One of the craziest things about being an author is that it is so much less competitive than I would have ever thought. Not in every aspect, of course: it is still extremely competitive to find representation or a publisher. But, most of my fellow authors have been very kind and supportive. In fact, the overwhelming attitude from the beginning has been along the lines of, “People read new books every day. If they pick up yours before mine, so be it, because tomorrow they may pick up mine when they are done with yours!” And while it is very true that people don’t just read one book in their lifetime, it has been very refreshing to me to see how much of a community authors truly make.
Photo Credit: Pixaby
However, before I was actually thrust into the world occupied by my fellow scribes, I never would have guessed that a highlight of my foray into becoming a published author would be the incredible people I have met along the way. From the people in my two writing groups, to already-published authors who were so generous with their time and advice, to the people publishing/producing and editing my books, to my fellow authors, I have been extremely grateful for the part they have all played on my journey. There are a few, however, who stand out above the crowd. There are those who have not only been extremely helpful, but also a lot of fun, and have moved past “mentor” over to the “friend” category. So, I decided I would like the opportunity to discover what makes them the wordsmiths they are, and thankfully, some of them have agreed to let me share with my readers what makes them tick.
My first guest interview is with fellow Solstice author, David W. Thompson. David was one of the first authors who reached out and mercifully took me under his wing. From answering my bizarre questions, to helping me figure out Twitter, as well as always tagging me in Tweets and entering my name into contests, I can truly say that I don’t know what I would do without his friendship. But, even better, his writing and subject matter are both intriguing. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to Mr. David W. Thompson
Majken: Thanks, David, for joining me on my blog! I appreciate your time, and I am excited to introduce you to readers who perhaps typically read a different genre and may not know yet how incredible you are as an author! So, let’s hit the ground running! My first question is how long have you been writing?
David: First off- thank you so much for doing this interview. As you know, exposure means everything when you are hoping to be read. But to your question (yes, I’m easily distracted) …it’s hard to define an exact time. I’ve often said I started writing fanfic of Dick and Jane stories, but I’m not sure if those stories are still part of the 1st grade curriculum. Younger readers may not be familiar, so I may have to update that! When I worked at a 9-5 job (actually more of a 5 to 5), I still managed to get a few short stories published over the years. When my kids were grown, and after I left the aviation industry, my love of writing was brought to the forefront again. I found more time to carve, fish, hike and of course—read and write.
Majken: I certainly understand that sometimes scheduling and the desire to write don’t always mesh well. But, jumping from the aviation industry to author is a big leap! Have you always wanted to be a writer?
David: Yes! At various times of my life, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut-writer, a military-writer, a natural resources writer and even a short stint as a fireman-writer. I’ve always been an avid reader: books, sure, but even cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. I remember when I read my 1st cuss word! I’d sounded the “F-bomb” out on the tagged wall of a store (long before “Hooked on Phonics”). Seeing my Mom’s deer in the headlights look, I asked what the definition of said word might be. She suggested it might be something I should ask my Dad about. Words have power! Anyway, writers are like readers on literary steroids. Don’t you think? Writing feels like a natural progression to me.
Majken: You are so right in that words have power! Do you write full-time now?
David: Coming from an industry where a “full time” 40-hour work week was a pipe dream (or meant you’d taken vacation), I’d have to say no. I’m not one of the super organized and driven writers who do so. It’s not me. I write for the love of writing and whenever that wonderful mystical muse cracks the whip, I bow my head and obey.
Majken: I get that. The muse is hypnotic sometimes. What do you do for a living and/or fun when you aren’t writing?
David: I was offered a chance at early retirement and grabbed it. I highly recommend it to everyone! On the fun end, I love reading, of course! I also enjoy winemaking and wood-carving. Kayaking is a passion, though I find a flat river with time to relax and enjoy the scenery draws me more now than Class III rapids. My bride enjoys these pursuits also (well not the actual wine-making…but she helps me empty the bottles). I have a wonderful family and most live nearby, although my baby daughter lives on he opposite coast with her family.
Majken: Wow! It definitely sounds like you are living your best life! It’s wonderful that you are able to engage in so many creative and fulfilling activities. Your books are fascinating, but certainly take a bit of a different direction from your hobbies, dealing mostly with the paranormal, more specifically witchcraft. What piqued your interest in this subject matter?
David: Thank you, Majken (and back at ya). I write the sort of stories that I enjoy reading myself. I don’t know what the draw is to dark fiction and horror—perhaps it’s because when a person is afraid, that’s when they feel most alive? Blood racing through their veins. Fight or flight! Witchcraft is a means to that end. It’s something that’s an unknown to many and some see as a threat, whether to their lives or to their beliefs.
You might also notice that the theme of many of my stories is societal injustice, good people cast as pariahs due to being different. What better demonstrates that than the history of witches (and those cast as such) in supposedly civilized societies?
That said though, for me, it isn’t witchcraft per se, but rather a particular witch, specifically Moll Dyer! She was a colonial era personage in my neck of the woods. Her story is legend here and I grew up hearing stories about her around childhood campfires. It seems every local family has an oral tradition associated with Moll. It’s said that the Blair witch story is based on her life, but to take her colonial roots and community out of the equation seriously distorted the tale.
Media Credit: Original artwork of the Legend of Moll Dyer by Norma Durkin http://www.WitchcraftandWitches.com/witches_dyer.html
Although the various renditions of her story are intended as cautionary tales, as far back as my memory stretches, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t feel empathy for the tragedy. I’ve long felt it was time to cast her in a different light. I hope Moll is pleased with my tales.
Majken: I love how committed you are to give voice to those who faced social injustice and I am sure she is pleased with your telling of her tale! But, I can’t help but think it could feel a little eerie and creepy to write these stories… Describe your writing space. Do you have an office? Do you use a desk? Do you feel safe from any wandering apparitions who may be reading over your shoulder?
David: HaHa. Well, I do indeed have a desk. It’s in my “man cave” and is mostly covered with Native American artifacts and books. I do most of my writing on a reclining sofa facing our log home’s façade—a wall of windows overlooking a 100-acre Old Order Mennonite field. As I type, I often glance up to watch the horse drawn plows and hay rakes or see a family going down the road in a horse drawn buggy. It’s easy to place myself back in time (or in a future dystopian time).
Majken: Wow! That sounds magical! I think I would find it hard to do much else but stare out at the view. But, obviously, you don’t have this problem, as you have written several novels. Describe what a typical writing session looks like for you. Do you write more during the day, or at night? Do you write every day? Do you set aside a specific time to write, or do you write when you feel the urge?
David: I have no set schedule, but do find that I write mostly in the early morning hours before the world wakes up and the necessities of life pull me away. Late evening works for me also, although I find more typos and grammar snafus after a late-night session.
Majken: I can certainly relate to that! I tend to write at night, when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet, but sometimes I find the craziest mistakes when I have been writing late into the evening and my brain is tired. So, what are you planning for your next project? Are you currently working on a new novel? If so, what’s the timeline before release looking like?
David: I’m currently working on an anthology of short stories that are focused on the different holiday periods. I’ve recently released the third book in the Dyer series with Solstice Publishing: “Sons and Brothers.” “Haunted Southern Maryland” is due to be released in September from the History Press.
Majken: Wow! That sounds great! I am looking forward to reading more. Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you! I hope that those who haven’t read your books yet will become as intrigued as I was when I first got to know you and your work. On that note, where can people learn more about you and your books?
David: Below is a list of the carious places people can find out more about me and my books.
I’m also beginning a blog at: www.davidscampfire.com
Majken: Thanks for taking the time to let me interview you, David! I am looking forward to what comes next! Thank you for the opportunity and best to you and yours!
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