Author Interview | Meet Don Meyer and his historical fiction novel #authorinterview #bookboost
Here at Book Heaven, we love meeting indie authors. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Don. He writes historical fiction and nonfiction and is an author to have on your e-reader. I asked for an interview with him, and he agreed. So, grab your favorite beverage and join us. Don, take it away!
What is your writing process?
I sit at the computer – an old tower model – and type away. Usually, I have the story in my head waiting to get out. After I have typed several pages, or chapter or several chapters, I pause to do a read through. I’m old school and print out the pages, go sit in a corner with a red pen and have at it. Then go back to the computer and make the changes. I may do this several times before I am satisfied and will do it again when the story is finished.
Do you have any odd writing habits?
What book do you wish you could have written?
I believe I have written it: Winds of Discontent a passion project I have worked on for the last six years and needed to write.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
King, Grisham, Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis …
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
Not my choice.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I usually create my cast of characters as I go, or as needed.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My latest book: Winds of Discontent, However the Kittridge Manuscript has been well received.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Have you always liked to write?
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Get the story down, work out the details later. Tell your story.
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I had a career, a second career and still found time to write.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Definitely a pantster.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes. No. All reviews are good. Not everyone will like what you wrote, so what, learn from it and move on. Do not dwell on a bad review. I’ve had both a great and not so great (read bad) review for the same book. If all the reviews were good, I’d think I did something wrong. Not everyone has the same perspective, which means I got through to some but failed others.
What is your best marketing tip?
Don’t have one.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
I love writing. I hate publishing.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I don’t do sci-fi, don’t understand it and am loathe to read any of it.
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
At my old tower computer. Like an old friend.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
No, I can do what needs to be done, but I don’t find it necessary to be graphic.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
No. I have written ten novels and on non-fiction.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Nothing new, and nothing on the horizon. Winds of Discontent wore me out.
Do you write naked?
I have but usually not.
What is your biggest failure?
My first novel. Put it out too soon, tried a rewrite and put it with a not so friendly publisher. Tried another rewrite and failed miserably.
What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?
Saying I never did.
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
Have you ever gotten into a fight?
Yes, as a teenager and son of a single parent, I had many.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
My teenage years with a single parent. Vietnam.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
No longer smoke, but I do drink. Writing is my vice!
What is your biggest fear?
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Prefer not to have one.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?
What literary character is most like you?
I am the throwaway character in every novel. The filler guy.
What secret talents do you have?
I can spin a yarn. A storyteller trying to be a writer.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
The old Civil War battlefields.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I am an animal. Grrrr.
What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?
I am doing them.
If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?
Ford Ferrenby. Character from my 2022 summer novel. Rutherford Ferrenby, Ford to his friends. Only book I wrote around a character.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Several. Teenage years fights, one stabbing and I was shot in Vietnam.
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
Cute and cuddly, of course. My Lionel train set.
What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
None I can remember.
Thank you, Don, for the insightful interview. I thoroughly enjoyed your acerbic wit and learning more about you. Thank you for your service in Vietnam. Readers, scroll down to read more about Don’s latest release.
Title: Winds of Discontent
Author: Don Meyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: D.P. Meyer Publishing
A coming-of-age saga set against the backdrop of the French Indochina War years that follows the chaos of their defeat up to the American take-over and the creation of South Vietnam. Sinclair Langdon, in an act of youthful rebellion against his American mother and British father, arrives in Haiphong Harbour post war 1945. Langdon is quickly recruited to make a delivery only to find out afterwards that he has delivered a load of guns to a rebel force. He is introduced to a besotted British newspaperman who offers him a job as an investigative reporter hoping to get stories from his gun running adventures. In a chance encounter, he meets Yvonne, an exotic beauty of French Vietnamese mix, who sets in motion a torrid forbidden love affair that will entangle Langdon on his journey. Initially running guns to survive, he slowly hones his skills as an investigative reporter covering the historical events of the times, right up to those fateful days in November 1963 when everything changed forever …
“If I did die last night, this surely isn’t Heaven.”
The smell of the harbour coupled with the diesel fumes further engulfed Sinclair Langdon as he lay there suffering from the night before. The ship no longer swayed in the waves, but still rocked against the dock. The pain in his gut caused him to double up before subsiding and letting him stretch back out. The crew always has a toast to the last night out. Shipboard alcohol concocted below deck somewhere. And no doubt the cause of the pain in his gut this morning.
“Hey kid,” the man said gruffly, “time to get off this ship, you’re here.”
Sinclair felt the kick to his side and tried to open his eyes, but the sun burned into them and forced his eyelids to quickly close. His parched throat struggled to get the words out and offered a dry garbled retort.
“Here? Where’s here?”
“Haiphong Harbor. Near Hanoi. Up north. Tonkin area. French Indochina. Late October 1945. Early morning.”
“Right, okay got it.” Sinclair blurted out to stop the man’s cadence and tried to clear his throat. He raised his hand in the air to block the sun and again tried to fully open his eyes.
“C’mon kid get up, last stop.”
“What’s it to you?”
Sinclair looked up at the man who stood over him. Tall, six feet maybe, bearish, but firm like someone who spent time in the sun doing manual labor. He stood there dressed in a wrinkled khaki shirt, open three buttons down and faded dark pants.
“I’m currently in need of a man to help me deliver a load. Captain said you got on last minute and might be in need of some francs. I need to deliver a load. Could use the help.”
Sinclair looked at the man silhouetted in the sun, sat up, shook his head and tried to focus. The pain in his gut returned. He used both arms to hold on.
“What’s the pay?” Sinclair asked.
“How much do you have in your pocket?” The man laughed.
Sinclair reached in and removed a Dix franc and Cinquante francs.
“Sixty-francs? I believe I can do better.” The man laughed again.
“Drank the crews’ rot gut last night.” Sinclair said. “My head’s not real clear. Load of what exactly?”
“Does it matter?” The man said.
“What do I need to do?” Sinclair responded.
“Ride along, maybe help unload, watch my back.”
Sinclair looked at him for a long minute then surrendered.
“Yes, I could use some work right about now. Yeah, sure.”
“Name’s Frenchy.” The man pointed down to the dock. “See the truck? Grab your gear. Meet me there.”
Gathering his wits, Sinclair stood and made his way down to his bunk. His gear consisted of a beat-up old grip. A quick search through his clothes found the least offensive shirt and a passable pair of pants to put on, but noticed the clothes hung loose. Now quite sure he lost some weight due to the rancid food on the ship over the last ten days and tucked the shirt into his trousers believing it would help. He stuffed everything else into the ancient grip and took one last look around before he quickly made his way off the ship.
Two burly men loaded the back of the truck as he approached. Six large wooden crates were stamped Machine Parts. They loaded the last crate onto the truck as Frenchy walked up. The bigger man waited while Frenchy handed him several francs, grunted and walked away. The second man fell in behind him.
“Yeah, and don’t call me kid, name’s Sinclair Langdon.”
“St. Clair Langdon? You British?”
“Sin-clair, not the British St. Clair, like the American author. My American mother liked the name, my British father had no choice.”
They both climbed into the truck, Frenchy in the driver’s seat and Sinclair on the passenger side. Both doors closed simultaneously.
“Look kid, not that I mind, but those clothes. I mean, well, they could use a good wash and maybe some that fit. You look like you stole those from a man twice your size.”
“Yeah, they’re mine. I lost some weight.” Sinclair said. “Food’s not real edible on the ship. Neither was laundry available. Rotating last couple of days, but once we got close, the heat. Well, no chance to do anything about it, maybe after I get some francs.”
“So how old are you, kid? Ah, sorry, I mean Sin-clair.” Frenchy asked.
“Nineteen. Why, how old are you? And you got a real name?”
“Thirty something. Yes, Frenchy.”
“Seriously, a French guy wants to be called Frenchy?”
The truck pulled out slowly as Frenchy ground through the gears.
“So, ah Frenchy, you know how to drive this truck?” Sinclair said.
“Good enough. Why, you do better?” Frenchy said.
“Well, at least I know how to shift using a clutch. You might want to try.”
“You mean like this?” Frenchy slid the gear into second, pushed forward, and smoothly shifted into third as they hit the street.
They both sat silent as the truck lumbered along and passed through the streets of the city, past a block of homes, most in need of repair and after, a newer section of well-kept homes before beginning the journey into the countryside. Before long Frenchy slowed and turned the truck onto a rough dirt road. The truck bounced along, which caused Frenchy to say a string of words in French Sinclair didn’t understand, nor did he want to ask. The next two bounces caused Sinclair to hold on. The truck took some violent ups and downs, but Frenchy held fast and moved the truck along. About when Sinclair thought the truck couldn’t withstand another bounce they pulled into an opening.
As the dust settled, Sinclair could see men standing there amidst the haze. Frenchy, already out of the truck walked toward those men. Sinclair opened his door and cautiously stepped out.
Giveaway: I’m one of the authors participating in the Curl Up With a Book Month Giveaway and you can win a print copy of The Winds of Discontent by Don Meyer (US/Canada only).
Runs December 1 - 31 and is open internationally for many prizes. Winners will be drawn on January 3, 2023.
Don Is the author of six novels, A Vietnam Memoir, several short stories, a number of essays and a couple of articles.
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