John Temple teaches reporting and writing courses at West Virginia University. His specialty area is narrative nonfiction writing.
His new book 2016 Edgar Award nominee “American Pain” chronicles how two young felons built the largest painkiller distribution ring in the United States. The book, published by Rowman & Littlefield, also explores the massive rise in the use and abuse of narcotic painkillers over the past two decades.
Temple is the author of two previous nonfiction books: “The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates” (2009) and “Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office” (2005). In 2010, “The Last Lawyer” won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. More information about Temple’s books can be found at www.johntemplebooks.com.
Prior to teaching at WVU, Temple taught and studied creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned an M.F.A. Temple worked in the newspaper business for six years. He was the health/education reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a general assignment reporter for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and a government and politics reporter for the Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Fla.
Hollee Schwartz Temple is a journalist-turned-lawyer-turned-professor at West Virginia University College of Law. She is the co-author of Harlequin's "Good Enough is the New Perfect" and the textbook "West Virginia Legal Research."
After graduating at the top of her class with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree from Northwestern, Hollee headed to Duke University School of Law. She graduated in 1999 and began a four-year stint as a litigation associate at a large Pittsburgh law firm. After her first son was born in 2002, Hollee returned to her firm part-time before joining the WVU faculty the next year.
An active scholar and speaker, Hollee has been published in newspapers (including the Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Michigan City News-Dispatch), national law reviews and legal writing publications. She has conducted seminars on generational issues and projecting professionalism in writing for large law firms.
John and Hollee have also been small business owners since 2013, when they opened the Morgantown, West Virginia's party destination beauty salon known as "The Beauty Bar."
Notes from the show:
John takes 6 months to a year to put together a book proposal. Hollee's proposal on her first book took 3-4 months. A book proposal contains sample chapters, outline, and Hollee's included a national survey she and her co-author Beck conducted.
Mentioned: The New Times article "Pain and Gain", David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and the eponymous television show.
Warner Brothers bought the rights to "American Pain," to be adapted for the screen by Melisa Wallack.
"Figuring out who you want to talk to and who is at the center of your story and how to find them is a large portion of the process."
"There's a human compulsion to tell your story."
"You can ask anybody almost anything as long as the think you really want to know [the answer]."
Mentioned: "Dreamland" - Sam Quinones
"It's a daily struggle [to balance work and home life]. And only one of us could be working on a book at one time."
The Beauty Bar draws on a theme from Hollee's book that women deserve to feel beautiful.
The California model of a "blowout bar" didn't translate to Morgantown, WV, so they pivoted the Beauty Bar to providing many more salon services.
Managing staff and personalities is the toughest part of being a small business owner.
Hollee is a big fan of BNI.
Mentioned: "The Price of Nice Nails"
Hollee gained a competitive advantage through social media and working with Mom blogs.
They are able to juggle home life and work a little more now that their kids are older. Priorities change as children grow. The kids are integrated into their work life.
Academic jobs allow for their lifestyle.
Hollee can oversee a large staff by living close and having 10 security cameras connected to her cell phone.
Best business advice:
Hollee's: "I'm the heart of the business. I can't just give that away."
John's: "Stick with it until the 18 month point."
Best book writing advice:
John's: "You have to schedule your writing into your day and give it a prime spot in your day."
Hollee's: "I got up at 5 to write for a couple of hours before everyone else got up."
Recommended book: "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield
This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.
This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.