I’m honored that author Dean Mayes accepted my offer for an interview on my blog today. Dean is the author of The Hambledown Dream, a heartwarming, moving tale about a young man whose spirit refuses to die.
Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.
Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed – jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams – memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he’s never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he’s never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown…
Hi Dean! And thanks for joining us today. You’ve written a touching, heart warming book that’s getting a lot of attention and some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write the book?
The Hambledown Dream is essentially an eight year journey which began as a simple idea whilst I was working on another manuscript which eventually failed. I had a dream of producing a great piece of airport fiction in the style of Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy – the kind of adrenaline packed actioner that I personally, love to read.
During that project, this simple idea – about a noble young man who dies as a result of cancer and is given a second chance at life in the body of a drug addict – wouldn’t leave me alone, no matter how much I tried to ignore it.
I am a stubborn soul and as much as tried to make this other project work, it became too hard and I eventually abandoned it. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that I started ‘Hambledown’. By that time, I didn’t expect that I would have any chance of being published so, I started a blog and put it up there instead, adding a new chapter each week. But a funny thing happened. All of a sudden I found myself with this following who couldn’t get enough of my story and they were “tuning in” each week to get more of it. And one of those people just happened to be the lady who is now my publisher – Michelle Halket of ireadiwrite Publishing in Vancouver. She liked what I was doing and suggested that I should start taking this project seriously. I was more than a little surprised by that and so, I took her advice. I stopped publishing it to my blog – which upset a lot of people – and the rest as they say, is history.
We know most writers have to hold down a day job. Tell us about yours.
I’m an Intensive Care Nurse working mainly with children and newborns. I’ve been nursing for about fifteen years and I have worked in a variety of clinical areas and disciplines. I have to say, though, pediatrics has been my favorite. Nursing children requires an additional set of assessment skills because they can’t always tell you what’s wrong. There are a lot of subtle cues that one has to look for in order to make a diagnosis. It comes down to observation and I have to say that this has had a spin off benefit fir me as I writer because much of what makes good writing can be attributed to observations. Observations of people and places and life.
Wow. That’s an intense, but rewarding job. I’m betting those observational skills came in real handy in writing The Hambledown Dream. I noticed that we have something in common: we’ve both immortalized our dogs into our books. I’m such a dog lover, as are a lot of my followers. Tell us about your dog and his canine fictional counterpart.
My dog Simon has pretty much featured in every major writing project I’ve attempted. It’s one of those quirks of mine that I’ve carried through my journey as a writer. As I write this, Simon is a fourteen year old Border Collie/Blue Heeler cross who’s been with me since he was six weeks old. Simon is an extremely intelligent dog with a wonderful nature. He is especially good around my two children, both of whom are under five. His appearence in ‘Hambledown’ was borne out of some research I did about dogs and their apparent ability to detect ghosts. I read some accounts where dogs had gone into a house and reacted to certain rooms in such a way that indicated they had a sort of sixth sense about a presence or presences therein. I also read of some accounts where dogs were able to sense the presence of people who had died and had been reincarnated in other individuals. So it was very easy to not only include Simon in the story, but to also give him a fairly pivotal role in the story.
Simon, sadly was recently diagnosed with cancer and I’ve documented that in a post on my blog called “The Fourteeth Year”. He is okay presently but I have to say, we are managing his symptoms conservatively.
My heart goes out to you and Simon. I’ll certainly keep him in my thoughts. Before I choke up, let’s move on. When you’re not writing or working, what do you like to do most?
As I write this on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet which features the latest Android OS, it’s late on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve just put a gorgeous leg of grain fed lamb onto my outdoor cooking oven that I’ve set up on the patio of our house. I’ve lit a fire in my little wood stove which is actually an old gas bottle that has been converted. I’ve taken the cork out of a 2006 Cabernet from the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia and I’m listening to some jazz on the stereo – specifically, Vince Jones who is my favorite vocalist/trumpeter. My kids are running around my legs, bugging me to toast some marsh mallows. We spent the day at Xavier’s soccer clinic for pre schoolers, then we went to the City because Star War Lego 3 was just released for Playstation Portable. Simon is here too, relaxing at my feet and he’s salivating at the smells coming from the cooking oven. He’ll get the bone for sure. I think I’ve covered a portion of my favorite things to do. Of course, I’m also renowned amongst my friends as being one of the biggest Star Wars geeks they know. I like to get out on my bike when the weather is warm and during the summer months, I like to get my sail boat out on the waters off Adelaide and puddle around.
If you could offer readers and writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
I’m not good at giving advice but I’ll make an attempt for you. For readers, I would say this – if you’ve bought a book and loved it enough to tell a friend about it, don’t lend them your copy. Encourage them to go out to the book store or log onto the online store and buy a copy. The author of that book has poured their heart and soul in writing that book. They have slaved over the manuscript, editing and fine tuning it to make it the best it can possibly be. They have lost sleep in order to make a dream come true. It’s a little deflating to know that your work is being passed around so readily. The truth is, we do like to earn a little bit out of this endeavor
For writers, I would say this – one of my most treasured posessions is a leather bound journal which I use to make notes. We often do the bulk of our writing on a computer or a laptop and we spend hours staring at a screen, soaking up untold amounts of electrical…thingies! (??). It’s nice – healthy even – to drop back a gear every so often and sit down with something more organic – like paper and pencil. I make a lot of notes in my journal and I find it really helps, especially when I am caught in the middle of a bout of writer’s block. Oh – and I also make notes with a pencil – NEVER a pen. I use a HB and I make sure I thoroughly wear it out. It’s extremely healthy for the writing process and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Good tips! Thanks for sharing – and for being here with us today. We’ll be right over for that leg of lamb! Ha!
My tip for readers today? Check out Dean’s book, available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, B&N, and on Smashwords.