The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Melanie Dobson is C.E.Hart! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week please welcome David E. Stevens in the spotlight! To win a copy of his new book Resurrect, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I was a Navy fighter pilot and test pilot, retired as a Commander and started my own business. I have an awesome wife of 23 years, but no children … we have to rent them from our siblings. As a night owl, I usually write late into the night.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
When I say, my genre is apocalyptic techno thriller, many will lose interest immediately. Techno thrillers aren’t known for their strong woman characters or romantic relationships. This one, however, is different. That’s probably because I had a mother who was an artist, state woman’s tennis champion, scuba diver, and mountain climber. My wife is also a professional, my partner and best friend. Therefore, my women characters are strong and real, and I’m a bit of a romantic at heart. However, since most of us guys come out of the womb wanting to blow things up … yes, my story also includes crashing fighters, CIA and SEALs – much of which was based on my past experiences.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
Writing kind of snuck up and grabbed me by the throat. There were several life events that pushed me there. I was a fighter pilot, a strike planner during the Iraqi war and worked on classified weapons development projects, so most of my Navy career was focused on demolition.
One day, I realized I could apply some of my destruction expertise to actually save lives. I studied the real threats facing humanity (not the Mayan calendar) and ranked them based on probability and consequence. Turns out, the top three most dangerous/likely are preventable. Those real-life threats became “protagonists” in my trilogy, allowing me to highlight the challenges that we, as a society, can do something about.
As young fighter pilot, I experienced some close calls flying around the aircraft carrier and lost a very good friend in a crash. At that point, I realized I wasn’t immortal. That, along with my love of science, set me on a path that would change me from agnostic to Christian, and to be in a position where I can reach those like me.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
The idea rattled around in my brain for a couple years but when I got serious, I wrote most of it in about five months. Terry Burns was the first literary agent to ask for a full read, (courageous) and IMMEDIATELY assigned me an editor. I wasn’t sure what dangling participles and split infinitives were, but hoped they could be fixed with superglue … yeah, my editor didn’t laugh either. After remedial training from my awesome editor, Normandi Fisher, we submitted to some publishers. Within a few months, we signed a contract with Monarch Books of Lion Hudson.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I do my best work in the wee hours. I’m probably the only Navy pilot who doesn’t drink coffee. I do energy drinks instead. Before everyone hammers me for that, the one I drink has no sugar, no NutraSweet and a massive amount of B12. It’s poor etiquette to plug products on someone’s blog, but if anyone’s interested, be glad to identify it.
How many hours writing? Sometimes ten, sometimes none. When my characters are active, they don’t let me sleep. Anyone identify?
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Actually, it’s my wife. She’s amazing. She’s my medical subject matter expert, woman’s point of view, cheerleader and first draft reader.
I do recommend writing conferences. They’re very helpful in many ways, usually a lot of fun, and it’s an important way to make connections.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
Great question, but I don’t think I’ve been a writer long enough to answer it yet.
What are your biggest distractions?
Marketing … that’ll probably get a laugh or amen out of every successful writer. But marketing by the author, is absolutely critical, so I’m learning to love it.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Getting the book contract was great, but I think having an agent interested was an even bigger moment for me. It was the first time someone, other than family or friends, thought the story had potential.
I really haven’t had any terrible experiences.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Most: While entertaining, we have the ability to educate and slip in important ideas that could change someone’s life.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
Absolutely critical – not just to get you a publishing contract but to tell you when “the king has no clothes.” They have an objective eye and a vested interest in your success. They are your coach, which isn’t necessarily the same as being a friend. I’m very blessed to have Terry, an amazingly wise and hardworking agent. When you find a good one, hang on to them.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write. Then rewrite. Get feedback. Then, actually listen to the feedback. If you trust the source or get the same feedback from more than one source, apply it.
Don’t give up!
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Do you have friends or family who are “too educated” to need a God to explain the universe? Resurrect is (from a review) “inspiring, thought provoking, and impossible to put down, imagine a collaboration between Tom Clancy and C. S. Lewis.”
For your non-Christians:
Written by a Navy test pilot with a Top Secret clearance, Resurrect uses cutting-edge science to highlight real threats facing humanity. Resurrect is (from a review) “frighteningly plausible. It’s Dan Brown and Tom Clancy rolled into one meticulously thought out, adrenaline packed, what’s-gonna-happen-next, can’t put it down novel!”
What’s on the book horizon for you?
Finishing up books two and three of the trilogy, and we’re very excited that Resurrect has been optioned for a movie by Producer Fred Miller. Fred is about to release the Christmas movie When Angels Sing, starring Harry Connick Jr.
Resurrect should be available online and in book stores in the US and Canada as you read this. However, if you order through the www.ResurrectTrilogy.com website, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free Kindle Fire HD and the possibility of being invited as a guest during the filming of Resurrect. Also, Resurrect is touring the web with Litfuse Publicity Group! You can enter to win a Kindle Fire and RSVP for my Facebook party on the 4th of December — I’d love it if you stopped by and said hello!
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thank you so much Suzanne, I really appreciate this opportunity. Dave