Interview with David W. Thompson, author of Sister Witch: The Life of Moll Dyer

  • If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?    Can I pick two? It would be the Hobbit by Tolkein- best fantasy ever! His ability to create an entirely new world populated by creatures of myth- both old and new- while entwining an alternate historical narrative was one of my first loves. Then it would be Thoreau’s Walden as I so respect his world view and try to emulate it in my own life- although falling woefully short.
  • What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?       From a personal viewpoint, I love dark fiction. I love history, and I always cheer for the underdog. With Moll Dyer, I found a subject matter that called to my sense of justice. Moll was a tragic figure caught up in the turmoil of our early years emoting as a nation.
  • How important is research to you when writing a book?      Imperative- especially for historical fiction. As writers of fiction, it’s essential that we “suspend disbelief.” If turning something that did happen into fiction, every other detail must be precise for this to occur.
  • When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?      I cannot recall a time when I did not write, but it’s only since I retired from my full time day job that I’ve been able to focus on getting my tales “out there.”
  • Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?     No, but even as a “pantser,” I have a clear idea of where I want to go. My characters often change that as I go, but I shoot for a particular spot in my story when I sit to write.
  • Writers are often associated with loner tendencies;is there any truth to that? Sadly- for me at least- yes. I have a very close relationship with my extended family, but I’m not a social butterfly. I usually find myself on the outskirts of conversations as more of a listener than contributor.
  • Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?      Both! I start out with a vague outline, but the story definitely changes as I get to know the characters better and they start whispering in my ear- especially when I’m trying to sleep!
  • Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year? Yes, I find I need the separation after my first draft before I begin anew. The distance helps me to get out of my own mind and view the work as a reader might.
  • How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?      Bummed! Really, really bummed! It would be like living that dream where you’re in the classroom wearing nothing but your underwear- embarrassing.
  • How much of yourself do you put into your books? A lot, my characters all carry a piece of me, or someone I admire- or someone I don’t. Not mirror images of course, but what ifs. What if this had happened to me? If this is how evil he or she is in public- what do they do when nobody’s watching? How far would I go if someone I loved was treated like this… Many scenarios are ones I’ve experienced on some level, but taken to the extreme.
  • Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?     Yes, book #2 in this series (Legends of the Family Dyer). This one is called “His Father’s Blood” and follows one of Moll’s descendants many generations later- when the family’s ancient enemy resurfaces.
  • Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?   As a physical (or spiritual) being? Why not- something must be sitting on a writer’s shoulders, and whispering in our ears to make us insane enough to do what we do- putting ourselves out there for the entire world to critique.
  • Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?    HaHaHa! Some really smart person said that the first draft is when you throw sand in a bucket in preparation for building a sand castle. I totally relate to that analogy.
  • Do you enjoy book signings?     I’m terribly introverted, and I go to them with my stomach in knots! After I get there (my wife and friends having talked me into it), I’m always (well, so far) amazed at the reception I’ve received. It’s a good feeling, but when it’s time to do another, the jitters start all over.
  • Have any of your books been adapted into a feature film?     No, and what’s up with that? Any movie makers out there?
  • They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think?     Hmm, I will say I’ve seen few movies that lived up to my expectations after reading the book, so maybe so.
  • Do you believe it is more challenging to write about beliefs that conflict with the ones you hold yourself?      No, not if I’ve done my job and created characters strong enough to stand on their own. I’m writing what they think and believe.
  • Are you “there” where you wanted to be?     No, when we stop reaching and striving to improve-on every level- we stagnate.
  • In case one or any of your books honor the big screen, which book would you like it to be?       Sister Witch. Moll Dyer’s story has intrigued me and stirred my passions since I was a young lad first hearing her story around a campfire.  Her story was a tragedy, her death a travesty of justice. I tried to give her the justice she deserves.
  • Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid? My father was an avid reader, and my mother said I started reading and walking at nearly the same time. LOL- not sure if I started reading early or walking really late. She also inspired in me a belief that I could do anything. I miss her…
  • What inspires you to write? Every heartache, every victory, every injustice- I think writers carry them all on their sleeves- or fingertips.
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