Who doesn't have--and love--family stories? R. D. Vincent began collecting those passed down in his family, resulting in a book that's both magical and mystical--and a January Pulpwood Queens Bookclub Selection! I am honored to host Ray here. Thank you, Ray!
I always want to know what sparks a book--what was haunting you at the time so you knew you had to write these?
Well, about 15 years ago I started writing these stories down from my Grandmother who is on my father's side of the family. Each year I would start writing one and then something would happen during those 15 years. On one occasion, which lasted nearly 6 years, I became an elected official for my home town in Middletown, New York. On a second occasion, I fell in love and got married and as a result another 4 years went by. One day, while out speaking with a friend, he asked me, "What are these books you are always talking about? Are you ever going to publish one?" I paused for a moment and realized I had been putting it off for far too long. I told him "I think I just put it aside as my life was starting to become complete when I arrived in Texas." He then said to me, "Well if you are ever going to finish those books of yours, you are going to need a reason." It was at that moment that I thought to myself about my Grandmother and how old she was getting and how much I wanted her stories to be real and for the world to read them and for her to see them while she was alive. With that I resurrected my book writing and finished the first story in a month. The second one in two months and the third one, well that will be released January 6, 2016. It’s funny when I think back, my Grandmother asked me this same question, and I told her "I wanted to do this for you Grandma" and frankly when I told her this, I was choked up about it.
What I love so much about this collection is that they are stories that were handed down through 5 generations and are nearly 150 years old! I wanted to ask, do the stories ever change--with the times or with the storyteller?
Over the years there have been 5 different story tellers of these tales starting with my Great Great Great Grandmother and then finally to me. When I heard these tales, some of them were scattered and torn apart. So I took each tale, built a town around them, and like a patchwork quilt brought them all together in this place I so named Donbridge. Many of these stories happened in my family, but some things I have added to develop the stories further. Its very interesting that the Witch of Tamarack Hill was a real person who actually predicted the future in my ancestors home town. Many people were so bothered by her they actually hunted her down, the real witch that is, and hung her in the cemetery in an old tree. The tree is still there to this day.
Both these stories rely on folklore and myth. Why do you think these are even more important in our society today?
The simple action of storytelling amongst family members has become lost to a world of Video Games, Horrific News Stories, Reality TV, Scattered Families and this endless quest to tear each other down. These stories give Hope, Family, Loyalty and Belief that I feel is much needed in our world today. The Roman Arena Is coming back and developing a world in which our future generations think and believe is the way they should act and as such creating a new normal. They have no idea what happened in our world to get us to where we are today. The measure of past generations sacrifices; sacrifices that real people made to build our future, are lost. Many people have forgotten or just do not know about the past and many, even though it may be on the Internet, would not even really know what to begin searching for. So are these stories important to our society, absolutely.
What kind of writer are you? Do you outline or just wait for the pesky muse?
I have been asked this question and I tend to smile because, aside from a white board and an outline, I really just sit at the computer and begin typing. But I will tell you the outline changes daily. Being a thinker that never stops thinking, I am always at the computer typing in my mind and reworking stories and thinking up new ideas. For me it’s exciting and when I have an idea and no computer, I writing ideas on restaurant receipts, napkins, scraps of papers, envelops and taping them to something. Best thing I can suggest to anyone, "Don't rely on your memory and believe that you will remember your idea hours later the same way you thought of it, it's not gonna happen!" Bottom line, for me anyway, I think I need a notebook.
What’s obsessing you now and why?
Lately, I have been working out the details about my next book series which is very different from the Donbridge Series. It’s a three book series called Smith Corporation and it follows a young boy by the name of Schalion T. Sacula who finds out there is no Santa Claus and what he does about it. I also have a book of collected fables that I have created and that too will be out next year.
What question didn’t I ask that I should?
No question really, Just thank you to you and to everyone who have read my books and enjoyed them. I am excited about being a featured author at the Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend January 2016 and I am looking forward to meeting many of the folks that read my stories.