Saturday, April 10, 2010

7 Questions: Dave Lewis

In both “Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man” (EQMM Feb, 2010) and “The Pride of the Crocketts” (A Fistful of Legends), you display a knack for comedic flourishes. Were you inspired by a funny uncle or are your influences literary in nature?

Hm. It’s sort of a chicken or egg question. Does my mind work that way because that’s what I like to read, or do I like reading that stuff because my mind works that way? I do know I had a fondness for The Three Stooges and Heckle and Jeckle before I encountered any funny fiction. But as soon as I started reading I was drawn to Mark Twain. Later, my idols were guys like Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and my favorite writer for the past 30 years has been Robert B. Parker. I can read the Spenser books over and over and still laugh out loud. “The Pride of the Crocketts” is the result of prolonged exposure to Robert E. Howard’s Breckenridge Elkins. Bottom line? I’m not trying to be funny. It’s just happens.

Why does that American folk hero, frontiersman, and politician from Texas/Tennessee still captivate us one hundred and seventy four years after his death at the Alamo?

I know why he captivates me. As presented by Disney, he was a hero with a grin, great one-liners and a self-deprecating sense of humor. Plus he had the coolest theme song ever. Like Davy’s grandson in “The Pride of the Crocketts”, I have the old guy stuck in my head. “Be always sure you’re right,” he tells me, “and then go ahead.”

Outside of reading and writing, what occupies Dave Lewis the most?

Sleeping is number one, which seems a shameful waste of time. TV and blogging vie for second place. The rest is devoted to such thrilling pursuits as cooking, eating, walking the dogs and cleaning the cat box. My wife and I enjoy traveling when time and money permit. We like cities with plenty of history (our favorite so far is London) and most recently explored New Orleans and Philadelphia.

When it comes to blogging, do you feel that takes up too much of your time?

Absolutely. It’s addictive. I’m trying hard to limit myself to one post a day, but many of those take longer than they should. Still, all the great people I’ve “met” through blogging make it time well spent. My main problem is incompatible technology. The photo processing programs I use most are on my old Windows 95 computer, and won’t work with Windows 7, and only the Windows 7 computer is connected to the internet. I’m crawling under the desk several times a day to move the monitor plug back and forth. I’m thinking of getting knee pads.

Why the pen name of Evan Lewis?

Evan is my middle name. I’ve never liked David Lewis and Dave Lewis seems too common. Evan Lewis ain’t great, but it’s easier for me to picture on a book cover. I envy folks born with cool and distinctive names.

What are you reading right now?

For pleasure, I’m digging my old hardboiled hardcovers out of storage and rereading Jonathan Latimer, Norbert Davis, Richard Sale, Cleve F. Adams and others. Pulps, too, though they’re harder to hold in one hand while I reach for my coffee or fend off dogs and cats. Before I sit down to write I read a chapter of one of Parker’s Spenser novels and a scene or two from one of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon books (the first book of that series, which I highly recommend, is The Last Kingdom). Which leads to the next question . . .

What's next?

I have four novel projects going. Two historical adventures are done in polished second-draft but need plot-juggling. I wrote a third, shorter historical during NaNoWriMo, but it’s still pretty sloppy. The fourth book is a contemporary mystery, maybe two-thirds done. The one I’m trying hardest to finish and get out of here is a first-person historical, hence the ritual reading of Parker and Cornwell. I’m striving for a style somewhere between the two. I’m eager to write a couple of Skyler Hobbs novels, too, but I’m trying to make myself send one of the old ones out before staring something new. (Except, of course, for the western another blogger and I are considering collaborating on . . .)


David Barber said...

Another great interview David. Evan has a great blog which is well worth a look.

Regards mate, David.

P.s. Can you recommend a good western for a 'first timer' to read...Me.

David Cranmer said...

I would start with an action packed western like Robert J. Randisi's BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY or a classic like Jack Schaefer's SHANE.

Matthew P. Mayo said...

Hey Dave ... and Dave/Evan/Dave....
Great interview. I'm a daily visitor to both your blogs and always feel well served. Keep on!

And Dave ... Barber! I second the "Shane" recommendation. And a stroll through McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" never hurt a soul and helped convert a few fine folks to the Western cause. It's a fine read.


David Cranmer said...

Oh, yeah. LONESOME DOVE would be the perfect first western.

Evan Lewis said...

Dang, David, you missed a great opportunity to plug A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS as the first western every right-thinking human should read. But the ones you and Matt suggest are great.

Thanks for the opportunity to address your distinguished readers.

Laurie Powers said...

Thanks for a great interview of one of my favorite people on the blog scene.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Top stuff. Evan's blog is addictive! I LOVE it. His short stories are classics . Cracking interview.

Cormac Brown said...

An interesting insight to the mind behind Skyler Hobbs, though I do wish you asked just how big his book collection is. I am willing to bet that Mr. Lewis has a library to rival that of Old Alexandria.

David Cranmer said...

Evan, Dang is right. Geez, I'm not the first to call in promotion am I?

A short story collection like LEGENDS would open a first timer to all types of styles.

Laurie, I agree. Evan is one of the must stops.

Paul, His Skyler, along with Dave Zeltserman's Julius Katz, is more fun than a short story aficionado should be allowed to have.

Cormac, True. A very good question.

Mr. Lewis, how big is your book collection?

Heath said...

Another enjoyable 7 questions.

David Cranmer said...

Glad you liked it, Heath.

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

Great interview, I liked it. :)

Evan Lewis said...

How big is my book collection? I wish I knew. Last time I moved (quite a few years back) almost all of it went into storage. The good news is - every time I haul out a box I discover things I forgot I had. The bad news is - when I want to lay hands on a particular book, it's like one of the labors of Hercules.

David Cranmer said...

Kenneth, Thanks. And I appreciate you stopping by.

Evan, My whole life is in storage. My wife and I finally managed to get everything stuffed into one unit and one basement. Still, I'll be rediscovering books for years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lovely! Even for the non-western readers in the audience.

Clare2e said...

Evan- You make me feel much less guilty about my scattershot projects. Even real writers do it : )