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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog Tour - David Huffstellar

1.      How has your childhood, upbringing colored you writing?

My childhood was spent in a conservative home and during a time when Broderick Crawford was the model of manhood and citizenship. The sixties turned things a bit on its ear, and the seventies, well, what can you say? It was a great time, and still is, to watch the parade of life with all its dynamic variations. I watched the good and bad, as well as the good that turned bad, and found that people are incredibly interesting, and at times offer patterns for characters. The way we lead our lives so differently and yet so much the same, dealing with heartache, our occasional wanton desire for revenge, and those times when we forgive. Charles Manson, Mother Teresa, and people you never heard of painted a canvas of characters too vibrant for me to use them all in my books. But, they gave me the vehicle to escape the mundane and a basis for writing.

2.      How did you come up with the titles for your books?

Each title needs to say something about the book. The premise of Blood on the Pen is an unpublished author who gets one rejection letter too many and starts killing literary agents. I thought it sounded better than Blood on the Keyboard.  Dead in Utah comes from a statement Joe Hill made while in prison. He asked that his body be taken to Nebraska, because he didn’t want to be found dead in Utah. Disposable People deals with how some people view undocumented workers as being expendable.  Blood on the Cards starts with a game of Texas Hold ‘em poker that goes bad. I don’t start with the title. I let the story tell me what it is.
3.      Have you ever used contemporary stories “ripped from the headline” in your work?

Only to spark ideas. I don’t rewrite a newspaper story into a book. I used a story about a group of Congressmen, who lived together in Washington and appeared to have fallen under the spell of a self-proclaimed religious leader as the inspiration for Benjamin Lu in Blood on the Cards

4. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Understand what you want from writing from the outset. There is a dramatic difference in writing for pleasure, for the sake of the art, and in writing to be published. Publishing is a tough business, and it can be unkind, with enough rejection letters to fill your living room. Now, if you still want to pursue it, then pull your self esteem together and fasten your seatbelt. Of course, there’s nothing quite like signing that first contract and seeing your name on the cover.

5.      Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Of course, I do, who doesn’t? Some say the book and movie, The Shining, was inspired by writer’s block. I take advice I’ve heard from experienced authors to put the manuscript away for a couple of weeks, read someone else’s book, anything to get yourself out of that locked room in your head. Elizabeth Cox told me to ask my characters, when I’m stuck on where to go next. They have personalities and backgrounds. Think about what that character would do at this point in the story, not what you would do, and that has helped me.

6.      How did you deal with rejection letters?

Not well, especially at first. Once I understood that 98% of queries are rejected and that the publishing business has plenty of books without mine, it became a little easier not to take it so personally. I still hated them though. So, I turned my frustration into a book about an unpublished author who decided to kill literary agents. Ah, satisfaction.

 David's Links

Blood on the Pen blog tour site:

Book Summary
Jack Harden is a modern-day Texas Ranger haunted by his wife's death a year ago.

But when a murderer strikes, he is called into duty. Now he must battle the urge to kill the drunk driver responsible for her death and the hunger to kill himself as he hunts for a serial killer who wants him dead.

Elsie Rodriguez is assigned to report on the murders for her newspaper and ordered to stay with Jack Harden. He's old school, tough, and doesn't want her there, but, despite his gruff manner, the big Ranger triggers something inside her. Something more than just her Latin temper.

Can she pull him back from the edge of sanity? Or will death win again?

Bio:  Educated in Dallas, North Carolina, David Huffstetler holds degrees in Engineering and Business Administration. He has worked in the area of human relations and spent fourteen years weaving through the maze of politics, including participating in a Federal Law suit as Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, with a sitting governor over issues of separation of powers. David has served on Boards of Directors for numerous professional organizations including Crime Stoppers, SC Workers’ Compensation Educational Association, SC Safety Council, the SC Fire Academy, and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation. He has advised governors and legislators on matters of public policy and legislation. His wealth of experience is broad and brings deep insight to his writing.

David’s work as a senior manager with a major industrial concern took him to international venues and exposures that helped feed his urge to write Disposable People, a dramatic expose of the working conditions and politics that engulf undocumented workers. Disposable People is a top-ten “Suggested Book” at Tufts University in Boston, MA.

He turned the frustrations and rejection that plagues thousands of yet-to-be-published authors into the heralded mystery/thriller Blood on the Pen, with a serial killer disposing of literary agents. David, an avid history buff, led him to write Dead in Utah, the story of Joe Hill, the controversial musician and union organizer accused of a double murder in 1914.

His books receive praise from mystery readers across the globe.

As an editor, David edited a treatise on the South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, as well as, Shannon Faulkner’s novel Fire and Ice. Shannon was the first female cadet at the Citadel. She received national publicity for her federal lawsuit and was a guest on Good Morning America.

As an editor, public speaker, and seasoned professional, David has appeared on television and radio, and has lectured on the East Coast, California, Canada and Mexico.

David currently lives in Lexington, South Carolina with his wife, Trudy.

Price: $5.95
Amazon ASIN: B0041G6JC2
BN ID: 2940012599278
Release: August 2010

Amazon buy link ($5.95)

Barnes & Noble.com buy link ($5.95)

Wild Child Publishing buy link ($5.95)


Tribute Books said...

Brynna, thanks for hosting David today.

David, I like how you mention that you draw inspiration from all angles - from Charles Manson to Mother Teresa.

david_huffstetler said...

Thanks. I suppose we all have a part to play, obviously some more constructive than others.