Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Douglas Wells, and do I have to? Ok. Since you asked, I’m 63.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m a military brat.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born in Seattle, Washington. My father was an officer in the U.S. Army, and by the time I finished high school I had lived in Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, Okinawa, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. I earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of South Florida and have taught English and Literature at several colleges. Now I am a Professor of English at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. I am the father of two grown sons, and I live with my wife and cat in Panama City Beach.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on a satire of political correctness.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As an adolescent I wrote sappy love doggerel to teenage girls to no avail.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About the same time as above.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As a college professor, I store my courses and assignments on USB drives. One day it occurred to me that it would be interesting if all knowledge was on one USB, and the question arose: Who would most likely be obsessed with getting it?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I started with a different title, but halfway through I came up with the current one. It’s sort of a joke, in keeping with the tone of the book—a tautology, if you will.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My book is mixed genre: satire, mystery, road trip, farce. It’s a bit of a juggle, but it seems to come naturally.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are some incidents and locales in the book that are based on real events and places—the Armadillo Festival, for instance. There is in Florida a Possum Festival (not kidding). I drew on that. A couple of scenes are set in real cities, but otherwise every place is made up. I’ve known people who exhibited some of the behaviors of my characters, but none of them are based on a specific person.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
For the one I’m working on, I will have to travel.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Colby Miles at TouchPoint Press.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I like to think the kind of novels I (and others) write—satires and farces that expose the ludicrous and outrageous in the world–are needed now more desperately than ever. Our culture is rife with such ideas as post-truth, fake news, and alternative facts. It’s ironic that one of the places we can find truth is in fiction.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
When I write, which has occupied my time over the last three years, I tend to read non-fiction, so it is just recently that I picked up a few books to read, and I’m not finished with the first one. I don’t have one favorite writer, but if I had to list five they would be Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Anthony Burgess, Oscar Wilde, and Leo Tolstoy. The first four are brilliant satirists, and Tolstoy, although obviously not a satirist, is in a league by himself on account of his penetrating understanding of people.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My cat, Dharma? No, she’s family. Several of my colleagues where I work have been encouraging.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I think most writers believe it’s what they were born for.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d add more sex scenes. But, really, I think most writers would change something. For me, it would only be little things.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I did. I learned about the culture of nudist resorts, I learned about the habits of armadillos, about haikus, handguns, and, most critically, how to say, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” in Latin.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hmmm. Trying to stay with the age and description of my two main characters, I would say Shia LaBeouf for Zane. He’s got the edge and also the sensitivity. For Dali, if only Barbara Stanwyck was still around. Since she is not, I would pick Hailee Steinfield. She has sass.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
No pain, no gain.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I believe they will enjoy my book and find themselves laughing out loud.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sleepwalking Backwards, by Catherine Zebrowski. She is a first-time novelist published by the company that publishes me, TouchPoint Press.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My mother read to me a book about Daniel Boone, which I memorized at a very early age. The first book of serious literature that I remember igniting my imagination, which was when I was in my mid teens, was Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Stories with irreverent humor and irony make laugh. Stories about dogs who die at the end make me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stephen Hawking. During my most recent non-fiction reading phase, I read all of his books, and I might understand about 2 to 5% percent of them. I am in awe of him, and maybe he’d clue me in on more about what he knows.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I collect memories. Just kidding, sort of. I don’t know if you’d call them strictly hobbies, but I do listen to a lot of contemporary music by composers such as Philip Glass, Steven Reich, Max Richter, and I am enthralled by anything J.S. Bach composed. I visited London last May and got to see Glass in concert, which has been a long-time aspiration. I also like to take long walks in the woods. They’re very productive in more ways than one.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
As for TV, British mysteries are great, especially if they feature scenes set in pubs. I fell in love with pubs when I was in England. I have an eclectic preference in movies, ranging from deft comedies, to serious drama, to thrillers. I am drawn to films that are well directed, well written, and in which the acting is first rate.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Your question suddenly makes me hungry. I could go for a plate of Coq au Vin right now, accompanied by a 2005 Gevery-Chambertin.
When he was a little boy, my older son used to ask me what my favorite color was, and I always said fuchsia, which frustrated him to no end. My wife says I look best in blue, so I’m compelled to agree with her.
I mentioned music above.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would become a professional daydreamer because I’m really good at it.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He came, he saw, he made fun of it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes. My website is http://www.douglaswellsauthor.com/ . You can read some of my blogs on the TouchPoint Press website, https://touchpointpress.com/ , and these blogs are also posted on Facebook and Twitter. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/douglaswellsmadwriter/ , and my Twitter handle is https://twitter.com/WellsdaDouglas
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