Hi Dave, first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m 60, married for 32 years, and I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. I’ve spent the last 40 years working an equal time-on/off schedule, drilling oil and gas wells all over the world. When you hear someone say, “It’s on a slow boat from China,” I’ve been on one. Four years ago my relief and I moved a semi-submersible rig from Shanghai, China, to the Gulf of Mexico, 15,300 miles, in six months, on one tank of diesel fuel—4 million gallons.
Wow! What an exciting career. Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?
I survived through 12 years of informal education, and graduated, without reading a book. Not one. Not until a friend introduced me to Louis L’Amour after I graduated high school did I develop a love for reading. Since then, I’ve read thousands, fiction and nonfiction.
Let's talk about your writing. Why do you do it?
I began writing while living and working in Saudi Arabia, in my spare time, when rig activities allowed, and I discovered two things about myself: I loved to write and could not spell. I began doing crossword puzzles and acquired a dictionary. I kept writing. I love it. I still do.
Tell us about your latest book.
Me and Jake is a story about twin brothers, Ty and Cameron Ray, and their coonhound, Jake. The boys are 14 and normal enough for boys growing up in rural Arkansas, except for their family life. Their father was abusive. What seems to the boys like a string of coincidences, events and people popping in and out of their lives, turns out to be anything but.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
Me and Jake was inspired by a young man I met, again, on a drilling rig, offshore, Louisiana. As men do when working together, we talked and became fast friends, and I discovered that he was raised in a horrific, evil environment, all the making of his own father. I wrote his story as it happened and it was rejected. I rewrote it in a present/past format and it was rejected. Then I thought try fiction. Me and Jake is my imagination at work. My friend influenced the direction.
What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?
I love the boys. They’re boys. They want to hunt and fish and go to school and see their friends and ride a horse. They’re simple, almost innocent, to the point of being ignorant of worldly things. I hope my readers will walk away with the same knot in their throat as Ty has in his on the last page, then smile and tell others about Ty and Cameron.
Does faith affect your writing? If so, how?
I don’t/won’t write trash. I want to exchange eye contact with my mother, my grandmothers (were they still with us), the neighbor girl, my kids and grandkids, myself, and my God—unashamed.
What are you working on now?
I have two projects on my plate. A memoir for a veteran who did four tours of combat as a medic: two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. And I’m taking Riley James across northern Saudi Arabia, on foot, trying to escape The Bloodletting after the Kingdom falls.
These sound like exciting books. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities, or other obligations? If so, how do you balance it?
A helicopter takes me to a drillship where I breathe, eat and sleep, on the job, for 14 days. In years past, during my spare time I read. Now I write. On my time off, back home in Colorado, I’m an early riser, like four to five in the morning early. Between then and seven when I take my bride a cup of coffee to begin her day, I write. I don’t know about balance. I just write when I can.
Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Yes, I do. Write. Join a critique group, get involved, and write. As the adage goes, “No guts, no glory.”
Ty told his twin brother, Cameron, that he felt like something was going to happen to change their lives. Little did he know how prophetic that statement would be, or how soon it would come to pass. What seems like a series of coincidences are anything but, and what's more amazing, Ty's coon dog, Jake, might not be a dog at all.
The pond wasn’t big. About fifty paces across. Cameron and I had visited the little water hole many times for a drink when we could escape the hayfield without Dad catching us. Sometimes the water was clear, most times not. The smell of mud, rotten plants, and frogs and such made me wonder how I’d put my lips in it for a long drink so many times before.
The woods opened up and the pond came into view. Jake swam around in the middle, like he couldn’t make up his mind which way to go. A big coon scurried out of the water and disappeared into the bushes on the opposite bank. To Jake’s left, another critter thrashed in the water. A red and white…what? Coon? I stopped and stared, stuck in the mud like a dead tree stump. Moron.
Cameron wore a red ball cap and a white shirt, but he couldn’t swim.
My scream propelled me into the water.
Buy Me and Jake
on Amazon and
Pelican Book Group's Main Page
Connect with Dave
on his website