Sunday, June 26, 2011
Guest Author - Douglas Carlyle
My guest author this week is not what I consider a senior, but he tells me he is old enough to belong to the AARP, so that means he qualifies for my blog.
Doug Carlyle has written a book with the fascinating title: “In Search of the Fuller Brush Man.” The name really takes me back to my childhood, when I lived in a small town in South Central British Columbia. We had no access to any large stores; there was no television; and, of course, the war was raging in Europe. So the monthly visit from the Fuller Brush Man was about as exciting as it got in the area. One of the questions I asked Doug was about the plot for his story. Here is the interview.
Betty: People hardly think about the Fuller Brush men anymore, Doug. How did the idea for a plot based on that job come about?
Doug: The book is not so much about the ‘man’ as it is those words – “Fuller Brush Man”. My mother passed away in 1987. While she was dying of cancer, she kept a journal that I still have in my possession. The last words she ever wrote were, “Fuller Brush Man”. Hence, the search begins...only it was for the central character in the novel, Sean Marcum. In the book, he strives to find the meaning of those words.
Betty: Is Sean Marcum modelled on a real person at all? He is rather obsessive.
Doug: Sean isn’t so much obsessed with the idea of finding the meaning of his mother’s swan song. Rather, he is lousy at solving riddles. His mother always taught him life’s most important lessons via riddles, and he is convinced she has left him one final one to solve. By taking every wrong turn imaginable trying to solve this ultimate enigma, he amasses a huge collection of Fuller Brush memorabilia while chasing each and every red herring. Fortunately, he solves the mystery and benefits from its profound message, as will all of the readers of this novel.
Is he real? Let’s just say that much of this novel is biographical and leave it at that.
Betty: What actor do you envision would play him, if they made a movie out of your book?
Doug: I am a very visual person. As such, I have to have a clear image of a character. So, in fact, I create a cast for all of my characters. Kevin Costner would play Sean Marcum. He is of the correct age, good looking, confident, yet somewhat timid. Much like what I see in the mirror each time I look into it. Oh, I neglected to say, arrogant.
Betty: Can you tell us a little about your background? You live in the beautiful state of Texas, I believe.
Doug: I am a geek by education, though I think somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn. I graduated an electrical engineer from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, incidentally my home town, and one setting for my novel. Throughout grade school, high school, and college, I wrote articles and stories that received great reviews. But I traded the pen for a slide rule (now I should fit comfortably into your ‘senior’ group) and spent 26 years manufacturing chips for computers, games, and phones so that now the human race no longer has to interact with one another on an intimate basis. Read this as I have serious regrets with respect to what technology has done to society. Like I told someone recently, the inventor of the Facebook will long be forgotten. But we will never forget Ernest Hemingway.
Happily, once I holstered my slide rule, I picked up the pen once more...okay, a laptop. I write when I can. The back cover of my novel reads, “Doug lives in the Texas Hill Country. Against this backdrop of mountains, valleys, live water, and wildlife, he is writing fiction intended to touch all of his readers in a very special way”.
I still work. One of the wrong turns I took was away from the medical field. I should have been a doctor. I learned that too late to do anything about it. For thirty years now, I have been a paramedic in the rural areas where I have lived in Central Texas. This is my medical ministry. The top of my home page at www.dbcarlyle.com reads, “Writing Fiction & Saving Lives...All in a Day’s Work”.
Betty: That's a very important job, Doug. Paramedics saved my husband's life when he had his heart attack so I think highly of that particular profession.
I know you are also very busy, at the moment, marketing this book with book tours and readings, etc. but, even so, I believe you will soon have another book published. Can you tell us about that?
Doug: The title is Vinegarone. It is about a paramedic (sounds autobiographical already) who befriends a homeless woman whom he rescues from the streets. They fall in love and retreat to his ranch in a mysterious region known as Vinegarone (it’s a real place). All is well except for one problem. She is not truly a homeless person. What’s more, someone is out to kill her.
I am writing the final chapters this summer and hope to have it available in November this year. Look for it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There will be both paperback and e-versions.
Betty: Well, that should certainly be another fascinating read. Thank you for being my guest author this week, and I wish you much continued success with your writing career. Looks like it’s off to a great start.