#YourNextBeachRead is a way to introduce you to a new author and their works in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s featured author is Patrick Hempfing, author of MoMENts: A Dad Holds On.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Patrick Hempfing. I lived the first 36 years of my life in Pennsylvania but now reside in Central Florida.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
I write about the joys and challenges of being a stay-at-home dad. My first column was published in September 2011. I had attended the Southeastern Writers Association Conference in June 2011 and left with an idea for a column. Upon my return, I wrote four sample columns and pitched them to our local magazine’s editor. She offered me a monthly gig; my writing journey had begun.
Who are some of your influences?
Though I primarily read nonfiction, one of my biggest influences is Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle and many other excellent children’s novels. I’ll always remember the day I sat down in the recliner to read a few chapters of Frindle to my 5-year-old daughter. Over two hours later, I had read the entire book in one sitting, my daughter by my side the entire time. Great writing is powerful.
What is your book about?
In MoMENts: A Dad Holds On, Patrick, a stay-at-home dad conquers the day-to-day challenges of daddy-daughter chaos while embracing the pockets of love, joy, and happiness that make fatherhood exhilarating.
I show that parenting is a lot like giving birth — there is a lot of pressure, but also tremendous joy – and focused breathing techniques are useful long past the delivery. Although I may wish for an epidural to block the “contractions” of stress and worry, I love being a father. My stories remind readers to make the most of every moment.
Where did you get the idea?
This book is a compilation of my monthly “MoMENts” columns. Most of the stories were provided by my daughter when she was between the ages of 5 to 10. I just had to hold on. The subtitle has a double meaning. Some days I’m holding on to “Where did my baby go? Other days, I’m holding on, thinking, “When will Momma get home.”
How long did it take you to finish it?
The book contains monthly columns that were published from September 2011 through March 2016 and some new material. If you add up all the months, it took over four years to write.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
MoMENts: A Dad Holds On was my first published book. My next book, a memoir about my stay-at-home dad days, is complete, with a goal to publish it in early 2020.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
My daughter provided all the inspiration I needed. The book contains many tender, humorous stories with a Chicken Soup for the Soul flavor.
In fact, Chicken Soup for the Soul co-author, Dahlynn McKowen, provided the following endorsement: MoMENts: A Dad Holds On is not a parenting handbook, but one all parents should read. Patrick leaves the corporate world behind and discovers life as a stay-at-home dad is a job like no other. His tender, humorous stories contain little life lessons and serve as reminders to cherish the moments with family.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
There are too many great stories to select only one. My daughter, age 11 at the time, wrote the book’s foreword. This is extra special. I had asked her who she thought would be a good person to write the foreword. I came home later that day and found the prettiest 150 words. Though my intention was to land a “big hitter,” someone with a huge following, I couldn’t have found a better person to write it.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
A friend suggested I write a column with my daughter, each of us sharing our views on select topics. My “MoMENts” columns had shared my joys and challenges from a father’s perspective only. In February 2018, I broke out “Tween Daughter and Dad,” a monthly coauthored column with my daughter. During her tween years, we covered numerous topics, each in our own voice.
To date, our coauthored columns have been published over 50 times. One of them even landed in a magazine in South Africa. It’s exciting that my daughter can list “international columnist” on her college application one day.
What’s the worst?
I think the worst writing advice I ever received came from “Mr. Doubt.” I was driving to my first writers conference, about halfway to my destination, when that little voice in my head said, “What are you doing? Don’t you know you’ll be surrounded by writers with talent? Catch the next exit and go home?” I’m so glad I stayed the course. I only wish I had attended the conference years earlier.
Where can we buy your book?
MoMENts: A Dad Holds On can be purchased on Amazon and at select locations listed on my website at http://patrickhempfing.com.
Patrick Hempfing is a former CPA turned stay-at-home dad, international columnist, speaker, and author of MoMENts: A Dad Holds On, the first book in the Holding On series. As an award-winning nonfiction writer, Patrick uses humor and inspiration to celebrate the joys and challenges of fatherhood.