Meet the Author Monday: Doug Basile

Doug Basile

It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Doug Basile, author of Back to Serendipity.

About Doug Basile:

Catherine Evans

Doug Basile is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he received a Liberal Arts degree before beginning a long-tenured career in finance. It was at Wesleyan that he first developed his love of writing and gained the experiences that formed the genesis of his first novel, Back to Serendipity. Doug was born and raised outside of Cleveland, Ohio in the suburb of Rocky River. He currently lives locally in Wauwatosa with his wife Amy and two children, Avery and Vance.

Back to Serendipity is now available for purchase through major booksellers—including Amazon, Walmart and Barnes and Noble—as well as at a growing number of independent bookstores. For more information, please contact the author. 

About Back to Serendipity:

No one knows where life takes you, yet everyone has a path. For Kevin McGregor, a seminal moment that alters his course is the night he meets Liz Hampton. Their meeting is truly episodic as neither are searching to find someone. Nevertheless, they quickly begin dating and eventually get married and start a family. However, after a few years, the externalities of life encroach upon their happiness severing their communication and creating distance between them. Even worse, Kevin is struggling to find his stride in his new career and the McGregor’s are under financial duress.
Their relationship gets even more strained when Kevin tells Liz at the last minute that he is staying home from a family trip to finish a paper for graduate school. In an exasperated state, Liz quickly finishes packing the car and pulls down the driveway with tearful eyes leaving Kevin and their dog Rigby behind.

The next day, a despondent Kevin stumbles upon a book about the journey of two people that fortuitously meet but are forced apart by a random event. After several years, the two eventually find their way back to each other as fate gives them a second chance. The relatable story prompts Kevin to reflect on his own life which ultimately sends him back to serendipity.

Author Interview with Doug Basile:

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  1. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

The publishing industry seems very daunting for new authors.  I think one of the pitfalls that some writers fall into is not having the confidence in themselves to truly believe that their work is worthy.   Also, if you want people to read your work, you have to be willing to come out of your shell and market your book through many avenues.  My wife has been a Godsend in this department.  I call her my Chief Marketing Officer.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Some of the names of the characters were completely random while others stemmed from people and places in my life. For instance, Kevin’s last name (McGregor), was also my maternal grandmother’s maiden name.  I used it as a placeholder for the first few chapters, but wound up keeping it.  Annie’s last name, Holloway stems from the freshman girls dormitory (Holloway Hall) at my alma mater, West Virginia Wesleyan.  I always like the name. I think that some of the names probably came from my subconscious.  In fact, I wound up doing many Facebook and LinkedIn searches before I published it to make sure that some of names of my characters weren’t real people that I knew a long time ago.

My favorite name in the book is the fictional name of Tripp and his buddies’ favorite bar, Four Score On Seventh.  I have never been to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania before, but I imagined a cheeky bar/restaurant owner naming his bar after the first words from the Gettysburg Address. 

  1. What inspired you to start writing?

I have always had a passion for writing.  I first discovered this when I had to submit a writing sample on my application to Wesleyan.  At the time, I thought my submission was great, but I would probably wince if I read it now.  When I got to Wesleyan, I quickly learned that my cohort of friends were exceptional writers.  In the back of my mind, I think I am trying to prove that I am as good as some of my friends from school. So I suppose this is a healthy competition playing out in my subconscious.

  1. What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

Success to me is not defined by money.  I am not motivated by it and have always felt that people misinterpret the true definition of success.  For me, success is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life on your own terms. 

  1. What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?

My favorite part of the publishing journey was finishing my novel.  Over the years, I have come across many people that start a book but never finish it.  I felt so exalted when I finished my manuscript that I printed it and gave it to my wife as a Christmas gift.  I put some mistletoe on it with a ribbon, and put it on her pillow two days before Christmas. 

My least favorite part is not knowing the intricacies of the publishing business.  Self-publishing requires a lot of time, work and patience.  You have to be persistent and have fortitude through the entire process.

  1. Where do you get your inspiration?

There are two contemporaneous stories within the book.  The main character, Kevin McGregor, is a struggling Financial Advisor living in the suburbs of Detroit.  He and his wife, Liz, and their twins fit the persona of a family that seemingly lives an ordinary life.  But below the surface, the family is struggling financially and Kevin and Liz’s relationship seems pretty dour.  The book starts with Kevin staying back from a family vacation to his in-laws lake house. Liz drives away with tearful eyes and the two stop communicating for the next several days. 

The second part, or  “book within a book” portion, is the story of Annie Holloway and Tripp Blakely, seniors in college at different schools that randomly meet at a bar in Georgetown (Washington D.C.), but are forced apart by a random event.  This part of the story takes place in 1993 before cell phones and the internet.  The two are meant to be together, but do not have the ability to track each other down.

The book switches back and forth between Kevin and Liz’s days apart and Annie and Tripp’s quest to find each other.

The inspiration for the Kevin and Liz story was drawn from people I have known over the years who have struggled with the same problems. If I am being honest, we all hit rough patches at some point in our lives, but eventually find our way back to the one we are supposed to be with.  I got the idea of Kevin’s occupation from traveling with work colleagues to different cities throughout the country.

For the Tripp and Annie part, I chose Washington DC as the setting as I have many fond memories from my college days hanging out in Georgetown bars in the early to mid-90s.  I got the idea of using Dire Straits in the book after seeing a cover band do a rollicking rendition of “Sultans of Swing” at the Four Provinces, a bar in Cleveland Park on Connecticut Ave.  I hope my Wesleyan buddies smile when they read that part.

  1. What was the highlight of writing this book?

The highlight for me was knowing that I created a story in which most people can relate or have experienced firsthand in their lives.  For instance, I think most people have struggled with money or have felt distance with their spouse or significant other.  The externalities of life can oftentimes derail relationships.  We all need to be mindful of this and focus on our true (for lack of a better term) serendipitous path. 

  1. What are you reading now?

Because of my career, I read a lot of business and finance books.  The one I am reading now is called “The Bogle Effect” by Eric Balchunas.  However, last weekend, my wife suggested I read “Verity” by Colleen Hoover.  I read it in two days.  Ironically, the book also follows a similar “story within a story” theme like Back to Serendipity. 

  1. Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse” —Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Hopefully, Back to Serendipity can be my “verse to the immutable play”. 

My other favorite quote is “life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.”  John Lennon, lyrics to “Beautiful Boy”.   

I use a variation of this quote in the book.  I think it fittingly pertains to us all. 

  1. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

Cape Cod, specifically Chatham.  It is a place that we go every other year with my mom, brother, and his family.  It is a very special place to me. So much so, that I named a fictional town in the book (Monomoy, NC) after the Monomoy Theatre in Chatham.  I always loved how it sounded and thought it could be the perfect name for an idyllic town on the coast of North Carolina. 

To learn more about Doug Basile, here’s where you can find him:

Facebook: Back to Serendipity
Instagram: @back_to_serendipity

Meet the Author Book Promotion

Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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