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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dustin LaValley Interview, pt 1 of 3: One Writer's Beginnings

You're "from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York." How do you see that area? How has it shaped you as a writer? 

It's beautiful. Warm days you have trails to hike and cliffs to jump from and winter brings plenty of snow. No other place I'd rather live. I've written novels on benches on the boardwalk at the lake on summer nights when the strip, a tourist attraction, is alive with big city folk and I've written on the side of a cliff beside waterfalls miles from any city. I use the location for almost all of my work, the atmosphere and feel of the area, the tone of the people. 

When did you first start writing? 

College. I've always had that urge to create, though it wasn't until college that I began finding that the English writing assignments were taking up my time because I found pleasure in them. From those assignments I began experimenting and it took.  

What's the story of your first sale? first book? first screenplay? 

My first story sold was to an anthology titled Sick. I had been reading the online magazine The Dream People for some time and decided to submit a story. It was rejected for TDP but the editor mentioned it was a good fit for the anthology and of course I agreed.  

You're also "a national kumite champion and retired Sensei of Shito Ryu karate, Judo and jujutsu having had civilian contracts with several government agencies and military units in hand-to-hand and situational combat." As an expert in combat, does it drive the violence in your fiction, or is it a fascination with violence that drove you into your expertise? 

It sure does. For The Deceived I used some empty-hand techniques, locks and submissions that I was taught as a student and eventually helped teach to law enforcement. Coming from that background I have always had a problem with fight scenes in movies and books. Too unrealistic. I like it simple and quick, effective with muscle memory driving the body to the situation. In my fight scenes I like to keep that in mind and keep them short and effective to the story, used as drive instead of fluff. 

You said, "the most defining factor [that inspired you to write] was my experience with chronic illness, surgery and hospitalization." What can you tell us about that? 

In my late teens I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, at 23 I became very ill and was hospitalized and required surgery. They removed my large intestine in order to keep me alive. During that time period of about 10 months in the hospital I began writing for more than myself, began to take it seriously. 

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