Name David A. Sterling
A little about yourself ( i.e., your education, family life, etc.)
I was born in Valley Stream, NY which is on the south shore of Long Island. In 2005, my family and I moved to Peachtree City, GA. Throughout my adult life I’d never lived further than five miles away from my childhood home. Many of my friends and family considered it a pretty bold move to pick up and relocate my family more than nine hundred miles away. It’s really a tremendous responsibility—when you consider all the possible implications for one’s family—when making such a drastic change of locale. I’m thankful to say that the move worked out wonderfully and I have no regrets about my decision. My wife and I are blessed with three children. Currently, our two daughters are attending the University of Georgia and our son will be a junior in high school this fall. As for myself, aside from meeting the daily demands of a full time job and my writing, I enjoy photography and love to break out the camera whenever time permits.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m very excited about the release of my book “Do As I Say.” I am absolutely thrilled with the reviews I’ve received, and hope that my readers will continue to be kind. The book is available in all of the popular digital formats as well as in paperback on Amazon. I’m hoping to start the second installment in the “Bennett Mills Mystery” series later this summer. In the meantime, I ‘m currently in marketing mode and appreciate opportunities like these to discuss my first book.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and was encouraged by the complements I’d received on several short pieces I’d written. When I first came up with the idea for “Do As I Say”, my children were very young and involved in several extracurricular activities. Sometimes my wife and I felt we spent more time in the car than we did in our own house. Between all of the running around and a full time job, it was unimaginable that I would ever be able to devote the time necessary to write a book. Now, with my children grown-up and more independent, and my evenings unfettered by all of these activities, suddenly writing a book seemed possible.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always knew that I had it within me to write, but as I mentioned earlier it was a matter of finding the time to put pen to paper. I vividly recall doing a read through of what I’d written after I’d completed chapter five. As I turned each page (so to speak), I became more convinced that this was the beginning of something very special. At that point, I decided it was a good idea to let my wife and kids give it a read. Explaining that writing this book would require a huge commitment of my time I asked that they be brutally honest in their critiques. As they read the manuscript, I sat anxiously on the couch trying to garner any hint I could from their facial expressions. My aspirations of being a writer would either live or die based on the feedback I was about to receive. The fact that we are doing this interview is perhaps the most obvious indication of their responses. Their enthusiastic reactions told me that what I’d written was worthy and at that moment I considered myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Last October my brother-in-law Mark lost a two and a half year battle with a rare and very aggressive form of lymphoma. It was Mark’s unbelievable courage and boundless determination to make every day count that inspired me to follow my dreams. I’d been knocking the idea of this book around in my mind for way too long and I decided that it was time to make my dream a reality. “Do As I Say” is dedicated to Mark, whose sense of humor, strength, and integrity inspired the book’s main protagonist, Bennett Mills.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve had a few people compare my style to James Patterson, which I consider to be a great honor. I’ve always loved a good comedy so I do occasionally add some playful repartee between my characters to inject a bit of humor. Most importantly, I want my stories to be enjoyable and an easy read.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title “Do As I Say” just worked. It was the first title that came to mind when I conceptualized the story years ago and it stuck. I never wavered from it for a moment.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As in any book there may be situations or interactions between characters that readers can relate to back to their own lives. With that said, I am not trying to teach any lessons or make any statements either openly or subliminally within my book.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
“Do As I Say” is completely fiction, but I did try to keep my imagination in check and deliver a storyline that is as believable as possible.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Anything I say can and will be held against me. ..So the answer to that question is a resounding NO!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
When I was eleven, my father gave me a book of idioms that I really loved. I felt the sayings contained a great deal of wisdom and have often felt they were words to live by. To the chagrin of my children, I’ve been known to recite idioms to them when I find one applicable to something going on in their lives.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to pick just one, it would be Nicholas Sparks. One early Sunday morning I saw him being interviewed on a morning show. I probably would have changed the channel (not being a romance reader), but as I put my hand on the remote the interviewer asked him how he got started writing. He was just an ordinary guy selling pharmaceuticals, when one day he decided that he was going to do something special. That something special turned out to be his first published work “The Notebook.” It taught me that there were no prerequisites or special lifestyle requirements in order to become a successful writer.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
At the moment I am gearing up for the writing of my next book. I like to go into writing mode uninfluenced by a recent read, so at the moment the answer would be none.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m in the process of laying out my chapters for the sequel to “Do As I Say.” My protagonist, Bennett Mills, is anxiously awaiting his next challenge. If he only knew what I had in store for him, he might not be so anxious.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I received tremendous support from several friends and neighbors that read my book throughout the various stages of editing process. Hearing how enthusiastic they were about the book gave me a big boost. When you have half of your test readers telling you that they can see the book becoming a movie it is a great sign.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to see that happen someday.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I might have made the blue eye on the cover a shade or two lighter (just joking). Actually, there is nothing that comes to mind. I am quite happy with how the book turned out, hopefully my readers will agree.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As I mentioned earlier it is a sequel. As you might expect the key characters will return in varying degrees. In the first book the venue moved from the District of Columbia to Phoenix, AZ. The sequel will start in Phoenix, but a good portion of the storyline will unfold in Georgia.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I need to learn when to call it a day. I find that when I get on a roll, it is hard to break away from my writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at the moment, but I’m hoping that someday it will be financially feasible to attend events around the country.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The overall concept for the cover was mine…I knew exactly what I wanted. Using my limited knowledge of graphics programs, I was able to provide a starting point for my graphics artist. The cover went through several revisions before we struck gold. The company I used was Phase One Design in Griffin, GA. They were a real pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend them.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing book?
My biggest sacrifice was giving up evening and weekend time with my family. There were stretches of time during the writing process when it seemed like there was no down time. I would finish my day job, grab a bite to eat, and go on to my writing. Most weekends I found myself either typing or thinking about the storyline. There were several instances when my wife would catch me smiling for no apparent reason, and then ask me which character or scene I was thinking about.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that at my age, that I could still surprise myself. I knew I had an amazing story to write, but it wasn’t until I started writing that I realized I could write an amazing story.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Whether you’re just thinking of writing a book or have already started, be passionate about your characters. If you can’t get close to them, then your readers never will.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked it, let me and other readers know by sending in a good review. If not, please disregard J.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
David A. Sterling