By Maggie James
It's been a while since I've done an author interview, and today I'm very pleased to welcome novelist David Wind to my blog. David lives and writes in Chestnut Ridge, New York. He shares his house with his wife, Bonnie, and their dog Alfie, an apricot poodle.
David began writing in 1979 and since then has published thirty-four novels of suspense, adventure, science fiction, historical fiction and romance. His latest novel, 'The Cured' was written with Terese Ramin and is a medical/legal thriller.
Thirty-four novels? Wow! This is a man we need to investigate further. Let the questions begin!
Let's Talk About Genres...
Tell us about the different genres in which you write.
Do we have the space? I have written historical, police procedurals, espionage thrillers, thrillers, mysteries, historical fantasy and science fiction. Oh, and early on, romance, but don’t ask me the pseudonym.
Do you have a favourite genre in which to write?
Two in fact; science fiction/fantasy and thrillers.
David's Early Days As A Writer
Have you always wanted to be a novelist?
Always? Well, from the time I was twelve and finished Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan, Martian and Pellucidar series, as well the early Andre Norton books.
When did you start writing?
I started in college, but realized I was a terrible writer. Then, when I was thirty, I sat down and wrote my first novel. I was lucky; I found both an editor and an agent within the first few months after finishing the book.
Inspiration And Influences...
What inspired you to write your first book?
Wow, that is a tough one. Inspiration comes from many sources, but writing my first book came from within me. I had spent years wanting to write. I worked full-time in college, but always tried to find a little time each night to write. What I wrote was very bad but I held on to the hope that one day…. Then that one day came some years later. For six months, every night after work, I sat at my desk at home and wrote. I did not write to sell, only to see if I could write a novel. When I was finished, I knew I could.
What books have most influenced your life?
There isn’t enough space to list them. Rather than try, I would explain it by saying that every book I read influences me in one way or another - some with the way a sentence is tuned, others by the plot layout. Some, like a Philip K. Dick’s novel, by the way dark and light are shown as both in tandem and as opposites; Robert Ludlum for the way he could twist plots; Slaughter and Yerby for the way they colourfully portrayed history. Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein for their intellectual brilliance, and on and on.
What’s your current writing project?
I have just finished the first draft of a sci-fi fantasy which will be the first in a series, set three thousand years from now. I think of it as a non-dystopian dystopian. It is not about politics and “Big-Brother”-type governments; rather, it portrays the possible long term results of the current world situations.
Let's Find Out More About You...
Tell us about a typical writing day.
It’s a simple routine, but one that has worked for me for three decades: I start after breakfast by going over the work I’ve edited the previous afternoon, which gets me back into the rhythm of the story. I write for a few hours, take a break, write some more, have lunch, work out, so I get the kinks out from sitting all morning (and keep somewhat healthy) and after the work-out, I edit what I wrote in the morning.
Give us three ‘good to know’ facts about you.
1. I’m very young because I was born on February 29th, so I only have a birthday once every four years.
2. I believe that reading is the basis for every person to learn, to explore and to escape their regular day-to-day life.
3. People-watching is my chosen vocation.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I don’t have to choose. I was extremely fortunate when I wrote 'Queen Of Knights', a medieval fantasy, and I went through all the proper channels to ask my hero (or heroine if you still have a need to typecast) Andre Norton, for a cover quote. She agreed and after giving me a nice cover quote, we began a personal correspondence that turned into a friendship. Andre mentored and taught. It was an incredible experience.
Favourite Books And Authors...
Who is your favourite author and what really strikes you about their work?
Once again, I do not have a single favourite: Andre Norton for her vivid imagination and simple but wonderful stories; Ludlum for his wonderfully detailed plots; the 40s and 50s hard boiled detective writers (my 'Angels In Mourning' was a homage to them); the great sci-fi writers of the 50s & 60s who outlined exactly what is happening today; and, of course, the absolute originals like Twain and Dumas etc.
What sort of novels do you like to read?
All except the factory writers, the ones who seem to have tons of writing partners and turn out ten books a year.
Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
As much as needed, to do the proper research and check my facts. Travel is something that I love doing, and I always find a story when I travel.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The words: I find the overall story and the plotting not to be difficult, but selecting the right words, that’s always the challenge. The words speak to the reader. If the words are right, the plot falls into the proper place and the story tells itself. If the wording doesn’t flow, neither does the story.
More About Lessons From Writing
Did you learn anything from writing ‘The Cured’ and if so what was it?
I learned a great deal. Because the story was so personal to me – it was written because of a very close friend’s death from cancer, after he had been ‘cured’ – I had a lot of trouble seeing if the story worked well. I asked my friend, Terese Ramin, who is a wonderful writer and a great editor, if she wanted to work on the project with me, to overwrite, change and make it better. I had overwritten the book by about 50,000 words. She read what I had written and said yes immediately. She then proceeded to cut and to rewrite and to work with me to turn it into a great book. It’s hard to tell the difference between her words and mine, which is the only way to determine if two writers can truly write together.
Advice For Other Authors
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Absolutely. Writing is a way of life. If you make the commitment, there is rarely a way to turn back. Read, write and keep going. Publishing is one of the toughest professions in the world. Success should not be determined by income; rather, by the finished product, your book, be it fiction or non-fiction.
Listen to the critics, take in what they say and make your own determination: too many good writers have fallen by the wayside because they listened to others instead of their own heart. There is a great cliché, follow it: march to the beat of your own drummer. (By the way, a phrase becomes a cliché not from overuse but because it is the best possible way of saying something specific).
Thank You For Your Time, David!
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