I am continuing with my 2021 goals and have submitted to magazines, contests and anthologies this year. It is not only a learning curve, but also a way to expand my writing skills. Every writing experience increases our skill set and knowledge. As writers we are always learning. (or should be!)
In the last couple of weeks, I have been accepted to be part of an anthology 25 Miles From Here, which will be published in September. My short story A New Home will be included.
I also have three articles published (or scheduled) for Opal Writers Magazine and website, with another pending. These articles allow me to write non-fiction and also share my knowledge with the writing community.
I was also honoured to assist in the promotion of a new movie, Back Home Again. It covers the the wildfire evacuation of Fort McMurray and the communities resilience.
And I was also delighted to win a book giveaway by Densie Webb. A lovely novel arrived in my mailbox, which will be added to my TBR pile.
In preparation for my presentations/panel at the When Words Collide conference, I have invested in a headphone/microphone set. I trialed it as I hosted the monthly Writers Circle on Tuesday evening, it works well. It is more professional and cuts out a lot of background noise too.
My latest book news is four of my books (The Twesome Loop, The Commodore’s Gift, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy) are all available from Daisy Chain Book Co bookstore, Edmonton.
I would love to hear about your writing related accomplishments so far this year?
As writers and authors, we all daydream of the day our novel is made into a movie. The thrill of seeing our story come to life on the big screen (or even a smaller one!) is something we all crave at one point or another. When we are writing our stories, we get images of our characters in our heads, sometimes it is actors we already know or we create an inspiration board from photos found on the internet.
Forgetting for the moment the practicalities of actually getting the actor you want – who are your chosen ones? Who is on your wish list?
I am sharing a couple here and would be interested to know if you ‘saw’ them the same way I do, when you read the books.
With a complete read through this weekend of the manuscript for the first book in my detective series, An Elusive Trail, I am fairly happy with the edits and revisions. The new word count is 61,626 – a far cry from the ‘finished’ story of National Novel Writing Month in November last year of 50,156. This shows how a manuscript changes and grows over the course of revisions. Scenes are added or cut, moved or changed and information researched in order to improve the content. Not only for accuracy but also to ensure the characters and story reflect the trope expected by readers of the specific genre.
I recently attended a crime writer’s week long presentation course online. The most interesting and helpful sessions were with a retired detective. His insight and knowledge gave me several pieces of information I have included in the manuscript to enhance the police and forensic procedures. There are a couple more months of revisions to be done, (an author has a hard time relinquishing a manuscript!) but the first book in the series is well on its way to being ready to submit to a publisher for review.
Writers and authors research their specific genre through books but also movies. My choice of movies to watch has been said to be eclectic. I can watch and enjoy action, romance, sci-fi, fantasy and many others, it all depends on my mood at the time. Take several I watched during April for example:
The Father – Anthony Hopkins was spectacular. Hillbilly Elegy – Glenn Close was exceptional. Penguin Bloom – as a natural lover this true story was heartwarming and wonderful in so many ways. Diana – I always feel my heart break a little reading or watching anything to do with her. The Age of Adaline – I have watched this movie several times because I love the premise of it. Elizabeth and Margaret – because we can only glimpse their lives. Coroner – this series was for my book research mainly. Monty Python -In the Beginning – I grew up with Python and still recite sketches to this day. Ladies in Black – life in 1959 Australia a merging of cultures within the structure of society expectations. It shows how a person’s life is affected by the era’s limitations put upon them. Elvis Presley – The Searcher – I learned more about his life, but also that if he had broken away from the Colonel, his fame would have been even greater, such a shame he was so manipulated. As you can see some are factual, some research, while others are pure escapism.
The most unusual and surprising movie I watched was FAMILY, at first look it is a workaholic woman asked to look after her brother’s daughter for a short time. However, what is so unexpected is the unknown (to me anyway) cultural phenomenon of Juggalo. I have never come across this group (and I listen to an even more of an eclectic selection in music). The Juggalo’s are fans of the group Insane Clown Posse. They dress in clown-like makeup and fantastical outfits. Their motto is ‘I shall not judge. I shall love my Family. I am a Ninja.‘ You may not enjoy their music but their inclusiveness to all is inspiring.
Have you discovered something new through a book or movie?What was it?
1) How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing most of my life. Only recently, during COVID honestly, did I realize that it was something that I wanted to pursue professionally and for a career.
2) What inspired you to write Dear Monica? My mom went through some really hard, tough mental health stuff and that was my inspiration. A mind place and setting with a romantic twist. I think it’s interesting for people who don’t understand mental health to read something of someone in that spot.
3) Why did you decide on the format of letters to tell the story? When thinking of mental health suicide often comes up and is at the forefront of mental health, with that idea, letters came to mind.
4) The core of the novel is the mental health of its main character – is this a subject you feel strongly about? I do feel strongly about mental health, especially in the male community. I think mental health has a stigma for men and that’s something I hope to chip away at with my career.
5) Is Charlie based on anyone you now? Charlie and Monica are a combination of people that I’ve known in my life, whether a friend or significant other, they’re the best parts of people I knew.
6) Has your Army career influence any of your writing? My army career has greatly helped me with the structure of writing. I consistently schedule my time to write and stick to it, even if I hate what I wrote in that time I have something to go off of. My army career also helped me and opened my mind up to a lot more in this world than I originally thought.
7) Having acting experience yourself, can you see your book being made into a movie? I could definitely see Dear Monica being a movie. Since I am an actor, I usually write from a point of visual and what I see in my head as I write.
8) Do you use the places you have visited as part of your narratives? Yes, I would say 95 percent of the places I write about I have been to. I don’t particularly feel honest writing about something I don’t know, so I try to stick to what I do.
9) Are you writing a new manuscript currently? I am, I have on a novel, “Yours, Only” with the editor now, and my other one “Little Red Card” is 2/3 of the way through its first draft.
10) Can you tell us about any new projects, events or presentations you have coming up? My newest projects are both very interesting. “Yours, Only” is another project that’s a collection of letters between a soldier and his young wife back at home. the letters follow his missions, while he battles with his own demons he’s creating and his life back at home. “Little Red Card” is a pandemic-based romance that I am really excited about.
11) Has the COVID19 restrictions impacted your writing life? If so how? My acting career got put on pause at the beginning of COVID and I really started writing seriously because I needed a creative outlet. I wouldn’t have a novel without Covid.
12) Where is your most favorite place to write? I love to write in central park. I’ll take my laptop out there and write until it dies, that usually enough for a day.
13) How can readers connect with you? My IG is @samdavel
14) Is there a message you would like to give to your readers? I think I would just like to tell my readers that they can do whatever they want. Anything is possible and that people are there for them if they need them.
BIO: Samuel Davel grew up in rural Wisconsin leaving home at 18 for the Army. In the Army Sam was an Airborne Ranger who was constantly taking in the world around him. After leaving the Army Samuel moved to NYC while pursuing a career in film and television. After appearing on the small screen and doing numerous indie works Samuel started writing about the world he absorbed throughout his life. He enjoys writing story’s that have mental health twist or ones that don’t always end in happy endings, at the end of the day, life doesn’t always end happy. Samuel tries to capture the small moments, the ones that everyone can easily take for granted.
Most days writing leaves me energized. Some days I procrastinate, and on those days it’s exhausting.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
In the early stages of a project any distraction has the potential to be writing Kryptonite. When I get deeper into the story and the pages have started to add up distractions have less impact.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I’ve never given any serious thought to using a pseudonym.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have friends who are photographers, filmmakers, and musicians, but no writers. The closest thing would be a couple of professors who have had a strong influence on me.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
So far all of my work has been stand-alone. I like the idea of doing a series, and plan to revisit the characters from my western novella “Gunmen” soon.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I ever spent as a writer was purchasing a copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I highly recommend it.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I was in the fifth grade my class read the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day,” and it put me in a deep funk. That was the first time I thought about words on a page having any sort of lasting power. Later in the year we read “Flowers for Algernon,” which further strengthened that notion. Looking back now, it seems the fifth grade was one seriously depressing year.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
“The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A giant tortoise. They’re slow and steady, and they live a long time.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I currently have two unpublished books. One is a horror novel, the other is a crime novel.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success, to me, is continuing to be published. Financial reward is always nice, but honestly, if money were the primary goal I would take up a different occupation.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t like to hold up the writing to do research, as that tends to kill off my enthusiasm. If I am writing about a different time period, or an unusual location, I’ll do some light reading on the subject before I begin writing. After that I limit my research to specific questions that arise as I’m working on the story. By the end of the process I find I’ve done a good deal of research in total, which leaves me prepared to fix my mistakes in the rewrite.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
I try to write three hours a day, six days a week- 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Names have to be just right for me be able to move forward. They can come from anywhere. I’ve found character names on road signs, cleaning products and old comic books. Sometimes they come quickly, sometimes they are a struggle. But when I find the right one I can feel it.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Any scene where I have to kill a character I’ve grown to like is difficult to write. I wrote a death scene for a dog that was especially rough.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I began writing horror, and most of my stories involved criminals. I quickly discovered I was more interested in the criminals than the horror, and so I shifted my focus to crime fiction. I find when I write in other genres I still tend to focus on criminals.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since the second grade. That was the year children’s author Scott Corbett (The Lemonade Trick) came to my second grade class to speak. Up until then I had no real idea that making up stories was an actual job that people had. Once I found that out I knew no other job would do. I’ve been writing ever since.
What inspires you?
Good writing inspires me. Especially by writers who have a better facility with language than I do.
How do you find or make time to write?
I’m fortunate enough to have a schedule that allows me the time to write.
What projects are you working on at the present?
At the moment I’m looking for a home for my crime novel “The Pretenders.” It was set to be released last year, but unfortunately the publisher closed shop before that happened.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Future projects include the previously mentioned “Gunmen” sequel.
Timothy Friend is a writer and independent filmmaker whose fiction has been published in Crossed-Genres, Thuglit, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir. He is the writer and director of the feature film, “Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula,” distributed by Indican Pictures. He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.