Mesa author toggles between fiction, nonfiction The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa author toggles between fiction, nonfiction

Mesa author toggles between fiction, nonfiction
Mesa
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By PAUL MARYNIAK
Tribune Executive Editor

Mesa resident Scott Offermann’s output as a writer is slowly becoming as varied as his resume.

The Maryland native has been a sailing instructor, commercial diver, firefighter, a boatwright designing yachts, a corporate librarian and an emergency medical technician.

All of those gigs, he said, contributed to his full-time job and career as a facilities manager.

“I didn’t intentionally decide on the field but as I was working, different tasks and duties were assigned to me that I did well and eventually I was running entire buildings and then to campuses,” he said. 

And that in turn has led him to write and speak considerably on the subject.

“I speak to groups globally about critical environments and facilities topics,” Offermann explained. “This also includes training in infrastructure maintenance, maintenance management, people management and budgeting all with a focus on critical thinking.”

Now, Offermann’s writing avocation has made a sharp turn into fiction. He has just published his first novel, “Engine 8-12,” which draws a bit on his experiences as a volunteer fireman and a paramedic to create what amazon.com calls “an action-packed, adrenaline- pumping look into the lives of first responders.”

“I thought that it was an important story to tell, bringing more of the human side and emotions that first responders experience,” Offermann. “In the book some of the emotions that are explored are on the darker side of the mind or at least not spoken of in polite company. 

“Most people may experience one or two car crashes in their life. Firefighters and first responders can experience several a week. Some of those being fatal.  Most people will never experience a house fire, while first responders can experience many. 

“Think about how you have felt or would feel at a car accident or house fire,” he continued. “These emotions are forgotten by the average citizen when they are thinking of the first responder. The book allows the average citizen to experience what first responders face daily and the first responder’s emotions and dealing with those feelings and emotions into the light.”

Offermann is now working on a fictional series in an area that has nothing to do with firefighters or facilities – one set in the late 13th century during the Eighth and Ninth and Crusades. 

If that seems like an abrupt shift, consider Offermann’s life.

He became a volunteer fireman at 16, thinking “it would be fun and look good on a college resume.”

About three or four years after doing that, he became an emergency medical technician for about five or six years.

He also lived on a boat on the Chesapeake Bay between ages 24-29, confronting sometimes challenging weather that eventually prompted him to move out west.

“The last year on the boat we had seven ice storms and for one of the storms, we were stuck on the boat for three days,” he recalled. “That was a big motivator for moving somewhere else.”

While facilities management might not seem as exciting as sailing or racing to fires or emergencies, Offermann would beg to disagree.

“There are many challenges with facilities,” he explained. “Every day is different. You learn something new every day. Problems and issues are brought to you that no one else can solve.

“In the same day. It is physically demanding as well as intellectually challenging.  I can be working in a mechanical room in the morning and giving an executive presentation in the afternoon.”

Besides, he noted, “as a facility manager I have had the opportunity to travel around the world.” 

“I have enjoyed traveling to every country.  Each one is unique and surprising in its own way,” he continued.  “Working in facilities I have the opportunity to speak with executives and CEO’s as well as with building engineers and housekeeping staff.  I get to learn a great deal about each country and community. “

His public speaking dates back to his days as a sailing instructor both in summer camps and in profession sailing schools.

“It is challenging being 18 or 19 years old teaching a group of 35–50-year-olds,” he said. “It was often times very challenging, which taught me to speak well to all audiences in both technical and non-technical terms.” 

Toggling between technical and nontechnical also has prepared him for toggling between nonfiction and fiction.

“The largest difference is that in nonfiction the story is already written – you just have to put the information on paper. The imagination is in how to present the information in a way the audience will understand.  With fiction you have to create the story, create the characters, build the characters and weave the action together.”

Asked whether he has found fiction harder to write than nonfiction, Offermann said, “They both have harder parts and easier parts. 

“With nonfiction, once you get started sometimes it is difficult the bring information together into an article or book that is entertaining,” he said. “With fiction, once you have the story outlined, the characters created, the story unfolds itself. The hard part is to only include the information that is most relevant and makes the story interesting to the reader.”

Now he’s taken on another challenge: marketing “Engine 8-12.”

Besides posting reviews and notices about the novel on social media, he also is tapping into his professional connections through linkedin.com and distributing fliers with the book cover and synopsis that have QR codes that link to the first chapter for readers to review as well as a link to the publisher’s website.

“If readers want to help publicize the book, there is a link to the PDF flier on my website,” he said.

And while he digs into the days of knights and damsels, Offermann also is keeping one foot in nonfiction when it comes to writing.

“I am also working on two nonfiction books,” he said. “One is updating a second edition and the other one is on program management.”

“Engine 8-12” is available on amazon.com, Ebay and Barnesandnoble.com. Information: scottoffermann.com

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