Dave, thanks for being my guest! Congratulations on Uncle Boo and Me (from Xulon Press)!
Dave the Writer
How long did you aspire to write a book?
I had wanted to write books since I was a little kid. I entered and won several writer’s competitions in school (won 2 of them) but I mostly put it aside until 1998, when my wife and I wrote a cookbook together. Since then, I’ve written 3 other books, a blog of several thousand pages (daily on weekdays since 2010), and have a number of other irons in the fire.
How long did it take you to write it?
Get this: it took less than a week. I did most of the prose in a day, but then tinkered around with it for a few days after.
Tell us about your road to publication.
The road to publication is paved with…rejection letters. I’ve shopped all my books around to established publishers and I could paper my office walls with the rejection letters. So, in late 2012, I started looking at self-publishing. I interviewed 3 publishers before settling on Xulon. They made the entire editing, galley, and purchasing process mostly painless.
LOL-Been down that road!
Tell us about the illustrations.
They’re the coolest part. The book is comprised of stories about my son, Dillon’s, imaginary friend, Uncle Boo. BUT it was illustrated by a boy of 10 (at the time) who was Dillon’s bestest buddy. Matt Waters liked to draw even then, and I’m very pleased with both his illustrations, the love he put into it, and the backstory to the whole thing.
Who are your favorite authors?
Why, you, Dina, of course. I enjoy Stephen King, Pat Conroy, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn. I also very much enjoy reading anything Max Lucado writes.
What makes a story good? What makes a story bad?
Same answer for both: passion. I think authors write for themselves, and if we’re passionate about telling a story well, then it shows through. Likewise, if we’re pretentious and fond of our adjectives, it reads like drivel. I like concise writing; tightly packed, sparing on the flowery descriptions, and dialogue that sounds authentic without being improbable.
What best-selling book is your book most like? Hmmm….If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…
I love that book!
Where do you like to write?
That depends. I like quiet places or, strangely, very crowded rooms. I mainly like places where I can tune things out and focus on the words. I write my daily blog entries, mostly, in hotel rooms and on airplanes (because I travel for my day job).
What are you working on now?
Well, there’s that daily blog: aspiringwriterdt.wordpress.com. I’m finishing up another devotional (have four in various stages of incompletion). AND I’m writing a novel about one of the more timeless stories in our history: Ruth. I also have another love story that occasionally calls out to me, depending on whether or not the muse is silent. And I sometimes write poetry if I’m feeling particularly morose.
Dave the Wine Vintner
Have you always been a wine connoisseur?
Actually, no…for only about a dozen years. My wife and I are the dumbest wine fancies ever: we lived in Italy for 3 years and barely drank the local wine. Oh to be young and stupid. But I started drinking wine when I started traveling regularly in 2001, mainly because it was free at the hotels where I stayed. From there, I discovered I really liked it, brought some home to Kim, and the rest is, well, fermented history.
Name some of your favorite flavors and brands.
We’re pinot noir drinkers. Started with merlots (and we really dig this white merlot that we found at a winery in Rhode Island), but we are mostly into pinot’s at the moment (although I kinda dig temperanillo and malbec…would love to grow a Texas malbec). There’s also a grape called the Norton that’s popular in Virginia, and I really like Norton wines.
Besides age, what makes a bottle of wine expensive?
Wine snobs. Seriously, I think it’s just what the market will bear. Reputation, popularity, rarity, location: they all drive up the price.
Why do people spend so much on French wine?
Because they’re fools. The French don’t like us anyway.
What kinds of wine will you and your wife produce?
We’re looking to start small, probably with merlot, temperanillo, and chardonnay grapes. With those, however, we can make both full wines and blends. We’d also like to make strawberry and peach wines.
Will your winery also be a bar/restaurant?
No m’am. We’ll offer wine tastings, plus a few select foods to complement the wines. Since we’re in Texas, if you come to Second Chance Vineyards, you’ll get biscuits and jam, cheese balls, and maybe even guacamole.
What will your bottle and label look like?
That’s a secret for the moment J. Our son, Dillon, is designing the logo as we speak.
Who is your target consumer?
Middle class wine enthusiasts. The neat thing about a vineyard is coming out for the experience. You can have a drink in a bar, but you enjoy a glass of wine at a tasting room. We’ll invite people to come in, taste our vintages, and enjoy a glass: all before buying a few bottles to take on the way.
God-willing, we’ll be selling our first vintage in late 2015 or early 2016.