And so it was a play on that in the, in the main character's anger and grief and sorrow that he's holding onto it. It's manifest destiny that's gonna release and you know, kinda. You know that, that's, it's kind of a play on that, so, okay.

Lots, lots of themes going on in, in the cover. Well, I appreciate that you, you, you like it so much. I, I love it. I love it too, so

[00:19:30] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: Yes, yes, yes. You and people have to watch that, you know, they really have to watch that with these book covers because it's really a crucial, it's, you could have the greatest novel in the world that the world's ever.

Had on the inside pages, but if your cover is not approachable, it won't get read. And that, you know, it just won't. So so definitely that, that's, that's one of the more, more important pieces in the book process is your book cover. It's very important. Well, what's next for Zachary? We got another book coming out or working on another book, or do we have a sequel to this book?

[00:20:12] Zachary Daniel: That's a good question. Mm-hmm. I, I do know what I would do for the sequel. It, now the book doesn't set up a sequel. Okay. You know, it's a very much complete book. Okay. But, so, you know, don't think I'm gonna leave like a cliffhanger or anything. It's gonna be pretty wrapped up and Okay. But I have thought about what I would do for the sequel and it would, it would tie into this book without kind of undoing anything.

So, It's just, it's just more of like a mental, like, okay, here we go. You know, kind of getting the, the mental gymnastics or time to put towards writing a second book. Yeah. Cause it was a lot to get the first one done. Yeah. And so I, I thought either a sequel involving. This or a kind of a financial thriller?

Oh, so my background, my background is I'm an investment advisor and specialize in digital assets like Bitcoin. Yes. So a kind of financial thriller involving, you know, digital assets or Bitcoin. I think I could write, I think I could write well, because that's my life and I know right about, about that world.

Yes, I could, could make it really interesting to the, the casual reader without, you know, And then, you know, without boring them with all this Right. Green jargon. Right. And I also don't think there's really any many, if any, books in that category. Cause it's such a new, it's such a new asset that Exactly.

You know, they aren't like financial thriller books with digital assets. It just, I. My, my buddy kind of suggested that. He's like, no, you should write a book. You know, your next book should be Digital assets. Like a thriller. Like a financial thriller. Yeah.

[00:21:55] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: I think that's a great, a bad idea. Great idea. I think that's a great idea.

And see now, That you've gone through all of this and you have a hybrid publisher, you wouldn't have to have as long of a timeframe. It wouldn't have to be six or seven. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:22:12] Zachary Daniel: So,

[00:22:12] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: you know, and you feel more comfortable and all of these things. So yeah. So I, I think you can do it in that and. If you do it, feel free to come back to the Bookaholic podcast and, and let us know all about it.

We'd be more than happy to have you back again. And yeah, as in saying that, we're gonna have all of your contact information in the podcast show notes as well as in the video description box on my YouTube channel. Zachary Daniel, thank you for coming on today and we will shout out to everyone. Purchase your copy of Manifest Destiny.

[00:22:49] Zachary Daniel: Well, thank you. It was awesome to be on, so

[00:22:52] Bookaholic - Deirdre Pippins: well, we were glad to have you and thank you so much.

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