An Interview with John Daly: From a Dead Sleep

Jun 4, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1) John, first of all, tell us a bit about yourself- your background, education, experiences…

I grew up as the youngest of two children in Lakewood, Colorado which is a suburb of Denver. My father worked for many years as a pipefitter at the Coors Brewery in Golden, and my mother was (and still is) a substitute teacher.From a Dead Sleep

Throughout high school, and during my summers off from college, I worked as a busboy and waiter at a large, very popular family-restaurant called the White Fence Farm. There, I met a diverse cast of life-long friends that I dare say would later provide inspiration for some of the quirky, fictitious characters in my writings.

I earned a B.S. in Business Administration (emphasis in Computer Information Systems) from the University of Northern Colorado in 1996. I spent the next fifteen years working in software development as a programmer and systems analyst. I still do contract development work on the side, but have spent more time concentrating on my writing over the past two years.

I’ve been married for ten years and have two children, ages 8 and 6.

2) Now, what prompted you to write a book, and tell us a bit about the hero.

Writing was something I found myself drawn to a few years after I graduated from college. I dabbled in poetry and wrote movie reviews and entertainment-related columns for a couple of websites. Unlike many authors-to-be, however, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t have an appreciation for literature. I really wasn’t a pleasure-reader until about eight years ago.

How that changed is kind of an odd story…

My wife and I used to watch a television show called “The Soup” on the E! Entertainment channel. It was (and still is) hosted by comedian Joel McHale. The show basically features McHale poking fun at unintentionally humorous television moments that aired over the past week. Back in 2005, one of McHale’s favorite targets was a man named Tim Green. Green, at the time, was the host of the tabloid news show, “A Current Affair”. A former professional football player, Green just didn’t fit the mold of your typical television show host. He was overly stiff and clearly uncomfortable in the role, much to the amusement of McHale who regularly aired the awkward clips and teased Green mercilessly.

What was unknown to me at the time was that Green was actually an accomplished fiction author with numerous bestselling novels under his belt. He was also a practicing lawyer. In other words, he wasn’t at all the “dumb jock” that I had perceived him to be. When I learned of Green’s other life, I was so taken back by the revelation that I found myself purchasing his latest novel out of pure curiosity. Again to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found myself enamored with his narrative voice and writing style.

Green’s book is really what got me interested in literature. Since then, I’ve opened my eyes to the work of numerous authors and various styles of storytelling. Possibly due to my programming background, I tend to appreciate the art of crafting stories as much as the entertainment value of the stories themselves. Thus, somewhere along the way, I felt compelled to craft my own story and embark on the writing of my first novel.

As for the second part of your question, the book’s protagonist is Sean Coleman. Sean’s not your typical hero. He’s a deeply flawed, lonely security guard who lives in the secluded mountain town of Winston, Colorado. There, he’s known as a bully, a drunk, and an armchair detective with an overactive imagination.

Because he has a long history of unreliability, no one believes Sean when he claims to have witnessed the unusual suicide of a mysterious stranger. With the body gone missing, Sean embarks on a far-reaching crusade in search of the dead man’s identity and personal vindication. The novel follows him through that crusade.

3) As you know, 9/11 changed many lives. How has it impacted you?

9/11, in many ways, redefined me as an individual. Prior to that day’s horrific terrorist strikes, I couldn’t have cared less about world events, politics, important issues, or anything else that I didn’t feel directly affected me as an individual. I was largely clueless.

9/11 opened my eyes to the world around me. It motivated me to seek out information, educate myself on the challenges our nation faces, and make my voice heard on the issues that have become important to me.

4) What new books do you have in the works?

I’m currently working on the early chapters of a new novel. It falls within the same suspense/mystery genre as “From a Dead Sleep”. I’m considering making it the second book in a Sean Coleman series, but it’s at a point right now where I can also take it in a standalone direction if I choose to. I’ll make that decision as I get deeper into the writing.

5) Your book is due to be released literally next month- your hopes for the book?

It’s funny. The entire time I was working on “From a Dead Sleep”, I never once thought about what type of publishing possibilities I would pursue once the final chapter was finished. Completing a novel was more of a personal challenge than anything else. I really had no expectations for its public acceptance.

Once the story was completed, I began submitting my manuscript independently while I considered seeking out an agent or possibly even going the self-publishing route. Within just a few weeks, however, I heard back from an interested publisher. The fact that things came together so quickly has given me a lot of confidence in the suspense novel I’ve written.

Like any author, I hope for my novel to be a big success. Even if it’s not, I’m confident that I’ve created a story that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

6) John, I know you also do some other writing of sorts- tell us about some of your short pieces.

I write regular columns for the website of former CBS News journalist and New York Times bestselling author, Bernard Goldberg. Goldberg is best known these days for the popular weekly television segments he does on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. Most of the topics I write about on his site are related to either, politics, media analysis, or American culture.

I like that the platform gives me a national audience, and I’ve been humbled to learn that a number of big names in journalism have read and enjoyed my work.

I also write a weekly column for my local newspaper, the Greeley Tribune. Those pieces are much more laid back and lighthearted. I write about my experiences as a father and a husband.

7) Quick question- why write?

Writing gives me a chance to really formulate my words and convey precisely whatever point or story I wish to relay. I’ve never been a great public speaker or an eloquent conversationalist, so for me, writing is the more honest and accurate communication method.

8) How involved are you in politics- I know you do some commentary.

Most of my political involvement comes in the form of the columns I write on Bernie Goldberg’s website. I’m also a precinct captain for the Republican Party in my local area, and I’ve done miscellaneous volunteer work for local and national campaigns.

9) What have I neglected to ask?

I’ll just add that “From a Dead Sleep” will be released on June 25th. It’s currently available for pre-order and comes in both paperback and eBook formats. You can find more information (including where to order) on my website at

I also want to thank Michael F. Shaughnessy and EducationViews for conducting this interview. I appreciate your interest in me, and I wish you the very best in the future.

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