D. G. Speirs is a writer and adventurer living in Florida. Born in New York, raised in California, he’s been a traveler all his life. A former sailor, he was once the top graduate from the Navy’s toughest enlisted school. But he can’t talk about that. He’s enjoyed a four decade long career as an entertainer on stage and screen, and still occasionally sings and dances in places, including a current stint as a member of the sketch comedy troupe Some Sort of Show in Tampa, Florida. He loves visiting Walt Disney World, which he visits regularly. He’s a fan of the show Kim Possible, which he considers one of the best things ever done by Disney – and occasionally appears in cosplay events as “the world’s most dangerous golfer” (look it up). And he’s been a professional Santa Claus for years. He has two beautiful daughters, and a cat with a foot fetish named Houdini.
What inspires you to write?
I love stories. I’m a performer, and I love telling other people stories as an actor and director. Well, I’ve dreamed of stories for years “Movies in my head” I used to call them, as good as stuff I would see on television or if films.
I finally decided one day to write the movie I always wanted to see. And that book led me to three more in progress, and plotting those out have led me to a half dozen stories set in a different place – the fountain is just bubbling with ideas. Now it is just a matter of finding the time to write the stories and tell them to everyone.
The other thing is I’m a pop culture junkie, and I love it when other authors drop in Easter eggs into their works about certain things. So I’ll do that as well.
Tell us about your writing process
I’m a very “visual” writer. My own background is as a performer – I’ve been an actor and director for four decades, so I understand the dramatic process already. That situation – what we call “being real in imaginary spaces” informs the moment as I’m writing, informs the conversation, which the most basic of human transactions. So I use the same character building toolset from that to inform my own cast’s quirks and motivations.
As the cast grows, I find I need a spreadsheet. Since I have a consistent universe among my novels, I’ll probably invest in something to track characters who come on and off stage across multiple properties… and what happened in their lives when they were offstage.
But, that said, planning is also they key. Since I’m writing about places, I want to know the place, the flavor and the feel of it – how it smells and tastes, and communicate that. If I can write with multiple senses, it becomes a better experience. So that means visiting the venues in advance and taking notes, pictures, and referring back to them at the time I’m writing. Research, research, research. Which, at times might look like a lot of fun, but since you’re always paying attention, always observing, you don’t set that aside.
But when it comes time to write, and the notes are there, I’m still mano y mano…well, actually manu y keyboard/ And the old military axiom about no battle plan survives concact with the enemy is true.
I like to write to imposed deadlines – that pushes me creatively. But it adds pressure, which creates interesting results. It is almost like improvisational noveleing at times in the first draft, especially the dialogue. But when a good crisp, crackling argument rolls out, or a villain becomes so evil even I have problems figuring the way out of the trap, then I know I’m onto something.
As for specific equipment, I am a HUGE fan of Yarny – (www.getYarny.com) – a cloud based writing platform. I can organize all my writing into snippets, and have all my notes (character, location, etc.) there, at my fingertips, anywhere there is a wi-fi hot spot. And since my cell phone is a hot spot, I can write almost anywhere.
For graphic images, etc that I need to see, I have an Evernote notebook that I use to capture the pics and refer back to. I’ll also clip story ideas from web stories. Since I write a thriller, anything that sounds edge of technology drops into that file. Again, cloud based, so I can get it anywhere.
I always write my first draft NaNoWriMo style. I must complete the first 50,000 words in 30 days of less. So far, so good. If you keep rethinking the same passage, you aren’t getting the story done. As for where, I need to minimize distractions, so I write outside my home. My favorite place is the Starbucks on Beacon & South Florida in Lakeland. I did so much writing there that I actually mentioned them in the acknowledgments and gave the manager one of my first autographed copies!
Lastly, that first draft… it won’t be gold. But think of it as your rough cut. You may need to edit, reshoot some scenes, change the continuity of others. But this gives you a working performance now, not just a theory. And that is already an accomplishment. Be sure to celebrate that.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Both. My own history and background is as an actor and direcotor on the stage, so I understand the rehearsal process and creating the character relationships. This is a much similar process, and I just see myself treating the characters as if they wrre characters, and discussing their situations (think the third-person camera interviews from reality shows like “Survivor” or “Big Brother”)). I take the character side, ask them to explain what they think is going on, and hear it outside the context of the scene, and them back IN the context of the scene.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided right from the start that being independent and self publishing would be the smartest option for me. In this day and age, an older rookie writer who looks like Santa Claus writing an adventure thriller would probably get pooh-poohed.
I approach this from the point of a long game. My book is both Kindle e-book and Print-On-Demand. If enough demand exists that I need to look at having a stock of hard copies, I’ll consider that version. But for now, I sell the first book. I;ll keep adding more, and building my library, and my brand. I believe that within five years, A publisher will ask for the rights to publish my novels, based on m already having an established fan base.
It’s basically the “If You Build It, They Will Come” approach/.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m sort of…torn about it, to be slightly flippant.
On one hand, I am a fan of science fiction. Lois McMaster Bujold and Walter Jon Williams are among my favorite authors. The thing is, some of their earlier catalog items are not available as e-books, and are out of print, and their publisher is dropping support for them. Now their older works have to compete with a flood of books available for FREE. So their income stream disappears.
Meanwhile, as a consumer, I have purchased an e-book in one digital format that works on one platform. But e-readers are not compatible. So if one standard is abandoned and your books are Digitally Rights Managed in that standard, then all you can do is repurchase the books again to read them on your new e-reader…
Oh, and since tablets from Android and Apple include eReader software, should we wonder if our Kindles have expiration dates?
All I know is, five years from now, it will all look very different.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Action Adventure, Thriller
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Both