Do you have a list of people you’d like to have to dinner – just for the conversation? Well, I do and recently I’ve added David Mathias to that list. David lives in Lake Mills, Wisconsin and is leading the creative life that many dream of but don’t have the courage to pursue. David has written three novels and is working on a fourth; composed music for guitar and violin and written several symphonies, is developing a screen play and publishes a monthly e-zine, The Foam.
With all of these accomplishments David is a late bloomer: “I started late in life-after the kids were grown and time permitted. I think what brought me to writing were the stories I had heard from my father and grandfather.” David was lucky to be raised in a family that appreciated the written word and his mother was an avid reader. His book, A Memory of Kassendahl is largely based on memories of his grandfather’s farm: “I spent most of my time at my grandfather’s farm. They were the last to get a hay baler or combine and so I remember vividly riding onm the back of an old swayback horse while my grandfather cultivated the corn. I wanted to capture some of that so that my children and grandchildren would get an idea what it was like.” A Memory of Kassendahl combines a mystery and a love story and the search for what might have been.
David has published all of his fiction with AuthorHouse because like many writers he became frustrated with the traditional publishing model. “I tried the traditional route sending out hundreds of query letters-spending a small fortune on postage. I wanted to have closure on the work-beginning and end-done-finished. I self-published simply to be able to say; ‘here it is.’” David’s other publications include Monarch of Mulligans Bay about how one man risks everything in 1966 to untangle the mystery of finding buried gold from 1933; and, R-Zero is a political thriller about Will Martin who has both perfect memory and a photographic memory who risks himself to participate in a drug experiment with R-Zero.
Each of his novels is about very different topics and themes and when asked how he comes up with ideas for novels David responded: “It usually starts with one brief thought. In the case of R-Zero I was lying awake at night thinking about a lot of old baggage. I felt burdened by the fact that I have an incredibly good memory, but not with everything I should point out. So suddenly I was thinking of myself as the man with perfect memory. That thought sparked the idea for the book and I created the hero, Doctor Will Martin, the man with perfect memory, months before any news surfaced about hyperthymesia(so called perfect memory.” As many writers have expressed, creativity often comes from connecting dots that others just don’t see.
Like many local writers David has cultivated the resources of the UW-Madison including those of Christine DeSmet (profile found at www.examiner.com/authors-32-in-Madison/rex-owens published 1/26/11). David had Christine’s help with Monarch of Mulligans Bay: “ I have to give some credit here to Christine DeSmet from UW-Madison. I’m not sure how I found her, but she has been a mentor. As I would finish chapters of Monarch, I would email them to her. She was kind enough to critique my work and push me for more and more description. It made all the difference in the world and I would recommend that anyone starting out take a class or two in writing and definitely attend the writer’s workshops when they come up.”
When David looks into the crystal ball to see what commercial publishing will look like in the next five years, there’s only a cloudy picture. In some ways with his experience with AuthorHouse he makes a distinction between publishing and commercial publishing. “It seems that anyone who wants to publish-can, but it still takes the industry to get a book noticed and market it effectively.” As with many current writers you must look deeply into your own soul to determine what you want from writing and publishing. “At the end of the day, your satisfaction has to come from within and not how much money you made-although success wouldn’t hurt!”
In October 2010 David published the first edition of his E-zine – The FOAM. David’s inspiration for the e-zine came from another local weekly satirical newspaper, being a coffee house groupie and wanting something for kids to read. “I am a coffee-house junkie. There’s a shop in Lake Mills that become the place for my morning ritual. I enjoyed reading ‘The Onion’ but most of the stories were not the kind I could share with my kids. So I began writing a few spoof articles jabbing fun at the owner of the [coffee] shop, turning her into a ‘Leona Helmsley’ kind of character. She enjoyed the articles and started pushing me to write a paper. Unlike most papers out there the FOAM is a continuing sage of the writers.” Contributors to the FOAM have included Bill Gnarly, Jack McRoy, Harold Biscuit and Editor Elliot Rock (all pseudonyms – of course). In January 2011 the format changed dramatically making it easier to read. Fortunately, the FOAM has garnered some local advertising to support the “paper”.
In addition to writing David has a very full creative life. He plays guitar and has written music for guitar and violin. “I have a son who plays guitar and now it has been incredibly satisfying to play something that I wrote when I was his age and have him accompany me.” David likes to tinker and restores guitars, amps, violins and other instruments, currently he’s working on restoring a 1957 Valco National amplifier. “I kind of feel like I’m rescuing these little fellows – sort of like the work the Humane Society does only they don’t bark and I don’t have to lay down newspaper.”
Certainly David is a writer with conviction, motivation and filled with satisfaction that comes from within to know that he makes a contribution. David’s books can be found online at: Amazon.com; BarnesandNoble.com and Authorhouse. Learn more about David at: www.davidmathias.org.
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