Author David Burnett Shares Their Story
About the Author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.
David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.
He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael’s journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.
David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.
His second novel, The Handfasting, will be published in summer, 2013.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I enjoy seeing people overcome obstacles to find true love. I live my stories as I write them. I root for the hero, hoping that everything will turn out well in the end. It sounds silly, but I almost cry when bad things happen, and I want to shout when good ones come along.
Tell us about how you write:
Generally, I know exactly how the book will begin, I know how the book will end, and I have a general outline of major events that will come between these two points. I do not know everything that will occur in the book, and the plot may change, sometimes radically, as I write. In my upcoming novel, The Handfasting, the basic conflict experienced by the main character changed when I was almost halfway through the first draft. Part of my enjoyment comes from discovering what my characters are going to do, and I make an effort to allow them to do as they will. I record the story, I do not create it. If I tie myself to a detailed outline, it would be difficult to allow them the freedom to be themselves.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It is not my job to dictate to my characters, it is my job to record what they say and do. As a result, I listen to them. I watch them.
Some of my best “writing” occurs between four and five in the morning when I am not fully awake. I will lie in bed and imagine the story. It will be as if I watch a video up to the point to which I have written and then I discover what my characters will do next.
If I anticipate having difficulty with a future twist in the plot, I will imagine what might happen when my characters reach that point in the story. Multiple scenarios may run through my mind, sometimes very different scenarios. Ultimately, one of them will seem “right.”
What advice would you give other writers?
Have a happy ending. The ending does not have to be predictable. Bad things can happen, characters may be hurt, characters may even die. However, it is important that the main character, the one your readers have come to love, to identify with, and to root for, must be happy when the story ends.
I also think that it is important that the story does end. Sequels are fine, but each book should be a complete story unto itself. I feel betrayed, led on, when I reach the end and discover that I must read another book, perhaps one that has not yet been written, to find out what happens! Finish the story, even if you plan to tell more in a later work.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It makes more sense to self-publish and to allow readers the opportunity to decide whether or not your work is good than to spend time and effort hunting for an agent who will hunt for a publisher who will give readers the chance to decide if your work is good.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Print publishing will slowly decline in importance. We see this in all areas: books, magazines, advertising, mail, reminders from doctors’ offices. Those in their twenties and thirties have grown up reading online. They will prefer tablets to paper.
What genres do you write?
Romance; Women’s Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print