Austin Coats of Rogers struggled with addiction for years, and then wrote his memoir entitled Spoons Are For Stirring Coffee (2012) about his struggle, that reviewers are calling “eye-opening,” “truly inspiring” and an “amazing story.” The author sat down with us to answer a few questions to give readers some insight into the book and his life as an addict and author.
What lessons do you feel your book serves to teach readers?
When I sat down to write the book, I had two goals in mind for the reader to experience. First, I wanted the reader to enjoy the book. Just like going to a movie or watching TV, reading is entertainment. I thought about qualities that make a TV show engaging or a movie emotional, and included these qualities in my writing. I didn’t want one single dull or boring moment in the book, and often deleted entire chapters because I knew I could re-write them more suspenseful, heartfelt and engaging.
The second and most important goal was to spread a message of hope; there’s always hope. No matter where you are in life, how far down into life’s problems you’ve dug or how high on the ladder of success you’ve climbed, there’s always hope and always room to change for the better. That change begins with one simple solution; it begins with you. The difficult times I experienced in my addiction may or may not be completely different from yours, but the solution is the same. My life didn’t change or get any better until the pain became great enough for me to make a decision to change my behavior, and that decision had to be followed by equally benevolent and proper actions.
How long did it take you write your book?
I wrote the first chapter of the book in one sitting while homeless in Delray Beach, Fla., in 2008. Deep down I knew I wasn’t ready to change my life, knew there was going to be more to my story. So, I put the pen down and promised myself I’d write the book once I cleaned up. Three years later, after getting clean and sober, I picked the pen back up and finished the final 14 chapters; it took one solid year of writing at nights and on the weekends to finish the book.
What made you decide to delve into writing a book?
First and foremost, I love to write. It wasn’t until I cleaned up that I realized just how much I love it. My past experiences as an addict provided me a ton of writing material for the book. I’ve had quite a lot of readers tell me Spoons Are For Stirring Coffee changed their life, the way they look at addiction, the way they look at homelessness, and how it has changed their relationship with God. I had no idea the book would make such an impact on people. I just wanted to write a good book, and if it helped other people along the way then that would be a gratifying bonus. The response from my readers has been overwhelming, and it’s changed my own life.
What lessons did you learn from writing a memoir?
Re-living the horrible things I did to myself and my family was hard, but necessary. It was necessary to create an accurate depiction of where I’ve been and where I came from, it was necessary for the reader to experience the heartache that everyone in my life felt. The good times in my life were fun and heartwarming to write about, to re-live. Ernest Hemmingway once said
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That’s exactly what I did.
In your book, you give a very raw and honest account of the horrible pain you have put yourself and your family through. If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. Everything I have done in the past got me to where I am today. I’m extremely grateful for what I have been through, for where I came from. I never want to forget it.
What makes this book stand out among the rest?
I take great care in my writing style to make the reader feel visually and emotionally present in the story. I’m a detail-driven writer; I don’t want to tell you about the sunset, I want you to see the burnt orange canopy and golden rays burning through puffy, blue and purple clouds. I don’t want you to know I’m crying, I want you to feel weighted emotion in a teardrop dripping from my eye and onto the collar of my shirt. If you would like to know more about how my book is different from the rest, I encourage you to please check out the customer reviews on my amazon page. http://www.amazon.com/Spoons-Are-Stirring-Coffee-ebook/dp/B009JYI1CC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top.