David Dun Bestselling Thriller Author
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International Thriller Writers Bestselling Thriller Writer David Dun

– C O M M O N   Q U E S T I O N S –

We’ve provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If we don't answer a burning question you have, please feel free to e-mail your question to us at david@daviddun.com.

I attempt to answer all mail, but may enlist the help of colleagues whenever I'm seriously behind on a deadline.

Where can I purchase your books?

Visit your favorite bookstore, wherever books are sold, or one of your favorite online retailers. Some of the popular stores carrying David's book are:

Amazon Barnes&Noble

The publisher's price for The Black Silent, Unacceptable Risk, Overfall, At the Edge and Necessary Evil is $6.99.

Are you currently working on another book?

I am always working on a new book, it seems. My sixth book, is without a title but the working title is: “They Will Kill You if You Tell”.

The idea of The Black Silent came out of a conversation you had with a friend. How did you make the leap from a conversation to writing about it?

Amazing science with huge ramifications that is largely unknown to the general public is hard to come by. The minute I heard about these bizarre organisms I wanted to write about them: about the methane they manufacture; about their incredible longevity; and about the potential for human medicine in all of the new genes we are discovering.

With respect to the science aspects of the The Black Silent, in a few words, what is the story about?

It’s about one man’s vision of a garden-of-eden society made possible by the discovery of an extraordinary organism. Ironically it’s also about the apocalypse that the organism might inflict on planet earth. And because it’s a thriller it’s about how desperate evil minds might lust after such a secret and do anything to obtain it. Ultimately the fascination is created because these organisms are as real as the Brooklyn Bridge. For more details see the Facts Behind the Fiction Section.

You consult with a molecular biologist? Is he the person who “green lights” the science in your novels?

Dr. Michael Kinsella is a significant help in all my novels that relate to molecular biology (that is, all of my novels except At The Edge). I usually try to get him to read most paragraphs concerning the science in the drafting stage although with his schedule and mine I can’t say he vets every science paragraph. Dr. William Pendergrass has also been a great help on this book in particular. Michael sees most of the science as I write it and certainly all of the concepts are discussed. Because he is a brilliant working scientist and has a broad theoretical background he is very helpful. There is also a great deal in print about the science and I have fine researchers who bring me many journal articles, which inspire many of the fictional ideas. The home page lists other generous scientists who helped me along the way.

Where does the science end and the fiction begin?

It’s supposed to be seamless. We try to build a very strong foundation based on real science before we take the flight of fancy. On my website we are creating a section called “The Facts Behind the Fiction,” and there we will explain what is fact, what is reasonable conjecture, and what is fiction. Certainly we owe that to interested readers.

You are a lawyer, but instead of legal thrillers, you write about science. Wouldn’t legal thrillers be easier?

Perhaps. But we have to write about what fascinates us. I follow my passion, and that’s big science that might change our lives, or at the very least astonish us.

Does your fan mail deal with the science in your books or the fast-paced action around it?

The fan mail is almost always about the “thrill” and almost never deals with the specifics of the science. When people read my books they want a fast-paced story, and they want to be intrigued as the mystery is solved. They want something fascinating at the end of the rainbow. But without the pace and the “thrill” they will never get to the rainbow’s end.

Where did you get your idea for your first novel Necessary Evil?

I like love stories where opposites are attracted. I enjoy people being out of their element, like Jessie, but I also enjoy characters that have great or unusual insight and expertise like Kier’s survival ability. I like a sense of the mystical although I always like a backdoor natural explanation. (Readers can decide for themselves how they wish to interpret these events.)

So for Necessary Evil I fashioned a story about a rugged, back country Native American veterinarian getting together with the ultimate city dweller, threw in a tale of harrowing survival, and wove in mysticism with the Spirit Walker and the Tiloks. Then I added what I consider a standout villain. Once you know the elements you want, then you discover characters to live those elements.

How long between books?

Usually approximately one year but this varies from year to year.

Where do you get your ideas for characters?

For me they are composites of various people I have met, but resembling no single individual in particular.

Do you outline your books before you write them?

Some think I should but I usually do not do a formal outline. Normally I write the first 50 to 100 pages and then write down the plot and its twists. This is something like an outline but not detailed. I describe the characters and the story line. Then I write the book. I tend to re-write many times.

Are the Tilok Indians a real tribe?

They are as real to me as the next door neighbors. Particularly Kier from Necessary Evil and Sam as he developed in The Black Silent. But you won't find the Tilok tribe listed in the phone book and I couldn't tell you where exactly to find the reservation. But it must be out there someplace between the Trinity Alps and the Marble Mountains of Northern California. But you say 'There is nothing between the Marbles and the Alps.' Well... why worry about it? They are real. Someplace.

In all seriousness, I did a lot of reading concerning Indian legends and mythology to develop the Tiloks and to come up with the proverbs that appear in Necessary Evil.

Are you like any of your characters? Which ones?

Other than the usual sense in which we're all a little bit like the people we would fictionalize, I think I am not much like any of my characters. Perhaps I am most like Dan of At The Edge.

Do you read a lot? Who are your favorite authors?

Like many other authors, I don't read as many books as I'd like. Depending on my moods I have had exceptional reading experiences with most of the popular thriller writers and somewhat to my surprise a number of literary writers. Although it's very hard to name a favorite because it honestly depends on my mood, I have very much enjoyed Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Tess Gerritsen, Steve Alton, Nelson DeMille, Dean Koontz, Michael Chricton, Robert Ludlum, MJ Rose, Anne Tyler, David Guterson, Ian McEwan, Charles Frazier, Dan Brown, David Balducci, and Chris Reich to name just a few. For a more complete list of authors I highly recommend please see the links that can be accessed at the bottom of any page from my website.

How did you get started in writing?

On the spur of the moment. Ignorant. Completely unapprised of what I was about. Initially I discussed it with no one, felt foolish, but loved putting the words on the paper. I did it for a few years before it actually looked like I might get an agent and have a novel. I wrote copiously and remember passages and scenes that seem to have disappeared into the attic.

In the beginning my approach was very unstructured but as time passed I began to develop habits and methods and to travel down fewer dead ends. Now I write with a more focused purpose in mind and as described above make character sketches, and plot descriptions that keep me focused and enable complex plot development.

Was it hard to get started? How did you get published?

First and foremost I have written for the joy of writing and that generally has been a deep underlying motivation. On the other hand when you write over long spans of time, it's just natural to ask yourself when it's going to get published. I found myself with a growing desire to publish.

Rejection can be daunting. I'd like to say that I sat alone in a closet, had a vision, pounded it out and published a book. It wasn't like that. It was try and try again. When I began there were many conventions about writing that I didn't understand. One could say I learned the hard way, but it was fun. Ultimately agents directed me to professional editors and they certainly helped me learn basic principles. Although I would emphasize that the author must write the story and develop the characters. The editor may be writing his own book but he most probably is not going to write yours.

Being published is about producing your own unique work that catches the eye of an editor in a publishing house. Ed Stackler, my personal editor, is a marvel and a fun imaginative guy with whom to collaborate. Because he worked in a publishing house he knows the ropes. In the end if you want to write you can only listen so much and then you have to write it and finish it. Mostly it's a solitary pastime.

To sell a book I would strongly recommend that you find a good agent. Trying to sell a book without an agent is a little like trying to water ski without a towboat. I would add that once sold, an enthusiastic and committed publisher is a grand thing. And of course every author, in the final analysis, loves his readers because he or she is writing so that somebody can read.


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