Sunday, November 6, 2011




Hi David, thank you for doing this interview. After reading over your bio, I wanted to ask you first about your beekeeping. How did you get started doing that and have you ever been stung badly?

Thanks, Kitty. It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity. I got started in beekeeping in my 30s, but the seed was planted when I was a boy. My uncle kept bees on his farm, and my aunt was terrified of honeybees and wouldn’t let me go near them. When a friend mentioned he was keeping bees and asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the opportunity to get started. I’ve been at it 20 plus years, and I have been lit up a few times. Nothing serious, because I’m pretty methodical. You can’t keep bees and not get stung on occasion.

Have you always lived in Virginia?

My family moved to Virginia when I was 5 years old. It’s home and I love it here.

I saw the picture of you and Ben together and actually just had to use it for this interview. I was wondering if Ben was also a muse of sorts for you.

My wife and I took in foster dogs for the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue group for several years. We’d take care of rescued dogs until they found good homes. We had to stop because we kept adopting them. I have a weakness for older males that most people don’t want to adopt. Ben weighed 79 pounds when he arrived. The harder I tried to fatten him up, the worse he got. He was diagnosed with canine Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). In English, his pancreas does not produce the enzymes required to digest food. He was starving to death. We put enzymes on his food now, and let it sit for 30 minutes. He’s up to 112 pounds, eating predigested food. He’s the best natured boy we have ever adopted. He is also the only dog I’ve seen that uses his dewclaws as opposing thumbs to hold bones. I’ve read that is primate behavior! Ben gives me all of my writing ideas.

Tell us about your book "Dead Pen Pals" what was the driving force behind writing this novel?

The basic premise of Dead Pen Pals is that there is no anonymity on the Internet, and that people are often not who or what they say they are. That 22-year old blonde hottie who calls herself Buffy, just might be a 58-year old, bald, plumber named Earl. I like police procedurals, and I like my bad guys to be real bad and crazy too. I also wanted to throw in the internal politics that affects government agencies, including law enforcement. I wanted Dead Pen Pals to be a fun, sometimes irreverent, read.

What is your idea for your next novel and when can we expect it out?

I’m working on a sequel with the same cast of characters (except for those who got knocked-off or are in prison). The working title is Dead Rock Stars, and I’d like to have it finished by spring.

I’ve also been working on a piece of historical fiction about a spy at the beginning of the Civil War. Here in the Shenandoah Valley, I’m surrounded by the ghosts of the men and women who lived through that struggle. The research is hard going, however, because I get sidetracked so often. I’ve been reading first-hand accounts of John Brown’s raid, trial and execution. The pictures they paint are eye opening.

What genres have you thought about writing in?

I like to write what I like to read. Crime Fiction and Historical Fiction.

Who are some of your inspirations in the literary field?

I’m all over the place. Ross Thomas, Evan Hunter (and all his pen names) Stuart Woods and Tony Hillerman, to name a few. Patrick O’Brian showed me that you can go back in time with enough research and effort. His Aubrey-Maturin series about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars is a wonderful work of 20 novels that reads like an epic tale.

You are also a fire protection/code consultant, what does that job entail and have you ever had to shut anyone down for not following the code?

I spent 25 years in a municipal fire department in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., as a firefighter, fire officer and a fire prevention officer. During my time in the fire prevention bureau, I did have to order the evacuation of a few places and had to take a few people to court. Most folks are cooperative and try to do the right thing, but there is always that 2% that need outside motivation.

I retired and work now as a fire protection consultant. My books Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement and Fire Prevention Principles (Delamr-Cengage), are used by colleges and fire marshal academies.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years as far as your writing goes?

I want to keep plugging along. Writers don’t write because we want to. We write because we have to.

Lastly do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

I saw a Tom Clancy interview shortly after Clear and Present Danger sold over a million copies. The TV reporter commented, “It must be great to have the gift to write like you do.” Even then, Clancy was a crabby, irascible guy. He responded, “What I have is the gift of persistence, not the gift of writing.” I never forgot that.

Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview with Great Minds David, I hope to have the opportunity again sometime in the near future!

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