Some career choices are made, others make you. In the case of Scott Hughes, it was certainly a fateful journey that led him to become an established author and curator of ideas and books. The owner of OnlineBookClub.org is certainly no stranger to curating ideas for the betterment of people, for over 15 years the website has served as a free sanctuary for aspiring writers and book lovers around the world, to share ideas, their words and their stories to one another.
While there’s no exact science to creating a bestselling work, Scott Hughes has his own approach and he took the time to sit down and discuss his own method, the history of his company, how he fell into writing and what’s on the horizon for his next work.
Hi Scott, thanks for your time. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
I am the owner and creator of OnlineBookClub.org, a free website for book lovers with over two million members. I also am an elected member of the Board of Education in my hometown, Manchester, CT. And most importantly I am a full-time dad to my two children, Tristen and Amaya. I am the author several books. Most of the books I’ve written are short non-fictions books, but I did write one fiction book: “Justice: A Novella”.
What inspired you to create OnlineBookClub.org?
I created OnlineBookClub.org in 2006. Back then, neither Kindle nor iPhone had been realized. Originally, I created OnlineBookClub.org as an international discussion forum to chat about books. The advantage of an online club versus a more traditional in-person was threefold: First, instead of having to read a book by a certain time in time for a set in-person meeting, a participant can read the book whenever they want. Second, members can chat about any book they happened to read at any time, so you are not stuck reading only the book that the book club chooses that month like happens in an in-person book club.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I ever realized it, and generally I wouldn’t consider myself to be primarily a writer. It’s something I can see about myself retroactively, in that I happened to write some books, and now I’m a published bestselling author. I suppose one turning point was when my company published its first book, “Holding Fire”, and I wrote the introduction for that. The intro was only a few pages, but my friends and family who read it encouraged me to write a full book of my own.
You are a successful author with many publications. What was your primary motivation in writing “Justice: A Novella” and “The Banned Book about Love”?
In the case of Justice, I developed the idea in my head over many months in the gym actually. I usually workout for about an hour per day, so it gives me a lot of time to brainstorm and imagine things. There is a scene in the book where a detective is actually tying to help encourage the perpetrator to defend himself by getting a lawyer rather than using the public defender, and it was that scene that actually popped in my head first. I had a vivid idea of the scene and the dialogue in my head while was at the gym, and I got stuck on it. I mulled it over for a few days, and then I wrote the first draft of that scene, and then I developed the rest of the book from there.
With the banned book, it didn’t get banned until after it was released. Needless to say, I didn’t set out to write a banned book. It was a book about unconditional love and forgiveness for all human beings. That idea of unconditional love is perhaps my most fundamental aspects of my personal spirituality and philosophy for life. I believe even a rabid dog deserves unconditional love and forgiveness. But that is a very controversial idea.
Being an advocate for love means you are challenging haters. Being an advocate for peace means you are challenging violent people and violence supporters.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I journal a lot in a private journal on my computer. Most of what I write when journaling is something that I never show anyone and that even I never read again. But sometimes something sparks me as worthy of sharing or developing further.
When it comes to a non-fiction book, usually I am thinking I’ll write an article or essay about something, and then I just sort of accidentally write way too much.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t hear from readers as much as I would think I would. When I do, they are generally supportive and kind. The most common thing they have to say is actually a question: “When is your next book coming out?” Or, “what is your next book about?”
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Running OnlineBookClub.org keeps me very busy professionally. I really love working with other authors and helping them develop and share their art.
On a more personal level, I like rock climbing and boxing. I also learned Jiu Jitsu this year, and ballroom dancing has been a hobby of mine on and off. Running OnlineBookClub primarily involves me sitting at my computer desk full time, and writing also keeps me at my desk, so for hobbies I look for things that are more active and get me out of the office.
Finally, what do you think the future holds for you and OnlineBookClub.org?
Right now, we are working on creating an e-reading app for mobile devices that will be able to compete with Amazon Kindle. I am very excited about that.
We’ve done some short story contests in the past. I think we will be launched a new one soon.
I would also like to do a poetry contest sometime soon.
I am also almost done with the first draft of my next book. The working title is “#InItTogether: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All”. For now, I’ll let the title speak for itself, and I’ll give a better summary once the first draft is actually finished.
Thank you Scott for your time!
You can follow up with Scott Hughes and connect with him at: