Interview with D.W. Marchwell

June 9, 2015

A big thank you to D.W. Marchwell, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of his readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

There isn’t too much about me that I don’t already put into my books, but the one thing that seems to surprise people the most is that I am a trained opera singer.  I am a light baritone and sang professionally for many years while still teaching during the day.  My specialty was German Lieder, especially anything by Schubert.  I love singing Schubert!

Name Your Top Five Favorite Books

My five favorite books – in no particular order – would be:  “Halway Home” by Paul Monette because it’s a story about two brothers, one gay one not, who learn what it means to love each other; “Dance on the Earth” by Margaret Laurence because she has always been one of my favorite Canadian authors; “Caught Running” by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban because it was this book that made me realize that my stories could also be published; “English: The Mother Tongue and How It Got That Way” by Bill Bryson because I’ve always been keenly interested in languages; and “Soldier” by AKM Miles because it has a very important message that a family is not just about being born into one.

What made you start writing M/M novels?

I have always been writing stories, from as far back as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I read “Caught Running” that I started to do some research into the company that published it.  I realized that there was an audience out there for the kinds of stories I’d always written.  As fate would have it, I submitted “Good to Know” and it was accepted and published.  Then there were fifteen more novels and stories that followed.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

It’s not too personal of a question.  There isn’t much conflict when it comes to my writing and my family or friends.  I do not have a partner and my friends have always been supportive of my writing and understand that there are days when I’m at home writing and therefore unable to do things with them. Most of my friends are married with children anyway, and are very busy themselves, so we get together whenever we can.

Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you? Do certain events or people you met inspire you when writing?   

My ideas always come from real life.  I may see something on the news or overhear someone at the grocery store and an idea will pop into my head about a possible story.  All of my stories have been based on some sort of real life event or situation that I have seen or read about.

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves?

It’s a little bit of both, actually.  I always start the story with an idea of what I would like to happen, but then while I’m writing, the characters will sometimes tell me what should happen to them.  It’s a little voice in my head that will sometimes offer another way for the action or characters to go.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one?

I only ever work on one book at a time.  I don’t even like to read – for pleasure – while I’m writing because I don’t want to be influenced by what I’m reading or take the chance of forgetting where I was in my writing.  I may be planning a book while I’m writing another, but I always just work on one story at a time.

What is the hardest scene you ever had to write?  

The most difficult scenes are always the ones where a child or an animal is hurt or is hurting.  For example, in “An Earlier Heaven“, toward the end of the story, when William learns about Frau Zimmerman was a very difficult scene to write.

Do you have a writing routine? Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?

Due to my musical background, and my Austrian grandparents always listening to classical music, I usually listen to classical music while writing.  One of my favorite composers to listen to is Felix Mendelssohn.  I listen to his music most often when writing.  In terms of other aspects of writing, I like to have a hot mug of tea while I write.  And I turn all the lights off – but I don’t know why.  LOL

If you could have a drink with any book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

That’s a very good question.  Hmm.  I guess I would choose Barkley Reinhardt from “Pictures on Silence” since he’s the most like me.  We both have a love of music, singing and animals.  But I’d also like to meet Scott from “Falling” and “When Memory Fails“.  He is a composer, and I’d like to ask him what it feels like to create a song from nothing.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

I put many of my personality traits into various characters.  David, in the “Good to Know” series is a teacher like I am and loves children.  Barkley in “Pictures on Silence” loves music and singing and animals like I do.  And Hank, in the “Falling” series has a difficult relationship with his family like I do.  But I’d say that Barkley is the character that is most like I am.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

As for derogatory or insulting remarks, I think many authors have received comments like that, and I’m no exception.  I don’t go looking for reviews since I write the books for whomever will enjoy them.  But when I do read or hear of insulting remarks, I just assume that the person didn’t like the story or the writing or the characters and move on.

Do you want to travel to the countries where your stories are settled?

I have already visited the countries that I’ve written about, and I will definitely go back one day.  I’ve been to Europe many times and thoroughly enjoyed Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.  It was easier for me to travel through France and the south of Switzerland since I speak French, but I also tried my best to speak German in Germany and Austria and found the people very pleasant and friendly.  Although they spoke English better than I spoke German, they would usually smile and wait patiently for me to say whatever I was trying to say.  Plus there’s an ancestral connection for me and Germany and Austria; my mother’s ancestors are from Austria and Bavaria.

Last week DSP published the german translation of An Earlier Heaven. What inspired you to write this series? Did you plan it as a series in advance?

It was not always planned as a series, no.  “Good to Know” is one of the very first stories I ever wrote.  It was 1981 and I was just finishing high school.  I had always looked for stories featuring gay men who fall in love and live happily ever after, but I could never find one.  So, I decided to write my own story.  It wasn’t until 2009 when I thought I should probably submit that story first since it was always one of my favorites.  It underwent some changes, but it’s essentially the same story I wrote thirty years ago.  I turned it into a series when I realized that the characters had more to say.

Who was the most difficult character to write in the Good To Know series?

William was the most difficult character to write because – even though I’m around children all day – I had to really concentrate on what he would say and what he would do and how he would feel in the various situations.  It was difficult for me to imagine how a ten-year-old would think and behave.

What was the most touching scene to write in this novel?

When I write, I’m focused mainly on getting the words onto the page, but the scene when Cory comes back to stay made me very emotional.  Of course, I’d planned for that scene and always knew Cory would come back, but when I had to write it, I found myself getting tears in my eyes (because William would finally get his brother).

Sadly, we have heard that you’re retired from publishing.What are your plans for the future?

It is true that I have retired from publishing, and many people have emailed to ask me why.  I will try and clarify:  I am still writing but have no future plans to publish my stories through a publishing house.  I was not enjoying the nitpicking that the publishers were putting me through, nor was I enjoying them trying to change aspects of my stories that didn’t need changing.  I never say “never” and may try publishing again, but right now, I’m happy just writing for my own pleasure.

There are a few stories that I have written since announcing my retirement that can be found on a website I created just to feature these stories.

These stories are in English only.  So if someone can understand English and wants some free reads, this is where you’ll find some of the stories that I’ve written but did not have published through a company.  They are there for everyone to read, free of charge.  But I do have a warning:  I am the worst proofreader in the world, so if you do decide to go and read a story or two, be prepared for a lot of mistakes, typos and various other errors.  LOL

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