Kicking off Men's Week is an interview with one of my favorite authors, D.L. (Don) Chance. (He's my favorite, and not because he's my husband!!)
In addition to being a professional studio and road musician for more than 30 years, Don is also a wonderfully prolific writer, and has several of his short stories available online. He is currently at work on his tenth full-length novel, as well as several other projects. In addition to his creative writing, he is also a renown country music critic and reviewer, with hundreds of interview profiles with some of the top country music stars of today.
Don took time out of his busy (and I do mean busy!) schedule to answer a few questions regarding his philosophy on writing, as well as his current projects.
Don: I've wanted to be a writer ever since I learned how to line up words on paper in the first grade. And, to me, that means writing for an audience. In the same way some learn to play a musical instrument, or shoot at targets, or become experts at trout fishing, lots of people take up writing as a kind of therapeutic release. Something that gives them personal pleasure, but is not really intended for anyone to take seriously as legitimate fiction. But as far as I'm concerned, why bother writing if no one else is going to read it? So I grew up writing for readers; and every time someone read something I wrote, and liked it, I knew I was doing it right.
Don: The story! The story! The story! When I hear writers talk about how the plot should be secondary to the "art" of writing in fiction, I put them on my "don’t bother with this guy" list. As several kinds of artist myself, I understand that art is subjective—that it says different things to different people—and I want my readers to know exactly what I meant to say in the way I meant to say it. To me, fiction is about entertainment and escapism; and if someone reading one of my stories has been entertained after spending at least a little while away from life's incessant problems, then the story did what it was supposed to do.
Don: Favorite authors ? That's easy. John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, Mike Resnick, Richard Wheeler, Orson Scott Card, writers who are masters of plotting and pacing. If I can read a short story or novel and come away without any suggestions on how it could be better, to me that is a good piece of writing. But if after I read something, and have ideas on how it could have been presented better…well, I still might like it to an extent; but it won't be something I'm particularly impressed by.
Sharon: What do you have coming up in the future?
Don: Right now, I'm really enjoying working with short fiction. Writing novels can be a lot of fun to do, and they can really give the imagination muscles a serious workout to keep a plot thread going through seventy- or eighty-thousand words. But there are some stories that are just stronger in the short form, and it's a pleasure learning to write in a "less is more" setting. So look for more short story titles in several "pulp" print anthologies I enjoy submitting to, and at internet outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble from a growing group of ePublishers I work with.
Sharon: What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into writing today?
Don: Don't go for the "Great American Novel" right away. We can't all be Harper Lee or Margaret Mitchell. Instead, start with the "Very Good American Novel (With An IOU For The Great One)." Write the kind of stories you like to read, even if they are 200-page paperbacks that barely boast a 60k word count. Remember: if the novels you enjoy reading are on the shelves—and they clearly are or you couldn't read them—then there's obviously a market for them. It's just a matter of thinking up a plot you like, peopled with characters that make your story come alive, and set in a place where those characters would naturally live. Like I always say; in many ways writing 'em is just like reading 'em, it just takes longer.
Here are several links to some of Don's currently published works, as well as the link to his author page at Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/D.L.-Chance/e/B004KIS0VY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
My great thanks to my husband for supporting my blog, and participating in the Q&A! You're my hero!!
Here is a video of one of my favorite tunes that Don has written and recorded - enjoy!!
Please come back each day this week as I offer Questions and Answers with some of my favorite male authors!
Here is the schedule for the week:
Monday - Don Chance - prolific writer, genuis musician, and all around great guy!
Tuesday - Artie Van Why, author of "That Day In September"
Wednesday - Steve deWinter, author of "Inherit The Throne"
Thursday - Aaron Patterson, author of "Airel"
Friday - J.W. Nicklaus, author of "The Light, The Dark, And Ember Between"
Please be sure to drop by and meet these gentlemen!