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Author Spotlight: Colin Conway turns a hobby into a successful side hustle

Nov. 9, 2022 Updated Thu., Nov. 10, 2022 at 10:05 p.m.

Local author Colin Conway has largely kept a low profile for the majority of his writing career. But with more than 30 novels behind him, he’s decided it’s time to start talking about his craft.

“I might be the most prolific Spokane author that you’ve never heard about,” he said.

Conway’s most recent work, “Cozy Up to Danger,” follows convenience store worker Ned Delahanty. Ned finds himself caught in a blizzard, literally and figuratively, as a mystery unravels, totally uncharacteristic of the sleepy Wyoming town.

Balancing a career in commercial real estate with his writing life came naturally to Conway. But early on, explaining his writing hobby to colleagues in the commercial real estate world tended to raise eyebrows.

If you hunt or golf or restore classic cars, people are rarely surprised.

“But if you’re a writer, people are like, ‘Well, why do you do that? Do you not like what you’re doing?’” he said. But today, his longevity in both arenas tends to speak for itself.

Growing up in Spokane, Conway remembers looking forward to his English classes. Writing, he explained, often came easily to him. And even when it didn’t, there was a joy in the work that continued through various professions, his time in the Army after high school and on through his studies at Eastern Washington University.

Conway graduated from college with his sights set on a career in real estate. But after a few years, his path took an abrupt turn when an opportunity to chase his “Starsky and Hutch” era childhood dreams.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be Starsky,” he said. So, at age 29, when an advertisement in the newspaper mentioned that the police department was hiring, Conway thought, “Why not take the test?

“I ended up scoring very highly on it, so I went through the process and diverted my real estate career,” he said.

He ended up spending five years with the police department, keeping up his writing habit.

“Long story short, it ended up being a really great job, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life,” he said.

So he jumped back into real estate, this time with a better appreciation for the side of him that loved writing.

“At that time, I really discovered how much writing was a part of me,” he said. “I could write at night, on the weekends – and I just kept creating these situations and characters.”

By that point, Conway had written drafts of his first three crime novels. It took a few years – and the help of a more experienced agent – to get them ready for publication. He started with a small publisher, but eventually bought the rights back and resolved to try his luck in independent publishing.

“I realized I could do more for myself,” he said. “That’s been successful … and it’s continuing to prove more and more successful.”

To aspiring writers and fellow hobbyists, Conway had the following advice.

Write every day, and when you’re ready, talk to others writers.

“Cozy Up to Danger,” the sixth installment in Conway’s “Cozy Up” series, is available to order through Auntie’s Bookstore. For information, visit colinconway.com.

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