Author Interview: David Swykert


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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