Welcome to John M. Daniel
November 27, 2011
John, thank you for visiting my blog today and sharing your thoughts on Inspiration, Author Enjoyment, & Reader Wishes…
John M. Daniel was born in Minnesota, raised in Texas, and educated in Massachusetts and California. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University and a Writer in Residence at Wilbur Hot Springs. He has taught fiction writing at UCLA Extension and Santa Barbara Adult Education and was on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for nearly twenty years. He now teaches creative writing for Humboldt State University Extended Education.
John’s stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines. His thirteen published books include four mysteries: Play Melancholy Baby, The Poet’s Funeral, Vanity Fire, and Behind the Redwood Door, recently published by Oak Tree Press.
John has worked as a bookseller, a free-lance writer, an editor, an entertainer, a model, an innkeeper, and a teacher. He and his wife, Susan, live in Humboldt County, California, where they are small-press book publishers. Susan enjoys gardening, John enjoys writing, and they both enjoy living with their wondercat, Warren.
Inspiration comes from real-life experience. I think that’s true for all fiction writers, even writers of science fiction and fantasy. It’s true for me, anyway.
I have written a lot of fiction about the dim lights and sophisticated chords and the tinkle of ice in glasses, all to be found in piano bars. True: I’ve wasted a lot of money and a lot of hours in piano bars, and I have no regrets. My hero for those stories, including my first published book, Play Melancholy Baby, was a piano bar player, and I suppose he was a lot like me, or like what I’d like to have been if I’d been a tad more reckless. But most piano bars have left the scene, and Casey died on May 14, 1998 (as did Frank Sinatra).
Since then, my alter-ego has been Guy Mallon, whose life, work, and loves are inspired by my own. Guy’s a retired small press publisher, a short man with a tall attitude. I wish I had this fellow’s courage when it comes to standing up to unfair authority.
Guy has now retired to the North Coast of California, Redwood Country. Me too. I guess Guy and I are both inspired by tall trees, rocky coastline, and small-town gossip. That’s why the newest Guy Mallon mystery, Behind the Redwood Door, was born: to feature a piece of our beautiful world that many readers haven’t yet seen.
As a writer of mysteries I can’t claim to be inspired by first-hand experience with crime. I’ve never seen a corpse, I’ve never been in a fistfight, and I’ve never had a run-in with the law except for a few speed traps in small Texas towns. But I know about the publishing business, and there’s enough adrenaline in that game to inspire a great car chase, and even a murder or two. Or three.
Author enjoyment? Believe it or not, being an “author” isn’t all that much fun. I was brought up to believe that modesty is a virtue, and boasting is taboo; and yet I know that the sole job of being an “author” is to stand on street corners with a grin and convince people they should buy my book.
Now being a “writer,” on the other hand, is exactly what I want to be for the rest of my life. I am never happier than when I am deep in a writing project. I love sketching out a plot, and then writing it down and watching it grow into something I never expected it to become. I love creating characters and then having them take off on their own. I love it when snappy language pours out of my fingers. I love the way words sound in my head. I am in awe of some creative spirits somewhere above me who allow me to tap into the source.
I know this sounds terribly spooky. I get out of writing what my wife, Susan, gets out of gardening. It’s a high, even when it’s work.
Reader wishes? I want them to be glad they dropped by. I want them to feel entertained. I want them to tell their friends they’ve found an author and some characters they enjoy spending time with. I want them to write me an email and say howdy. I want my reader to finish Behind the Redwood Door and to close the book softly, with a smile on their face.
Behind the Redwood Door is sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It can be ordered by your local independent bookseller, or bought directly from the publisher at http://www.oaktreebooks.com/ For an autographed copy, call John at 1-800-662-8351.
Thank you, John, for sharing your thoughts with us today!
Be sure to leave a comment and your name will go into the drawing for a free copy of Reticence of Ravens (three copies in total, randomly selected by Buster!)