Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Featured Author: John Covington

I commented the other day that it's rare to have a non-fiction book on this blog, and here we are with a third--and the second one in a row. Today I welcome John Covington to talk about his novel, What I Learned About Leadership from My Dog, published by Virtualbookworm Publishing. I've learned a lot from my dog, so I can't wait to see what John says.

About the book: 

While training his German Shepherd for search and rescue, it was obvious that the relationship building and leadership required to work with his dog was exactly the same as with people. Dogs are great labs to improve our leadership as they give you instant feedback, have little or no ego, and if there is a problem, it's always the human's fault.

Interview with John:

How long have you been writing, John, and how did you start?

I have been writing for about 15 years. I got started by writing a quarterly news letter to promote our consulting business. The newsletters were in a Dave Berry, Lewis Grizzard type of style, and I got a lot of positive feedback and many friends asked me to put them in book form. That inspired my book Let’s Don’t Pave the Cow Paths.  

How did you come up with the title of your book?

The title of the book reflects the conversation I want to have with the reader. I actually did learn a lot about leadership from my dog and hence the title.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, I am CEO of Chesapeake Consulting. 

How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)

It is the story of a dog teaching some clueless dolt about leadership. The dog has the patience of Job.

How did you create the plot for this book?

I have a lot of leadership experience both as a consultant and a direct line leader.  In training my dog for search and rescue, I saw so many issues that related to leadership of humans that the plot just flowed.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write? 

I try to write a book every other Lent. During the off year I ponder what the next book will be and the subject matter dictates the effort.

Did you have any say in your cover art?

Yes.  The artist is an amateur photographer and a good friend, Sean Wise.  Sean also runs his own business.  

Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.

The book's title is Influencer Book. Basically it says that no one listens to anything you have to say that we must have them experience something either by hands on experience or by a well-written parable. I try to use that in my books.

I would totally agree with that theory. What do you do to market your book?

Mostly through e-mail blast to our client base for our consulting business.

What would your main character say about you? 

“He is almost as smart as a dog.”

Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him? Or her.

Dave Barry and bring Lewis Grizzard back from the dead.

How do you handle criticism of your work? 

No problem.

Do you have a routine for writing?

During Lent I write at least an hour for 40 days. By the end of Lent I am so far along it would be stupid to quit, so I press on to finish. 

Where’s home for you? 

Severna Park, Maryland, however I spend a lot of time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Roll Tide!! 

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?
Yes. What I do is listen to the voice of my 10th grade English teacher who said “Just put something down on paper.” 

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“Each dog owner gets the dog they deserve.” 

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Some Caribbean Island, as long as the publisher is paying.

About the author:

John Covington is an avid trainer and handler of working dogs and CEO of Chesapeake Consulting. He was educated in the US Naval Academy and the University of Alabama earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. John is active in community affairs, enjoys hiking and biking, and has been married to the same woman since 1972. This is currently John's fifth book.

Find John at his website

Buy the book at Amazon