Al McDermid Join Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Al McDermid
Al McDermid is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots podcast.
He is an author with a similar tale to many of our guests.
At least the starting point is.
He was born in Michigan, where he lived for most of his childhood, before making the decision to join the U.S. Navy upon graduating high school.
He served aboard three different ships and at the U.S. Naval Station at Subic Bay in the Philippines.
And whilst on-board dealing with the idle hours, he began writing about his experiences simply as a way to pass the time.
Which is something that most of us will do, but not consider why we are doing it.
But the simple answer is we are not trying to simply pass the time, but instead are choosing to do something that we enjoy to pass the time.
How The Dots Joined Up For Al
Which if you can then find a way to monetize this enjoyable pursuit, you quite simply never ever work again.
After getting out of the Navy he worked at a variety of jobs, including fry cook, baker, disk jockey, electrician’s assistant, book seller, editor, teacher, and taxi driver.
But it was when he took advantage of the G.I. Bill to attend college in Hawaii, that he discovered that he could actually write well, and where he continued to polish his skills.
He worked as student writing tutor beginning in his second year, and won a number of writing awards during his junior and senior years.
All of these small dots building up to something that couldn’t be denied. He was on his way to becoming an author.
He just needed to write that first book, which appeared once he relocated to Japan and took a job in Tokyo.
He took on the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and after three false starts, finished his first 50,000 word novel in 2011 called The Crossroads at Forgotten Lake and the rest is history.
So why was it that he took so long to get to the point that his writing prowess could be unleashed on the world?
And does he look back to his life before the Navy and see any more clues as to where his life was ultimately going to end up?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Al McDermid
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Al McDermid such as:
How he feels that being in the state of flow when writing is the most exciting thing in his life, and eating, sleeping just get plain forgotten.
Why he went into the Navy to get away from his childhood as he had such the strongest feeling that adventure and travel will be the making of him.
Why he cant be happier with the way that technology has changed the way that we can now connect with the world and create new opportunities everywhere.
How he remembers stumbling so many times, but never ever regrets any of them. Its the ability to brush yourself off and keep going that wins the game.
Al McDermid Books
How To Connect With Al McDermid
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Al McDermid Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there, everybody. Hello there Episode 530. I tell you what, my life is just flying past. I was saying to the wife the other day, you know, it’s almost like coming up to June, June 2016. It feels like just like Christmas and she’s already talking about Christmas. Does that mean I’m having a great time? Does that mean that life just gets faster as you get older? Who knows? But these are the kinds of questions that I’m going to pose to today’s guest because he is somebody that I’m so glad to have him on the show because he’s, I suppose he’s a guest that has a similar towel to many about guests. At least the starting point is He was born in Michigan where he lived for most of his childhood before making a decision to join the US Navy upon graduating high school. How many times have we heard people do that they go into the military, and then kind of come out and find their thing afterwards. Now he served aboard three different ships and at the US Naval Station at Subic Bay in the Philippines. And whilst on board, dealing with the idle hours, he began writing about his experiences simply as a way to pass the time, which is something that most of us will do, but not consider why we’re doing it. We’re not trying to simply pass the time, but instead of choosing to do something that we enjoy, to pass the time, and that’s the key difference, which if you can then find a way to monetize this enjoyable pursuit. He quite simply will never ever work again. Now after getting out of the Navy, he worked at a variety of jobs including a fry cook, Baker disc jockey, electricians, assistant bookseller, editor, teacher, and even a taxi driver but it was when he took advantage of the GI Bill to attend College in Hawaii. But he discovered that he could actually write well, and where he continued to polish his skills. He worked as a student writing tutor beginning in his second year, and won a number of writing awards during his junior and senior years. And all of these small dots started to build up to something that couldn’t be denied. He was on his way to becoming an offer. He just needed to write that first book, which appeared once he relocated to Japan and took a job in Tokyo. He took on the National Novel Writing Month challenge and after three, four stars, finished his first 50,000 word novel in 2011, called the Crossroads at forgotten lake. And the rest, as they say, is history. So why was it it took so long to get to the point that he’s writing prowess could be unleashed on the world and doesn’t get back to his life before the Navy and see any more clues as to where his life was ultimately going to end up? Well? Let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Al McDermid. How are you doing
Al McDermid [3:01]
Hello, David, thank you for having me
David Ralph [3:03]
is lovely. I gave you the biggest build up i think i’ve ever got. And you were just so Matter of fact that l is that is that how you live your life? Nothing can shock you.
Al McDermid [3:14]
Um, yeah, I think it’s, uh, you know, after this many decades. You don’t get very excited even when someone’s telling you this great story about you. Which, yes, you told this great story. I mean, I’m beginning to wonder is he really talking about me there?
David Ralph [3:31]
Yeah, it’s gotta be you, sir. Because you’re the only one I’m talking to. You’re on the other end of the line. And I do hope that all men don’t feel that fear of do we not get excited anymore? Because it is it’s what life is all about? Isn’t it being excited enjoying your thing? rocking and rolling? Do you feel excited sort of when you’re doing the do and actually writing
Al McDermid [3:54]
that’s what I feel most excited. Yeah, I mean, I I don’t show a lot of excitement. External Only two people around me. But when I’m sitting in front of the computer, figuring out what my detectives are going to do or what the villains are going to do or I’m very excited and just get lost forget to eat, forget to sleep. I mean, forget to eat. People are always astounded when I tell them that but that is what happens. No, I think
David Ralph [4:24]
that’s true. I record podcasts and my recording day, literally hours just fly past. And at the end of it when I finished my last one, I literally can’t walk back to the house. I’m exhausted. But whilst I’m doing it, it’s just like seconds become minutes and minutes become hours and the hours and the day just go is like, well, it is being in the flow. That’s what you’re talking about when food food goes out the window and you’re just submerged in that fantasy world that you’re creating.
Al McDermid [4:54]
Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what happened especially now that I started writing novels. So I I forget that I’m there and that I say off colour things to people when I meet them. It’s like, oh, sorry, wait a minute. That’s my detective. That’s not me.
David Ralph [5:07]
So So do you actually bring out a different personality? Obviously, we’re gonna go back in time and Join Up Dots because that’s what the whole show is about. Right? But, but do you can you kind of bring out a kind of dirtier version of you a tougher version of you? Is it like you, but an extended version that these detectors have?
Al McDermid [5:26]
Oh, yeah, very much. So um, you know, my detective is is, is like me in a lot of ways. He’s, but he’s brasseries, Boulder.
He doesn’t mind mixing it up. I actually don’t like fighting at all.
Yeah, it’s like I’m living like a different. I’m living through him. Like, I mean, writing is vicarious thrills, right? But I feel the vicarious thrill first when I when I create the story.
David Ralph [5:58]
So So do you really when push comes to shove, you can either be you or him. Would you like all of him or 50% of him? Which kind of characteristics? Would you like to I
Al McDermid [6:11]
don’t think I could be him in real life. I mean, I can be him on the page.
He’s a lot more confident than I usually am.
I suspect he’s better looking.
David Ralph [6:24]
Now that’s not that that can’t be possible. You must know what he looks like. How would you describe your character to the listeners out here that will be coming over to your books in their thousands? How would you describe him?
Al McDermid [6:36]
Oh, well, he’s, he’s ex Navy. And he was also a policeman.
kind of gets stuck in Hawaii in his first adventure. He’s not interested in staying there. He’s on his way back to the States after being in Japan. And he just takes things as it as it comes is actually really typical of Hawaiian life. And, yeah, well that’s, I am probably similar to it in that way. But he’s a lot rougher. Um, I mean a lot cleverer. I mean, he just comes off with the top of his head, I have to sit and think about it before I can put it in his mouth.
David Ralph [7:21]
And then what does he look like in your vision? Does he look nice?
Al McDermid [7:26]
I’m 6162. What we write in the first person, I mean, as you know, I’ve written this with a buddy of mine from graduate school. So we write in the first person and we’ve never done the stand in front of the mirror and describe himself to himself seen. So we’ve never actually described him, but you must have a vision
David Ralph [7:51]
in your head. He looks like we have an eye.
Al McDermid [7:55]
Well, Billy healthy is a boxer dark hair. About six foot to probably 200 pounds.
David Ralph [8:05]
So he carries himself well, it could be me, you’re describing me except I haven’t got that you. Okay, I’m not a boxer. I don’t carry myself well, but other than that, it’s spot on.
Al McDermid [8:18]
Oh, well, well, we ever make a movie, you can play him we can, you know, fudge the accent come up with something. I’ll do that
David Ralph [8:24]
I’ll just do an American accent if anybody has heard me on any of the podcasts, you know, but I’m naturally talented at doing the American accent. No.
Unknown Speaker [8:34]
David Ralph [8:36]
good. take you back in time and start looking at your life. Because the thing that always fascinates me is it takes so long for people to find their thing, or voters clues all the way around them. And you started sort of scribbling down and making notes while you were in the Navy. Do you remember having a passion for sort of words and literature even further back than that?
Al McDermid [9:01]
Actually, no, it’s just the opposite. I had an
early childhood I had a bad experience and I got thrown off of reading and I tried to even school assignments I would avoid them as much as possible. And till 1972 A friend of mine introduced me to the Godfather. And so that was the book that got me interested in reading again. So from then on, I got very interested in reading about gangsters about crime, reading mysteries are very passionate I read, read all of the inflaming. There was a series that was popular at the time called the executioner is kind of like a Punisher type character. And I read all of those. So I lost my love of reading and then gained it back shortly before finishing high school, which was a saviour in the Navy, because there was a lot of downtime. I was writing something down.
David Ralph [10:10]
Because my kids, I’m trying to get my kids to start reading because I love reading. I’m always reading books. And I’ve changed Actually, I always used to say, I will never give up on a book, I will finish every page. And now I’m sort of coming into my 50s in a few years time and I think no, if the books crap, I’m putting it down and so I kind of give up on books where I used to sort of plough through every single thing. But there is a there’s a beauty isn’t there a breeding but you just don’t get from watching films, I lose hours just sort of in my own mind. And kids nowadays, you can kind of see why they don’t read because they’ve got Netflix, they’ve got Xbox, they’ve got all these kinds of things to sort of excite you. But when I was growing up in the 70s, there was nothing you didn’t do anything as soon as he got dark that was your life finished. So it is what it what did you feel you Tell him when when you was a kid if he wasn’t interested in reading, um,
Al McDermid [11:06]
I like to draw.
And I had wanted to become an artist.
David Ralph [11:11]
So I use a creativity in you, man.
Al McDermid [11:14]
Oh, yes. I mean, I was always creative doing something. But the as I tried to become an artist, it just seems like there’s this whole series of roadblocks that I just didn’t have the, the wherewithal to push through, and I eventually just gave up on that dream. But the writing by the time I’ve got the college as your intro, said, I figured out Oh, I’m actually pretty good at this. So I took that route. It’s like, Okay, this is where my creativity is gonna go. And I started writing stories. And of course, I wrote had to write essays for all my classes. And I majored in history, which is a very writing intensive, Major. So I was writing all That time
and never lost the love of it after that.
David Ralph [12:06]
It’s amazing though, isn’t it? Now that you see it time and time again, I’ve speak to everyone on this show, but they all find the thing that they loved doing as kids. I haven’t had one person that when I asked them that question, they say, No, I absolutely hated this as a kid, that there’s always that kind of element. There’s an essence there’s something about what they’re doing now, but ties into the the fun, the D enjoyment when there’s no money involved is fascinating, isn’t it?
Al McDermid [12:34]
Well, yes, and it’s true. I mean, my mother reminded me the other day, it’s like when you were little, you always had a book in your hand. Um, so it’s just this period, like Junior High School in early high school where I, I got thrown out of that by a certain experience. And well, I found it again. I mean, obviously, if you love it, you’re not going to lose it.
David Ralph [13:00]
Now Yeah, absolutely no, I, I’m loving what I’m doing now more than ever, because it’s connecting me to my past. And as we, as we say, at the end of the show, you know, connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. But it is, isn’t it, but unfortunately, we get so one way vision in life about building careers and going into stuff. But more often than not, we’re actually groomed by our surroundings, our situations, our parents to where we take our life forward is a crying shame. And that’s what I’m trying to do, sir. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get people to think, actually, I think there’s a different way to living life, and I can enjoy it as well. What do you reckon?
Al McDermid [13:43]
Yeah, well, I’m, I mean, because of the I mean, I had this I mean, I like your intro you talk about, oh, yeah. When you’re when you’re young, you think about how great life is and then you just fall into this rut. Well, I didn’t really think that at the time because I had this kind of stereotypically, you know, movie of the week, crappy childhood. And all I could think to do was flee which is, you know, the Navy seemed like a good bet. I was like, Well, if I join the Navy, they’re gonna put me on the ship and they’re gonna send me the other side of the world. Yeah, that’s perfect. But all of that bouncing around did the trick for me. I mean, as you as you mentioned, I was stationed in the Philippines, I bounced all over the Pacific while I was you know, the eight years I was in the Navy. I went back to Japan twice I was in Korea and all of that experience that all of that being part of the greater world fit into this passion that I had it just it took a little while for it to ignite.
David Ralph [14:50]
So So what are you sort of running away from now because you’re not the only person I have so many ladies and gentlemen on the show that say the same thing. They Were running away. They fought the Navy was going to be the thing. You’re a little bit weird. So you’re about the first one I’ve spoken to that have actually gone across the world. Everyone I seem to speak to get stationed in Texas and they never come into the state or something you know. So you did actually get on a boat and see see a little bit.
Al McDermid [15:17]
Right. I got straight stationed on a ship in San Francisco. We went overseas we were off the coast of Vietnam when Saigon fell in 75. And then I got experienced the Philippines I mean, my first experience with a with a foreign country and and Philippines, Japan, Korea, these places are very, very different from the American Midwest. And I just fell in love with all of it. And that’s something that’s why I ended up in Hawaii is I left the Philippines a station be here. I decided not to stay in the military and I looked around I thought Michigan or palm trees and beaches. I think I’ll just stick around here. Yeah. And, you know, take take advantage of the GI Bill go to college. I mean, part of the reason I went into the Navy is, I mean, I college was not an option. Growing up, I barely finished high school. So that’s probably what I mean, if I’m fleeing from anything, I was just fleeing from that life and looking for a different kind of life. I didn’t have a plan. I just said, okay, something better has got to be out there. But the Navy was there for a while. I mean, at first, I love the Navy. But your military life is, you know, pretty structured, structured, and I really wanted something different.
David Ralph [16:44]
But your peer group at the time you’re surrounded with people going through college, more often than not, you kind of look at them and you wonder why you’re not seeing what I can see. Why haven’t you got that excitement in you? Why are you happy to go with the flow? Why are you falling? You payments path. So did you always feel different from them? Or was it you know, if the Navy wasn’t there? Could you have quite easily have just existed in the town that you grew up in, in Michigan?
Al McDermid [17:15]
No, I think I would have left. I mean, my, my parents are divorced. My mother is living in California. My brother lives in California. So the plan was always I finished high school, I go to California, but that I wanted to go farther. So then then the Navy was what gave me that I mean, I, I went back a couple times to Michigan on leave, you know, met with my friends. I was dating a girl that I’d gone to school with. And and we broke up because she couldn’t see being a Navy wife. She couldn’t see not living in that town. So that mystified me a little bit and then I realised, well, maybe you are different. You know, maybe you just don’t see the world, the way these people’s Do as far as I know, among my circle, I’m the only one that left all of them hunkered down. They went to work for GM or, or some other, you know, such company. And that was their life.
David Ralph [18:14]
I bet that girlfriend’s kicking herself now and she’s she listen to this show and go, Oh my God, he’s a published author. He’s a best selling author. I missed out my chance.
Al McDermid [18:25]
Oh, no, actually, I talked to her the other day. She’s like, No, I’m, I’m happy I went away. I went, I mean, she had the life she wanted. I guess I honestly, I don’t understand it. But you know, my, you know, some people they, they like that. I mean, I was just listening to one of your guests who, from the south and he said, No, I don’t want to live anywhere else. So this is, this is my community. This is what Okay, so it’s a very different way of seeing the world. Me. The world’s a big place. I want to go look at it.
David Ralph [19:00]
I agree with you i for many years, I travelled extensively through work. And just because I wanted to travel and I loved coming over to America, and over time, and then once I had my kids, it became problematic. It wasn’t insurmountable because you hear time and time again, people that travel around the world with their kids, so you can do it if you want to do it, but my travel kind of died, but my passion for it never did. And I was still watching travel programmes and people exploring thinking I’d love to do that. And now through the show, funnily enough, I’m getting more and more opportunities to go across the world and speak and do public speaking. And it’s funny my whole life has, has connected its dots. I used to do public speaking job. I used to love travelling, now I’m getting opportunities where people are willing to pay me It’s brilliant and best thing is, I keep on telling the kids but it’s it’s business trip. They can’t come so it’s just me for my little many adventures. Am I a bad man alpha saying that?
Al McDermid [20:04]
I don’t think so. I mean, that you found a way to, to, to do what you love and keep doing it. I mean I’m I mean listening to your other shows and your story I’m I’ve always thought of myself as as as very different and that just I just want to keep going. And I do have a very close friend, a painter who is very much like me and we kind of feed each other’s passion for it. But we seem like oddballs to me now I realised, okay.
Not as odd as,
as I perhaps thought. Yeah. It’s, I mean, it’s great to encounter other people that have the same way to think okay, how can I do what I want to do and, and and move forward, which is always what I’m trying to do.
David Ralph [20:57]
But well, that’s a brilliant thing, though, isn’t it that with the internet That you can surround yourself with in the nicest way nutcases. You know, my family, my friends do not understand what I talk about 90% of the time, but by connecting with the people, it fuels me, it absolutely fuels me. And I’m so lucky that when life was hard in Join Up Dots land, I was having these kinds of motivational conversations every day, which which pushed me on, you know, so the obstacles that came in my way, people were telling me every single day, yeah, I had the same thing and I moved past them. It was difficult, blah, blah, blah. When you haven’t got back. It is it’s doubly difficult, isn’t it? For the listeners out there. If they want to do something. One of the best ways is to find other people doing the same thing, whether they get to meet them or not, you can Skype them, you can join Facebook groups, you can join evening classes, whatever you want to do, but it’s so important now, isn’t it for you to find like you have a painter friend or three or four For, in those quoting terms, I’m doing that quote, he turns through my fingers, that kind of nutcases, right, nobody else understands.
Al McDermid [22:07]
Well in Japan was living in Japan, I lived there the last 10 years. It can be a little isolating. You tend to know the other foreigners who are working in your profession. And you have a few Japanese friends. But I had to spend a lot of time on myself and I ended up spending a lot of time online connecting with people on sites like Deviant Art, making friends on Facebook. And now I have this cadre of friends all over the world and I’ve just itching to go and meet them in person. So far, I’ve only met one yeah, of my online friends, which was fantastic. Another artists, collage artists. And one of the things I would like to eventually put together as a as a project of film, where I go travel around the United States meet these people. Film talking to them, and then just throw it all together as a kind of what was that film? slacker. Yeah. But based on the real interactions, like, okay, I’ve known you for five years. I’ve never had a cup of coffee with you. It’s like, this is fantastic if I could sit down and you know, let’s talk about those theological questions or let’s talk about those those political questions. So that’s, that’s show me the art you’re doing now. In person not just online, but the online world Yeah. Why
David Ralph [23:34]
don’t you do that? Because I just watched a film that I think it was a few years ago called I’m Alright, thanks about a guy who always had a dream to be a filmmaker and never did. So he got his mates together. And they got a Kickstarter campaign, raise some money, and they made this hugely inspirational film that you can download for $5 which was showing you them actually unpacking their computers and their cameras. And trying to learn out how it works. Getting into a tiny little van and steaming across America. And they were interviewing entrepreneurs and online folk that have done stuff that have inspired them to move stuff. So that’s how they did it. But you could do that out three months in. I mean, I’m,
Al McDermid [24:19]
I mean, I’m currently in the planning stage. I will be leaving Hawaii in a couple months getting on the mainland, getting set up. Starting looking for the equipment, I need the truck or van, the cameras. I have a friend in Japan who’s a filmmaker he’s he’s on board with you know, consulting, okay, you need this kind of camera. He’s going to edit it for me. You know, right now trying to get everything in place. Probably going to hear my Kickstarter or Indiegogo or GoFundMe. I don’t know which one I’m going to go with yet.
Hopefully by next summer,
David Ralph [24:57]
really, and I’ll tell you why. If you ever come to the United Kingdom As part of this, I’m putting myself in, I’m gonna be in your film. I shouldn’t have said that because it’s up to you to decide.
Al McDermid [25:06]
Oh, absolutely. I mean, that would be the next step. The first one will be okay around the United States. So I’ll drive around the United States. I’ll get all I talked to all my American friends. And the next thing is jump across the pond. Come to the UK, I’ve got a number of online friends in London and various places throughout the British Isles and also on the continent. So that’ll be I don’t know what I don’t even know what I’m calling it yet. But that’ll be number two.
David Ralph [25:34]
Well, let’s play some words now. And then we’re gonna delve back into this. But these are words I like to play on the show round about this time, every day. This is Jim Coker.
Jim Carrey [25:43]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [26:09]
Now, what interests me with bad speech and user is the fact that you’re talking about making your own film and travelling the world, which seems to me to tie in with all your passions, but I don’t believe that you would have got to this point without the others you needed to join up your dots you needed to find the thing that you love most, so that you can then upscale it for bigger challenges and things that you love even more. Would that be a fair appraisal?
Al McDermid [26:39]
Oh, yeah, that’s perfect. I mean, I’m very lucky to find the have found where my passion and my skill intersects. And now I’m on on, you know, contracted doing something with it. Finally, I mean, I love I, I mean, I heard that clip on one of your other shows, and I see Thinking about sex. You know, I’d never heard that before. But that’s, I mean, I have stumbled so many times. And I think a normal person would say I’d have so many regrets, but hey, they’re just stumble. It’s like, Okay, I get up that didn’t work. I go someplace else. And my idea of getting up, it’s like, okay, that’s not working. I think I’ll go to Korea. Or, okay, well, that didn’t work. Okay, well, well, it worked for a while. But well, I went to Korea. I was there for a year teaching English. The schools change hands. I wasn’t sure. I had some friends in Germany saying why don’t you come over to Germany tech? Fine. I’ll get on a plane. I went to Germany. I was in Germany for a few months. And then I got a chance to go back to Korea. So I went back to Korea then that that suddenly fell through that was the weirdest thing. So I’m in Korea, I’ve got like $200 in my pocket. And I can do one of two things. I can call up my my mom and say, you know, can you look The money for a plane ticket, I’m going to come home. Or I can take the boat over to Japan where I know a couple people. So that’s what I did.
David Ralph [28:12]
And that $200 do you look back on it and go, that was a that was a bloody good investment that really was $200 spent
Al McDermid [28:20]
the best $200 I ever spent. And I, I ended up staying in Japan for a year fell in love with the country. That was I’ve been I’ve lived there two different times since then. I married a wonderful woman. She’s She’s currently in Tokyo, I have to be here for family reasons. So we’re, we’ve got this weird separation thing going on. But we’re not that concerned about it. It’s just the way we live our lives. So and it would not be the first time actually I think this is probably the time we’ve lived apart just because, well, I want to be here as well, I, I need to be over here. So, okay, well, we’ll get back together when we can.
David Ralph [29:11]
Because you’ve set yourself up in a place, which is beautiful, Hawaii, but I’ve right I get told a few times actually by people that actually creating a business when you are in the media and you need public speaking and all those kind of things. It’s one of the worst places to be. I’ve seen time and time people have moved to Hawaii. They’ve loved it for six or seven months. And then I realised actually, every time they needed to do something, they had to do a five hour flight to LA. Has it made it difficult for you. Do you see a time when actually paradise won’t be as attractive to you?
Al McDermid [29:49]
Um, well, that’s why I’m moving in that direction. Now. I mean, when I left Japan, I came back here because my novels are set here. So okay, well, this seems a logical choice. And I didn’t Really think about the PR side of it. And I didn’t really think about, oh, yeah, there’s like one bookstore in Honolulu. And you can’t do every every event in that one bookstore. So it turns out, I mean, I have a habit of returning to Hawaii because it’s been my home for so long. But it was a bad choice. So now I’m off to the mainland and a couple months
with the thought of
Okay, I’ll settle someplace on the west coast, probably Los Angeles. And then if I need to do research, I can make the five hour flight in the opposite direction for that reason.
David Ralph [30:42]
You seem to have a different brain to a lot of people that I speak to, as in Via Join Up Dots, you’re very similar. But for other people, they would say, Oh, no, I can’t. I can’t do this business well and can’t can’t can’t but you seem to Okay, I’m gonna do it. I don’t know how it’s gonna pan out. But once I’m over there, I’m going to make another decision. You’re very much in that stepping stone to something bigger.
Al McDermid [31:10]
That’s very much me. I don’t think in terms of cat. And I have to admit I have not been terribly successful in life in terms of, you know, monetarily. But now I have three books out. To me. That’s a big success. It’s like on the writer, you know, having books out into the world. It’s a it is, you know what we’re here to do. So, right now, I never think I can’t do it. I just I, if anything I, I’m too quick to jump on a plane. Yeah.
David Ralph [31:44]
But but that’s not a bad thing. Is it being too quick? Surely that keeps it exciting and stimulating.
Al McDermid [31:51]
It’s always worked out. So I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s always been fine.
David Ralph [31:56]
That there’s a lady that’s connected with me and has name is Megan, this is to you again, Megan, wherever you are in the world. And every time she tweets towards the show, she’s in a different place. And I said to her, you know, what do you want to do with your life? What’s your dream job? And she said, Oh, I want to be a digital marketer travelling the world. And I thought, I think you’ve already done it, haven’t you? You know, she’s in Amsterdam. One minute, she’s in London, the next minute she’s in San Diego, and then she moves off somewhere else and excites me greatly now, but you don’t actually have to go to an office nine to five you can actually create something which is totally transferable. We’ve never had as much opportunities in our life as you and me have our and our kids and our grandkids and whatever. They’re, they’re gonna really recreate this world online. There’s there’s not going to be office space. There’s not going to be commute. Unless of course people want it. You can literally have your cake and eat it up.
Al McDermid [32:56]
Well, I mean, I talked to people, my generation, probably even your generation Whoo hoo despair at the at the modern world but I I could not be happier. I mean I can live where I want to live I can I’m doing what I love. I I’ve written books that people like reading. So yeah, it’s like okay, well I need to go in to go to LA or I need to go to Houston or I need to go to wherever to promote this next book. It’s like, hey, great. I mean, and why think in terms of barriers? One of my favourite books I haven’t read it a long time and maybe I should read it again. Richard Bach illusions you know the book? No,
David Ralph [33:42]
I haven’t heard about one tennis about it. Okay, well.
Al McDermid [33:48]
The one thing he said in there that really struck me is if you argue for your limitations, sure enough, they’re yours. Yeah, that’s good. Isn’t it, though? That always stuck with me. So that and that’s why I keep going back to the book. I mean, it’s a cute little parable. It’s about a Messiah who decides he doesn’t want to be the Messiah anymore because he wants to go off do something else. And he decided to fly biplanes. And I apparently in the 60s and 70s you had these pilots who would, it would like fly around, they just land in a field somewhere, and the people would come out and they charge $3 to go up in the, in the, in the plane for 10 minutes. And this book is about this guy that that, that does that he meets another guy who apparently is a Messiah. And they you know, they learn life lessons and they have a back and forth and it’s just a clause, a philosophical, you know, little parable. But it’s all these kind of positive messages like okay, if if you want to say you can’t
Unknown Speaker [34:58]
well, then you can’t
Al McDermid [35:00]
I think it was Henry Ford that said,
whether you believe you can’t, or you believe you can, you’re correct. Yeah. And that’s so true. Something like that.
David Ralph [35:11]
So So do you have the self limiting thoughts at all? You seem very gung ho. Do you sort of lay in bed thinking, wow, what are you talking about is never gonna work.
Al McDermid [35:24]
They’re never going to work part Probably not. But I do have a lot of self limiting thoughts. I mean, I, I grew up with a lot of fear. And I knew I didn’t want to be afraid. So I just did things that scared me. Like, going to broadcasting school, you know, becoming a disc jockey. Becoming a college instructor. I had to stand up in front of the students and, you know, the students are depending on me for their grades. You know, I did things that frightened me and I wouldn’t trade that part of my life, for any thing that scared me. I wanted to do it.
David Ralph [36:03]
Yeah, that is key to you, isn’t it that that is key to any future for anyone, because ultimately, whatever you’re going to do new is scary. You know, I do this for a living. And I look back on it. And I think to myself, Was it scary at the beginning? I’m sure it must have been because it was totally new to me, you know, but I still went ahead and did it. But you get to a certain point. And as I say, you can’t remember if it was scary or not. So it can’t have been a big deal.
Unknown Speaker [36:31]
Right. I mean,
Al McDermid [36:34]
writing has never been scary. So that’s, that that’s an interesting thing. I mean, people talk about the, how difficult writing is, and I’ve heard a number of the some of the writers on your show talk about well, the writing is this really hard process and, and the editing is so much and it’s like, No, it’s not. I mean, well, yes, it is. You know, writing, putting the words down, figuring out what your characters are going to say making the story compelling and yes, all of that hard work, of course. But there’s nothing that’s unenjoyable about it. I mean, it’s, it’s just fun. It’s like, Okay, if I can’t travel.
I can have my detective travels. So it’s like, Okay.
Where? Where’s this case? Got to go? Okay, well, he’s got to chase this bad guy all the way the Philippines. That’s, that’s gonna be fun. Let’s do that.
Can’t go myself. I’ll send him
David Ralph [37:40]
live should be fun, shouldn’t it you know, as you’re talking, I can feel the smile. I can actually feel the smile on your face when you’re talking about doing that.
Al McDermid [37:52]
Yeah, it is.
I just find writing so fun. I mean, it’s just
fun. And I, I write all sorts of different things. And a lot of times I just write them for myself. And then I look at it later. It’s okay, this is, this is pretty good. I can put this out there. I want to try to write a Western. I’ve never written a Western, like, so I sat down and wrote a 16,000. Word, Western story.
David Ralph [38:21]
And how would you come up with your sort of, when you when you write I know a lot of people have said to me, they start writing with a flourish, and when it comes easily, they start to think maybe I’ve seen this before. Maybe this is somebody else’s idea. That’s why it’s coming to me so easily. Do you have those same kind of problems when you’re doing it? Or do you just vomit onto the page? You know, away you go,
Al McDermid [38:42]
I just, I just write it and I, I really don’t worry about it. Someone else has written it because probably they have. But they didn’t write it the same way. I’m gonna write it. Yeah. So just go ahead with it. I mean, there’s theories about well, there’s only 12 Actually 12 stories or 26 stories or, you know, whatever the number is, like okay, that’s fine. You know hero with 1000 faces there’s a Pacific journey and yada yada. It’s like okay, fine, but the details what the characters say how they get from point A to C. That’s all gonna be different.
I mean, think about
all of the Shakespeare plays that have been made into films with modern settings that DiCaprio Romeo and Juliet or Richard the third and it’s like looks like 1930s England, but it’s fascist. It is the same story and yet it’s not the same story. So I I don’t really have a lot of anxiety over all someone’s told this story before because they haven’t told it the way I’m telling it. No, absolutely. I put it out in the flops in the because it’s Oh, it’s too much like whomever it’s like okay, fine. flop, you know,
David Ralph [40:01]
right something else. Because there’s always another idea. There’s a fascinating story isn’t there with Stephen King where he’s first novel carry? He loved it in the bin because he thought he would just wasn’t good enough until these wipe, drag it out. And now look at me. He’s kind of doing all right for himself, Mr. Stephen King.
Unknown Speaker [40:17]
Al McDermid [40:20]
And it was a fantastic story. But sometimes, you know, you can’t see that. I, you know, I’ve read those stories. Like that’s the most famous one, but there’s plenty of others. I mean, how many? How many? One of JK Rollins didn’t give up? Yeah. I mean, how many people that she sent it to 27. She could have easily given up at 26. I’m not sure I’d have that kind of patience of I didn’t know of those other writers who have done the same thing. Just keep going. Now, you have to be a little honest. I mean, I think I’ve read a lot of books is like, Really? You thought this was ready? Okay, that’s interesting. You got to be able to say, No, this isn’t, this isn’t good enough yet.
Unknown Speaker [41:15]
Al McDermid [41:17]
well, you got to be a little self critical, but you don’t want to be too. So I mean, you got to find a balance there,
David Ralph [41:23]
because that’s what I like about broadcasting you. You record all your errors, you can hear the progression, you can hear the journey, and you put out everything, and the fact that there’s hardly any editing at all. So you can’t over polish it. It’s almost you polish yourself to get the performance better as you proceed through. And I love that and I love the ability to say to anyone, if you want to podcast, go back and listen to my first episode. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t too good, but it’s not going to be as good as my thousandth episode, but there’s the evidence in the highlights on Visible anymore in podcasting, and that’s what I love about it. Now, it’s not that 10 years can’t be spotted until it’s the overnight success. You can go back and you can follow up and join up those dots infuses me but somewhere in the world, someone’s going to listen to my content and go back to episode one and go, God, he was crap. He was crap. He was like, crap, I can do this. And away they go.
Al McDermid [42:24]
Yeah, I mean, I was I was listening to your shows. I was like, Wow, he does this live. He doesn’t add it. And he does it every day. I mean, I think you’re very impressive individual. Oh, thank you, sir.
David Ralph [42:36]
is easy. It’s like your writing. When you find your thing. It all kind of becomes easy. Do you think?
Al McDermid [42:44]
Right. Yes. It’s I I hear other writers talking about how hard it is. They’re like, What are you talking about? I mean, I literally don’t understand. How is it hard? There’s nothing hard.
David Ralph [42:57]
The only homeless thing was the Editing afterwards when I wrote a book, and I found that the writing was good, but the editing it and I have now been told by many people, I should have just got it out there and edited it in one go. But I kind of went back over chapter after chapter. So I kind of got bored with the story. You know, I thought, Oh, God, it was like reading the same book 40 times, you just get a bit ballsy about it or that
Al McDermid [43:27]
I have this strange. I don’t know how I do this. But I I can read my own work as if someone else wrote it.
David Ralph [43:37]
That’s a talent in it that he’s
Al McDermid [43:38]
editing doesn’t for me. Now the problem, however, is do I at certain point, I can’t tell if it’s good anymore. I mean, the jokes aren’t funny. So I have to hand it to someone and then they read it and I see them smart. It’s like okay, the joke actually is fun. Yeah.
That that’s a
Bear is not a barrier, but that’s one difficulty I face. But the even the editing process I enjoy it because no no no I can say this better there. Yeah, I can cut this word. And oh yeah, this dialogue is a little crisper or, well, I had we had this case of in the first novel, we had this character, basically a throwaway character she was she was a call girl, and she was going to be a murder victim. And after I wrote this first scene with her, I liked her so much. I said, No, I want to stick her I want her to stick around. So we we change the plot so that we could, you know, have her show up more often. And then she just got more and more interesting as we as we went along, mostly as I went along, because at that point, I was a kid was tied up with something else. So I had to finish it. And our second book is she’s the central character of our second novel a character that was going to have two pages originally.
And that came from
you know, the editing and looking at it’s like, No, no, no something. We can do something here this, this character is interesting. And this, this character has got some potential that so so let’s see what we can do with it.
David Ralph [45:30]
And could she really blossom into something amazing? Could she be a new spin off series?
Al McDermid [45:39]
She she could.
Like I said, the second novel, she’s the central character. I mean, she’s not she’s not telling the story. We the detective is still telling the story, but she’s being framed for a murder and he’s trying to keep her safe. So she turned into this fantastic character. Just Based on, you know, seeing something during the editing process,
David Ralph [46:05]
brilliant stuff, I love this. I love how these stories all go off in different directions. And that the bottom line, sir, as we’re gonna hear from the words of Steve Jobs in a moment is you couldn’t have created her unless you started in the beginning, you’ve got to at least start. And the key thing from the whole conversation is the fact that you don’t consider your stumbles as failures. They just things to get over. Let’s listen to the words of Steve Jobs. And then we’re going to ask you your big question.
Steve Jobs [46:35]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever because believing think that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [47:10]
So on any words that you buy into our
Al McDermid [47:15]
God, I love that speech. I mean, you play it every time on your show. And then like, I never get tired of hearing him Tell, tell that story.
David Ralph [47:23]
So when you look back over your life, is there a big dot when things really started to come together for you? You might not have seen it at the time, but you can look back on it and go Yeah, I think that was it. That was the moment.
Al McDermid [47:35]
You know, I think the big dot for me was the biggest stumble. I was stationed in the Philippines. And I met a girl there and we got married. But I was I was living this persona of, of the sailor, you know, I had this image of what a sailor was like, and I was kind of living that life. And well, I basically I I was a, just a wanker. So when I went on my last cruise, she left. She’s like, yeah, you know, and I came back to Hawaii, she was gone. It’s like, okay, you really need to reassess what you’re doing here. And so then I decided to get out,
go to university,
you know, become a different person. And it was, it was the unit. I say that and being at university finding out that you actually know how to write. You’re not the dummy that you were told you were, like all through high school. Like I said, I almost I almost flunked out of high school. And I graduated university with honours and went slid right into grad school. So I’m looking at two different things. It’s like so that’s probably the the Failure of that first marriage and then how that sent me on a different trajectory. And then seeing that dot that university experience of like, God this is great university is great. I get to read all these books I get to talk to these interesting people I can argue with professors. You know, I had, I had no expectation of college growing up. And it just was a completely new world to me so much so that I had planned to become an academic. But the writing passion got in the way, it’s like, No, I don’t want to be a PhD. I think I’ll just
do something else.
David Ralph [49:44]
Well, I’m glad that that passion has got in the way because we wouldn’t have you on this show. And we wouldn’t have your your hookers and your detectives and all those kind of characters. I I’m looking forward to what you’re going to deliver to the world and I’m really Looking forward to this feeling or the movie that you’re going to create, I think that’s going to be a real big dot. And when you come back on our show the next time, it wouldn’t surprise me. But that hasn’t really set you off on your true direction. This is just part of it.
Al McDermid [50:16]
Well, maybe when the next time I’ll actually be in England working on this, the second stage of the film project,
David Ralph [50:24]
be perfect when it way will be joining up live, we can do a live podcast. Well, this is the end of the show. And this is the part that we’ve been building up to, when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young now, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it fades out, this is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [50:56]
with the best bit of
Unknown Speaker [50:57]
Al McDermid [51:12]
Okay, so I’m probably when I was 16 or sometime around 16 The first thing I’d say to a 16 year old owl is like, okay, you know your next door neighbour, Neil, when he offered you that joint? Take it and smoke it with him. Okay, so joking aside, the reason I say that is because I didn’t do that out of fear. And that seemed to be the you were you. You were motivated by fear in your young life, and I don’t want you to be afraid. So I want you to know, you don’t have to be afraid you can move forward. And yet, even if you stumble, it’s going to work out. And despite your school record, you’re not a dumb guy. You’re actually a pretty smart guy. So don’t listen to them. Don’t Don’t listen to the naysayers and if you think about our parents, or think about this, you don’t need to take them too seriously because they’re kind of playing at being adults. So don’t worry about their judgments too much. I mean, I don’t, I’m not suggesting be this rebel, but don’t think about it too much. Just
go off into the world. See what it looks like. A lot of your friends are going to go to college. I don’t recommend doing that. I joined the military, I would say do that again. It was a great adventure. Go to college later. Don’t look for approval. I had wanted to be an artist, I would say be an artist. Don’t give up that passion Don’t let the negative things that that happened around that track get in your way
and don’t give up on reading.
I know that it was difficult but you’ve got you’ve got to keep reading and we I’m okay now but I would like you to not be afraid and you’ll end up in some different place than than I’ve ended up if you do that, and that’s fine and take more risk. I mean, I took plenty but I always feel I didn’t take enough so I would say to you take more risk.
David Ralph [53:46]
Now, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you sir?
Al McDermid [53:55]
website URL, McDermott comm You can also find me on Facebook. I do a lot of social Liking on Facebook. My books are available on my website. But will they link directly to Amazon? Probably that’s the two best ways either my own website or
David Ralph [54:11]
on Facebook is perfect. We will have over links on the show notes. Owl, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Al McDermid, thank you so much.
Al McDermid [54:32]
And thank you so much. It’s been a great pleasure talking to you.
David Ralph [54:38]
So Al McDermid who said afterwards, he was so nervous to be on that show, but he delivered and he delivered because he was willing to overcome his fear. He was willing to take a risk and step up. And that’s all it takes. afterwards. You can look back and go Yeah, okay, take that off, and I’ll move forward with another thing and that is how futures are created. That is how He needs to be taken, always going to be scary, always going to be something that you don’t want to do. But on the other side of that don’t want to do thing. There’s gold, absolute gold, and that is the real stuff. So if you want more money if you want better love life, if you want whatever, it’s gonna be scary time to go after that girl or boy asked for that promotion, go for that job, or scary or within your own control. Go for it people. Thank you very much for listening, and we will connect again with you shortly and if you need any help on anything, drop us a line or tweet to us and we will tweet back we will tweet like maniacs look off yourself just by
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow. Join Up Dots.