Saturday, March 3, 2012




Before answering any of the questions I would like to thank you for showing interest in my writing/upcoming book The Virgin Journals. It is an exciting process and humbling every time someone new takes notice of a piece of work that was not necessarily meant to even exist ... I will get into that a little more later.


Travis Laurence Naught

Hello Travis, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you. I would like to mention first, being born with such a potentially dibilitating disease you have proven yourself a very strong individual and I wish to commend you on that. What is your mind-set, what keeps you going and staying strong and what kind of support have you had from family and friends?

I was raised in a very small town, Goldendale WA, of about 3000 people. The social structure was pretty much be somebody's friend or hate somebody ... I was a friendly guy. My core group of friends from kindergarten through high school consisted of the athletic sort and we were constantly doing active things. Even today I view my two options as stay active or rot away and that second one doesn't sound very good. My family & friends have always kept me as involved in life as possible and when it is recognized how much life has to offer a person can only want more out of it. I recognized very early that I wanted more out of it & we have kept me as healthy as possible including a spinal fusion surgery at age eight and multiple trips to the doctor for what should be harmless sicknesses but for me they could turn deadly. Circumstances change but they always present the same two options, fight or quit, I am a fighter.

I find you a very amazing person, after reading that you have a Bachelor's in Psychology and took Sports Psychology classes as well. What are some of the things you learned from those classes?

My college coursework really helped to drive home the fact that I am my own best advocate. Most of my classes were simple memorization & regurgitation on test days, but there are a couple of lessons that stand out. One of them is from an undergraduate course that I took in psychology ... the teacher asked for volunteers to step to the front of the class for a demonstration so I volunteered. She placed a piece of paper on the floor and asked me to try and pick it up. Of course, I could not pick-up the piece of paper but every effort that I made was broken down into action and denied. " I did not tell you to dangle your fingers over the paper, I said to try and pick it up ... or ... I did not tell you to run over the corner of the paper with your wheelchair, I said to try and pick it up ". It was a very visual learning experience that " there is no trying, only doing or not doing ". Another lesson came out of my graduate studies: just because you're good at school and passing classes does not mean you will get a degree or a job using that degree. I finished all the appropriate course work for my master's degree in sports psychology but did not have a sentence written towards my thesis. Recently my statute of limitations passed me by and it was a relief to know that no matter how many people want me to finish the degree, that is no longer an option. Finally I realized that regardless of whether or not I put forth the effort to write a thesis, I had taken everything I could out of my college experience. Other than the relatively small monetary debt I incurred, Eastern Washington University was great to me!

Tell us more about your book, "The Virgin Journals" and what your inspiration was for writing it.

The Virgin Journals is my response to me. 90 % or more of the pieces in the book were written between the hours of 10:00 p.m. & 2:00 a.m. as I was struggling with any number of life's scenarios. More often than not that included wishing I was not " alone " ... I put that in quotation marks because I'm rarely ever alone but almost always wanting for amour. That is one of the great desires in life and it is also the connecting factor to why I think people at large will be able to get something out of my book. Just because some physical circumstances are different does not mean that there are base differences in human thought processing. I created three very distinct and fairly equal length chapters in my book; Life, Love & World. The Life section is definitely a memoir style, almost autobiographical poetry. Readers will learn a lot about what makes me me, maybe more than they are prepared for! I was 22-28 the entire time these writings took place and working with college athletes the whole time ... the language and subject matter will not be for everybody. The Love section primarily focuses on want or fantasy. We all have wants/desires/fantasies and these poetry pieces do not pull any punches ... They cover completely innocent and heartfelt emotion all the way to raw and dirty. The World section contains a bunch of random writing. One of the six or seven people that I had read this work before deciding to pursue publication enjoyed the entire book but put this section above the other two because of its random nature; topics range from dead salmon to coffee to business ethics. I fully expect each reader to come away with their own favorite pieces from each section! Honesty drove every one of the pieces in all three sections ... honest with myself, sure, but I think that really comes through for each new reader.

Now the book is coming out this spring, do you already have other novels in mind and if so can you give us a little peek into what we might see from you next?

I have written since middle school and will definitely continue to write. Now that I have an actual book to point to as my own it stands to reason that I will want another one. September 2011-December 2011 was the most productive writing time in my life and I definitely have enough poetry written to make another compilation, maybe even one technically better than The Virgin Journals. For now I'm going to enjoy the process leading up to my book being released and continue submitting to literary magazines in hopes of getting my name out there a bit more. By the time September rolls around again I will know more about whether or not I want to release another poetry compilation or head in a new and exciting direction, what ever that might be.

Can you tell me how you got involved in ASD Publishing?

ASD Publishing was actually the first group I submitted The Virgin Journals to. I was excited about the fact they were a new company because I knew I would not get lost in the fray and I was also very excited by their byline " championing the spirit of independence ". Their website excited me a enough to send a query letter in and I got a response. After they reviewed my entire body of work, I was encouraged to continue looking for a publishing company that could offer an advance. This excited me about ASD Pub even more. It was an honest, objective look at my writing that was excited enough about it to make them believe I could get paid for it. We stayed in contact over a three month period and I finally decided it was the right fit after encountering a number of other companies that felt like all they wanted was my money. Feels like I am an important part of a family at ASD and I look forward to proving that worth.

Who are some of your favorite authors that have inspired you over the years and when you have time to read what are some of you all time favorite books?

I read a lot. It would be very difficult for me to remember all of the authors I have read since I have never re read a book. My top three books ever read are The Shining by Stephen King, Jurassic Park By Michael Crichton and Wicked by Gregory Maguire. All of them do a fantastic job of painting visual imagery across my imagination and drawing me into the characters enough to feel like part of the story. They are also all novels. My main poetry influences are Jack Kerouac & Jim Morrison. The entire beat generation intrigues me and their writing helped show me validity in the verse that was rattling around in my brain. It allowed me to see that short and succinct could be as equally powerful as long and drawn-out.

When did you decide to become an author, what was the turning point in your life that made you realize your talent?

September of 2011 is when I can point to and say " that is when I became an author ". I quit my volunteer position with the basketball team at Eastern Washington University with the direct purpose of pursuing writing full-time. I read somewhere that Stephen King said that if a person is to be an author, they need to treat it like work. Most of the writing in The Virgin Journals was done before I became an author, but none of it was to see the light of day. Once I decided to write full-time I figured it was best to sweep out my closets and see what came up. My book is what came up!

It says you work with the men's basketball team at Eastern Washington University, are you a coach?

My position with Eastern was volunteer. It actually started three months before I ever took a class on campus, working at one of their summer camps. For 10 years I advanced from manager, head manager, graduate assistant to administrative assistant. That meant for 10 years I would do whatever was needed to try and help the men's basketball team win games. Constantly I tried to support players and help them get better through verbal acknowledgement and by the end I was even allowed to make small recommendations among the coaching staff during halftime meetings. Basketball has always been part of my life and with the number of people I know in the game, it will always be part of my life. We even had a player from Eastern make it to the NBA in my time there ... Detroit Pistons starting guard Rodney Stuckey. That man was one of many I threw off the back of my wheelchair in a game the players and I would undertake during his time on campus.

Tell us about your writing process, what puts you in the mood to write and where do some of your inspirations come from.

I think in pretty concise thoughts. Sometimes they ramble, often times they are forgotten. If I am sitting in front of my computer and a thought goes through my head that yells to be let out, I let it out. If I'm sitting at my computer to write and nothing is screaming to be let out I will just start talking about nonsense and it helps to break the walls down. Dictation is my written form over the last few years because of increased disability of my right arm. Before that I would set up at a coffee shop with my notebook and a latte and see what came out ... I would often just start letting my pen move and some words would find their way to my paper. There is an overabundance of things to reminisce on in this world and an infinite amount of future possibilities to explore, I just have the time to go into them!

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors? Please give us your links as well, so we can learn more about you and your works.

Write, write & write some more ... If you get blocked mentally, go out and listen to others who write, read something new and exciting or just start writing about nothing! Don't expect it to be easy or comfortable. Be honest. If it is not fun at least some of the time, maybe it is not for you! That is ok, at least you gave it a try.

My author page on facebook can be found my twitter handle is @NaughtaPoet

Title:The Virgin Journals
Author:Travis Laurence Naught
Release Date:March 6, 2012
Publisher:ASD Publishing

Will be available online at Amazon, bn, ASD or where books are sold.

Thank you again Travis for this wonderful opportunity, I do hope we can do this again in the future!

I am very excited about this venture and hopefully there is an audience who will not only enjoy my writing, but get something out of it. Thank you for taking your time with me.

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