A Conversation with David L. Winters
After retiring from Department of Homeland Security, David became a full-time author/speaker/humorist. He writes suspense and nonfiction. Before his next fiction release, Taking God to Work: Keys to Lasting Success will bow in September 2018.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
David: Dealing with the expectations of some female readers. They imagine guys are having all these deep thoughts. Truthfully, we are a primal lot. If the bacon-and-egg sandwich rang our bell for breakfast, that distant look is probably us remembering the bacon.
When do you find time to write?
David: I’m a full-time author, so sometime between rolling out of bed and getting back in at night. Currently, I have four manuscripts in some stage of editing or pre-release. My next two fiction releases are coming in November 2018 and January 2019.
What is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress?
David: I like to work in my home office, with Gumby and Pokey staring at me. They are relentless taskmasters.
How do you connect with your characters?
David: We usually go out for imaginary breakfast sandwiches, like bacon and egg.
How do you come up with titles for your books?
David: Seriously speaking, I pray about them. I feel like God gives me a thumbs-up when I find the right one.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing?
David: I’m a Diet Pepsi fiend. Some of my friends try to get me to stop, but I quote them Mark 16:18 about “drinking any deadly thing” and it not hurting me.
Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
David: I’m a romantically suspenseful kind of guy. When they meet me in person, women often think to themselves, “I’ll bet he’s romantic and suspenseful.”
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels?
David: In my next release, Stock Car Inferno, the female protagonist is a stock car driver. She bumps the car of her major rival and it blows to smithereens. With that initiating event, the plot goes airborne (with the other driver.)
How do you research ways to kill someone for your books?
David: I drive on the Washington, D.C., beltway. It provides a lot of inspiration as some drivers go 80 mph and others 50 mph. Seriously though, I enjoy police investigation shows on television.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
David: They just come to me. I start with a basic premise, pray about it. Then, I think about the major moral lessons I would like believers and non-believers to take away from the book. Then, I do a loose outline and start writing. The characters and action tend to drive the direction of each chapter.
Have you ever regretted killing off a character? Why?
David: Without spoiling anyone’s fun, I kill off a likable character in Stock Car Inferno. Test readers hassled me about it, but the plot needed it. So, he or she had to go.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
David: I start in Washington, D.C., then branch out to other places I’ve lived or visited. My next book has a sizable number of scenes in Oklahoma where I lived for a few years.
What did you want to be as a child (and did that dream come true)?
David: Safe. My family had a lot of turmoil in the 1960s and 1970s. People made choices that affected my sense of well-being. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have a specific direction.
What does your family think of your writing romantic suspense?
David: The only immediate family member still alive is my sister, Susie. She is crazy supportive and I depend on her for feedback and suggestions. She is always test reader number one.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
David: I like live events. People can be so kind, and I love to get to know a little about them. My selfies with readers are among my most prized possessions.
What are some of the questions you hear when you say you write romantic suspense?
David: “Can I date you?” My answer is: “Will you use carbon dating?”
How do you ensure your books are accurate?
David: I do a lot of research and I trust my editors.
What is absolutely essential for you to write?
David: A keyboard, a computer and bacon.
What has been most frustrating about writing romantic suspense?
David: Reading big-name Christian romantic suspense writers and finding their content too steamy. It makes me feel like I’m in a club that I want to drop out of…but maybe some readers prefer their characters to keep their clothes on, unless they are married.
What has been most rewarding about writing romantic suspense?
David: Meeting fans.
Current book: Driver Confessional
A Christian Uber driver is plunged into a world of espionage, murder and secrets by a mysterious passenger.