David Alvin is a forward thinking guy. He’s a risk taker with the faith to know all will be good. David is also author of many books, most notably, “The Burning Bush is Your Friend” and also happens to be a guy I can now call my own friend. We have spoken on many subjects– books, music and David Frost. What did we talk about for this interview? Keep reading to take a look!
Q) Hi, David. Tell me about yourself– who is David Alvin?
A) I knew you’d ask this first (I HAVE read your other interviews!) I would say David Alvin is what Winston Churchill said about Russia: “A riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma.”
Nah, not really, I’m a servant of my Lord God, an acceptor of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the term “Christian” I use hesitantly for that term appears three times in the New Testament, and two of those times its derogatory), the husband of Martha, the dad to Sarah and Jeffrey, the small business owner whose business is getting bigger every day, and a creator of words upon paper that make sense! Most of the time.
Q) What’s your business? How do you feel about running your own business? Are you a man who believes in enterprise?
A) I’ll give you these answers separately:
1) My wife and I started a Shaklee business of our own — it’s a fifty-five year old health and wellness company specializing in inch loss/weight management products, environmentally friendly cleaning products, comprehensive multivitamins, and natural beauty enhancers — last March. We’re not making near what we want to make, but doing quite well. Hey, who couldn’t stand being healthier? For more information check out our business website.
I feel running my own business — it’s good that I can’t get fired from it, for one thing, but I’ve also got a lot of help locally and an excellent support system — gives me more of a sense of purpose, sometimes makes me feel more alive, that this is something I can leave to my kids and my wife should God forbid something happen to me. You may consider my view of the man of the house being the provider a bit … um, old-fashioned, but I believe I have to be the one who doesn’t give up — at my writing, in my home life, anything.
Do I believe in enterprise? I would think that’s self-evident, but how’s this: I believe in striking out on your own and being willing to take your lumps is essential to making any achievement of yours work. I’m sure you can relate to that, too, and we can both guarantee the person doesn’t live who’s never practiced enterprise to its ultimate potential!
Q) Well said, David. So can you tell me, how your faith has guided your path in life?
A) I would say my faith has helped me most by giving me a purpose beyond myself. Certainly if I didn’t have it I would have never driven up from Florida where I grew up to remain with Martha (a two-and-a-half day drive in Summer 2002) just two years after I met her online and a year after we’d met in North Dakota and I got taken aback, “She’s THE ONE!”
I was not — at least I don’t believe I was — a thief and murderer growing up, but when I was about fifteen it came across to me, “What’s the point of life?” It’s not that I didn’t believe in God and didn’t, um, go through the motions of church attendance and being an all-around “good kid” (maybe I was TOO good; I didn’t go on any dates through high school though I did ask, and I had it explained politely by one young lady that going out with me would have felt like going out with her dad).
Faith made me/makes me a risk-taker. And taking a risk makes me a better child of God, husband, father, employee, business builder, and creative artist.
Q) Your faith allows you to take risks? Can you give me an example of this?
Q) Yes, perhaps the very first risk you took?
A) Ok, ok, I’m going to go with one that was more something I had to do rather than what I wanted to do … when I was five years old and living in Illinois where I was born, I was diagnosed with a tumor. Thank God it was a benign one, or we would not be having this conversation, but the surgery I had for the tumor was in the pre-radiation therapy days (late ‘70s), the doctor had to go in and attach what’s called a shunt to the back of my head and drain the fluid from the tumor out of my head and into an incision by my stomach.
Prior to that, I remember doing well in Kindergarten (my reading was so good that I got to go to the first grade class at my elementary school for a while and read with them) but not outstanding, at least academically.
When I moved to Florida and started school there in First Grade, oh man, did I blaze a trail! Sometimes I acted smarter than I was, but I could just pick up concepts and words faster and place them in context better. I recall I heard the word “clone” on a TV show one weekend in fall of ’78 and the next week in class we had to name words rhyming with (or was it ending in) O-N-E.
I came out with the word “clone” and the teacher was saying it wasn’t a word. I imagine it wasn’t used greatly in the late ‘70s, but I politely argued it was, and explained myself to the teacher and the guidance counselor in the room, and … I don’t know, I got the impression then you could learn AND teach as well!
Made me want to be a teacher for a long time, and in a way I still am.
Q) You have a very inspirational story there David. So let’s focus on your writing. How does David Alvin like to write?
A) How do I like to write? Usually, as it occurs to me. The idea of writing for a living didn’t really occur to me until I started to read a Janet Scarborough novel in my high school days and stopped myself in the middle of chapter three and said, “I could WRITE a better book than that!”
So I started … and got to a chapter and a half of a story tentatively titled “Suicide Progeny” as well as a few others my freshman English teacher was really impressed with. Then I put ’em aside, and university happened. Life happened. Work happened, and then gone were the nineties.
Come the turn of the century, I’d moved up to be with Martha in North Dakota and came across the older stories I’d written and found myself with a bit of time to ask, “What happened next, then what happened next, then what happened next?” incorporating some characters I’d created in high school and the few chapters became twenty-eight and that became my first novel Progeny.
That led to an idea for the second novel “Legacy” (a sequel to Progeny published in 2006) and a sequel to THAT (“Victory,” to be released soon). Then I discovered National Novel Writing Month.
Q) I know you are quite prolific. How many books do you currently have in print?
A) As of now, I’ve published nine books via self-publication — five novels, three Bible studies, and one book-length poem.
- The Chariot of Israel, and The Horsemen Thereof: A Study of Second Kings
- Unto The Brethren: A Study of Acts
- The Burning Bush Wants To Be Your Friend
Q) Tell me more about your novels. What are they about? Where are they set? Are they connected? Do they stand alone?
A) The novels are mostly set in a world (Progeny, Legacy, Litany) where the heroic age was the day before yesterday and certain villains and powers have taken advantage of that.
The Carbonari Players my first NaNoWriMo novel was a pure fantasy, a murder mystery set in the afterlife, if you can believe that.
The Book of Numbers is a novel set during the time of the Biblical book of Numbers with Moses, Aaron, and the like fighting to set the children of Israel up in the Promised Land — that may be the novel I’m most proud of, because I wanted to tell the story it’s often hard to get even if you study your Bible, to make my readers realize it’s pretty exciting.
Q) You mentioned your non-fiction work, The Burning Bush wants to be your Friend: A Study of Exodus. Can you tell me more about that one?
A) The Burning Bush is a chapter-by-chapter Bible study about the book of Exodus, when not only does Moses discover who he is — he’s the one who sees the burning bush — but the children of Israel are reminded who they are. Originally, this was a series of blogs I wrote in 2009 and I didn’t want some “random” accident to make them disappear.
Q) Of all your works, which is your personal favourite?
A) Depends on what time of day you ask me! *laughs*
Seriously, The Book of Numbers is my favorite novel; Litany is my favorite story (I wrote that from a first person point of view); and The Chariot of Israel (a study of the Old Testament’s book of Two Kings) is my favorite Bible study — so far at least.
Among those three, The Book of Numbers because it’s a retelling of a great story a lot of people don’t remember.
I use the capline on the back cover:
“The story everybody knows. The story nobody knows.”
Q) Where do you find the inspiration to write?
A) I keep my eyes open, really — no lightning bolt from the skies needs to hit me! If I hear something incorrectly or an especial title or a direct quote from somebody hits me — well it does, and sometimes it’ll be a year or two before I expand on it in a story or within my novel (I’ve got journals going back more than twenty years). Additionally, I have all kinds of writings I’ve accumulated which drives Martha crazy sometimes, but I’ve gotten it more manageable.
Q) What are your personal thoughts on self-publishing?
A) I feel it’s the only way you will get noticed most times. Traditional publishing requires you to know somebody who knows somebody and/or be willing to outlay major cash, and maybe end up with a lot of copies of your own book to sell …
I used to think it was my goal to be a “list” author, but now it’s not.
Q) What is your goal now, then?
A) My goal is just to write — of course, I don’t mind ending up one day on the New York Times bestseller list or some such thing — and express myself, and maybe have a few people see something in my work that encourages them to write their own.
Q) Do you ever find people writing to you asking your advice on their own writing?
A) Sometimes … or I find myself giving advice when someone wants to write or checking over someone’s work. For someone just starting out, I just say write not to impress anybody or be fearful of offending somebody, but write because you’ve got something to say.
Q) For the editing and proofreading stages of making a book happen– do you use professionals?
A) No, I don’t right now … unless you consider me one. *laughs*
Q) What’s your opinion of bloggers who get paid to do interviews?
A) Provided you know the fee up front and you, the interviewee, are satisfied with the finished product, it certainly works!
Q) David, what is next for you? Another book? Another poem? Tell me what’s going on inside your head.
A) Another novel. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but various issues kept me from getting in live. I’m also considering an upcoming movie likely to resurrect interest in the Land of Oz that might have been a blessing in disguise. It’s called “Refugees From the Emerald City. There’s also my third hero-based novel, “Victory” that I want to finish and bring out but something’s missing with it at the moment.
Q) How many books do you have sketched out in your mind?
A) Maybe five or six that come to mind right now … and childrens’ books … and another two Bible studies at least.
Q) If you could give any advice to a young writer, what would it be?
Don’t worry about being right, don’t worry about being accurate, don’t worry about being interesting — these are all things that can be worked on — just start.
Q) Thank you for this wonderful interview, David.
A) Thanks, Nick.
I hope you all enjoyed my words with David! Check out his entry on my Hot Books page here!