Author Interview: David Swykert

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Hello!  I’ve had the chance to interview author David Swykert!   Author of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and other books.   Please read below to find out more about David!

 

C.:  So, how are you today?

David: The entire molecular structure of the universe changes every second. I’m great right at this moment, but of course I might be different a little later.

C.: Tell me a little about when you started writing?  What inspired your first book?  Was it hard for you to finish?

David: I actually started writing as a teenager. The first book I ever attempted to write (unfinished to this day) would have been a literary story. I did write a novella that I would put in the literary genre in the 70’s, titled Deuce. It’s never been published. I don’t even have it on a hard drive, it’s just a pile of papers in a notebook somewhere in a trunk. First book I finished was a crime story, which was when I was working in law enforcement, it’s still in print, titled Children of the Enemy, is with it’s third publisher.

C.: Are you working on anything currently?  If so what is it about?

David: I have about a half finished first draft of a novel titled Counting Wolves. It’s about a retired soldier/cop who retreats to live on a mountain and begins caring for a pack of young wolves.

C.: What is your writing process like?

David: I generally write for a few hours each morning. Then give it up for the day. I will write down on a piece of paper any good ideas I get through the day. I have notes scattered from one end of this three story townhouse to the other.

C.: Do you sometimes struggle with writing?  How do you get back into it when you are?

David: I don’t really “struggle” with writing, not like writer’s block or anything. I get lazy, tired sometimes and the best medicine for that is a trip to the hills for a couple of days. For some reason a drive in the car inspires me to get back at it. Weird, hey?

C.: Do you have any habits or tricks that help keep you writing? (For example: I set random word count goals for myself, and then take glee in smashing them.)

David: I NEVER set a writing “goal.” Big mistake, at least for me. I would rather write a few great paragraphs when I am emotionally ready to write something, when I can really feel it, than write gigantic tomes of worthless stuff, just because I said I was going to. I’m a bit of an anarchist, I don’t mean politically, I mean personally, I want rules to determine the productivity of a creative endeavor. And I don’t mean to sound like one of those arrogant creative “types.” But I just believe when you have a great idea and the words are flowing, write your heart out. But when you’re having a bad day, go soak your head and get over it and trying write your novel another time.

C.: On average how much do you write on a ‘good day’?  How much on an ‘insane day’?  What about an average day?  Do you subscribe to the ‘write 350 words a day’ rule?

David: I’ve covered most of this. I don’t have an “average” day. I do write most every day, But I write what my head tells me I should write.

C.: Do you plot out your books or do you have a rough sketch and fill in the details as you go?

David: I like to have an idea of how I am going to end the book before I start, where the character is going to end up. When I write the chapters, in some way, each will be directing the story to my ending.

C.: If you plot things out how detailed do you go in the plotting stage?

David: Not very. I make some notes as I go along. But then I lose most of them anyway. But the action of writing them down keeps them in my memory.

C.: What is your favorite story you’ve written?

David: Maggie Elizabeth Harrington. It’s a book about a young woman in the 1890’s trying to save a pack of young wolves from a bounty hunter. It’s a departure from a lot of the kinds of stories I write, written in a female voice, but I think it still might be the best thing I’ve ever written, and I wrote it a long while ago. But, is still in print.

C.: What do you like to read?

David: Anything that interests me. A biography of an interesting person is great, but so is strong fiction. I like strong characters, and I like stories that end well, with redemption. I usually don’t write stories that have vague endings, although I sometimes might end the story in a manner that would allow for a sequel, especially if I like the character.

C.: Who is your favorite author?

David: If I could only choose one it would be Hemingway. But there’s so many great authors, he just sticks in my mind because I read him early in life, and like his writing style.

C.: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

David: The high you get from writing something you truly like, especially if it’s the last page of a long novel.

C.: What is your least favorite part of the writing process?  (I hate editing. Oh, man, I hate it.)

David: Editing would be mine. Because it’s boring. The first draft is a very creative endeavor, editing it, which I am a strong believer in, is just plain hard work. I’ve been fortunate to work with a couple of very fine editors.

C.: What is the most annoying thing non-writers say to you when you tell them you’re a writer?  (If I hear ‘Man, I wish I had time to write’ one more time…)

David: My first ex-wife used to ask me to turn off the computer and come over and talk (amuse) me. That used to give me a headache. I used to get a lot of headaches. When people would ask me how I get rid of a headache, I’d answer: I divorce them.


C.: What is the most helpful thing non-writers say to you when you tell them you’re a writer? (For Example: I’ve had people point me at marketing websites, or just give general in encouragement.  One time I even had someone suggest ‘an emotional wall’ to me.)

David: Honest commentary about a story flaw, something I didn’t see. And that happens, hopefully while you have time to edit.

C.: What is the number one advice you would give someone who has decided they want to write?

David: Find a way to earn a living, so you don’t starve to death while you’re “being” a writer.

C.: What advice would you give someone who has decided they want to write /for a living/?

David: Find a way to earn a real “good” living while you try to earn a living writing.

C.: What was/is your backup plan if this writing thing doesn’t pan out?

David: I don’t have one. I do live very close to the Licking River Bridge. Joking.

C.: Who are you outside of writing?  What are your hobbies?

David: I am a gregarious loner. I do have some friends to visit. I do like to commune with nature. I am an animal rights advocate, nothing organized, but I feed every feral cat, raccoon, possum, dog that comes to my back door. And I live downtown, but there’s a lot of wildlife down here. I believe animals are far more intelligent than we give them credit for, and are quit sentient beings.

C.: What do you take from your hobbies and add to your writing?

David: I try to learn something from everyone I encounter, even people. There really are only two kinds of people, and it has nothing to do with looks or ethnicity or color, simply good and bad. I try to learn from the good ones and forget the bad ones.

C.: What is best in life?

David: Good health to explore your curiosity. I think good living is about the relationships you form, and not just with people.

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