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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Westward Dreams - D M Harrison interview

When looking into the ice-blue eyes of an Indian, Kit Bayfield's face was distorted by a myriad of emotions. The man standing before him was claiming to be his son, but he could see only a stranger. After believing his son dead for over twelve years, Kit struggled to make sense of the revelation. Russell and Tyler, his two other sons had been unable to find Mitch and yet here he was, calling himself the Comanche name of Broke. Kit reckoned folks, in their aptly named hometown of Hell, would find Broke's return difficult. Everyone should have played a part in searching for the boy and now his son's face was full of hatred and it looked like it wasn't only his brothers he had a quarrel with: the whole town was on his payback list. 

Author D M Harrison always had the urge to write, but like many of us the duties of a working life tended to cut down on the time devoted to writing, however after taking early retirement Diana, (well what did you think the D stood for? ) found that she now had the time to devote to following her dream. There followed a learning curve which involved various creative writing courses and soon Diana found herself selling short stories to various magazines.

"I've had enough reject slips to paper a whole room (large size) A couple of the books were rejected and I worked on them again and sent the elsewhere and they were accepted. You have to persevere and believe in your own abilities. A writers group is good and reading out loud helps a lot."

It was this perseverance that led to Diana making her first novel sale, with the western Robbery in Savage Pass and since then she has gone from strength to strength.

"My books come out under the name of DM Harrison because I didn't want to put male readers off. I don't write romantic books. Robbery in Savage Pass managed to reach no 1 in the UK Amazon Black Horse Western charts (Aug 2011) and my second book Kato's Army, made it to no 7." 

What is it about the western, I wondered, that appeals across the sexes? Once the genre was considered solely a male preserve and yet Diana is not alone in  the Black Horse stable, and there are several other female western writers producing books for the imprint.

"I love western films and TV programmes - I used to watch Clint Eastwood in Rawhide (I was extremely young!) My favourite story was always the lone avenger fighting for justice - bit of an anti-hero - but always on the side of right and wouldn't kill for the fun of it."
Diana's westerns read true and perhaps the fact that she had visited the areas where she sets her stories have something to do with this.
"I have been along the West Coast of America and seen the ghost towns and viewed end of the Oregon Trail just as the travellers of the 1800s would've experienced. Fantastic. I have visited the film sets in Alicante Spain where the Spaghetti Westerns were made."
So what advice would Diana give to others inspired by her story to take up the pen?
"I read as much as I can - if it's a best seller then it's as good as a writing course because they teach you what makes a reader carry on beyond the first sentence.I read plenty of westerns both modern and from the past era. I love Louis L'amour and Zane Grey. I like Appaloosa by Robert B Parker as a book but the humour didn't work as well in the film. Elmore Leonard is a gritty writer.... in fact the list is endless and difficult to say who is the best.

 I love Jack Reacher, Lee Child's hero - a present day cowboy I think. I read Stephen King - he's a master of the short story as well as being able to spin the block buster yarn. I'm reading at this present time George RR Martin Game of Thrones - got all the books and I'm working through them - a writer's dream inventing a whole new world. I haven't seen the TV series -  I want the characters to grow in my head rather than see a producers idea of what they look like."
Diana's Amazon page can be found HERE
Check out the all action eBook, Blood Brothers HERE

1 comment:

old guy rambling said...

Wow-D M reads the same stuff I do. I will be trying out one of her books soon. I am always looking for new writers to follow.