Monday, September 26, 2011

Daniel Coleman Can Write, Cook, and Fight Fires In One Days Work.

Daniel Coleman spends his time back and forth between two worlds - the fantastic world of Writing where happy endings are common, and the very real-life world of Firefighting where the outcomes are as varied as the emergencies.

His most recent book is Hatter, which takes a peek inside the head of literature’s most lovable lunatic. Throw in the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts and other familiar characters as they emerge to fill their eminent roles. Hatter is available for only $2.99 in all ebook formats.
Visit his blog at to see a few pics of him doing his best to embarrass his poor children.

Hi Daniel! Welcome to Pots 'n Pens. Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us for a minute. I understand juggling writing and anything else takes a lot of time, let alone being a fireman too.  Yes, everyone I said he's a REAL FIREMAN.

My wife chuckled when I told her I was doing an interview with a cooking and writing blog. I don’t cook much at home because she says my meals are too elaborate and the mess is too big. The guys at the firehouse don’t buy that excuse, so I get plenty of chances to cook there, and expectations are usually high.

Hey, at least we know we are safe if anything catches fire here. We will have you to take care of it....*crickets*.... What? Nobody?
Anyway, let's get started. What’s your favorite kitchen accessory or appliance? How about a favorite writing accessory or reference?

In the kitchen my favorites are my Springform pans. One of my tricks for winning over a new crew is cheesecake. It works for Battalion Chiefs as well. In fact, our most recent Battalion Chief called our station when he got his assignment and told my captain, “You take care of that Coleman kid. He’s a special firefighter. If something happens to him, who’s gonna make me cheesecake?” Needless to say, I baked 2 cheesecakes the day he was transferred to our battalion.

My essential writing accessory is music. It helps me get each voice right, and really infuse my writing with emotion. I have a playlist for each viewpoint character, as well as about 50 other playlists that span a wide variety of emotions. Some of my favorite playlists are: Alone, Unrequited Love, and Thuggery.

MUSIC! That is mine too. I can't write without music in the background and a snack next to my keyboard. What is your A+, number 1 writing snack?

This is a dangerous one because whatever’s close when I get into ‘The Zone’, will be gone. I can easily polish off a pound of beef jerky or a jumbo bag of M&M’s (peanut or peanut butter). Add 32 oz. of something caffeinated and I can write for days straight.

Beef Jerky and a big drink, such a guy. Please share one cheesy “writing is like cooking” thought.

Writing is exactly like cooking, except for all the words and the paper, and the boiling and sautéing. And grammar and coriander and thyme and characterization and clarified eggs. Oh yeah, and those pesky dangling participles.

No, in seriousness, one of my closest friends is a professional artist (painter). We talk all the time about how similar our two arts are. Everything from first strokes to finding an audience. Cooking is no different. A chef might use a dash of cayenne pepper, while a writer uses a dash of racy humor. The same goes for dance and drama and drawing. There’s a reason people talk about the art of writing, performance arts, arts and crafts, visual arts, and the art of cooking. When I say “artist” I could be talking about a singer, a painter, or anyone who hones their creative skill.

I still haven’t answered your question. How about: Writing is like cooking because no matter how much you practice and plan, halfway through it’s an unrecognizable mess, but in the end you’re left with sweet, hard-won fruits you can share with people who will appreciate it.

Tell us about your edible specialty, and rate your skill in the kitchen: novice, not bad, or nominate me for a Michelin star.

I gotta go back to cheesecake. My favorites are Oreo and peppermint. I only make them at the fire station because when I make cheesecake at home it’s way too much for our little family, but we end up eating the whole thing anyway. I’ve never entered any contests, and they don’t always turn out pretty, but judging on taste alone, I’ll rate myself: As Good As the Cheesecake Factory.

Um, the next time you want to make cheescake for your family it will be okay, because I'll come take it off your hands. (Love that stuff way too much). Before I sound too creepy let's move on. Describe the best cook you know and something wonderful he or she has served you.

I’ve known some brilliant firehouse chefs over the years, but none of them tops my wife. She makes a fettuccine alfredo with sausage and peppers that beats anything on Olive Garden’s menu. And it’s even healthy because it has 3 kinds of bell peppers in it! That counts, right? Hold on a second, I’m going to text her and request it for dinner tomorrow….. Ok, I’m back. (And she said ‘Yes’!)

Lucky you! Now if you didn't have your wife and were marooned on an island, and Pots 'N Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose?

If I’m being honest, I’d have to choose my set of scriptures. I am a religious person and even on a remote island I think there’s plenty for me to learn. I especially love Old Testament stories like Samson, Abraham, and Joseph. Their successes and failures in the face of trials still apply to us thousands of years later.

And pizza. If I was stranded on a desert island and had nothing to eat but pizza for 10 years, the first thing I’d have at the banquet after I got rescued would be pizza with a side of pizza. And pizza for desert. (I’m a big pizza fan.)

What favorite recipe do you have for us today?

Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Bagel Sandwiches

I chose a simple lunch recipe that I prepare at the station as often as I can get away with. It’s quick and easy, which is a big plus on a busy day.

Choose your favorite bagels from the grocery store or bagel shop. I like the cheddar cheese bagels.

Look for Jennie-O sun-dried tomato turkey in the deli case. I don’t even like tomatoes, but this is a winner.

The finishing ingredients are orange bell pepper slices and guacamole. The sweetness and zing from the pepper, guacamole and turkey are a winning combination.

You can add some lettuce, tomato or onion, but honestly you don’t need them. And if you decide against the cheddar bagels, add some Swiss cheese.

I’ve never had a complaint, and that’s saying a lot with some of the crews I’ve worked with!

And as proof, here are some of your crew enjoying the food. Thanks Daniel for hanging out with us today. Everyone be sure to stop by his site and check out his tour. He's an excellent speaker and pick up his books.


  1. Great interview. Where's that cheesecake recipe? Just kidding, I need lunch recipes these days and the bagel with turkey and guac sounds as delicious as it is fast.
    And now I'm contemplating creating "emotion" playlists. :)

  2. Hi, Daniel--I had to laugh at the crazy pix on your blog! Loved the mouse. And congrats on winning the Utah writing contest with your urban fantasy NEW PHOENIX RISING.

  3. I loved this interview. It was so fun! We're very big on my firemen in this family because my 4-year-old ADORES them and wants to be one so much. Great bagel recipe and will try, but I also really want that cheesecake recipe!! :-)

  4. Thanks for the comments. I'll admit that my cheesecake recipes come straight from They have dozens to choose from.

    My Captain came back to work yesterday after 2 months off, so I whipped up the Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake, and it's a new favorite. (I'm a HUGE vanilla fan anyway.) I splurged for the real vanilla bean and it was well worth it. Two things I would change: go with real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip and use a traditional graham cracker crust instead of 'Nilla Wafers. Don't get me wrong, the cheesecake is delicious, but I think those two small changes would improve it even more.

    Oh yeah, and I also added a half cup of sour cream to the mix before baking. Just because.

  5. Oooh, I love my springform pans for making cheesecake too! The book sounds great as well - love any twist or retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

  6. Great interview! But I agree, no fair with the cheesecake teaser! :)

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