David W. Thompson reacted to one of my Tweets and we began chatting. He was so kind to read and review my book (thank you again so much for this, David!) and, as I was intrigued by the blurb of his book, I bought his book, Sister Witch-The life of Moll Dyer (Legends of the Family Dyer), and I am reading it now. It is a wonderfully written book, with many details and descriptions of real-life experiences of the ‘olden days,’ that I can thoroughly recommend.
David W. Thompson
You’ve always been reading, but you’ve had an extremely varied career before you began writing. What made you decide to write?
Most of that variety was prior to my stint in the Army. I was lucky—in terms of job security—to stay with the same aerospace/defense company for 32 years. That’s rather unusual nowadays. I’ve always written, but with my little people grown up (and retirement!!!!), I’ve discovered the time to pursue it in a meaningful way. It’s what I’ve always aspired to, but making a solid living created a detour.
Your first book ‘Sister Witch’ is about the life of Moll Dyer. How much research did you do into Moll Dyer’s life and how much of your story is true?
As you may know, Moll is both a historical figure and a well-developed myth in this part of the U.S. There’s a lot of evidence to support her existence including Moll Dyer’s Run (a small stream) and a local road named after her that traverses her old homestead. Her rock (where she died leaving knee and hand imprints) is on display at our county courthouse. There is also a letter written by a colonist describing her (in very unflattering terms). Despite this, some still doubt she was real. Most historical evidence was destroyed in a courthouse fire, but after nearly 350 years, it seems every local family has an oral tradition about her! I spent many months interviewing folks about their version of her tale and started a Facebook page (Moll Dyer Fans) to gather more. Sister Witch is a novel incorporating all of these facts, tales and divergent points of view. Her story is a tragedy, and I cast her as I felt she deserved. Both in life and in legend, her story is heartrending. How much is true? I can’t say with any certainty, I only repeated what she whispered in my ear.
The book has supernatural/paranormal topics. Do you believe in the supernatural? Have you had a supernatural experience yourself?
Yes and yes, but you have to promise not to tell! Isn’t that what people say for fear of being mocked for their experiences? On the Facebook page I mentioned above, I received so many PMs, but very few posts on the site. Most were “don’t mention my name” comments. But I digress. Yes, I saw both of my grandfathers after their deaths. Also, Sister Witch would never have been published if not for a nudge from my Mom—years after she passed. (Love and miss you, Mom!)
In your newest short story, ‘My name is Samantha,’ you feature another woman as the main character. What is your reason to write female main characters?
Hmm, I never really thought about that! I like women, and I don’t mean just that way. I grew up with very strong women in my life and respect how hard that must be in western society. I love what women represent—creators and nurturers… protectors of the innocent. From a literary perspective, I feel dialog is easier with women. I hate to make a blanket statement, but women seem to be so conversationally brave to me! While a group of hardheads are in a corner bragging about a favorite sports team, women are at the table discoursing on life, love, and solving the problems of the world. There are thoughts and feelings I find hard to make believable coming out of a man’s mouth. That said, Book 2 in the trilogy (My Father’s Blood) is told from Moll’s male descendant’s POV. The rough draft for Book 3 is split between the male and female main characters.
You also write under a pseudonym. Do you find it hard to keep up with the different names and accounts?
It can be. I don’t make a big secret of my pseudonym, but I thought at the time that it would be easier to segregate my writings by genre. Davina Guy also writes paranormal, but with a more romantic twist. I confess I spend much more effort on my “real” name accounts, so I’m not convinced it was the right move for me.
Which writer has inspired you the most and why?
One? How about a few? First, everything Thoreau and Tolkien ever touched. Albert Camus’s ‘The Stranger’ really struck a nerve with me. I love dark fiction, so I have to throw a thank you out to Poe, Mary Shelley, and Stephen King.
Does your family help you in any way writing your stories?
It would be impossible to separate life and family from my writing. I was blessed with a loving family and wonderful kids, but there’s always the “what ifs” simmering in the back of my brain. As a parent, nightmares revolved around “bad things” happening to my children. What if something terrible happened? What if I wasn’t there to protect them? Of course, everyone has real-life trials and tribulations, moments that can turn your life dark or that you can rise above. That’s the allure of dark fiction—exploring those dark corners and what-ifs. Will your character be the guy or gal cowering from the scratching sounds under the bed or will they grab a baseball bat and dive in!
Have you already begun writing a new story? If so, what is it about?
Book 2 in the Dyer Legends trilogy is in editing. Moll’s spirit makes a cameo appearance. The rough draft of Book 3 is about done. I’ve also started a novel about a Native American couple. Still not sure exactly where that one is going, but we will see where the characters take me. That segment of history is particularly attractive to me.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, David. I can’t wait for Book 2 to come out 🙂
David W. Thompson’s books are available on Amazon.