John Egenes has been a musician, a saddlemaker, a dog catcher, a university lecturer, and a hobo, and many other things. His life is a highway that he views through a windshield full of squashed bugs.


1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an author?

Not sure I ever really wanted to be an “author”, although I’ve always enjoyed writing. The word “author” implies a profession, and I’m still wondering whether or not I fit into that mold. So, while I’ve never had specific aspirations to become a published author, I’m enjoying being one right now, and hope to keep on being one.

2. How long does it take for you to write one of your books?

It took me 40 years to get around to writing my book, which is a memoir. It’s not as if I had to sit around and think up a storyline and a plot [laughs]. Once I get started on a writing project, I’m reasonably quick with getting things down. Start to finish, probably a matter of months rather than years for a book. Though certainly not a matter of days or weeks, though.

3. How do you balance your work schedule when you’re busy writing?

Easy. I write in the middle of the night. Most of my writing is done between the hours of 11 PM and 3:30 AM. Sleep is highly overrated. Coffee makes the world go ‘round.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’ll leave that up to others to answer. To me, everything I do seems normal. To others, not so much…

5. How do you come up with ideas for your books?

I’m working on my 2nd book, a novel, so the plural “books” doesn’t really apply to me just yet. But I do write a lot of papers, journal articles, conference presentations, and of course as a songwriter, I write a lot of songs. So I have to come up with ideas. There’s no formula for me, but they do all share one thing in common: I’m a curious sort. I always have my antennae up, looking and listening for things. I study the world around me—especially people—and try to connect things that aren’t normally associated. It keeps things interesting.

6. When did you write your first book?

“Man & Horse” was published in 2017. I have written chapters for other books, but those are compilations and not solely my own work.

7. What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?

Music is both a vocation and an avocation. It’s always been a huge part of my entire life. I like to tinker with string instruments especially, but mess around with all sorts of instrumental gadgetry, from electronic Theremin to musical saw. I’m a horse person, though don’t have any these days. I made saddles for many years and still do a bit of leatherwork. I’m an astronomy nut. I love to flyfish. Oh, and reading tops my list.

8. What does your family and close friends think of your writing?

Family and friends will always tell you how great you are, bless ‘em. So, they all love it. But of course, as a writer you shouldn’t be getting your honest feedback from them. It should come from strangers. That said, it’s nice to get a pat on the back from friends and family now and then.

9. What was one of the most interesting things that you learned about yourself when you published your first book?

The subject matter itself—an experience I shared with a horse many years ago—was re-experienced. It allowed me to digest it all in an different way, and to see how it changed the course of my life. Looking back through several decades of one’s life allows the luxury of hindsight, to savour and taste the feelings of the past while looking forward into the future.

10. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?

Just the one, so I guess it has to suffice. But still, I do think it’s a pretty good book.

11. What do you think makes a good story?

A good story will touch the person reading it. It is not about the teller (author), it is about the reader. A good story, and a good song, will allow the reader or listener to identify with it. Even though it’s not about their own life, it will have universal elements that allow them to connect with parts of it in various ways. They can be the story itself (plot), or one of the characters, or the setting, or simply the style of writing the author uses.

12. Where do you like to kick back and write your books?

I don’t kick back. I write notes in notebooks (hand written) and then write on a computer. My desk is awash in guitar gadgetry, computer parts, piles of books and papers, cables and cords of all sorts, packs of mandolin strings, and stacks of handwritten notes to myself that I forget about and will never read. I work in a mess, plain and simple. Cluttered is who I am, I’m afraid.

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