"Just write a little bit at a time, but do it a lot of the time."

by Allison Horton, with David Temple on

Stealing Hope

Always wanting to learn more about authors, new releases, and writing advice, we recently interviewed author David Temple, who worked with Vook to create his latest ebook, Stealing Hope. It's a poignant novel about the Mathesons family, who must overcome tragedy, family secrets, dangerous adventures, and each other's struggles.

In addition to telling us more about his novel, David offered words of wisdom for any writer – novice or seasoned:

  • Regarding characters, he notes that his strongest ones are those that are amalgamations of himself and people he has met and observed.

  • Whenever a scene strikes you, scribble it down. Go home and flesh it out, even if it's just a page. It doesn't need to be right for that moment but "if it’s a story that wants to be told, it’s not going anywhere," notes David.

  • Don't worry about publishing deals and agents. Write and hone your craft.

  • And his best advice: Don’t judge yourself; you won't over think your writing or disregard. Take care of the “fine, editorial details” later.

Stealing Hope is available on Vook's store, Amazon, iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble for $3.99. Read on for the full interview below.


First, tell us about Stealing Hope.
It’s the sequel to a book I wrote in 2009, Discovering Grace, about a pastor and father who lives in a world of black and white but understands the world of grey. There is an awful tragedy involving his daughter, for which he blames his brother. Discovering Grace is about forgiveness.

Stealing Hope is the sequel, but you don’t necessarily have to read the first book. There’s a recap in the prologue and many people have told me they like that.

I received a lot of comments from people who read Discovering Grace along the lines of, “I liked your book but it kind of rang untrue to me. No one lives in a world that perfect.” And my response was always, “well, that was actually my life as a preacher’s kid. That was my dad. That was my mom. Those were some of my situations. And for those people who ask “why the therapist?” well, that is from real life too. But I’ll share that another time.

"The greatest compliment I ever received was that the characters spoke like real people."

So Stealing Hope comes up a year later. The wheels have rattled and threaten to come off. The family is still dealing with the sadness of the tragedy and their own issues. For instance, the oldest son is having trouble in school. The father is distant. The youngest boy distracts himself with the scientific aspect of faith. And the mom is on several medications for depression.

What makes this book more interesting is that the oldest brother, the troubled one, is the character that has resonated with everyone in the first book. He comes front and center in Stealing Hope. He learns a secret that his father has kept from him his whole life, so his mission is to find that answer.

Why do you think the older brother resonated with everyone?
He’s an amalgamation of people I’ve watched over the years, along with several parts of me – or who I strived to be.

Where do the other characters come from?
The pastor is my dad. The teenage boys are my brother and me. The mother is my mother.

Do you think this approach to writing characters makes them more believable?
Absolutely, I think so. The greatest compliment I ever received was that the characters spoke like real people.

You had an extremely successful first career as a radio host. Along the way, did you always know you wanted to write a book?
Yes. I loved radio because of the music, but also because along the way, I got to meet many great people. And I’ve used bits and pieces of them in some of my characters.

"The opening scene of the book slapped me in the face like a cold shower."

My parents always accused me of being a master observer, and I have a ridiculous knack for remembering obscure things. I can’t remember what I had for lunch two weeks ago, but if I visited your house and we had tea, I could tell you random things years later, like where we sat, what you were wearing, or even where the sun came in.

In 2009, a buddy of mine asked me to go to church. I wasn’t in the mood as I had drifted away from it in the organized sense. But in the service, the opening scene of the book slapped me in the face like a cold shower. I went back next week, and another scene came to me, so I went home and wrote it down. I sequestered myself over a period of weeks and wrote the book in about a year.

One of my quirks, or knacks, is that I’m always watching people and absorbing scenes, tucking them away and then pulling them out.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
I’ll start off with a point that one of my favorite authors, Lee Child, made. He was asked what he thought about writer’s block and said that firemen don’t get up in the morning and have a fire plan; policemen can’t say that they’ll stop arresting people. I’m a big proponent of “if you’re a writer, sit down and write.” I’m a writer. I write.

"I’m walking down Broadway in Manhattan and an idea comes into my head, so I duck into a Chinese restaurant to scribble my notes."

Another favorite author who I discovered not long ago is Vince Flynn. He died this week [June 19, 2013] and I honestly felt that I had lost a best friend. His story of chasing the dream, working hard and not giving up until you accomplish it is a reminder for me to keep going. To not worry about the agents and the publishing deals, but to hone your craft. And write.

People ask for writing advice, and here’s a big one: if a blurb of an idea comes into your head, sit down and craft it. I can’t tell you how many stories are in my computer right now. I’m walking down Broadway in Manhattan and an idea comes into my head, so I duck into a Chinese restaurant to scribble my notes. Then I go home and write the story. It might be one chapter, or two, or just a page. Or maybe it’s a scene and I just need to sit on it, let it simmer. If it’s a story that wants to be told, it’s not going anywhere.

My best advice ever? Don’t judge yourself. If you don’t judge it, you won’t over think it, you won’t disregard it. Just write and later on take care of the “fine, editorial details.”

Also: just write a little bit at a time, but do it a lot of the time.

There’s never a shortage of ideas in my head.

—David Temple, as told to Vook.


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