What makes a successful author?

Published 3:53 pm Monday, October 8, 2012

By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist

National best-selling author Don Keith knows the answer. He has penned more than 24 books, and he has plenty of valuable advice for aspiring authors.

Best-selling author Don Keith with two of his latest books. (Contributed)

Twenty-five years ago, Don and his wife, Charlene, moved to Indian Springs. In their home off Indian Crest, they reared two sons, Andy and Gary, and daughter Erin. Don and Charlene enjoy having grown children, and two grandchildren, living nearby.

Don has written professionally for 17 years. Even though he was successful from the start, until recently he kept his day jobs.

Last May, Don retired from Education Corporation of America (Virginia College), where he was senior vice president of marketing communications.

“I finally have the chance to get some of these stories told that I have running around in my head,” Don said.

He makes a special point to say, “I’m not a writer. I’m a storyteller.”

That makes sense. For 22 years, Don spent lots of time actually telling stories — on the radio. As a radio show host, John won two Billboard Magazine national Radio Personality of the Year Awards. His first was here in Birmingham in 1971. His second was in Nashville in 1982.

Don was just 13 when he became interested in radio, amateur radio. Fifty-one years later, Don is still an active “ham” radio operator (call sign N4KC). He holds the highest radio license available, Extra Class.

On his website, Donkeith.com, you can learn about Don’s books. His latest ones are a fictional thriller, “Firing Point,” and an historical non-fiction work, “Undersea Warrior.” Don has written books about submarines, NASCAR, Bear Bryant, Rick & Bubba and other topics.

What makes someone a successful author? How about having a major motion picture made out of one of your books? His latest thriller, “Firing Point,” is in preproduction to be made into a movie. “Production is scheduled to start in March next year,” Don said.

If you aspire to be a professional writer, Don has great advice for you. “Write!” he exclaims in his radio voice. For more advice, cautions, and maybe even a boost, click on the tab “On Writing” on Don’s website.


Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at dale@dalebrakhage.com.