David is a medical doctor with a great enthusiasm for technology and speculative fiction. He was born and raised in the football-loving meat-eating flatlands of Central Indiana, and in 2013 immigrated to the football-loving meat-eating flatlands of Southern Louisiana. David is a published author of one nonfictional medical physics and radiobiology study guide, and some fictional short stories.

He lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana along with his cat Simon, a half-Siamese kitty who also loves writing. With his claws. In upholstery.

1) How and when did you start writing?
I’ve always enjoyed reading, ever since I was too young to really remember! As a child I loved illustrated series like “Dinotopia”, as a somewhat older child I fell in love with “Lord of the Rings”, and as a significantly older child “Ender’s Game”, “Jurassic Park”, “The Vampire Chronicles”, and “Dune”.

Ever since I was little I would write my own little fanfictions, or stories set in unrelated imaginary universes. However, I never really thought of having other people read my tales. Throughout college, graduate school, medical school and residency I was much more concerned with scientific and academic writing. Fiction was something I’d do as a silly aside, writing violent (and largely unreadable) short stories as a way to blow off stress.

Over time I became intrigued by the idea of writing something publishable. After all, Michael Crichton wrote “The Andromeda Strain” while he was practicing as a physician. In 2012 I began to attend critique groups and casual writing workshops. I immediately realized there was an immense difference between dry technical writing and fun fantasy tales… and have been working on my writing technique ever since.

2) What authors do you admire?
My favorite author of all time has to be Michael Crichton, not least because he started his career as an M.D.! Crichton’s ability to blend fantastic technologies with highly plausible settings was second to none. He also had an unusual knack for writing well-researched works in starkly different settings, from the savage “Eaters of the Dead” to the medieval “Timeline” to the modern-day “Jurassic Park” and futuristic “Next”.

Like many speculative fiction fans, I live in awe of the worldbuilding prowess of the SFF greats – Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, Herbert’s Dune, and GRRM’s Westeros… with an honorable mention to Lovecraft’s Chthulu Mythos, Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and Rowlings’ Potterverse.

I find it fascinating to watch the evolution of speculative fiction over time. The 2015 Hugo Award (Novel) went to Liu Cixin’s “The Three-Body Problem” – the first time that the prize has gone to a Chinese-language novel. As science fiction becomes more international, we’re likely to see more and more innovative storylines coming from other countries.

3) What do you write?
I have been an immense fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since I was a child, so the majority of my fiction falls into the “Speculative Fiction” umbrella.

My two published short stories are a hospital-based ghost story and a gritty sci-fi adventure. I am currently working on a novel-length work, “Shadow of the Stars”. This story is set in a far-future corner of the galaxy, loosely inspired by the “Dune” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Yes, it has an absurdly long backstory.

4) Are you part of a critique group?
Absolutely. It’s impossible to become a good writer without learning from other writers… and while it may be possible to improve your writing skill by lengthy study and observation, it’s a whole lot faster to have other people read your stories and say what works and what doesn’t.

I run the Bayou Pen 2 Paper critique group that meets at the Panera Bread on Nelson Road, 7pm every Monday. Our website is at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/bayoupen2paper. Check us out if you are interested in sharing stories and company with other Lake Charles writers!