Author of Southern Heat, David Burnsworth has been blessed to live in the Deep South for most of his life. After the city of Charleston took hold of him, he couldn’t escape South Carolina. A graduate of the University of Tennessee school of Mechanical Engineering, he has always liked solving puzzles. Writing has given him the opportunity to create the jigsaw and then shape the all the pieces to fit.
Congratulations on the release of your book, Southern Heat. When did you start writing and what got you into mysteries?
Thank you. I started writing six years ago, but I knew that I really liked writing as far back as grade school. In fact, my first stab at a novel was around twelve years old. I tried my hand at a post apocalyptic tale that was a rehash of the movie Road Warrior. I never did anything with it and wish I still had the scenes I’d written. And I also enjoyed editing papers for friends.
As far as the genre, my favorite authors are James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard, and Mickey Spillane. Their influence swayed me.
Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?
First and foremost, my wife Patty, played such an integral part. When we first met, she could tell I didn’t have a passion in my life and encouraged me to find it. It hit me that I wanted to write a book. I had no idea what it would be, just that I wanted to write. My “mistake” was mentioning this to Patty. After we married, she took every opportunity to remind me that I said I wanted to write a book and there was no time like the present. And, you know, she was right.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
It took two years to find my voice. Luckily, and thanks again to Patty, I connected with the South Carolina Writers Workshop and began attending the local chapter critique group. Twice a month, my work got sliced and diced. It was painful. But, as the saying goes, if you’re going through hell, don’t stop. So, I kept turning the computer on and typing.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?
Of course. I find that my desk needs organized, receipts need filing, and would you look at that pile of magazines cluttering the floor? But, there’s always a voice in the back of my mind saying, “Time to get typing.” The time it takes for me to listen varies from five seconds to 30 minutes. A way I found to win was to make sure I had a goal: five new pages, edit a chapter, whatever. With a definitive goal, I had a minimum to work toward. Most of the time, I achieved or exceeded it. The trick is to find what works for you.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
Because I also have a full-time job, I have to plan out my “butt in the chair” time. During the workweek, it usually amounts to 30 minutes before work and thirty minutes before bed. Weekends, I can get a few hours on Saturday and on Sunday. As far as being disciplined, well, sometimes I am more disciplined than others. Deadlines and structure keep me more honest than I would on my own.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
Where is your book available?
It can be found online through Amazon; barnesandnoble.com; walmart.com; and if readers check out the calendar on my website, they’ll find my book tour schedule and opportunities for me to meet and be able to sign a new copy for them.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
For me, it was having a supportive spouse and persistence. Sometimes hers more than mine. But, persistence all the same. Put yourself out there and get feedback. Your first draft of your first attempt will most likely not be perfect. Find a good local critique group, and listen to their advice. You don’t have to agree with all of it. But, you have to get used to being reviewed and critiqued. We get better through making mistakes and rewriting.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thanks for your time and be sure to support your local indie bookstore!
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