Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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“Native Moments” With Nic Schuck

By C.S. Satterwhite

Over the past few years, Nic Schuck has been a familiar face around downtown Pensacola.

I first met Nic at UWF when he was taking writing classes, I usually see him these days wearing a helmet and leading a historic tour on Segway with the company he founded, Emerald Coast Tours. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Schuck was a teacher, surfer, and writer. Schuck received his MA in Creative Writing from UWF and currently teaches English courses at PSC and UWF.  As if he needed more accomplishments, Waldorf Publishing recently published Schuck’s first novel “Native Moments.”

I was able to coax Nic away from his busy life to answer a few questions about his book and his life as a writer, business owner, and father.

Inweekly: Can you tell me a little about the novel?
Schuck: “Native Moments” is a novel set in Costa Rica following [the main character] Sanch Murray’s quixotic search for an alternative to the American Dream. But if you want a more in-depth answer, I would say it’s a story about a kid, Sanch Murray, who is struggling with the idea of growing up in America. The ideas of nationalism, patriotism, religion, death, family obligations, societal norms, in general, are alien to him.  Although he has been raised to believe in all these things, Sanch can’t quite wrap his head around any of it. When a buddy of his suggests taking a surf trip to Costa Rica, Sanch agrees to go. Not necessarily for the surfing, but just as a way to escape having to deal with growing up.

Inweekly: Your book focuses on surf culture in Costa Rica, but the main character often references his hometown of Pensacola. I assume you spent time in Costa Rica. What are the differences between surf culture in Pensacola versus Costa Rica?
Schuck: The biggest difference I noticed was that surfing was part of the culture in Costa Rica and in a place like Pensacola, it takes effort. To be a surfer in Pensacola you must constantly watch the forecasts and surf in wetsuits and pretty much drop whatever you are doing in order to catch a good day of surf. But in Costa Rica, the surf is always there. You don’t have to center your life around surfing, it’s integrated into your daily existence.

Inweekly: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
Schuck: The most challenging aspect is realizing that writing the book is the easy part. The hard part is getting published. But even harder than getting published is selling the books. Figuring out how to get people to discover your book and read it is the key. It seems that being a writer is about being more than just writing—you have to be a salesperson, too.

Inweekly: I can see some influences here, but I want to see if my hunches are correct. If you were to say your book is most influenced by one author, who would it be?
Schuck: If I had to pick one I would have to say, Ernest Hemingway.

Inweekly: I knew it. Who published “Native Moments”?
Schuck: Waldorf Publishing in Grapevine, Texas.

Inweekly: How did you get them to publish it?
Schuck: They were the first ones to say yes. I took Ray Bradbury’s advice on getting published. I’ll paraphrase because I don’t want to look up the actual quote: Take all your rejection slips and start taping them to your walls. By the time you finish covering all four walls of one room someone will have said yes. And the advice worked. I had only 76 rejections before getting the “yes.”

Inweekly: How did it feel to get that first box of books with your name on it?
Schuck: The first time I saw the book was in May at Book Expo America in Chicago. I was really pleased with the look of it. I felt we got the photo right, the font right. It came out looking really good. The book was still months from release, but I was given a few review copies to hand out. When it was closer to the release date, a box of books arrived at my house. That was a bit anti-climatic because now I had to sell books. Before getting a book published, I was under the impression that the job of the writer was to write books, but that is far from reality. To be a full-time writer, you’ve got to be a shameless self-promoter. And then if the book is written well and people enjoy it, hopefully, they will talk about it and the word spreads. But you have to convince those first people who buy it that it’s worth reading.

Inweekly: How did you find time to write a novel while owning your own business and raising a young daughter?
Schuck: Turn off the TV. It’s such a time-waster. The first draft of this book was written before I had a daughter though and then after she was born I got to thinking, how am I going to raise a child who will achieve her goals if I gave up on mine? So I figuratively dusted off the manuscript I had written about expatriated surfers and decided to rewrite it and not stop bugging publishers and agents until someone agreed to publish it.

Inweekly: Speaking of family, you recently told me that you were worried about your mom reading the book. Did she ever read your book?
Schuck: She did, and she told me she enjoyed it, but she had to remind herself that these were fictional characters. The characters are young and use language that I would never use in front of my mother. They behave in ways I would never behave in front of my mother. Sometimes people have a hard time separating the author from the work, but I told her to think of it like this: People watch “Natural Born Killers, ” and they don’t think Oliver Stone is a mass murder. Or when you watch “Reservoir Dogs” you don’t think Tarantino is a professional thief. So when you read “Native Moments” you can’t think of the author as a wandering drunken dissolute who enjoys the occasional hallucinogenic experience.

Inweekly: Especially since every time I see you it’s on one of those Segway tours.
Schuck: Yeah, it’s just fiction.

To learn more about Schuck and where you can buy “Native Moments” visit facebook.com/nic.schuck and/or nicschuck.wordpress.com.

SAVE THE DATE: “Native Moments” reading at Open Books, Schuck will be signing books following the reading
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
WHERE: Open Books Bookstore, 1040 N. Guillemard St.
COST: Free
DETAILS: openbookspcola.org