Please welcome David Tindell, author of The White Vixen and Quest for Honor.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I live on a lake in northwest Wisconsin, so a perfect day is a summer day, and it starts with looking out at the lake and hearing the loons. There might be a deer or two on the lawn, so I let my Yorkie, Sophie, give chase. Spending time with her is a big part of the day. I’ll spend time answering correspondence, tinkering with social media, and working on my work-in-progress. Later on my wife and I will take the dog for a walk and then we’ll fix dinner, which we’ll enjoy out on our deck. Later in the evening we’ll enjoy a movie or a Brewers baseball game.
Do you have a signature accesory, color, fragrance, phrase or meal?
For nine months of the year I wear a nice long-sleeved shirt and tie to work (I still have a day job, dang it), and I have a lot of ties. My favorite color is blue. For a fragrance, I favor vintage colognes by Clubman, especially bay rum. I’m a student of Theodore Roosevelt, so I have a lot of favorite quotes, particularly “Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.” My wife is a terrific cook so anything she whips up is fine with me, but I’m especially partial to her rhubarb pie and crisp.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
I had two very good English teachers in school down in little Potosi, Wis., on the banks of the Mississippi: Mrs. Millman and Mrs. Leonard. They not only taught the basics of English composition but introduced me to great literature. Another influence was Mr. Peake, my geography teacher, who encouraged me to study the history and culture of other nations.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I typically write early in the morning when the house is still quiet, or in the evening. If it’s summer then I’ll have a baseball game on the TV, or I’ll pipe a SiriusXM channel through the speakers. I prefer the music of the Forties but if it’s later in the evening then it’ll be the New Age channel.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
It would be a dark, rich chocolate, because my protagonist goes to a dark place, yet emerges from it with a deep sense of fulfillment.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Several years ago I saw a news story about a Westerner who was kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. They broadcast his execution on the internet, and I wondered, What would I do if that was me?
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I like stories about heroism, about people striving to achieve great and honorable things. You don’t have to be a superhero to do these things. My father served his country in uniform but never saw combat, and after the military he finished college and then built a career in education, eventually helping his wife and three sons achieve college degrees. He did what needed to be done, day after day, sometimes in less than ideal circumstances. But he never gave up. He set high standards for us and inspired us. That’s true heroism.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Jim Hayes was the older son of a carpenter and a church secretary, a good student and athlete who in spite of that always played second fiddle to his younger brother. He built himself a quiet, modest life which was torn asunder when his pregnant wife was murdered before his eyes. That tragedy drove him to train in the martial arts and study the warrior ethos, determined never to fail like that again. Now a person is going to emerge from his past and Jim will face an even more daunting challenge.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
I had nobody in particular in mind as I wrote Jim’s story, but if I had to borrow characteristics of two fictional characters, I would give him Superman’s integrity and determination to do the right thing in the face of great odds, Batman’s dedication to building himself into the perfect warrior, and from a real-life person I’ll take Theodore Roosevelt’s emphasis on character.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Tom Clancy, Dick Couch, Barry Eisler, Brad Thor, William Kent Krueger, and the Apostle John.
What’s next for you?
With Quest for Honor newly published, I’m working on The Red Wolf, the sequel to The White Vixen. This new work takes my protagonist, USAF Special Operations officer Jo Ann Geary, to Eastern Europe in 1987, where she matches wits and skills with a Soviet assassin whose target is Mikhail Gorbachev.
I was born in Germany and raised in southern Wisconsin, got a degree in broadcasting at UW-Platteville and worked in radio for 20 years. I changed careers in my 40s and now work for the US Government, by day. By night, I train in the martial arts and write thriller novels. I have a black belt in taekwondo, will soon have one in ryukudo kobujutsu (the study of weapons) and have also trained in Russian Systema. My wife Sue owns and operates a travel agency, and we live on a lake in northwest Wisconsin with our Yorkie and two cats. We have two grown children: Kim, who manages a high-end women’s clothing store in Boston, and Jim, who works for the State of Wisconsin and makes movies. He produces the book trailers for my novels. The White Vixen was published in 2012 and Quest for Honor has just come out.