Black Rose Writing invited JD DeHart, who writes a reading and literature resources blog, to interview one of its authors, David Turri. Here is the interview.
Who are your favorite writers?
I am British, but my favorite American writers are John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut and (because I have a deep interest in the American Civil War) Bruce Catton, especially his trilogy about the Army of the Potomac, which I have read many times over the years. On the other side of the Atlantic, HG Wells, Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, Shakespeare.
What motivates you to write?
Difficult one. I’ve been writing almost every day for most of my life now, so it’s hard to pinpoint motivation. But the answer is maybe (to misquote Descartes) I write, therefore I am.
What should we know about your work?
I am basically a story-teller. For me, the story is the thing. I don’t have a specific genre that I write in. Historical fiction (Damaged Cargoes); Horror (29 Argyle Drive); occult (Escarpment); War (Escarpment; Casket) and Humor (A Pig with Three Legs). I was born in Liverpool, so my sense of humor is pretty black (as readers of A Pig with Three Legs will know.) I have spent most of my life in Japan, so that clearly influences the background for a lot of my writing. Espionage is also a genre I like a lot. One of my stories – “Shig” – is a spy novel set in the capital of the Empire of Japan. It was published by Black Rose Writing a few months ago.
How did the inspiration for your book “Escarpment” come about?
I have several Japanese acquaintances who possess the Sixth Sense. I had used some of their anecdotes in “29 Argyle Drive” and still had a hankering to write something else with an occult theme. There is in fact (as described in “Escarpment”) a seedy store that sells WW2 Japanese military memorabilia at the end of a shopping arcade in Kobe. I used to pass it all the time when business took me to that part of the city. In the window, there was a Japanese Army officer’s map case. That set me thinking – and the story began to form. In fact, the original title was “The Map Case”. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0725JJS71/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3
What advice would you offer young writers?
The same advice that was given to me. Produce, produce, produce. Secondly – and I realize this seems very old fashioned – first write with a PEN onto PAPER before transferring what you produce to a computer. I spend a lot of time on trains with pen and notebook, scribbling away; also, in local parks of an evening. Only after the first draft is done like this, chapter by chapter, do I go onto a computer. Then I print out and go back into the park with the printed pages and a pen. Repeat the process. Any number of times before the manuscript is completed. Thirdly, keep asking yourself – Does the reader need to know this? Or – Does the reader need to know all of this just now? I feel from my own struggles that we tend to write too much; we writers have too much we want to say. But too much detail can bog down, confuse or make the reader lose interest. We tend to think everything is important, but it isn’t. Sometimes the reader is better off not knowing.
What are you reading and writing now?
I am currently writing a story set in Barcelona during and after the Spanish Civil War. It is called “The Reap Hook” and I have been trying to write it for the last five or six years. As for what I’m reading, I am making another valiant effort to read TO THE END James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
Where can we learn more about you and your work?
From my Amazon page.
From my web site.
I also made a couple of You-Tube videos talking about ghosts in a downtown district of Osaka and the role they played in the inspiration for “29 Argyle Drive” and “Escarpment”.
Ghosts and Spirits in Kyobashi Osaka http://www.daveturri.com/434086084
Sixth Sense: Ghost Tales from Kyobashi http://www.daveturri.com/434086084
Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.