Thursday, December 3, 2015

Giveaway of Pieces Like Pottery and Author Interview


Today we have the pleasure to explore Dan Buri’s new book, Pieces Like Pottery, and Dan has been kind enough to join us today for an interview.

Thank you for hosting me on your site, Elizabeth. You have a wonderful blog!

This is a great place for us all to indulge in our shared love of reading and writing. Thank you for your excellent content. I am grateful to be here and hopefully I have the opportunity to get to know your audience better.


Thank you, Dan. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in the Midwest in the States with four brothers and one sister. I moved out to the beautiful Pacific Northwest a little over ten years ago. I am a patent attorney with an engineering background, which is what I spend my days doing when I am not writing. I have a beautiful wife and amazing two-year-old daughter who cracks me up daily. 


What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I feel like this is the question that readers and writers always ask in a judgmental way. It’s as if your readers are going to judge me by the authors I enjoy. “Oh no, I don’t agree with that at all. John Grisham? This guy clearly isn’t serious about his writing.” (I’m smiling if that’s not showing through your computer screen.)

Writers constantly inspire me. I have a lot of authors that I love. A few, in no particular order: Gertrude Warner, Shell Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Grisham, Malcolm Gladwell, John Buri, Cormac McCarthy, Bill Bryson and Mark Twain. I could probably list another hundred whose writing I enjoy with wonderment.

Is there anything that prompted your latest book? Something that inspired you?

Great question. I wouldn’t say that there was any one moment that prompted me to write this book, but these stories constantly bubble up inside of me. As writers, I think the challenge is taking the stories from our head and our heart and putting them on the page. A lot of people have stories, but not everyone can communicate them effectively and clearly. It’s the great challenge of the writer.

Do you always write in the same genre?

My non-fiction work has been published in print and online at a number of places over the years. My wife and I actually had a fairly well regarded blog called Buris On the Couch a few years back. We would pick a narrow subject each week and then write He Says/She Says takes on that subject. We really enjoyed doing it, but it became difficult to keep up and we had to shut it down once we had our daughter. Maybe we’ll revisit it again in the future. We’ve had a lot of inquiries to start it back up. This is my first venture into the world of fiction. I have written fiction since I was young, but this is my first published work of fiction.

What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?

A little bit of both. I keep a journal of notes and ideas that strike me throughout the day. We all have what an old teacher of mine liked to call pristine moments of coherence—those moments when an idea strikes us so profoundly and clearly. I don’t want to lose those thoughts when I have them, so I try to write them down. But I typically have an idea or framework for a story before I begin. Once I have that and I am writing, then I will pull concepts or paragraphs from my journals or other notebooks. In fact, one of the paragraphs in The Gravesite (from Pieces Like Pottery) was actually written back when I was a teenager, if you can believe that.

In one of the stories the ending I had planned just didn’t work. It felt dishonest to take the reader on the journey and then finish with the original ending. I just knew the reader would feel betrayed, so I had to rework it. Sometimes the original plan just doesn’t work and the story unfolds on it’s own.

Do you write in a specific place or at a specific time of day?

Once upon a time I thought I needed to write in a particular time and place. I would typically write at night and need to be in the perfect mood to do so. With a very demanding job, a wife, and two-year-old daughter, however, I quickly found that I was not finding much time to write at all. I had to begin writing anytime I could find a free 30 minutes. I was lucky I did too.

I think young writers always wait for the moment of inspiration to strike. These moments are amazing, but they are a great luxury. The truth, in my opinion, is that writing is as much about editing and revising as it is about the writing itself. I have so many pages of Pieces Like Pottery on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Maybe editing is a beautiful and inspiring process for some people, but for most writers I know, it is painstaking. There’s nothing inspirational about it for me. Having very little time to write each day helped me to begin taking my writing to the next level, to learn to hone it as a craft, rather than writing simply being an inspirational hobby. I had to find time to write whenever I could, regardless of whether the circumstances were perfect.

That being said, I still love to write at night over a glass of wine or a fine whiskey. Nothing beats that.

How much of YOU makes it into your characters?

I think every character an author creates is based on a real person or an amalgamation of real people. I also think an author will drop a little piece of himself or herself into every character they create. It is just too difficult to not let experiences and biases seep into one’s writing. There is certainly a piece of me in each character throughout Pieces Like Pottery. This made it particularly difficult to finish the book at times. I had to tap into both a sorrowful and a hopeful part of myself for these stories, which took an emotional toll at times. That being said, I didn’t create any of the characters in Pieces Like Pottery to represent me or to be a caricature of myself.

How important do you think Cover Page is for a book? How did you come up with the cover page?

Despite the old adage, everyone judges a book by its cover. It is very, very important. The cover for Pieces Like Pottery is a photograph by the brilliant photographer, David Mattox ( His work has been featured in galleries throughout the Northeast in the States and he has been featured in the New Yorker. I am very lucky that he was gracious enough to allow me to use one of his photographs.

Do you have any advice for upcoming writers?

Over the years I have been lucky enough to be offered abundant feedback and to hear excellent commentary from a few creative people that I admire greatly. There are three comments/ideas that have stuck with me throughout all my writing endeavors. (Each of these is summarized in my own words.)

When asked about the fears and doubts that she had with her writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love) said she finally had an epiphany that her “writing muse” was telling her that this isn’t her story. If she doesn’t tell it, she said, then the muse would move on to someone else who will. Ms. Gilbert discussed how freeing this was for her. She was no longer declaring to the reader: “Listen to me. I have something to say.” It was almost as if she had no other choice but to write. This opened her up to write every day without fear of the result.

Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life. He has a great quote for young creatives. In short, he encourages that your work is not going to be good when you’re first starting out. We may have an excitement for our craft and a killer taste for what’s good, but our execution is poor. The only way to improve your work, the only way to close the gap so that your work is as good as your ambitions, is to do a lot of work. Write. Every day. Every week put yourself on a deadline to write something new. It’s going to take awhile, but that’s normal. Good writing doesn’t come the first time you sit down.

Louis C.K. is one of the most thoughtful and innovative comics alive right now. I heard him once speak about his HBO show, Lucky Louie, which was cancelled after one season in 2006. He was asked if he was disappointed with that and if he looked back at it as a failure. His answer was unequivocally: “No.” For him it was just another experience that taught him how to hone his craft, which was invaluable.

So those would be my three pieces of (long-winded) advice. One, don’t worry about whether you have anything important to say. If you are inspired, say it. Two, write constantly. You won’t become a good writer unless you’re writing all the time. Three, take every writing experience and use it to hone your craft. Something is not a failure simply because the public doesn’t receive it the way you would like.

Thank you, Dan. It has been a pleasure to have you with us! Any parting words?

Thank you, Elizabeth! I have appreciated this opportunity to spend some time with you and your readers. I loved it! You have a wonderful site. I really do hope you and some of your readers will check out my book. I need the support of thoughtful and intelligent readers like yours. The life of an indie author is not easy and I appreciate all the support I can get. And if your readers have questions or comments, please contact me. I would love to hear from your fans and readers. You can reach me via email at danburi777 [at] gmail [dot] com or on twitter @DanBuri777. Thanks!


Author Bio:

Dan Buri's first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri's non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World's Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

Pieces Like Pottery Links
Currently at promotional pricing!


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December 3 - 10 



  1. Good Luck if you enter the giveaway.

  2. My apologies to Dan and all the folks who stopped by.

    The links were not posted.

  3. Hi - I enjoyed your interview with Dan Buri and agree that an author tends to drop a little piece of themselves into their characters.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

    1. Definitely agree as well.

      I think we put ourselves in everything we do whether we are an author or working on something else.

      Thanks for stopping, Diane.

  4. Did I miss the giveaway? Debating whether I should buy the book. Did you read the book, Elizabeth? His interview leaves me interested, but I'm curious if you liked it.

    1. Hello Mike....yes, unfortunately the giveaway was over yesterday.

      I have not read the book, but it does sound quite interesting.

      Thanks for stopping, Mike.

  5. Hmmmm. So you're telling me I have to make the decision on my own?!?! :)

    Thanks, Elizabeth. It's on my to read list for now!

    1. LOL...yes, Mike.

      Thanks for stopping. I hope you stop back again,