An Interview with Past Missionary, Song Writer . . .
I'm so thrilled to have talented David with us today. You'll enjoy hearing all about him . . . Read on:
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
Hi, Carole—so great to get to share with you today!
I’ve always loved writing, having been a professional songwriter since I was eighteen.
And yet I never really considered writing novels until a few years back when I picked up a book about the orchid collecting business.
The first chapter included a tale wherein a collector falls from a two-hundred-fifty foot jungle tree. I’d spent years in missionary work, so it was easy for me to envision myself telling that selfsame story. After reading that first chapter, I recall thinking “I could write something like this! So why don’t I?”
The next day, I began penning chapters about my personal experiences on the mission field. And yet about halfway through the work, it occurred to me that inventing such stories would be much more fun than just retelling them. And so I became a novelist.
What an unusual experience, David! Loved reading about it. Tell us what is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
Most of my work falls within the Action/Adventure category, with the exception on my most recent effort, entitled Hot, which is a romantic novel about the music business. My adventure stories often feature exotic overseas destinations, usually places where I’ve worked personally as a missionary. Hot, on the other hand, explores another, equally alien world, that of the popular music industry.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
I try to write an hour or more per day, but due to my involvements in both missions and music, I usually fail to pull that off. That’s why it takes me about a year to span the distance between story inception and the final edit. But I am trying to get faster :-)
Ooooh! I can relate to that. Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?
The book I’d like to draw attention to here is currently being shopped to publishers via my wonderful agent Diana Flegal of Hartline Literary. I do a lot of work in Mexico, so this one is particularly dear to me.
Set against the backdrop of the illegal immigration crisis, Hummingbird is the story of Lexa Morales, a misfit. Abandoned as a child, Lexa is Mexican by ethnicity and American at heart, but feels more like the dash between the words that compose the term Mexican-American than anything else. In her struggle to arise from the ghetto of her youth, Lexa commits a crime and flees south of the Border to escape prosecution. While hiding from bounty hunters in a small fishing village, Lexa finds redemption, discovers her true identity, and becomes part of a forever family and a Kingdom without borders.
The story’s theme elaborates on the concept popular culture refers to as Karma and the Bible calls The Law of Sowing and Reaping--that those who sow good deeds will reap a good harvest and those who sow evil will reap an evil one.
Hummingbird illustrates this principle by portraying Lexa as a selfish person who learns to sow good seeds of generosity, kindness, and mercy, and ultimately reaps a harvest of these same things in her own life. In contrast, her antagonists sow hatred, destruction, and death, and end up reaping in kind.
Sounds fantastic. I'm fascinated with Mexico, too. Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?
My experience in the music business, another horrendously over-competitive field, has hardened me somewhat to the challenges faced by an aspiring novelist. Be that as it may, this is a tough business for everyone; the thin-skinned need not apply. Even the most celebrated writers have received their fair share of rejection letters. I have a publisher friend who ashamedly recalls rejecting Ted Dekker’s proposals.
Nevertheless, and contrary to most beginning authors’ beliefs, we are not automatically born skilled wordsmiths. Writing is a craft; something we must learn, and learning involves a willingness to receive correction. That was a hard one for me, since having been a successful songwriter; I assumed that I already knew all I needed to know abut working with words. Wow, was I wrong about that! So I humbled myself and asked for help from others, and then at last began to learn. (I’m still learning!) And yet once I did receive a certain level of facility with the craft, I also had to learn that there is some advice that’s not worth listening to at all. I recall a song lyric that goes: you’ve got to know who to, and who not to, listen to. So nowadays I try to listen to people who actually know what they’re talking about; i.e, well-published authors and experienced agents, and take advice from all others with a grain of salt.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
I have an abundance of interests: Music and travel, obviously, (French Polynesia sounds nice!), but I also breed parrots, keep aquariums, grow orchids, enjoy photography, deer-hunting, snorkeling, fishing, and movies, not to mention geeking around with the computer.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
You can learn a lot about what I do at my website, http://www.davidstearmanministries.org/
Promo? Please buy lots of copies of Hummingbird when it comes out!!!
Can't wait, David. Thanks so much for joining me today, and I hope you and your publisher sell many, many copies!