I talk to Dave Tamanini today about his book Tituba. It is a fiction account about one of the slave caught up in the witch trials.
Dave’s early career was as a lawyer dealing with civil rights, which led him to this account of the Salem Witch trials from a viewpoint not typically looked at. It is an interesting choice as an older white man, but he has a passion about the story that comes through when he talks about it.
[00:00:50] Stephen: Hi, all, and welcome to another episode of discovered with. Today I have Dave Tammany and his book to tuba the intentional witches Salem. It’s a very [00:01:00] fascinating story, listening to Dave’s background and why he’s so passionate about this story. So please, I hope you enjoy it. Check the book out. Uh, I’ve got links on the website.
[00:01:10] And if you have been listening and you’ve been enjoying learning about new authors and their books, please give me a, like, give me a review. It helps others find us, tell some people about it. If you like some of the books, let the authors know they could use the reviews. They could use the likes. It helps them all out.
[00:01:27] So here’s Dave. All right. Well, good morning, Dave. I’m glad you could take a couple moments and speak with me. How are you this morning?
[00:01:36] Dave: Um, well, Steven, thanks for having me on this show. I’m happy to be.
[00:01:39] Stephen: Yeah, I’m excited to find out more about you and your book. So let’s get started with, tell us a little bit about you, because I think it’s, uh, it’s interesting where you are in your life and, uh, writing the book at this time.
[00:01:54] So tell us a little bit about you outside of writing.
[00:01:57] Dave: Yeah, well, um, I was, my [00:02:00] family was from Northeastern, Pennsylvania and the coal region. Uh, when I was growing up though, I lived in a lot of places because, uh, we had a us army family. And so we moved around a lot. Um, I do come from mostly blue collar people and I’m proud of that, but I, I moved on to college.
[00:02:22] W, uh, after high school and earned a bachelor’s degree from the university of Maryland. And I bounced around a bit until I landed a job, uh, that really had profound effect on me, the rest of my life. And that was as a civil rights investigator of race and gender discrimination, uh, that the work in that was that it was in Harrisburg, Harrisburg, PA.
[00:02:49] Stephen: Uh, about what time? Oh, what
[00:02:51] Dave: year? Uh, Hmm, 72, 19 72. Okay. It was back when, uh, we still had dial [00:03:00] telephones, I think anyway, uh, that led me to, uh, the university of Detroit law school. And, um, I graduated from law school and I went into private practice for. Over 30 years, I decided to retire early. Um, luckily because I could.
[00:03:22] And, um, but the thing about practicing law is I got to help people in many different walks of life. And I learned a lot about, uh, humans, human strength, uh, our frailties, and sadly about hypocrisy. And that’s the background that, that, um, Formed the way I look at the world and maybe how I write.
[00:03:51] Stephen: Okay. So you aren’t like, you know, 20 or 30 or anything like that.
[00:03:57] You’ve had a life and a career already [00:04:00] before this. So what led you into wanting to write at this time?
[00:04:05] Dave: Well, oh yeah, that’s a really, uh, That’s a question that depending on what time of day it is, I might give you a different answer. I don’t know, but, uh, as best I can tell, uh, I, I think that, um, you know, I, I like to write, I, I, my grandmother was a storyteller and I enjoyed, you know, telling funny stories and I started writing a little bit in high school and then college newspaper.
[00:04:38] You know, maybe that was just an exercise. I wanted people to hear, hear, hear my voice. Uh, and I didn’t actually, I didn’t start any creative writing of any nature until I was in law school. Believe it or not. Uh, I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it. And, uh, [00:05:00] with, with my wife being very supportive, uh, and agreeing, I, I wanted to give a shot at writing the great American novel.
[00:05:11] Well, I graduated, uh, I did finish the novel right around the time that time, but I couldn’t keep it. The, uh, you know, the need to help support a family and to form a law practice. I started my own law practice. Just, uh, it didn’t give me the energy or the time to, to do anything creatively. So it ended up in a drawer.
[00:05:36] Uh, Literally in a drawer because back then I typed it on a typewriter.
[00:05:43] Stephen: So typewriter or long hand.
[00:05:46] Dave: Yeah. It was a typewriter, uh, which I had to teach myself how to type, of course. So, um, it stayed there until I finished my many years practicing law. And, [00:06:00] um, and as I say, since I was able to make a decision to retire.
[00:06:05] I did. And that’s when I wanted to get back to the thing I really liked doing, uh, which was creating stories.
[00:06:16] Stephen: So after you retired, you decided to take up writing and you came, you, you wrote a book that I found very fascinating. And partly because with what’s going on in our country, uh, that you decided to write this particular book.
[00:06:32] So tell us a little bit about what this book is, what it’s about, why you wanted to write this particular story. Sure.
[00:06:39] Dave: And keep in mind that I started writing. Story. The title is to tuba the intentional, which of Salem. I started writing this story in oh six years ago. Um, and it was, it was, um, it was funny because I, [00:07:00] I was casting around for something to do.
[00:07:03] To include magical realism in and food. Boy, that’s a tough gig, you know, uh, and I went to a, uh, continuing legal education class that, uh, uh, lawyers, uh, have to go to so many credits a year and that they present her kind of like to make it a fun class, uh, focused on this Salem witchcraft trials and, uh, Which craft in general, that as it occurred before that time in Europe, thousands hundred thousand people, uh, may have been killed, uh, because they were falsely accused of witchcraft.
[00:07:44] And so I, uh, the lawyer seminar was included due process issues, you know, Uh, the lack of decent trials, the goofy things they did to prove, which is we’re guilty instead of having, uh, uh, [00:08:00] well actually sometimes to prove you were innocent. So, uh, they were difficult to do so anyway, this, uh, my background in civil rights work, um, The exposure I had as a white guy, you know, I, I grew up with almost all white people.
[00:08:19] When I worked for in civil rights, I got to see firsthand the theory that my mother always taught me. And she always taught me, you know, everybody’s the same, but when you live in a different society, you don’t get to see that firsthand and working in civil rights. I did. Uh, so I’ve always been intensely interested in social issues, uh, equal rights for men, women, people of color.
[00:08:50] And when. So here’s the tuba story. And she was a real person. She was an enslaved African woman. She was owned by the [00:09:00] minister in Salem who, uh, the minister himself had a very troubled life. So to tuba and, you know, I really love talking about my book. That’s good. When you, you know, I guess you probably have felt the same thing when you start writing, you’re kind of afraid to tell people by your story.
[00:09:20] It’s like, you’re worried that there, you know, you’re walking with your child in a, in a baby stroller and somebody looks and says, oh my God, what an ugly child, because your book is your baby. And you’re, first-year afraid to talk about it. But, but I got over that. So to tuba was kidnapped from Africa when she was 11 years old.
[00:09:42] And. Her name to tuba is translated in Yoruba language into a PS to, to appease or be an appeaser. And her mother named her that because she wanted her to survive slavery and she made a promise that she would [00:10:00] always appease the masters. Uh, the mother was. The possessor of magical powers and told to, to with someday she would have those powers to, so to tuba serves Paris and his family, his wife, Elizabeth, two children in the household, Betty and Abigail.
[00:10:20] And they’re on the frontier in Salem, which was just outside of Salem town. So it was called Salem village to tuba has to balance their own needs with their own family. Her husband was known as John and. Uh, another real character. These are all real characters except for John and to tube his son, uh, Connie.
[00:10:43] I invented him and added him to the story. So she has to balance the needs of her family with her own duties as a, a house slave in the winter of 1691, just before the slave, uh, Uh, [00:11:00] uh, I’m sorry, just before the witch hunts started, the parish children became ill, uh, ma mainly because they disobeyed their parents instructions.
[00:11:13] Uh, and the village minister decided when he couldn’t help them get better, that they were afflicted by a demonic. This is what people believe back then they believed the devil was everywhere. If you turned around real quickly, the devil was right behind you trying always to tempt you into rejecting your religion when things went well, it was because God smiled on you.
[00:11:40] If things went bad, well, God was either displeased or the devil had a hand in it. So this was a very real entity. The devil and people were frightened. Well, when the, the village doctor said the girls were afflicted, everybody started looking at [00:12:00] everybody else and soon people were looking at their neighbors, uh, in a way that, you know, every, everybody was a potential culprit.
[00:12:15] Well, what happened was to tuba. Her son got the blame for the children being sick. And the master started punishing him very unfairly. Ultimately when the boy rebelled, uh, tried to run away, Paris sold him and to tuba again, a woman who’s committed to a promise to her mother to always appease the masters.
[00:12:40] After a lifetime of servants service, she can’t even muster the strength to fight for her son and to plead his. To the master. She’s trying to figure out a way to do it. She’s hoping she can get her magic powers that her mother promised, but she has never been able to find them. [00:13:00] Then one day, a visitor arrives and declares to master Paris that a Connie to tuba son is dead.
[00:13:07] He tried to escape and he suffered a broken neck. Well, here it is. The tuba is hammered with this knowledge. That only a mother can feel or child is dead. And her life of appeasement becomes totally meaningless despite her promise to her mother and in place of it, she rages against not just Paris, but all the English in the colony.
[00:13:37] They’re all complicit in our mind. Every one is, uh, involved one way or another in every humiliation she’s endured at the hands of the enemy. And every trespass against her and her family. And she’s going to have revenge after she buries her son to two becomes, uh, [00:14:00] and through her powers. Uh, and that’s part of the story of how that happens.
[00:14:05] And her revenge is I’m going to use their fear against. I’m going to create spectral images. And she does spectral images of women in the village that people know. And she has them doing witchcraft. Well, at least people in the village because they’re, they’re caught up in their own credulity. Believe it.
[00:14:35] To tuba in actual life was accused of witchcraft. Right? And she testified at trial and her plan was to spread this, this, uh, fear. And she confirms that the women who have also been accused are witches. And in fact, there are many, many more of them. They’re in Boston, they fly back and forth. They’re coming for [00:15:00] everybody.
[00:15:01] And this sets off this awful tragic. People are accusing each other people. It doesn’t matter whether they’re saints or centers or rich or poor spiritual or not spiritual everybody’s fair game. And there accused, and there are kangaroo courts, the court system, as part of the theocratic government that at the time was eager to snuff out the devil’s work and people were wrongly convicted.
[00:15:33] Even children were kept in jails. 19 people were home, multiple families were destroyed and to tuba starts to lose her thirst for revenge. And when she recognizes that, what she started is now something that can’t be stopped. It’s about a life of its own. She turns [00:16:00] on herself. She wants to be punished for the crime, but it’s a crime only.
[00:16:04] She knows she’s committed. No one will believe her. If he says, if she says she created the whole thing, there’s no trial schedule for her. She languishes in jail and she succumbs to despair. She slides into a stupor segue forward. Months later, the governor has regained control and forbidden the use of this spectral evidence.
[00:16:31] That spectral evidence was enough to convict people of the death penalty can imagine how it was abused. So all the prisoners have been set free except to tuba because their families paid for their prison charges, Samuel Paris. He had lost his pulpit by now. He has no money and he trades to tuba for the cost of.
[00:16:54] Uh, jail charges. People had to pay for the chains that they wore for their food, their [00:17:00] clothing. Um, it’s bizarre as that sounds and they couldn’t get out of jail until they paid those charges. Well, we’re coming to the end and to tuba learns that Paris traded her in exchange for the cost of her jail bills.
[00:17:17] So the jail warden arrives to take her from herself. And she to, to, but just at that moment falls into a trance and she thinks she saw, she sees her long, long dead mother in the form of a specter. And she’s lamenting to this apparition, her faith that she’s brought it on herself, deprived of punishment or forgiveness for the monstrous crime that she’s committed.
[00:17:44] And so the question that she must face is how can she end. Both guilt and another life as a slave. And if you want to know the rest, you have to buy the book. Yeah, there you go.
[00:17:56] Stephen: So, um, how much of your story [00:18:00] is based on real fact and how much of it did you make up and blend into that?
[00:18:04] Dave: Yeah, well, this was, to me is the fun part of writing historical fiction.
[00:18:10] It’s it’s uh, what happened? The trial scenes they’re real. They really happened. There’s records galore of trial transcripts. Sometimes I adapted the language for the modern reader and R are edited somewhat. The, some of the sermons that were given also were adapted, but there’s records of how the ministers preached, how they had to fight the scourge and get rid of these, these, uh, instruments of the devil.
[00:18:46] The beauty of, of this kind of a story is nobody knows anything about to tuba, except that she was accused. She turned on her accusers and expanded the witch hunt by [00:19:00] naming others to be witches. Why she did. Nobody knows. Enter the creative fiction writer. Right.
[00:19:07] Stephen: I get it. I love it. I love how you tied it into the magic and gave it that fiction.
[00:19:13] As far as we know that fiction twist, who knows you, you might’ve hit it right on the head. That could be a more a nonfiction book then you think, well, you
[00:19:22] Dave: never know. That’s the thing. Right.
[00:19:26] Stephen: So the question kind of begs to be asked as a white male and a discrimination lawyer, how do you think that perspective and viewpoint affected the story that you wrote?
[00:19:41] Dave: Oh, it, it, it, it, I couldn’t have written this story, uh, without that background, here’s the thing I wanted to do. As white folks, European Americans. I like to say nowadays, right? Um, [00:20:00] we live in a culture in America that even in my boyhood and probably even today, people have, have accepted the notion that people of color are less than white people.
[00:20:16] There’s many of us that never even touched black skin at all. Some once. How many times did I touch a black person’s hair before my adult life once maybe. So this idea that people of color are less is something that I think had to be said to white folks. They’re human. Just like we’re human people of color, white European Americans.
[00:20:52] We do good things and we do bad things to tuba. Did some awful things. Uh, was she justified? [00:21:00] Maybe you can see some justification. Was her punishment fitting the crime while she never really got punished? What happened to her afterwards? Nobody knows. So. I, you know, I wanted to write a book for people to understand that courage comes in many forms and colors.
[00:21:23] Weakness comes in many forms and colors. And I think, uh, I think it was a decent story.
[00:21:31] Stephen: Well, I heard you on some other podcast. I forget off the top of my head at the moment. And I was listening to the interview. I think it was one of the ally with Howard lovey, maybe. Yeah. Um, and I was listening to about the story.
[00:21:46] I’m like, oh my gosh, that story sounds fantastic. Uh, so I had to reach out, wanted to talk to you about it. So with your writing, what did you learn doing this book and what might you do [00:22:00] different if you either wrote a second book or went back in time to redo the first one?
[00:22:04] Dave: Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s a good question.
[00:22:09] Um, and. I think, I think I learned a couple of things. Well, I numerous things and I I’m sure time won’t permit, you know, to have an extended conversation about it. But I think, uh, I started out, I wanted to find a native. And I, uh, this is after the, the first draft, the second draft, the third draft, the I hired the best, uh, editor I could afford, uh, and who, who helped me develop the story to get the flow of the story in a fashion that would please and entertain.
[00:22:54] And then editor editing help to do that line editing and the copy editing [00:23:00] the, just the grammar editing sometimes, no matter how many times you find mistakes, there’s always another one or two hiding in there. So I thought I, I was getting ready to pitch to an agent and I pitched to a lot of agents. That I heard we’re going to conferences or, uh, who were in some of the, uh, writing, uh, media saying they wanted to hear they wanted submissions and this and that, or this Shaundra, or, uh, Y a children’s adults, horror, crime, romance, whatever.
[00:23:39] And I didn’t realize that agents, they, um, They’re just trying to make a living. And when they put out these requests for submissions, it doesn’t always match what they really do. I’m [00:24:00] not throwing stones at agents. Again, they’re trying to make a living, but I discovered that if you want to query. You should try to take a look at what they’ve sold in the last year or two or five.
[00:24:15] Somebody who says I want historical fiction. Maybe they’ve only sold three books in romance and two in children’s. And that’s it. In the last year, many, many agents say they want to hire. They want to a contract with a. Debut author. That’s people like us, a debut author. And you look when you do the research and they’ve never sold a book by a debut author or one seven years ago, where do you find this?
[00:24:50] You find it on publishers, marketplace, publishers, marketplace online. It costs about $20 a month. Uh, if you’d go to your library and try to. [00:25:00] Uh, present why you would like them to carry it. They may, they may sign up for it. But again, I didn’t know about it until the end. And then I started seeing, I had wasted lots and lots of time, querying agents that have never sold a book in my genre.
[00:25:20] So that’s one thing I learned the second was if you’re going to start trying to create. Agents start trying to learn how to be an independent author at the same time, because the odds are, if you, if you have an agent, if they can sell your book, if they can sell it to a small publisher, you’re going to have to market your book as in the same fashion that an indie author who self publishes.
[00:25:52] So it’s best to start learning that stuff as. Moving along in your career of creative writing, or if you write [00:26:00] nonfiction, I think the same thing applies. Uh, so right. I wouldn’t, I I’d be more careful, uh, about how long, how I query agents. Uh, the fact is I queried a bunch, um, without real success and, uh, but fortunately.
[00:26:21] I had approach to thinking, well, I better learn how to be an indie author, even though I’m still trying to sell the book. So I think I w doing it differently. Uh, now that I know I would be very careful about the agents I select and I decided. Uh, how long I’m going to do it and that’s it. And then I’m going to move on to self publishing.
[00:26:47] I’m very happy that I self-published. Uh, but time will tell how many readers I can entertain with this book. And
[00:26:56] Stephen: how long has your book been out?
[00:26:58] Dave: Uh, [00:27:00] we released the book, uh, the day. I think it was may. 15th, uh, on E as an ebook, I thought, uh, during, uh, the COVID pandemic, people might be more inclined to look at eBooks.
[00:27:15] So I wanted to get it out there shortly thereafter. I got it out through KDP is a print book with the e-book and shortly thereafter, I, I got, uh, Ingram spark. Uh, as a print book publisher with wide distribution, extended distribution. So it’s been out for, oh, what, 10 weeks, something like that.
[00:27:43] Stephen: Okay. And how’s the reception been, uh, was the feedback been on the
[00:27:48] Dave: book?
[00:27:50] The feedback? Uh, I would say it’s generally very pleasing. Uh, and now I’m going to do something. That you’re [00:28:00] going to rarely hear indie authors talk about, um, in 10 weeks I’ve sold something short of 60 combined eBooks and print books. That isn’t very much when you see a top selling novel, sells 30,000 books a day, right?
[00:28:27] You hardly ever hear new authors talk about how they sell and why did I bring that up? Well, cause it’s hard. It’s really hard. And a lot of the feedback that you can get, you will only get, if you go out and ask for it and that’s part of book marketing to get the books, discover them. Um, and next comes book promotion, which is how do you, how do you sell the book?
[00:28:59] [00:29:00] Where, and what activities do you use to actually make sales?
[00:29:06] Stephen: So in that regards, what are you doing for getting the word out, getting your book out there to, for people to see it.
[00:29:13] Dave: So, uh, Some listeners are aware of, of, uh, net galley, net galley is, uh, online readers and writers, authors, uh, uh, distribution, uh, system of advanced reader copies or newly published books.
[00:29:34] Well, frankly, even some older published books, it’s kind of expensive, but what you do is you pay net. Uh, and they put the book out to all their readers. And so you can then try to get reviews from people who liked your genre. It is expensive, but luckily I discovered a cheaper shortcut to [00:30:00] still using net galley.
[00:30:01] And it’s called net galley. Co-op. The one I used was a victory editing and victory. And for $45 for a month, you can submit your book to net galley and it goes out to reviewers and you can respond when somebody says, I’d like to read your book. Uh, Amazon’s completely okay with it because you’re not paying for a review.
[00:30:30] You’re not telling people what to review. You’ve paid this for this platform, this net galley co-op, uh, to put the book out, uh, and people get free books, a free copy of your e-book to read. That’s a great way. The second way to get information out is on, uh, another platform. Book funnel.com that [00:31:00] is indispensable for new writers, because it allows you to send eBooks to anybody you can think of.
[00:31:12] So if you have a group of friends who are willing to support you, you can send them each an ebook for free. It’s an easy way to do it. And book. Is a free platform. If you’re a debut author, I think it’s like for a year, maybe it’s 20 bucks for the year or something.
[00:31:36] Uh, but it allows you to send books to, I don’t know. You think of anybody you can think of a college professor, uh, another writer, somebody you follow it on Facebook. I, I followed a very successful writer. Uh, And, uh, I went to a couple events, a couple of festivals and met published authors and [00:32:00] made friends with them.
[00:32:01] Well, what the heck? As soon as the tube is ready, dear so-and-so I remember I told you about my book. I published it here it is. What’d you give it? I’d love to hear your comments. I may get an answer. I may not, but that’s the, that’s some of the, uh, things that are available to us as new authors, uh, to try to get information out about our work, to get eyeballs on the book reviews.
[00:32:32] Stephen: And I know a book funnel, you can integrate that with a mail list to capture email addresses. Does net galley offer anything like that?
[00:32:42] Dave: Uh, let me think. I, I’m not sure. Uh, here’s what I did. I mean, on net galley, uh, people ask to see the book. You can either approve them or not approve them. Uh, and, uh, they’ll read the book.[00:33:00]
[00:33:00] A hundred. And some people asked to read the, uh, to read the book and they downloaded it. Uh, but out of that hundred, I got, oh, maybe 15, 10 or 15 reviews, 10
[00:33:13] Stephen: reviews. That’s actually a pretty good percentage from what I understand,
[00:33:17] Dave: I could not complain and somebody would write a book and it would go up on net, uh, write a review.
[00:33:23] It would go up on net galley. And then, uh, sometimes they’d post it in Goodreads. Occasionally, they put it in an AMA on Amazon. And, uh, so I asked if I, if it was allowed for me to, because you have their email address, write to them and say, thank you for the review. I appreciate it. It’s important to folks, yada, yada, yada, whatever, whatever, uh, you know, you wanted to say, and then would you be willing to post it also on Amazon?
[00:33:58] If they haven’t done it? [00:34:00] And one or two, did you know one or two is fine?
[00:34:05] Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. That that’s not too bad. No. So Dave, when you’re writing, uh, what software do you use?
[00:34:14] Dave: Yeah, well, I, I still use Microsoft word to me. It’s it’s, you know, it’s the go-to for me. That’s my history. I, I used it when I was practicing law.
[00:34:26] I also use pro-rider. Um, which is a grammar checker style checker. Um, it’s got numerous ways that will help you, whether you are a fiction writer or a non-fiction writer, uh, to improve, uh, your writing. So I would do my first draft in word second, third, fifth, 10th draft in word. Uh, and occasionally when I’d want to show something.
[00:34:56] Uh, what I’d done, I would run a, uh, a [00:35:00] chapter say, uh, or 10 pages through pro writing aid to, to see if I could improve the style of the writing or the, uh, uh, Any improvements that I could make with, uh, grammar and believe me, it took me a long time to figure out how not to write in passive voice, but being there it is
[00:35:27] Stephen: right.
[00:35:27] And I use providing aid for the same reason. Uh, and I’ve seen some improvement in my writing and oh yeah, no, I’ve seen improvement because based on feedback from others. So I definitely agree if you use. As an education tool, not just a blind follow everything, it says you can
[00:35:46] Dave: learn good from it. Yeah.
[00:35:49] Stephen: So do you have any plans for a second book?
[00:35:53] Dave: Oh yeah. I, I mean, I have like a hundred things banging through my head, but, um, but you know, [00:36:00] since may, well, in January, I got down to the, to the hard steps of, of getting the book, um, Formatted properly and getting it, uh, getting, uh, a cover and so forth. And so on planning the inside of the book. And that took me until may, uh, since may, I’ve been a public.
[00:36:23] And I, you know, folks, you cannot just write a book and hope somebody finds it. You have to do the work of a publisher. If you don’t have an agent. And even if you have a small publisher here, you’re going to have to do it. Uh, and for me, I, you know, I, I wanted to write something the best I could do. I wanted to see if I could really, really write a book that would entertain people.
[00:36:59] [00:37:00] And I, geez, I’d really like people to look at it. You know, I really want people to read it, but they won’t, if they don’t know it exists and I don’t have the time. Right. I’ve got these ideas bouncing around, uh, there, you know, in some cases it’s, c’mon, it’s time to start writing about me or writing about this.
[00:37:24] So I, my plan is probably until the end of the year, I’m still going to be doing mostly publisher work, promoting work, trying to get eyeballs on the book. And then I’m going to split my day out, half a day, writing and half a day. Doing the other stuff.
[00:37:45] Stephen: And that sounds like a, what a lot of people I need to do.
[00:37:49] Cause I know a lot of authors really don’t want to do the publishing, but they’re doing it independently. So they kind of have to do it. It’s just one of those things nowadays. [00:38:00] I, you just gotta do it.
[00:38:02] Dave: I, I, you know, I I’ve talked to authors that that had started publishing 30 years. And common phrases. It’s tough out there.
[00:38:15] Uh, so nothing not there’s, there’s nothing guaranteed anymore that if you write a good book, somebody’s going to read it. And there’s so many of us who can write a damn good book.
[00:38:32] Stephen: So speaking of good books, Dave, what are some of your favorite books and favorite authors?
[00:38:38] Dave: Um, my, well first, you know, if you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Uh, if you, if you want to write my advice is to re write the genre that you like to read the most. Uh, so I don’t go by author so much.
[00:38:56] I really, I really F uh, The [00:39:00] genre. And for me, for example, uh,
[00:39:06] for non-fiction, I’m interested in current events, I’m interested in history. Uh, so I, I, I read books written by people who have walked the walk, who, you know, who’ve been there, who’ve done things in that field and write nonfiction, uh, for fiction. I guess it’s kind of the same. I mean, I look to the genre, I look to the, the, the best names I can find.
[00:39:33] And when I first started reading, uh, I’m sorry, when I first started writing, seriously, six, seven years ago, I was reading three or four books a week. I had never had the time to do that before in my, in my entire life, but I had to do that. So, uh, I would say rather than often, Uh, I like to reach honorous and the highest quality I can find.[00:40:00]
[00:40:01] Stephen: Well, uh, w what’s the last book you read that
[00:40:04] Dave: you liked? Yeah. Uh, well, in nonfiction I read, uh, how to be an anti-racist by Abraham candy, a truly brilliant, uh, man of color, uh, who it’s, it’s not a real deep. Uh, but actually I re-read it, I had read it about a year ago, but for my book club it was chosen. So I read it again, really a fine book.
[00:40:33] That is a good guide for people of Goodwill who want to figure out, uh, what do I do? How do I look at myself and what can I do to make myself a better person when it comes to believing, uh, trying to be. Not just, non-racist not neutral, but anti-racist, so that was a really fine book, uh, in fiction. Um,[00:41:00]
[00:41:03] I just started the conjure woman, uh, about a medicine woman in, uh, in the 1860s. And, um, Really beautiful writing the conjure woman.
[00:41:24] Stephen: Who’s
[00:41:24] Dave: that by, you know, I’m trying to think. Hmm. Let me, I’ll come back to it and I’ll tell you. Okay.
[00:41:44] Uh, it’s by a fear at Takara. Uh, fear at the Cora just beautiful prose. I I’m like 50 pages in, so, um, can’t, can’t say that much about it, but I have high expectations [00:42:00] based on that. Just the, the skill of the writer, a young woman to it’s her first novel.
[00:42:08] Stephen: I’ll have to make sure it have a link to it in the show notes.
[00:42:10] Yeah. So where you live, Dave, do you have any favorite bookstores in your area?
[00:42:19] Dave: Uh, well my most favorite bookstore is the public library. I love the library. Oh, absolutely. Uh, and um, we have another bookstore it’s called the Midtown Scott. I’ve been there. You have, isn’t that a gorgeous place. It’s on the outside.
[00:42:39] It’s in a renewing area in downtown Harrisburg. They call it Midtown Harrisburg, but inside you walk in there and it’s like, you’re going into a European old bookshop. Yeah. Sub floors and sub sub floors and [00:43:00] antiquarian books and everything you can think of new and used. Uh, I like that place a lot and they host a lot of authors, uh, sometimes big name authors that come into town, but also a buddy of mine just, uh, it was published, uh, on a thriller novel, uh, uh, at, at a small press and they hosted a book signing farm last year.
[00:43:24] No, nobody’s going to book signings now, but yeah. Uh, so I, I liked the Midtown scholar. There’s also a mystery, the Mechanicsburg mystery books, uh, shop and they host mostly, uh, um, mystery books and things in that kind of area, probably crime, dark stuff.
[00:43:49] Stephen: Yeah. We’ve, uh, one that we’ve been out to in that area is cupboard maker.
[00:43:54] Dave: also covered maker books.
[00:43:57] Stephen: That’s one of our favorites because of course they’ve got all the [00:44:00] cats, so my family get some books and get some cats. If
[00:44:04] Dave: you get along with cats, you can do it. If you love cats, it’s even better. If you had don’t. Yeah, it’s still a good bookstore. Yeah. It’s the one that’s painted to look like a bookshelf with books on the outside.
[00:44:19] Yup. Yeah.
[00:44:21] Stephen: All right. Well, Dave, um, before we go, is there any last words of advice or anything you’d like to tell, uh, an aspiring author that’s listening to this?
[00:44:30] Dave: I, yeah, doing it within the time constraints. Uh, first, I mean, who am I to tell anybody how to be an author? You know, I’m a first time author myself.
[00:44:44] I do have some life experiences and I think, uh, the best advice I, the first piece of advice I would want to give a new writer, uh, is ask yourself why [00:45:00] you’re writing. Why am I writing? Uh,
[00:45:07] That is a crucial question. You know, are you writing to make money? Are you writing to inform people? Are you writing to just get something off your chest? Uh, because if you start meeting other people that, right, or if you start comparing yourself to other writers, you’re invariably going to start to question yourself, uh, and if you can narrow it down, Why am I doing what I’m doing?
[00:45:40] It will help you focus on your writing. Uh, the answer today might not be the same as it will be in a year or five years or 10 years, but it’s a question worth asking periodically, why am I doing this? Uh, I’m really upset because I’ve sold less than 60 books. Well, why am I doing this? Was it [00:46:00] to make money?
[00:46:01] Well, I mean, I’d like to recover the costs that meant. But I’m doing it because I wanted to write something in the best possible fashion that I was capable of doing. And I ought to be happy that I did it. Uh, If the answer is I wanted to make a lot of money. Well, that means I got to start doing things very differently and, and working a lot harder at it.
[00:46:26] Stephen: Well, I think the book you’ve written is a pretty fantastic looking book. I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my list. So hopefully more people will discover it with some of the things you’re doing.
[00:46:37] Dave: Thank you. Thank you very much, Stephen. And. I hope anyone that does pick up to tuber the intentional, which of Salem enjoys.
[00:46:47] I hope
[00:46:47] Stephen: so too. Well, Dave, thanks for taking some time to talk with me today. It’s been great. I
[00:46:51] Dave: appreciate it. Oh, I feel the same way. Thank you very much, Steven.