David Swykert is an author of diverse background and equally diverse writing themes. A former 911 operator and wolf expert, he lives in Northern Kentucky, USA. His short fiction and poetry have been published in: The Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL. His novel, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, won a literary competition with The LitWest Group in Los Angeles in 2002. I’m pleased to guest him on my blog. Welcome, David!
Tell us a little about yourself. I’m a blue-collar person from Detroit. I’ve worked as a truck driver, dispatcher, logistics analyst, operations manager, and ten years as a 911 operator, which was the very best job of them all. I write stories like you’d watch a movie and put them down on paper.
What is the title and genre of your book? The title is The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, because he cleans swimming pools for a living. I would describe it as a quirky love story.
Tell us a little about your book. Jack Joseph is an alcoholic physicist who drops out and is cleaning swimming pools, or as he calls them, infinite ponds, to support his lifestyle. In space, science believes the expansion of the universe exceeds the speed of light. So, why don’t we live in the dark? Jack’s darkness is of a different kind, addiction. His life is a human orbit around alcohol, broken relationships, and trying to stay out of jail. He finds himself caught between two women, one that he loves and one that he needs, in a constant struggle to reclaim his life.
What inspired you to write it? I wrote a short story called Monkeyville that was published in BULL in 2008 and reprinted in 2009. I liked the character’s voice enough I wrote a second short story with Jack Joseph, which ultimately led to a longer story and, two years later, to the novel manuscript.
When did you first start writing? That’s easy – some bad poetry as a teenager, to impress an art student girl I was dating. I must be a bit compulsive; once I began I’ve never really stopped.
What authors have most influenced you? How? Why? I find Hemingway’s concise poignant style the most impressive writing I’ve read. I try to keep my sentences tight, although I’m gabby, and sometimes my writing tends to wander.
How and where have you marketed your work? In the last year I’ve probably been a guest on forty blogs, not all for the same story. I subsidy published my first book back in 2007. I used to market it through regional bookstores. But with the shrinking number of brick and mortar stores and publishers providing publicists, I see book blogs as replacing the midlist publishing industry for writers not with the big six houses. Book blogs like this one are the best way for a writer to find book readers, which, with the plethora of content out there, is getting harder to do.
Do you have other publishing credits? I currently have three novels published: Alpha Wolves, Children of the Enemy, and The Death of Anyone. The Pool Boy’s Beatitude will make four when it’s released, and soon to be released is a fifth novel, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, which has perhaps the best book cover I’ve ever had. It’s the picture of a real wolf standing on a rock pile in front of the Red Dog Mine in Alaska; photo was taken by a friend of mine who has generously allowed me to use it for the cover. The book is about a young woman trying save a pack of young wolves from a bounty hunter in an 1890’s northern Michigan mining village.
What is your current writing project? I’m working on a story about a retired soldier/cop who has lost his wife and is struggling to regain his zest for living.
Do you have a website and/or blog? I have a page on an artistic website, http://www.magicmasterminds.com. Look under “Authors” on the website, and you will find my page with information about me and my books.
Where can your book be purchased? Alpha Wolves is on the Noble Romance Publishing website and Amazon. Children of the Enemy is on Write Words Inc. and Amazon. The Death of Anyone is on Melange Books and Amazon, or it can be ordered through any bookstore. The Pool Boy’s Beatitude will release this summer by Rebel e Publishing, Detroit, Michigan.
What advice would you give to a new writer? Write the best first draft you can. Take a break, then edit it. Take another break, edit it again. After about three times, you might start looking for a publisher, or research self-publishing. You can query agents, but that route doesn’t seem very productive for beginning writers anymore. I’ve had five different agents; two of them were high-profile. At this juncture an agent isn’t going to get you a huge contract unless you already have a large reader following, and if you already have the readers, you won’t need an agent to find you a publisher. When someone offers you a contract, get a lawyer to read it and save your money. My best advice: keep typing and never quit submitting.
What do you wish to say to your readers? I’m just glad there are readers. Publishing exists because of readers, not editors, agents or writers. It’s the readers that create the market.