John Reger Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
My name is John Reger and I have been a writer for more than 30 years. My background is predominately sports writing, and I have four books in that subject, including Quotable Wooden, a book about famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. My latest book, One for the Road, is about a trip I took across the country on my Harley Davidson in a search for myself. In the process, I meet several interesting characters that show me being iconoclastic and idiosyncratic are perfectly acceptable ways to live.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
Part memoir, part travelogue, part nonfiction narrative, it will keep readers turning the page and rooting for me, the anti-hero.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
I can’t write at a desk in silence, so it used to be at bars, but I drank enough for two lifetimes, so now I pick a nice place outdoors where I can be amongst people, but not bothered. I have written everywhere from a beach in Rosarito, Mexico to a café in Havana, Cuba, to a coffee shop in Bangkok, Thailand. At home in Las Vegas, I have a great spot out at a gas station on an Indian Reservation that is very peaceful.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
A cigar, preferably Cuban, and Diet Coke, the only vices I have left. I am also particular about the type of pen and notebook I use.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
My two favourite writers are Ernest Hemingway and Charles Bukowski, who I actually met once. I like novels and books that change my mood, and they both do that. I also loved Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
I would say traveling. When you are on a motorcycle riding 300-400 miles I day it’s almost impossible not to think about writing and how you can do it better.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
My hope is to entertain and educate the reader. I am also a big fan of twists of phrases. The opening line of One for the Road is: “Misguided was the direction that never seemed to get me lost.” That tells you the whole theme of the book.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
I did receive some kind words from an agent that rejected me. Also, the people that have read the book have had kind words to say about it.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
Querying agents for One for the Road has been a bit soul-crushing. I don’t know if I can get them to realize what I have here. Also, it upsets me that I have to do a marketing plan. I feel that is what I am paying the agent for. I didn’t go to business school.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I am really weak with grammar. I have an adversarial relationship with commas, so I am trying to get stronger in that area.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
To me, it is a partnership. The editor I had for One for the Road I have great respect for, so most of her suggestions I complied with. There were a couple of instances where I thought what I did was acceptable, but you have to trust each other.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
To those who love my writing, I try and be humble and thank them. To those who hate it, if the criticism is valid, I do listen to them.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Believe in what you are writing, and also do it for the right reasons. If you come into this financially motivated you are going to be disappointed.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
I am slowly making the transition from content writing for websites to focusing more on writing books.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I had a friend and professional photographer shoot a picture of me on a trip we took. I loved the picture and want to use it for the cover. Of course, my mom wasn’t happy that I was doing 70 mph with no hands and my helmet on the back of the Harley.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
I don’t read nearly as much as I should, but have set a goal to read at least one book a month. I like the classics, but anything travel-related usually catches my eye.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
I recently connected with Frank Scozzari on Twitter. Read some excerpts of his fiction, and was instantly impressed. Just ordered Hunters and the Hunted, and looking forward to reading it. He is a world traveler, which comes out in his novels and short stories.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on John and his work, please visit