Posted on April 16, 2024 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Today we're interviewing R.J. Post, who writes the Greenwood Mysteries series for young adults.

Post grew up in Ohio and Kansas and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas.

He worked as a reporter, editor and manager at newspapers in Kansas and Nebraska for 31 years and now works as a copywriter and digital content creator for a marketing agency.

Post now lives in Grand Island, Nebraska, with his wife, Susan. They have three grown daughters.

SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?

R.J.: My first experience of storytelling happened before I even began school, when I copied comic strips in the local newspaper with my watercolor set and delivered the pictures to houses in my neighborhood.

I wrote and published my first newspaper in the fifth grade. I began writing short stories in high school but put that on hold while working in journalism for three decades.

I returned to writing fiction during the pandemic and published 12 short stories as my first book. I have since written two short story collections and two YA mystery novels.

SADYE: Tell us something about your writing process that’s unusual or that you haven’t revealed before.

R.J.: I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter. I begin writing with a general plot in mind but don’t know how I’m going to get there.

I start dropping breadcrumbs along the way — characters, clues, incidents — without knowing how it will all tie up in the end. That gives the characters the freedom to say what they would say and do what they would do.

Reining it all into a cohesive conclusion is half the fun.

SADYE: What have been the most rewarding and challenging parts of your writing career?

R.J.: The most rewarding is when a book or story really starts to come together, along with, of course, when a reader tells you how your writing impacted them.

The most challenging part, easily, is the marketing. Even though I work in marketing, I’m not immune to it. There are just so many books out there for people to choose from these days.

SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?

R.J.: One day when I was driving home, I was flagged down by a neighbor who wanted to talk to me about my first book, which includes a story called “The Safe List.”

It’s about a guy named Marty who falls in love with a woman named Summer who likes him as a friend but won’t date him because he makes her feel “safe.”

My neighbor said, “I was always on the Safe List.” When he read my story, he felt like someone understood his experience.

I also enjoy when people compliment me on the expressive style I use in my book readings. They say they can tell I read aloud to my kids when they were little.

SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?

R.J.: First, you matter. Second, as Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?

R.J.: First, writing about the experiences of others isn’t the same as having your own experiences. Make time for your own experiences.

Second, make time to write for yourself and not just as a job.

SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing? 

R.J.: Thirty-one years in the newspaper business gave me the ability to write concisely and quickly, while also developing a style that would engage the reader.

It and my marketing career have taught me many different styles of writing and the elements all good storytelling needs.

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Learn more about R.J. Post on his website, where his books can also be purchased, and like his page on Facebook

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Categories: Today in Books

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