Monday, September 7, 2009
© JD Webb 2009 all rights reserved
That’s what I should call my work. Geezer Lit. After all, I’m 68 years old. I didn’t get published until I was 65 and officially a senior citizen. Some have remarked that I should be sitting in an easy chair, sipping a cold beverage, watching the soaps. Not my idea of fun. I hate TV any more. You can have reality shows and game shows and inane comedies. Twenty-four hour news channels make me puke.
I have chosen to write mysteries. Hold on. It’s not like I just sat down at the keyboard and began to write one day. I’ve written all my teen and adult life. Short stories, essays, business writing (very boring) and memos (also boring) in a corporation, took up the non-senior part of my life. Plunking out words on a Smith-Corona was a pain for a two-finger typist, and corrections were harder to bear than tooth extraction.
Why novels? Because that’s what I love to read. I devour mysteries, and occasionally mainstream fiction. I have so many books on my to-be-read shelves, I’ll probably never get through them. At my age how much time do I have? My goal is to make it to 98 and have just finished the last in the Mike Shepherd PI series, number 22. A fear of mine is when I die I’ll be in the middle of a novel and never get to see how it ends. My novels always finish differently than I had planned. One of the joys of writing without an outline. Shh. Don’t tell anyone that I refuse to outline. My former sixth grade English teacher would be rolling in her grave and then meet me at the pearly gates to rap my hand with her ruler.
I have stories to tell. For sure, they’re made up. Aren’t fiction authors just highfalutin liars? Yes, we are. When we tell a lie, or several, and readers enjoy what we write, we’ve accomplished our goal. To entertain. Actually my motto is to intrigue and entertain.
Ever since I read my first adventure series as a kid, books have fascinated and thrilled me. The first book was The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I jumped inside that book and didn’t extract myself until I’d finished. I tasted salt from the sea, wiped sand grit from my eyes, traveled to far off lands and vicariously became Alec Ramsey. I curried and petted that beautiful black stallion. I read the first twelve or thirteen books in the series until I became captured by mysteries. Rex Stout did that with his Nero Wolf/Archie Goodwin team. I was hooked and still am. By the way, the Black Stallion series continues today. If your kids aren’t familiar with it, get them one of those books, and watch out. They’ll be hooked, too.
I’ve been asked if I regret not writing novels until later in life. I answer with a resounding no. Life experiences flutter into my stories that would fall flat if I tried to make something up. I’ve felt fear, heard screams, smelled nastiness, and seen tragedy. I draw on those times to make my characters experience it as well I’m better able to take a look back while writing and relive events and circumstances, that I use to enhance my character’s experiences. I hope it adds dimension and believability.
I treasure my past and am thankful when something I remember sparks an emotion to be felt or creates an image that can be seen by the reader. No, I would not have missed anything God has seen fit to bless me with that I translate into words for my books. They underlying point here is – never give up following a dream.
About the author:
J. D. (Dave) Webb resides in Illinois with his wife (41 years and counting) and their toy poodle, Ginger, losing all family votes 2 to 1. Dave served in the Security Service of the Air Force as a Chinese linguist and weather analyst in Viet Nam and the Philippines prior to spending 25 years in corporate management. A company purge promoted him to cobbler and he owned a shoe repair and sales shop for 11 years. During these careers he wrote short stories and suppressed an urge to write a novel. After making a conscious decision to live at the poverty level, those novels began forcing their way out.
Becoming a full time author in 2002, Dave has garnered several awards. A short story called The Key to Christmas placed third in the 2006 La Belle Lettre literary contest. His first novel Shepherd’s Pie won a publisher’s Golden Wings Award for excellence in writing. His second novel Moon Over Chicago was a top ten finisher in the 2008 Preditors and Editors Poll in the mystery category and was a finalist in the prestigious 2008 Eppie awards by the Electronic Publishing Internet Connection. He is also the Owner and Moderator of the Publishing and Promoting Yahoo group with almost 900 international members.