Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Musings--David Morrell

More Than Rambo's Father




For those of you who read thrillers and suspense fiction David Morrell's name is a household word. If you do not read thrillers and suspense you will surely recognize what he calls himself --'Rambo's father.'

But he is so much more than that.

David received the prestigious Bob Kellogg Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Internet Writing Community at Backspace's annual conference in New York city a week ago. As a member of Backspace I attended for my second time and was one of the lucky ones in the audience both for David's acceptance speech and his keynote address the following afternoon.

Among his many titles are the aforementioned Rambo story, FIRST BLOOD, BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE and more recently SCAVENGER and soon to be released SHIMMER. The last two are biotech thrillers. Haven't read SCAVENGER yet but my girlfriend who has read all his novels said it is really creeeeepy.

What David Morrell should have said is that he is the 'father' of all contemporary writers.

I am an avid reader and an occassional reader of thrillers. I love Marcus Sakey's books...as much because he is an awesome writer as because he is a dear friend of my daughter, Jennifer. I also enjoy Sean Chercover and have hosted an authors' party for both these men. I enjoy Karen Dionne, who writes environmental thrillers and have hosted her at my local Rotary Club. I also enjoyed books by Elmore Leonard, who lives nearby, as well as his son, Peter's, book, QUIVER.
Peter has a new one, TRUST ME, that I can't wait to read.

I hate to admit I had never picked up any of David Morrell's books but I bought three at the conference, have read two and loved them both. His characters are complex, his pacing is awesome and his plots are both exciting and believable. And I love his voice...like it's Halloween and you're sitting on his lap and he's telling you this scary story. I love this guy!

David shared his life story with us and it isn't pretty. It is a story he often shares so I won't repeat it all except to say that the man he is today is proof of his tenacity, internal strength and compassion. Born in Ontario Canada his father died in World War I before David was born. When he was three his mother drove him in a borrowed car to an orphanage in the country, dropped him off at the playground to join the other children, turned around and left. She did return for him after marrying a man who hated children and was abusive to both David and his mother. He attended school in Canada up until his PhD which he received at Penn State University and has lived in the USA ever since.

David has an obvious love for writing and for writers, and more than that he cares about both--so much so that he spends a large portion of his time helping young sprouts like me stay focused and inspired.

I'd like to summarize some of the inspiration he imparted at his Backspace Keynote Address.

First you have to love writing because if you are in it for the fame or the money you will likely be disappointed. He told about the disparaging comments one of his early mentor made about David's early stories.

Second you have to read a lot and write a lot because that is the only way you will improve.

Third (and this was the one that struck me hardest) you have to find your voice. Where? It's hiding out with your demons in the unpleasant basement of your subconscious. David suggested we explore our deepest emotions and then listen to our daydreams. Listen to the good ones but, more importantly, listen to the ugly ones; and never, ever, stop them until they have played out to the end.

More than one author has suggested that an unahppy childhood makes for a writer's gold and this is what they meant. And if you say your childhood was perfect so you have no inspiration--most likely you are lying!

Finally David said to keep your integrity and write the book you are intended to write. Write for the moment you are in. Don't let the market, or what others say is the market, influence you. All of that is, after all, out of your control.

Thank you David Morrell for your inspiring words and support.

1 comment:

Sharen said...

Thanks so much, Jacquie, for putting this appreciation of David Morrell, his writing, his speechmaking ability and his generosity towards other writers into words. I heartily concur with everything you said and unashamedly admit to being one of those who was in tears after his Backspace Keynote speech.