Melanie: Why don’t we start this interview with a look at your childhood because the purpose of this article is to catch a glimpse of the man behind the blog. Can you give us an idea of what your childhood was like?
Dan: I spent most of my childhood at my grandmother’s. She lived around the block and across the street from her were two families with kids. We were all 1 year apart and I was the 2nd to oldest.
My imagination was allowed to run wild in my youth as my grandmother let the neighborhood kids and I to take over one of her gardens. We made a HUGE battleground for all sorts of toys. I learned things that affected me for the rest of my life. Although I was spoiled, I shared everything I had because I was the only child on the block with toys. I learned about the importance of teamwork in building dreams.
As for my years in school, I was a nobody. Never standing out, never really accomplishing anything. I sat in the back and dreamed.
Life is a movie or a play and everyone in it has their part. I always asked people who they were in this grand play, the lead actress or the extra with the funny anecdotes. When they asked me, I always said that I was the audience. It seems like such a sad thing to say but the audience is who interpret what they are seeing.
A famous photographer once said that there were always two people in a photograph, even if you are taking a picture with no one in it. The photographer is there because he is showing the picture and the person looking at it is there because they are the ones seeing it.
Melanie:Your grandmother encouraged your imagination; what a delightful start for a writer. Your whole account of your childhood has put a huge grin on my face. The experience of almost failing is a marvelous insight into your character; you used a potentially negative experience to turn your life around.
Something similar happened in your love life, didn’t it? You have spoken about your first love. Can you tell us how that painful experience changed you?
Dan: During my senior year, still the wise man of high school, a good female friend showed up. As we started going on band trips together, we started talking. One night, she just fell asleep on my shoulder. It started something a bit more intimate than just a friendship and we didn’t stop it. Michelle and I got even closer, moving towards a real romance. However when high school ended, she decided to move on with her life, dropping her fiance and me.
Her sister, Lynn, had never approved of Michelle and I. She made many attempts to destroy our relationship. She also blamed me for Michelle and her fiance breaking up, as did their father. Although Lynn was my antagonist, she was also an intelligent free thinker. During College, we started writing each other and I ended up realizing what an amazing woman she actually was. She read Ayn Rand and was a very independent and strong.
We started getting together. One night, the air was charged with electricity. We almost kissed and as a result, she didn’t talk to me for about a month. Then she phoned, confessing that I had ‘great potential’ yet wasn’t living up to it. She forced me to reevaluate my life by telling me that she could not be with a man who was like this. I was single, living at home, a college drop out, without a job. I was writing almost constantly, really uninspired crap.
In that moment, I changed my entire life. I went out and got a job, started making money. I made plans for novels. However, Lynn met the man of her dreams and told me every intimate detail over the phone. I wrote one final letter , ripping her apart, destroying all the beauty we had created together.
Melanie: You know what I think is wonderful about your painful experiences? After you released all your hurt and anger, you did not wallow in pity but motivated yourself just like you did in high school after you almost failed. Both times you had the strength of will to turn your whole life around. I would say that this was a pivotal moment in your life.
Dan:That moment on the phone, was definitely one of the most pivotal moments, for sure. I remember everything about that night.
Melanie: Right after this break-up, I know that you left everything to head east from Texas to start a new life in North Carolina. I would call that a brave move.
Dan: Well, I went in search of life. I moved to North Carolina, 1600 miles away from my home in Texas, where I
knew no one and no one knew me. I started life again. Somewhere in those mountains, despite my mistakes and struggles, I found myself. It was all because Lynn looked at me and said, “You have great potential, but I can’t be with someone who can’t live up to it.” Michelle opened my heart to love, I risked falling in love with her sister, Lynn, who then destroyed who I was. But that was the catalyst for me to remake myself into who I was supposed to be.
Melanie: I think that you are what I would call not only brave in life but a brave writer as well because you are honest about your struggles, hopes and dreams.
Dan: FYI, I harbor no secrets and I’m willing to discuss anything, which normally takes people aback. Examples of my TMIness, I was a virgin till I was 27 by choice. I gained a really amazing respect for ‘making love’ by having a non-committal sexual relationship for awhile. This gave me an understanding of how unfulfilled such an agreement is. I just want to warn you ahead of time, so you don’t go, “OMG! I didn’t want to know that much!”
Melanie:Well, I have led a sheltered life on a hobby farm, surrounded by children but I see beyond “OMG” stuff to people’s hearts. So relax. I like you, connect with you or I would not have asked to interview you.
Dan: He he, thanks, just figured I’d warn you.
Melanie: From following you on BlogCatalog it seems that music is important to you. I remember a comment you made on Blog Catalog about metal music. Don’t tell me you are joining a metal music fan club with Darrin L. Hammond and Dtjesus. I would think that you are the type of person who listens to a wide variety for music.
Dan: I do indeed like all forms of music. I even like spiritual and Christian music that’s sung with unbelievable passion (see Why Me? by Kris Kristofferson and the version sung by The Smoking Popes). But Metal music is for stress relief. There is no better way to release the anger that builds up in life than to go to a metal concert, see the performance on stage, move to the music, release emotions and walk out soaking wet with sweat know that you left all your aggression inside.
Melanie: How would you describe your writing style?
Dan: I was once inspired to write a novel, so I sat down, wrote and made tons of mistakes. I stopped writing around the 280 page mark. I looked at it and saw that it was an unstructured mess. There were many great scenes but I could tell that it wasn’t a novel, it was just a collection of scenes strung together with a weak plot. I was stunned. I’ve allowed the manuscript to be read by a few people, and no one has gotten past page 18.
So, I wrote some rules in my head. I decided that I would outline stories and have an idea of where to go while I wrote.
Dan: Life is pretty crazy now. I do blog stuff’ from 8 am to noon every day. I need to schedule another hour of writing, just for novels and such, but we’ll see. Lisa is on the town council and holding a job. I don’t currently have one but we keep discussing options, as there are no jobs to be had in the area.
One of my options is to get into photography, doing weddings, events and portraits. It’s highly lucrative in this area. Although 3 women have it pretty well buttoned down, my photography and editing skills are better. I could also go back to school. Lisa needs to write her third novel and we are coauthoring a more adult vampire novel. Meanwhile I’m writing a fantasy novel. I plan to continue the serial stories. In the distant future, I do plan on starting to collect the serial short stories from the blog and publishing them on Kindle. Maybe even the poetry but we’ll see.
Melanie: You have interesting plans for the future with a woman you adore. This is the perfect way to end this interview.Thank-you for being so open, honest and transparent; I feel like you gave us a glimpse of the man behind the blog.