Thursday, July 13, 2017

Interview with novelist Peter Davidson

Welcome, readers. My special guest today is novelist Peter Davidson. He has a new humorous novel out, titled PENNY: Hands I Passed Through. . . Things I Saw . . . Stories I Can Tell!

Peter Davidson is the author or co-author of twenty-eight published books including novels, non-fiction, college textbooks, and children's picture books. His works have been published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Perigee/Putnam Publishers, Haworth Press, Sweet Memories Publishing, and others.

Welcome, Peter. Please tell us about your current release.
PENNY is the story of a very special U.S. one-cent piece that passes through the hands of ordinary people, the famous, the infamous, the saints, and the sinners and hangs out in churches, honkytonks, and everywhere in between.

Why is this particular penny so special? Well, because it was the final penny ever minted of 95% copper, on October 22, 1982. After that, all U.S. one-cent pieces are pathetic and puny, consisting of 97.5% zinc with only a touch of copper thrown in. That's why.

What inspired you to write this book?
Through the years, my wife or I would occasionally look at a coin in the palm of our hand and say, “If only this coin could talk, what stories it could tell of the places it has been, the people it has met, and the stories it could tell. This was where the idea originated. For virtually all of my adult life, I have kept every penny that I have gotten my hands on and have around eighteen gallons of pennies. Being a fan of the penny, it seemed that using a penny as the central character of the book was a natural fit.

Excerpt from Penny:
Bubba sheepisly approaches a clerk at the Recorder's counter, pulls out his mail order Marriage Minister Certificate, hands it to the clerk and says, “Please don't laugh at me, but I bought this Marriage Minister Certificate by mail order for $9.95 and now someone has asked me to marry them. It's not legal and binding, right?”

The clerk studies the Marriage Minister Certificate and says, “Yes it is.”

“W-h-a-at? Bubba exclaims in disbelief.

“It's legal and binding. The couple getting married comes in here and picks up the marriage certificate prior to the wedding. After you conduct the wedding, you sign the certificate, and they bring it in here and file it. That's all there is to it.”

“You're putting me on, right?” Bubba says.

“In fact, we have a list of about a dozen Marriage Ministers like you and people who are planning on getting married often stop in and pick someone from the list to do the job. Do you want me to add your name to the list?”

“N-o-o-o-!” Bubba groans.

“Well, then you're all set, Reverend” the clerk says with a little smile on her face.

“Smartass,” Bubba mutters to himself as he leaves the Recorder's office.

So, it was decided—Brother Bubba was going to marry Holly and Dale, but he has a problem.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a manuscript completed: GOING OUT WITH A BANG!: Making Your Mark . . . Leaving A Legacy . . . And, A Final Farewell That'll Knock Their Socks Off! I have a literary agent from San Francisco who is shopping it around to publishers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As a youth, I always had a paperback in my pocket and I read every chance I got. When I was in college, I got a few encouraging comments from some professors on my term papers and in the summertime when I wrote to some of my college friends, they commented that they enjoyed my letters. A combination of those things created an interest in writing in me.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing books is my only fruitful activity. When I write a book, I normally work on it every day until it is finished, although I do not necessarily have a set time that I write each day. My goal is to make the first draft as close as possible to being the final draft of the manuscript. However, I spend a good deal of time proofreading and polishing the writing, often changing a word here and there.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
You have probably heard people say, “I'm going to sleep on it” when they have a difficult decision to make. They may or may not realize it, but if you have a troubled mind or have a difficult decision, you will undoubtedly ponder it as you fall asleep and your subconscious mind will mull it over throughout the night. When you awake, the situation will be much clearer and the answer may be there. I use this same technique when I have a dilemma about how to approach a scene or topic. It really, really works.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I actually don't recall any grand plans from when I was a child. As a teenager, though, I loved music and when I was in my early twenties, I developed a desire to write songs. I actually wrote around a hundred songs, a couple were recorded, and one of them was used in a television series in The Netherlands. As it turned out, my songwriting “career” is more properly called a hobby, but I had a lot of fun with it. Becoming a book writer, was a close second choice.

Anything additional you'd like to share with the readers?
If you have a desire to write, keep at it and never, never quit.

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Thanks for being here today, Peter.

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