I’ve always been an avid reader and writer… a lover of communication of all kinds. At some point after college though, I said farewell to my comics, to Vonnegut, Rand, Huxley, and Robbins. I found a comfortable home in non-fiction, both as a reader and a writer. Today, I spend my time reading about superstar CEOs, management & marketing stuff and of course quality… My writing is almost always rooted in quality, with more creative fiction certainly something I long to be able to tap into one day.
For fun, I teach at the local community college because I actually do enjoy business that much. Over the last several years doing that gig, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting interesting characters of all kinds. One of my favorites is an adjunct economics instructor I’ve come to admire and really enjoy spending time with. He reminded me why I loved fiction!
I can’t remember exactly how I met Dallas Dunlap… adjunct training or something like that. I kind of gravitated to Dallas because he’s such an interesting guy… a true Renaissance Man of sorts. He seems to know something about everything, never forgets anything and has held a fascinating assemblage of jobs that range from life as one of the first EMTs in Florida, to economist, to independent author of crime fiction that incorporates sprinkles of science fiction and erotica here and there. He built his own house and even designs his own cover art for his books. I’m not sure there’s anything he can’t do!
I wanted to pick Dallas’ brain a little to see how his writing process works. I like digging into interesting people’s brains to find out what makes them tick and usually find some inspiration for myself that I like to think of as a bonus.
Why does he write?
“I have a rich fantasy life. When I write, I get to experience other lives and other worlds.”
Where does he get his ideas?
“I don’t get ideas. I have visions… daydreams really. A question trips a whole sequence of daydreams as I explore all the ramifications. What happens if some Southern rural teenagers find a time machine? What happens to them? To their parents? To law enforcement? That process made The Cabin.
Or, what would a real life vampire be like? How would a rural Sheriff’s Department deal with a vampire? That launched The Food. If I may brag: To make my vampire character believable, I inserted him into an extremely detailed and realistic environment – Narvaez County – and pitted him against vivid and realistic characters. The characters, who continue from one book to the next, are so real to me that I can close my eyes and see them. When it’s quiet, I can hear their conversations about their everyday routines. I don’t feel that I am creating people. I feel that I am watching them. I describe what they do and write down what they say.”
What does he find to be the hardest part of writing?
“Editing. I edit as a I go. My characters are like everyone else. When they talk, they drift off topic, use incomplete sentences and bad grammar. I write down what they say, but I have to rework conversations to move the story along while keeping each character’s unique voice. Also, there are many vignettes and even whole subplots that ultimately have to be left out in order to keep the story to a reasonable length. But, beyond the mechanics of writing, the hardest thing is keeping faith. You have to believe that finishing the book is worth doing.”
What’s his process?
“I try to write at least one page a day. There are many days when I edit out more than I write, though. And, there are many days when things come up and I don’t write anything. But, once I sit down to write one page, I usually end up with five or so.”
“I don’t get writer’s block in the sense that I can’t think of anything to write or can’t get started. Sometimes though, I have several alternative directions to take the story so I stop for a few days and think about it.”
His advice to aspiring writers…
“Write something. Writing isn’t something you aspire to. It is something you either do or don’t do. If you want to be a published author, go to a college or university that as an international reputation for its creative writing program. Take it from there. If you just want to write, write. Be an indie writer. Learn how to write, edit and do cover art. It’s fun, interesting, and if nothing else, you can give your books to friends for Christmas.”
I like quality people, and Dallas Dunlap is one of my very favorites. He inspires me. Earlier today, I sent him a random text asking him what his purpose in life is… His response: “Learn and do things that interest me.”
Check out his books on Amazon!