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Author Interview: David Beem
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
I was going through a tough stretch after a neurological disability ended my cello career. Writing began as a temporary creative station while I got my bearings. I wanted to inhabit a “fun” place, psychologically, and settled on the comedy fiction genre.
For Edger, I was inspired by the TV show Chuck, which had recently finished its run. I knew I wanted to write something similar but make it my own thing. There’s not a real comparable literary manifestation to the action-comedy tv show, but I studied books like Hitchhiker’s Guide, and Good Omens, Dave Barry’s Big Trouble and Insane City, and a few less comparable books, namely rom-coms and one wonderful book by Jonathan Tropper called This is Where I Leave You, because in the beginning poor Edger was going to die! Also, this was around the time Marvel was really lifting off. Superheroes were an emerging hot topic. I shopped the idea for my manuscript to around fifty agents, but none of them wanted it. These books are so unlike anything out there, either someone is going to “get it,” or they aren’t. Either way is fine when you’re self-publishing, if the goal is to write the book you want to read. One of these days I suppose I’ll write to market.
2. Writers write what they know and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?
I’m the second of two boys, but I wouldn’t say my outlook is shaped by that. Rather, I think the most dominant force comes from my former career as a classical musician. That industry occupies a somewhat marginalized segment in our country’s workforce. Most classical musicians exist in the “gig economy,” playing in what’s called “the freeway philharmonic,” meaning they play in many part-time orchestras, driving from one city to another each week for rehearsals, concerts, and often teaching positions. That makes them (as a tribe-at-large) rather nomadic. So that’s a formative thing in its own right, because you see the country, other countries, and encounter all kinds of people, particularly if you teach. But classical musicians are also dedicated to an art form that isn’t particularly rewarded by our country’s capitalist model, where popular things thrive, and less popular things have less market value. Classical musicians dedicate their lives to Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, and also self-mastery. (Playing in tune, with good rhythm, musical expression, etc.) And they do these things with much the same life-or-death intensity as some people bring to a literal battlefield—which is a less hyperbolic observation than it might seem at first blush. Of course, every career has some kind of life-or-death intensity to it by virtue of bills needing to get paid. But the formative aspect of being a classical musician was, for me, in giving such devotion to something that has so little value in the “normal” swaths of our society. I always felt like an outsider looking in, and there was what normal people did, popular culture they spoke fluently, and really big kitchens with expensive countertops, and then there was my life, which largely consisted of wood, strings, horsehair, and rosin.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
I have one home office where I write everything.
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
HA! I write a lot of darlings, which makes them easier to kill. They exist entombed in the subfolder grave of death, cursed.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
Stephen King. How does he curate his reading list? That guy reads like a machine, and his writing reflects it!
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
That no one knows? Hm. My favorite dessert is a cream horn from Macri’s Italian Bakery in downtown South Bend, IN. Sugary-flaky goodness and whip cream may be the pinnacle of human achievement!
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
My wife, my son, and my dog. (It’s a big backpack.)
8. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?
The Force. Do, or do not. There is no try.
9. Favorite snack?
Sweet Cajun trail mix.
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?
I’ve got the pedal to the metal in search of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—but I’m driving a bumper car in Walt Disney World’s Goofy Versus Godzilla ride.
Edger (2018) by David Beem
Edger Audiobook (2020) Narrated by Vikas Adam