Any day now, a new book will be released by Martin Sisters Publishers. David J. Kirk, the author of Particular Stones, took some time to answer a few questions for me. I humbly submit these answers to you, so that you might learn a bit more about this fun, intelligent, and supportive author. Take some time to read what Dave has to say, and then check out his information at the end. You’ll be ready to snap up Particular Stones the moment it’s released!
As my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”
Thanks for having me on, Jen. To answer Liam’s question, Stones is about a young man growing up in a strange place. Without the guidance of family, he must gather allies and fight off threats. He is disillusioned, unable to figure out why society is doing what it does. Deeper questions, related to his origin and existence, nag at him. While fighting off the bad guys, he and his group of friends begin to realize the futility of using the tactics of their enemies. Slowly, the elements of the good fight, the right way to do things, begin to emerge.
It is a fairly classic theme, but with some twists and turns.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
I started writing when I was sixteen. I don’t recall the particular document, but I’m sure it was an essay regarding some unrequited fascination with a girl.
Do you prefer plaid or stripes?
Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?
It was never a concern how I got published, only that I did. I tried submitting to large publishers, medium publishers, small publishers, contests, and so on. I considered self-publishing and partnering with another author. Sending out proposal after proposal, I not only knew the names of the staff at the local UPS store, I knew their kids’ names. Fortunately, I connected with a really great publisher.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
While making the rounds with the first one, I wrote a second novel in the setting of the 1997 flood in Fargo, North Dakota. Other than polishing up a couple of short stories for contests, I plan to concentrate on marketing Particular Stones.
Do you have any rituals before writing? Music or silence? Coffee or tea? Twizzlers or M&Ms?
I like silence and coffee. I may play some mood provoking music to get myself in the right mindset. Never setting goals, some days I could put out ten pages, some days half a paragraph. I wrote Stones during a long North Dakota winter. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was.
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?
Through randomly selected names and physical descriptions, I try to keep characters as fictional as possible. However, I doubt if it is ever totally possible. Take “goodness” for example. You can learn about good people from reading, but one’s experience with goodness probably came from being associated with a good person at some point. I sometimes find myself borrowing traits from one or more people I have known and combining them into one character. The characteristics of the villains in my book were borrowed from famous bullies I knew in my youth.
What color is your umbrella?
I don’t own one.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I have read many great authors over the years. However, I will have to go with J.D. Salinger as an all-time favorite. I first read Catcher in the Rye when I was seventeen, and at least twice a decade since. It’s interesting how the book changes depending on what stage of life one is at.
What was the last book you read?
I am currently finishing up House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Horror, not my usual cup of tea, but presented in an incredibly unique style.
Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research? Or do you make up entire settings in your head?
I will take your question a degree further and say that I usually write about locations where I have lived. I find it difficult in describing a scene looking at Google Images.
After the last word is written, then what? Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over? Do you begin query letters immediately?
I engaged the services of a past co-worker, Linda of TC Expert Editing, for manuscript preparation. She did it chapter by chapter via email, and then did the final review of the entire book as a whole. She was great to work with and a valuable asset to this project. She even laughed at my email jokes! (Well okay, just one of them, but it was really funny.) Then I just started researching and writing to markets.
What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?
Gosh, Jen, I could name every track on the soundtrack CD. But if I had to pick one song, it would be Springsteen’s “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).”
Where can people find your book?
Can we read a little excerpt?
“Good,” his smile fading, “now I want to tell you why I wanted to see you.”
“You wanted to see me, sir … I mean, Tom? I had no idea you wanted to see me.”
“I know. Dan, I need a new student, I’m afraid I need you a lot more than you need me.”
“Why? I thought Candolene was your student.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love Jimmy, but he’s been with me a year now. I think I’m at a wall with him. Jim’s lost, lost as a person, lost in that stupid alcohol he drinks. They got to him.”
“Them. That wretched society machine we got operating in Centura, those self-perpetuating morons who want to mass-produce plumbers and chemists and soldiers. I’m on the faculty, Dan, at the university. Do you have any idea how many doctoral candidates we have in philosophy right now? One! And he’s draft age. The master’s program has three. Pickin’s are slim.”
“Tom, I don’t know a darn thing, other than your book, about philosophy. I took the intro course in seventh grade.”
“Heard about you, Dan. You have qualifications.”
“I’m an electrician.”
“It’s not the field you’re in; it’s the character.” He leaned forward, “You look and wonder and are curious, Mr. Kelley. You have a lot of questions. You can both question God about why he puts clowns like Bus Quint in the world and yet see heaven in a young French girl’s eyes. And I’m not trying to recruit a disciple, nor am I feeling sorry for the poor orphan boy. This is all for purely selfish reasons. We need thinkers, Kelley, there aren’t many left!”