Do you love to talk nautical? Does historical fiction with a side of the fantastic float your boat? Enjoy reading series or supporting local authors? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions then you should really pick up copies of D. Andrew McChesney’s two books in the Stone Island Sea Stories series: Beyond the Ocean’s Edge , and Sailing Dangerous Waters . These books combine “age of sail” naval adventure (typified by C.S. Forester’s “Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O ‘Brian’s “Master and Commander) with a unique science fiction/alternate world twist in a new and interesting way. Unique, new and interesting…good words to describe the author D. Andrew McChesney.
I was lucky enough to meet Mr. McChesney (Dave) nearly ten years ago when I joined a local writer’s group. At the time, Dave was in the process of editing his first book “Beyond the Ocean’s Edge.” Not being a fan of historical, nautical anything, I was surprised to find myself enjoying the story. The characters are interesting, the stories build nicely and there is just enough of a twist to keep this land lubber reading. That’s an accomplishment!
The stories, well worth the read, took on even more meaning as I got to know the author. Dave spent twenty-two years in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician (Thanks for your service Dave!). He is the Secretary and Web-Master for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers (SASP), a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), and a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS). This hard working, family guy recently became a finalist in the 2013 Outskirts Press’ EVVY award and if that’s not cool enough, then perhaps learning that Dave also painted all of his own cover art will blow your mind as much as it did mine! Yup, this guy is multi-talented.
Despite our writers group having gone the way of the Dodo (as so many do) I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with Mr. McChesney so I picked his brain a bit. When asked, Dave describes his writing process as “seat of the pants”. He doesn’t go in for the whole planning or outlining thing. Rather, he allows the story to tell itself. “All I do is record it”. Most of his stories have been written in his head while he was working. On his breaks he would go put as much of it as he could remember on paper, or on his laptop. He does admit though, that sometimes, he has to work to point the story back in the right direction.
When I asked him how long it took to write his books he responded, “There are two answers to the question. One, if you consider that I developed the original idea for these stories while in high school, would be decades. The second, based on actually sitting down and writing what is now “Beyond the Ocean’s Edge: A Stone Island Sea Story, would be about eight months. That of course is for the first draft. Several more years went by before I published it, as I revised, rewrote, edited, and subjected it to scrutiny by others…Writing “Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story” was more of a fluid process. I started it not long after completing the first book, but work was often interrupted by the need to do more with the earlier volume.”
Of course the inevitable question of writer’s block was posed and like any writer Dave admits to having dealt with it. In fact, the current slow down interfering with his third book (tentatively titled “Darnahsian Pirates”) has more to do with the time restrictions of promoting his first two books than anything else. He says that “it will simply be a matter of determination to get beyond this current stoppage.” Personally, I’m hoping that he can kick that pig and get his third book written and published quickly as I’m a serious serial series reader!
Dave’s books are available at your local bookstore and via Kindle and Nook. Visit http://www.stoneislandseastories.com/ for more about his books or visit his blog at http://vespican.livejournal.com.