Monday, August 24, 2009

Make-Believe Mondays With H David Blalock

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is H David Blalock.

David, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

David: Thanks for the chance to talk to your audience, Debra. Always great to be able to connect with new readers.

I just completed the manuscript for EMPEROR and submitted it to Sams Dot Publishing for consideration. That is the second in a series of three stand-alone titles with a common theme: ASCENDANT, EMPEROR, and DEITY. ASCENDANT appeared in March, and I'm hoping Sams Dot will accept EMPEROR in time to appear by March of next year. Meanwhile, I am working on several other manuscripts. HIGH KINGS is a time-travel novel, ANGELKILLER is a horror/thriller, and THE BOATHOUSE is a secret-society novel. I work on all three simultaneously, so I don't get “burnt out” on the stories.

Debra: Oh, you're quite welcome, David. It's a pleasure having you here.
Fingers crossed acceptace and pub dates all fall into line.
That's an excellent way to prevent burn out and writers block.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

David: I do a lot of people watching, observing how people react to ordinary situations and then postulating how they might react to extraordinary situations. I also read as often as I can, usually authors from the mid-twentieth century, before the advent of mass market paperbacks. Their ideas were so innovative for their time, groundbreaking even, that just by soaking in their work I feel inspired.

Debra: People are fascinating. So many characters and stories can come to mind when watching them. An there's nothing quite like good writing to inspire.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

David: Yes, usually before they ever hit the page. I find it difficult to write a character into existence. They have to already have “spoken” to me before I start the story. I need to know who they are and how they act in order to describe them properly. I have tried creating characters on paper, but that never seems to work for me.

Debra: That never works for me either. I have to close my eyes and see them and hear them.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

David: Well, writing fantasy you kind of have to make up words – names, terms, language. There is an art to that too, though. I think that fantasy readers have certain expectations about names in fantasy stories. You couldn't call your magic-using hero “Fred”, for instance, unless you were writing a comic piece.

Debra: Yes, true and it very much is an art. Well, there'd have to be a very good reason for calling him Fred. (Or her.) LOL

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

David: Actually, the entirety of the three-book series is built on a framework of stories that came in dreams over about a three year period in the early 1970s. From that background material, I was able to cobble together a coherent storyline and produce what I personally believe is a thought-provoking, perhaps even a little controversial, set of works.

Debra: Fascinating!

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

David: The most influential author for me as a child was actually Robert Heinlein. I started out as an avid science-fiction fan, in love with the science as much as the fiction. As I grew older I became interested in the freedom afforded writers of fantasy such as Lin Carter and Frank Laurie. I had been writing since I was a boy, and from that point forward I found myself more drawn to fantasy, although I never lost my love for science-fiction.

Debra: If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

David: Wow, that's a tough one. You see, much as I hate to admit it, I don't write for an audience, although I know I should. I write to tell a story and hope the audience will come along for the ride. I may never be famous because of that, but it makes the process so much more satisfying personally.

Debra: Oh, I don't know. I think sometimes when an author writes for an audience, the works shows it. Especially if they write beyond their enthusiasm for the story. The best combo is writing what you love and the market loving what you write. Then you can happily make a living doing what you love. The market seems to drive everything else though. So I think it's good for upcoming writers to see other writing focusing on work that they love.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

David: Imagination is the heart of creative writing, without which it couldn't exist. It's the greatest pleasure a writer can have to have related an idea, a concept, a belief, intact and whole from themselves to another person and to have that person understand it, whether as simple entertainment or something more. Creative writers have often been prophetic in their ideas. Arthur C. Clarke predicted satellite communication. Jules Verne predicted use of the submarine outside the battlefield. H.G. Wells predicted the use of the aircraft in the battlefield... the examples go on and on, and not just in science-fiction. In the years to come, when people look back on the literature of our time, I would like them to see a fullness of ideas and hopefully a wisdom that would compare favorably with that of those men.

Debra: Yes, there is no other pleasure quite like that one.
I wonder who the next Jules Verne or H.G. Wells will be?

David, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

David: Thanks Debra!

Debra: You're quite welcome.
Readers please visit David at his

Personal Website:
Personal Blog:

and visit the new group he just formed

Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

Last week I got together with my web designer and made some changes to my website. I'm quite pleased with it and though there are a few more things to add, like video from my book launch, it's almost done.

A future project in the planning stages is a book trailer for A Desperate Journey.

This weekend I will be in New Orleans at Heather Grahams Writers Weekend. If you are in the area, the book signing is Saturday from 11:30 to 2:30. Come by and say hello!

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