Welcome back for another edition of Tuesday Traditions, here on Indiana Wonderer. And today I have a name that the locals may recognize as a household name: Dan Stockman. Yes, the Dan Stockman, infamous for his daily appearances in the Fort Wayne newspapers.
Dan has ventured into the world of novel-writing, and his literary fiction Brood X debuts this week! I’m thrilled to be a part of his launch, and to present you with your first glimpse of Dan Stockman and Brood X.
- Name (or pen name): Dan Stockman
- Place you call home:
Fort Wayne, Indiana. I grew up in Muskegon, Mich., and a pivotal scene takes place there (a lot of the book takes place in western Michigan), and that area obviously is dear to me, but we absolutely love Fort Wayne and can’t imagine leaving it now.
- Genre(s) you write:
Literary fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism and a wine column. My novel, “Brood X,” is literary fiction, which just means its general fiction, but one where the language and characters’ emotions mean more than, say the dramatic action. But I also write creative non-fiction, and am working on my master’s thesis in that area, which I hope will be a non-fiction book about a Fort Wayne man who died in a terrible car accident four years ago. I also write journalism – because I’ve been a newspaper journalist for nearly two decades. For the last 10 years, I’ve been at The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne. Finally, my wife and I together wrote a popular wine column for the newspaper, called Uncorked, and now write it for our own website, CheersWineConsultants.com. It’s a wine column aimed at beginners and people who are afraid of wine.
- Most recent release title: Brook X (Amazon, November 25, 2013)
Andy Gardner wishes he could go back to that perfect summer when he was seventeen and in love with Ashley. But he’s 34 now, divorced and depressed, and the fact is Ashley disappeared at the end of that summer – taking his hopes and dreams with her. Then the Brood X cicadas hatch, covering the Midwest with screaming insects, and spurring Andy to try to find out what happened to Ashley and where she went.
- Most recent work in progress: (Untitled)
In 2009, Nick Jacobs got drunk, stole a tow truck, led police on a wild chase up the wrong side of the highway, then drove the truck off a bridge, dying in the wreck. Only later did investigators discover that Nick had been released from prison that morning, after serving a term for auto theft – he had stolen the exact same tow truck two years before. The true story of Nick Jacobs and the people that loved him.
- Of your most recent storyline, pick one character to which you can relate. Tell us who they are why you can relate to them:
I can relate to Andy, the main character in “Brood X” because I think anyone can relate to looking back on teenage love with rose-colored glasses and thinking it was perfect, especially when things are imperfect in their adult life. We’ve probably all fallen for someone a little too hard, only to be hurt terribly by it. The difference for Andy, of course, is that he let that experience define him, and that’s never healthy.
- How different/difficult was it for you to shift from journalism to writing a full length fiction novel:
It was very, very difficult at first, but only in one respect – I was so used to writing in a world where every single word has to not only be true, but be provably true, that simply making things up made my brain freeze. I would write a great first page, then throw it away because it felt faked. So I set the story in real places that I know well, gave Andy my brother-in-law’s car to drive, and used other real-world things in the story to get my brain past that. Now, it’s much easier to shift gears between the journalism and fiction worlds.
- Favorite hobby:
Probably wine: We enjoy going to wineries, especially when we get to talk to the winemakers themselves, trying new wines and, of course, drinking the wines we’ve collected. We especially enjoy helping other people learn to enjoy wine.
- If you were having movie night, would you stay in or hit the theater? Who would you want with you, and which movie would you like to see?:
I would definitely hit the theater, I love going out, I love the popcorn and the stadium seats, the surround sound and the 3-D. I want the whole experience. I would definitely want my wife Krista with me, but she’s much more of a homebody – movie night to her is pajamas on the couch. But she’ll go if it’s something I really, really want to see, like “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which I am completely geeked over.
- Name a book you recently had trouble putting down:
Flannery O’Connor, “The Complete Stories.” I’m just always amazed by the understated power of her short stories. They remind me of those summer thunderstorms coming across the plains, when the thunder is too far off to hear, but you can feel the vibrations of it and your windows rattle. Astounding.
- Give us one of your favorite motivational/inspirational quotes:
“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he, for some reason, thinks it would be a good idea to give them.” —Andy Warhol
For me, that’s what writing is all about. People can survive without books or even newspapers, the world wouldn’t end if Hemingway had never written “A Farewell to Arms.” But how much richer is the world because we do have those things? Democracy works because we have newspapers. We have the Clean Air Act because of “Silent Spring.” And we’re able to experience the heights of love, loss, grief, joy, desire, terror and everything else that makes us human because people like Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy, Barry Hannah and Walt Whitman gave us their art, whether we needed it or not.
Thank you, Dan, for taking time out of your busy release week to stop by Indiana Wonderer!
For more information on Dan Stockman’s new release, as well as links to an excerpt, reviews, and a list of upcoming release events, be sure to swing by his website: www.BoodXbook.com.