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Eddie Nickels

Featured Title

bioSix Years to Live – Eddie Nickels

“Six Years to Live” is a non-fiction memoir/biography about a boy (myself) that struggles to survive the effects of a prediction of an early death, an economically poor neighborhood, a sudden onset of O.C.D. , dropping out of school at 16, marrying at 17, drafted into the Marine Corps at 18, (during the Vietnam War,) becoming a father at 20, and surviving two explosions ( in 1976) at the coal mine he worked in after coming home from the military. The book manages to convey the humor, seriousness, and good times of his (my) life.

About the Author

bioEddie Nickels is a retired, (after 42 years of working,) coal miner and retired insurance agent that lives with his wife Wanda in the Appalachian Mountain coalfields of Eastern Kentucky. He has three children, eight grandchildren, and five g-grandchildren. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and hope to have a few more remaining!

In the Dog Pound with Eddie Nickels

bioMr. Nickels, welcome, it’s great to have you in the ‘Pound’. Six Years to Live is an inspirational story with a very personal subject, what made you decide to share it?

Having been a voracious reader of books in the biography/autobiography/memoirs genre, I came to realize that my own personal struggles with childhood poverty and living in a somewhat dysfunctional environment in those days would make an interesting and dramatic non-fiction story to tell that others would enjoy. I wanted to convey the fact that even in difficult times life can be filled with lots of joy and humor even when there’s little economic richness to enjoy. I managed to include the dysfunctional parts also, not holding back on the warts and blemishes that usually is present in nearly everyone’s life. I had to overcome a natural reluctance to bring these things into the open because I wanted my book to be an honest portrayal of life as it really happens. I believe there’s an interesting story embodied inside every human being that longs to escape and I decided it was time to let mine out.


bioCould you tell us how writing it and its subsequent success has effected you?

I mentioned in the introduction to my book that one of the most difficult things I had to overcome in writing my book was having to recall some of the emotional hurt and guilt feelings that I had kept bottled up for so many years. At the same time, being able to allow some of those “demons” to escape from my memory has been a very powerful therapeutic experience for me. I feel that I could never express myself verbally like I did when writing some troubling incidents down, but putting everything on paper allowed me to imagine I was writing someone else’s story instead of my own. I’m sure other writers will understand exactly what I mean and how I felt when writing my story. I’ve enjoyed reading so many other people’s remarkable stories over the past 60 or so years that I always knew I wanted to tell my own when the opportunity presented itself. My recent retirement has allowed me to do so and has satisfied my yearning desire to allow others to enjoy a troubled young man’s story. Everyone wants to accomplish their goals in life and this book has satisfied one of mine.


bioYou made the decision to self-publish and take on the work required to get your project out there, what made you decide to pursue that route and are you glad you did?

That’s a story in itself. After writing my book, Six Years to Live , I submitted the manuscript to a publisher who expressed interest in publishing it on a contingency basis, no upfront cost to me and payment for each book as it was sold. I was told that my story had great potential and that the editor had really enjoyed reading the manuscript. They were to do the formatting, editing, and other preparation, including most of the publicity. The first run was to be 500 copies from an offset press, not print on demand. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse and I didn’t. The only problem was that I was too anxious to get my book out so that I could concentrate on getting my second book out, Marine Corps Draftee, which I was also writing at the time. While waiting on the production and publication of Six Years to Live, I began exploring the self publishing route and accidentally ran upon CreateSpace Publishing and decided to publish Marine Corps Draftee via that route. I managed somehow to overcome most of my computer challenged tendencies and did my own editing, formatting, and even conquered the dreaded pdf demon. After my successful foray into self publishing, my impatience got the best of me and I informed the publisher that still had my Six Years to Live manuscript that I had decided to go another route in my publishing venture. I then proceeded to run the subject of this interview, Six Years to Live, through the self publishing process. I’m very pleased with the venue I chose, as what success I’ve enjoyed with my books had been achieved without any publicity to speak of except for a hometown newspaper review and a local cable channel interview. (Until this interview with Bulldog Press Publishing of course, for which I appreciate very much.)


bioWhat did you find the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of the process?

I have never managed to conquer the Cover production process and that expense was the only one I had to bear in the production of my books, except for the formatting for the e-book side, which I allowed Create Space to handle. Not being actively involved on the forums, I didn’t realize there were those people on the boards with the expertise to format your books for a reasonable price. I’m more aware about that now and my next book or books will likely be through that service. There’s nothing to match a writer’s feeling when he first holds the fruits of 2 or 3 years of labor in his hands and scans over the book that he or she has imagined for so long. It almost matches the feeling of euphoria one feels on their wedding day. I say almost, because I’m sure my wife will be reading this and I enjoy living in my home instead of in my storage building.


bioWhat advice would you give those looking to follow the path you have?

I would advise anyone feeling hesitant with trying to self publish to push your fears aside and plunge into the self publishing world. In my own case, a lack of a college degree has never slowed me down when I wanted to attempt to achieve a goal in life. Of course, my time spent in Parris Island during the Vietnam War years might have given me the courage to try things that would have seemed impossible before spending some time there. I wouldn’t recommend going there for an attitude adjustment though. They take their work way too seriously. All joking aside, self publishing is personally rewarding, especially when you not only to get your story out, but manage to even make a little money in the process. There’ll always be a place for traditional publishers but I’m not sorry to have turned one down for the self publishing experience.


bioWith your story now told, what’s next? Do you have a follow up planned?

As a lifelong, ( since age nine,) Civil War buff, I am in the initial phase of gathering material for a book concerning a local battle, ( more like a skirmish,) that occurred near my home during that War. My g-grandfather was a Confederate cavalryman in that war but my interest predates my knowledge of his service during that time. Another project of mine will deal with my coal mining career of over 17 years working underground in a bituminous coal seam. I’m really not sure as to which one I will attempt first or even if either will ever materialize, but I do know that my next project will be a non-fiction book. I really admire writers of fiction because it appears to me to be much more difficult to pull something imaginary from your brain than it is to look at a note or piece of paper and copy it down. That’s just me though. To each his own.


bioAny final words for the readers?

In my book, Six Years to Live, I mentioned in the introduction that General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was once asked by a young man what advice the General could give him about being successful in life. General Jackson supposedly replied to him, “Deprive yourself young man, deprive yourself!” I’m going against his advice here when I urge those who desire to tell their own story to please, by all means tell your story. Don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of seeing your own words in print. If you have a project in mind, jump into it, write that first paragraph and I promise you other paragraphs will soon follow. That first paragraph seems to be the hardest one to put into words for some reason. When your book is finished, edit, edit, edit, and edit some more. Even when you have edited a thousand times there will be a few things you have missed. One can take heart in the fact that even though I have personally read several hundreds of books in my lifetime, I have yet to read one without several mistakes in grammar and or editing, including those published by traditional publishers. Keep writing fellow writers, and many thanks for enriching my own and other’s lives through the written word.



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