Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Writers: David Cassidy

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other people’s success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, and reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week we hear from David Cassidy, author of Velvet Rain, a man with so much to do but so little time.

Name: David Cassidy
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live in Canada, the most beautiful and varied country in the world, one that begs to be captured by the lens.
Author of: Velvet Rain
Book available: Velvet Rain is available in paperback and for Kindle at, and at my e-Store at I’m also offering personalized, signed paperback editions on my website.

Tell us a bit about yourself: The goods? I’m seriously messed up. My brain is always on overdrive, juggling a dozen things at once. I have to rein it in at times, but I get by. All that noise is a blessing, though.
At heart I’m a writer, but an equal passion is photography. I appreciate art in any form, whether it’s writing, photography, drawing, painting, music—it’s all music, really.

Tell us about your book, Velvet Rain: I would liken it to James Cameron’s Titanic, in the sense that there is always this grand, menacing threat lurking there in the shadows, while we are drawn in by the star-crossed fate of Jack and Rose. They bind us; they are the story. Velvet Rain is no different—the real magic is the arc between a tortured soul, Kain Richards, and the delicate fabric of the lives of those he touches. While certainly a thriller, my novel is, at its heart, a deeply moving story with a life lesson.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? I was always a thinker. A reader. I loved history and science, astronomy, art, music ... just about anything. I was constantly reading as a boy, and that natural curiosity has never diminished. I consumed Nancy Drew mysteries and loved every one of them. Still, it wasn’t until I turned twelve that I began to read novels clearly aimed at adults. One of my older brothers (I have six brothers and three sisters, me being “the baby”) knew of my curious nature, and handed me the first adult fiction I ever read—which leads us to your next question.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. Imagine this nerdy twelve-year-old with an overactive imagination, living out in the boonies in this big house overlooking a lonely lake, eating up this incredible work of horror fiction by candlelight during a notorious Northern Ontario thunderstorm. That was me, and I was hooked.

What was the seed of inspiration for Velvet Rain It’s funny. It just popped into my head one day. Start to finish. Things just kind of come to me that way, and they often come like a flood. This was one of those times. I didn’t have all the details certainly, but somehow, I knew how the story was going to go from beginning to end. As a photographer, envisioning an image before I take the shot, we call it seeing. It was kind of like that.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? There may be several. Life is precious; life is short. Curse can beget blessing. And no matter the odds or the circumstance, we can all be heroes to someone.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? How much time do you have? But seriously: Doubt. Fear. Time. They all conspire against you. Every writer has challenges, but I think those are the Big Ones. If something isn’t working, you have three choices: Walk away and come back to it. Drive through it, kicking and screaming. Kill it. For me, all three work, depending on the situation. Like Yoda says, “There is no try.”

What has been your best moment as a writer? When I held that first copy of Velvet Rain in my hands for the first time. Nothing else comes close. I’m not afraid to say I was close to tears.

Who is your author idol? Clive Barker. A wordsmith. A writing god. He taught me how to imagine—and then to imagine more.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Only the nasty ones. All kidding aside, yes. Of course. This may sound strange to some, but these people are as real to me as real people. I have lived their lives with them. I’ve seen their highest highs and lowest lows, and whether their personality or experience, sense of right and wrong, comes from within or from observation of others, the lasting impressions locked up in me come through in my characters.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? The dream has only begun. And it’s a great dream.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? The old adage, “Enough is enough.” I can always tell when I’m putting things off. I get antsy. It’s my wiring telling me something’s not firing right. That’s when I kick it into gear.

What does your workspace look like? It’s pretty clean. Spartan, almost. Small desk with dual widescreen monitors (photographers can’t get enough screen real estate). Good jazz or classical playing. A tall window right beside me with a great western view.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Social media and promotion can be a huuuuge time-suck. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s all too easy to get distracted. Don’t get me started on the danger of donuts.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? What day is this? I water the lawn on the even-numbered days. Now, on the odd days ...

What do you do when you’re not writing? I suffer from a condition known as MAD—Multiple Activity Disorder. I love photography, reading, rollerblading, biking, astronomy ... sometimes I eat. Time is my enemy.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Passion. Discipline. Like peanut butter and jam, they are.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? To think. Reason.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? Never. My mind was (is) too busy. Still, the signs were always there, even as a child. My oldest brother tells me I’d write these great stories, and he’d bring them to his friends at university. They’d read them, love them, and when he told them a ten-year-old wrote them, thought he was joking. But it wasn’t until much later in life when I started to realize there was something missing. It was a protracted thing. No light came on, no angels singing. Over a period of years, my soul told me I had to do this, or die trying.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Never cheat your audience—show nothing but respect for them. As an author and photographer, I owe it to people to give them no less than my best work. Just as I would never show someone a boring image, I would never tell them a boring story. When I pay for a book or a movie, I expect to be entertained, and my audience has the right to expect that from me.

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