Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and Sonya – the love of his life. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.
Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed - jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, and is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he's never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he's never met, he begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown...
I noticed you're a pediatric nurse; did this job influence or inspire you to write The Hambledown Dream?
Not specifically. Although I will say that having been to University and having the process of academic writing drummed into me, it did hone my writing style somewhat. I am very particular about punctuation and editing over and over and over.
Were you interested in writing before pursuing a career in medicine?
Creative writing has been a passion of mine for most of my life. But I didn't really take it seriously as an outlet until I was into my chosen career and I was looking for an outlet that was as far removed from the ER and ICU as possible. It was a tool for keeping my sanity I guess (* laughs for effect*)
Where is Hambledown?
Hambledown is actually a fictional township, however it is inspired by two real townships - Merimbula and Eden - that are situated on the South Coast of New South Wales in Australia. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up and have fond memories of them both. They are very tranquil, idyllic seaside villages.
What is your writing process? Do you plan or sit and write where the words take you?
It's a combination I think. The Hambledown Dream was an idea that had been kicking around in my head for about 5 or 6 years. When I began writing it, it was on the fly for the most part. However I did develop a skeleton story outline when I began to take it seriously and brainstormed ideas and plot threads which I used to build upon the basic story. Being on the go with work and family commitments (my partner and I have two children under the age of five) I would steal time where ever I could to write. I'll throw in a curious piece of trivia here and admit that I wrote most of The Hambledown Dream on my smartphone.
Is it harder to reach agents and/or publishers if you are in Australia?
You know that's actually a hard question to answer because, throughout my whole writing endeavor with The Hambledown Dream I didn't actually go down the traditional route at all. I will say though, that in terms of Australia's publishing landscape - it is very small and it is kind of a closed shop. It is "challenging" for emerging writers to get noticed here.
What led you to ireadiwrite publishing?
The Hambledown Dream began life as a total hobby for me. I was writing this story - week by week - and putting it on my blog at http://www.deanfromaustralia.com making it freely available just for the satisfaction of having my work "out there". I was using both Facebook and Twitter to promote it. As it happened, Michelle Halket - the Creative Director for iReadiWrite Publishing - saw what I was doing, liked it and suggested that I should consider digital publishing via a tweet. Having attempted to publish once before in via traditional route and failed, I began doing my research and became excited by the opportunities presented via this new medium. I began to take the project seriously from then on and it became a bona fide novel.
What has been the most surprising aspect of publishing that you didn't expect?
As per my previous answer - the opportunities presented by the digital publishing sphere for new and emerging writers. Digital publishing competes very capably with and is beginning to outstrip in some cases the traditional publishing sphere. With the advent of the iPhone, Amazon's Kindle and the upcoming iPad, tapping into their markets is going to become a very potent opportunity for the independent author.
What do you struggle with the most in your writing?
Dialogue. Ugh! It was the worst sometimes to develop convincing dialogue that didn't sound cheesy or wooden. I found myself studying peoples conversations a lot. The way they interacted, the way they argued, flirted, conversed and so on. I became a little obsessive actually.
Do you have any future projects going? Teasers to offer?
The Hambledown Dream was an idea that came to me while I was working on another writing project - a futuristic political thriller with the working title of "Syndrome". That project kind of fell apart but I haven't completely abandoned it. It does need major retooling though. I also have an idea for a story about an aboriginal girl who is an undiscovered violin virtuoso, living in poverty right here in Adelaide. Right now though, all of my energies are directed towards promoting The Hambledown Dream and getting out to as wide an audience as possible - maybe even Oprah :p
*just for fun*If $10 million fell from the sky-what do you spend it on?
Umm...I would buy every vintage Star Wars action figure ever produced - mint on card. And I would probably hire a lawyer just to make sure that the $10 million actually did fall from the sky and not from a private jet of some Colombian drug lord.
Your advice to an aspiring novelist?
If you have an idea and you believe in it strongly then start with a skeleton story and build on it. Brainstorm ideas, try things out to see how or if they fit and most important of all - be patient. Take time with your ideas in order to make them work. And don't rule out the alternative forms of publishing when you are looking to get your work out there.
I really enjoyed my interview with Dean. He's witty and intelligent and he's got a great blog, so please do check it out. If you are interested in ordering The Hambledown Dream (Available NOW!), click here!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to put them in the comments.