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

Local author Colin Conway has largely kept a low profile for most of his writing career. But with over 30 novels behind him, he decided it was time to start talking about his craft.

“I’m perhaps the most prolific Spokane author you’ve never heard of,” he said.

Conway’s most recent work, “Cozy Up to Danger,” follows convenience store clerk Ned Delahanty. Ned finds himself caught in a blizzard, both literally and figuratively, as a mystery unfolds that is totally unusual for the sleepy town of Wyoming.

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

If you’re hunting, golfing, or restoring classic cars, people are rarely surprised.

“But if you’re a writer, people say, ‘Well, why are you doing this? You don’t like what you’re doing?'” he said. But today, his longevity in both areas 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 wasn’t, there was a joy in the work that continued through various professions, his time in the military after high school and his studies at Eastern Washington University.

Conway is a college graduate and is aiming for a career in real estate. But after a few years, his path took a sharp turn when he was given the opportunity to pursue his childhood dreams of the “Starsky and Hutch” era.

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

“I ended up getting a really high score, so I went through the process and hijacked my real estate career,” he said.

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

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

So he went back to real estate, this time with a better appreciation from the side of him who loved to write.

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

By this point, Conway had written drafts of his first three detective novels. It took a few years – and the help of a more experienced agent – ​​to prepare them for publication. He started with a small publisher, but eventually bought the rights and decided to try his hand at independent publishing.

“I realized I could do more for myself,” he said. “It was a success…and it continues to prove more and more successful.”

To budding writers and other hobbyists, Conway had the following advice.

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

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

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