It’s my pleasure to welcome my FIRST adult guest author and songwriter, David Stearman. The reason I asked David for an interview was because he’s launching his new YA book, HUMMINGBIRD, this week, and it sounds like a compelling read–one you’d enjoy. Watch the book trailer (below) and tell me if you agree. I love reading and writing YA, and I thought you’d be interested in reading his book, too.
Don’t you love this book cover? (I do! And NO I don’t have a tattoo, and NO I’m not terribly fond of them, because I’m a prude and very conservative, but I like this one–it’s on someone else.)
First, let me tell you a little about David. Besides being a writer, David and his wife have a ministry where they teach through music and the written and spoken word. They have traveled to countries like Peru, France, Estonia, Mexico, Andorra, the Caymans, Grenada, the San Blas Islands, the Canary Islands, St. Lucia, and the Philippines.
He says, “It’s not about the places, it’s about the people. Human need knows no boundaries. Loneliness, lack, sickness, and strife can be found anywhere from the banks of the Amazon to the beaches of the French Riviera.
People need the Lord. That’s why this ministry exists–to bring hope to the hopeless by connecting people to Jesus Christ, Who alone has the power to meet every need.”
Here’s the book trailer:
Below are my interview questions:
What writing advice can you give teen writers about the journey to becoming a published author?
To seek and heed the advice of published authors. Learn the techniques and devices they use to write compelling novels. When they correct you, humble yourself and make the changes they recommend. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Somebody else out there already knows how to make one and can teach you what they’ve learned.
How did you find the premise for your book? What inspired it?
On the mission field, in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, the region in which much of this story takes place. I observed my Mexican friends facing the same challenges my American friends do, and thought it might be interesting to write a story about someone who felt caught in between those two worlds. My protagonist is Mexican-American, but she feels more like the dash between those two words than anything else. Hummingbird is a book about identity; about discovering who you are and where you belong. This is a common quest for all teens, no matter their ethnic background.
Describe your writing “den.”
Starbucks. And a little local coffee shop named Java Brewing. I’ve also been known to write at the beach. I’m a social animal and write best when there are others nearby, milling about.
What part of writing is the most difficult part for you, and how do you overcome it?
Learning POV was tough for me. Until I started reading a lot of first-person novels. Authors like Lee Child taught me to see through my protagonist’s eyes. (BTW, I don’t often recommend him. He’s an incredible writer, but his stuff is dark and cruel.)
What is the most important part of making a book salable?
OK, this is gonna sound pat and cheesy, but it’s exactly what I believe: forget about what’s selling and write about what interests you. Think Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins; people like that. They didn’t get to be who they are by writing about what everyone else was writing about.
Why do you think teens will like HUMMINGBIRD?
Because, like my protagonist Lexa, they’re all standing on the starting block, ready to go out and discover who they are and where they belong.
You and your wife travel all over the world, right? How do you decide where you’ll go next and why? How do you know which stories to tell? Aren’t they all equally important?
God works in us to will and to do His good pleasure–Phil 2:13. In other words He leads us by giving us the desire to do what He wants us to do, and to go where he wants us to go. So I just listen to my heart and go to the country I want work in. (Seems too simple, right?) Same thing with the stories. They’re all important, but some are more important to me, so I tell those.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What inspired that in you?
I was reading the first chapter of a book about jungle explorers, and suddenly it “hit” me: I could do that–tell an exciting tale set in an exotic place. So I wrote one, my first novel. And it was awful. So I got advice from several published friends and they helped me hone my craft. There was a learning curve. I was no instant success. But it was worth the effort to learn to tell a story as it deserved to be told. I’m still learning, of course, which is just fine, since learning is fun in itself.
Is there anything else you’d like to share— interesting facts about the book and/or you?
What is your writing process like?
I’m a professional songwriter. My novelist craft grew out of my songwriting technique, so my process might seem a little different from other folks’. First, I come up with a title. From the title (we call it a “hook” in the music biz) evolves a simple plot. Sometimes I’m more than several chapters into the story before I know exactly where it’s going. But once I have the ending, I’m good as done. MapQuest is downloaded and all that’[s left is to follow the line from Point A to Point B. (Does that make sense? Mixed metaphors in there…)
Diana Flegal from Hartline is your agent (mine too), how did you meet her?
Google search for “Christian Publishing Agents.”
How many other agents turned you down before you “landed” her?
Maybe ten? One even signed me and dumped me a year later. Now that was a dark day.
What made you choose her?
I chose her because she first chose me. (Sounds familiar…) But also because I could tell she believed in me. And because we kind of “clicked.” I don’t write about what others write about, but she still “gets” me. That’s priceless as far as I’m concerned.
How many rejections did you receive on HUMMINGBIRD before you found a “home” for her?
Ugh. Do I really have to tell? Too many. But take heart, writers; we all go through this! At first they rejected it because it needed tweaking. Later because it didn’t fit into their mold.
What kept you positive? Kept you going?
Faith in God, that He’d put this dream in my heart, which meant He also planned to fulfill it. Also the support of friends, people who believed in me when it was hard to believe in myself.
Back to me: Thanks David for the opportunity you’re giving us to share your story, your novel, and something that matters to you! We’re confident and hopeful that it will matter to others.
David’s book is available at Kindle for only $4.99. Click here.
But, if you’re interested in a FREE e-book copy leave a comment below and I’ll throw all your names in a basket and have my daughter pick one winner for a FREE copy. (Paperback books will be out in September. If you’d rather wait for a signed book let me know.)