Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Hambledown Dream by Dean Mayes: Interview

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...

Firstly, Laurie – let me thank you up front for having me today. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Welcome! I am so happy you could join me here today.  I appreciate this chance to learn more about you and your book. Shall we begin?

How did you start your writing career?

I say in my bio that I have been writing in one form or another since child hood but I guess you could say that I marked the beginning of my career when I decided to start my official site and blog back in 2008. At that time, the seeds for a couple of writing projects had been sown a couple of years before-hand, but the project that eventually became my first published novel started life on my blog – mainly because I had decided that I would never be published. I began posting this story because it was one I dearly wanted to tell and I saw the blog as a way of telling it. I never imagined that my blog would lead me to being “discovered”.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Europe ranks at the top of the list, specifically Northern France, because my family (on my Dad's side) is descended from a group of people called the Huguenots. They were a Protestant group that were persecuted for their beliefs by the Catholic Church and eventually fled to Western Ireland (which is another place I would dearly love to visit). I am a sucker for French cooking and Irish beer so I guess those are an ancillary benefit of wanting to travel to those places.

A place to visit that ranks high on my dream list is Austrailia. :)
  Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Travel does indeed play a large part in my novel “The Hambledown Dream” and I'll add here (cryptically) that travel is not confined to the physical notion. I've portrayed two cities in the novel – Chicago and Melbourne – and I've illustrated both cities quite vividly I think. I've had comments from readers saying that they would dearly love to visit Melbourne, based on how I portrayed it in the novel.

Tell us about your current release.

“The Hambledown Dream” is a paranormal love story that focuses on the lives of two young men – one with the world at his feet and the other seemingly determined to destroy what is left of his pitiful existence. However at a critical moment, the former – Denny Banister, is struck down in his prime while the latter – Andy DeVries, is snatched from near certain death. What happens next is a journey of discovery and redemption as Andy begins a journey to find the woman who has begun to plague his dreams and his memories – though he doesn't know why. The connective tissue between the two young men is the classical guitar – which both men are incredibly gifted in.

Tell us about your next release.

My publisher (Central Avenue Publishing, Vancouver), and I are currently in rounds of edits on my second novel which is titled “Gifts Of The Peramangk”.  This novel tells the story of a young Aboriginal girl named Ruby, who lives in abject poverty in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, Australia. Amidst appalling domestic violence, ingrained racism and deep seeded despair, Ruby ecks out a meager existence with her grandmother and Aunt and Uncle. But Ruby has a gift. She is an undiscovered violin prodigy, having been taught the instrument by her ailing grandmother, Virginia, who herself was taught the violin during one of Australia's darkest periods – The White Australia Policy. Gifts Of The Peramangk will see a release in Quarter 3, 2012.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

I dedicated “The Hambledown Dream” to the memory of the late Australian journalist Matt Price, who died in 2007, after a short battle with cancer. Price wrote a regular weekly column in our national daily newspaper “The Australian” which was a wonderfully acerbic, satirical and affectionate observation of Australian politics and daily life which I absolutely loved. Matt Price was so accessible, speaking across the political divide to people from all walks of life and he never spoke down to them. When he died, he was only 46 and he left behind a beautiful wife and family. The world is indeed a lesser place without him.

Who is your favorite author?

I often cite Simon Winchester (The Surgeon Of Crowethorne, The Map The Changed The World). His books often take subjects that would normally not be considered the stuff of great story telling and turns them into enthralling accounts of little-known vignettes of history. The Map That Changed The World for example, is an account of Britain's first ever geological survey map that was constructed by a surveyor named William Smith. Not necessarily ground shaking stuff. However, Smith's passion for understanding our Earth lead him to discover the fossil record underneath our feet and he inadvertently touched off an entirely knew field of science – as well as upsetting a lot of conventional faith based ideas of our very existence. It is a fascinating book and one of my favorites.

Who are your books published with?

I am represented by Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing in Vancouver, Canada and “The Hambledown Dream” is published under their imprint. I met Michelle quite unexpectedly when she spotted my writing when it was up on my blog and suggested that I should consider taking it seriously. We have developed an insanely good working relationship that is not at all hampered by our respective locations (I in Australia and she in Canada). And Michelle is incredibly supportive and strives to work collaboratively with all of her authors. She is one of those who I regard as a pioneer in delivering quality fiction and non fiction to the digital platform. Michelle saw that potential in the digital platform long before many others did and she has honed her business strategy around that, whilst pursuing the bricks and mortar of print publishing which, for an author, remains one of the pinnacle achievements. There is nothing quite like holding a copy of your own novel in your hand. 

How do you describe your writing style?

It's a lyrical style I think. I often like to experiment with language and prose and I am quite drawn to the style of writing that was employed around the turn of last century. That is not to say that I devote myself entirely to the language and word usage of that period, but there is something lyrical and unconventional in that style that I find really appealing. It's almost like a song – if you can appreciate that.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

Pantser – definitely a pantser. It's because I hate conformity and I love to build things up from a really abstract place. That is not to say, I don't structure my writing. I usually start with a skeleton outline but after that, I allow myself to discover my story and my characters as I progress. It leaves me open to change and it allows for a satisfying writing experience.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

I'm listening to “Maple Ridge” by New York indie-folk outfit “Swear & Shake” right now. They are an amazingly talented band who I discovered last year while I was searching around for some new music to listen to. I have both their self titled EP and “Maple Ridge” at the top of my playlist.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Pleasure. Pain. Serendipity.

Born in country Victoria, Australia, Dean grew up with an early love of words - a trait a little out of step for most children of his age. His creative streak was inspired by his third grade teacher, Mrs. Furnell, who challenged him in his creative writing exercises which he initially "sucked at". After producing a surprisingly poignant piece about a soldier's experience of war (based on his grand father), Dean received his first writing award - a Purple Dragon sticker.

Dean lives in Adelaide with his partner Emily, their two children Xavier and Lucy and Dean's cattle dog Simon. He is currently working on his second novel which carries the working title "Gifts Of The Peramangk" which he hopes to release in mid 2012.

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Enter to win a "signed" digital copy of The Hambledown Dream. 
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Giveaway ends September 1  11:59PM Central Time.


PuttPutt1198Eve said...

I was hoping to find out where the name "Hambledown" came from when I read the post. Now I also want to know about "Peramangk." Can you please enlighten me or do I need to read both books?

Dean Mayes said...

I can help out on two fronts. Hambledown is a fictional town based on two real world towns on the New South Wales South Coast where I spent a lot of summer holidays as a child. Merimbula and Eden are sleepy fishing villages that are situated on the azure shores of the Pacific ocean. They're quite pretty places and are filled with happy memories for me.

The name Peramangk refers to a region of the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia that was populated by an Aboriginal tribe of the same name. They were a culturally sophisicated group if Aborigines whose artistry and music was highly regarded.

The Hambledown Dream is available in print and digital formats while Gifts of the Peramangk should be hitting shelves in October.

Obviously, I highly recommend both titles. :-)

Karen Arrowood said...

Wow, this exerpt really pulled me in. I really enjoy paranormal romance, and this one really looks like a must-read! Thanks for the opportunity.