Interview: David Burnsworth

Please welcome David Burnsworth, author of Southern Heat.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Wake up about 7 AM. Have breakfast with my wife. Begin writing about 8 and stay the course until noon. Take my wife out for a nice lunch (we do Southern Heat Cardthis instead of late dinners). Spend three hours in the afternoon volunteering. Walk the dog. Eat a small snack. Work on an old car for an hour or so. Exercise for an hour. Shower. Read for two hours. Go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
If it were up to me, I’d wear worn shorts and old T-shirts. Fortunately, my wife has helped me see that dressing like a beach bum all the time is probably not for the best.  But, she lets me get away with it around the house.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Author Hank Phillippi Ryan, Editor Chris Roerden, and members of the Greenville chapter of the South Carolina Writers Workshop.

Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes, I usually listen to eighties classic rock and alternative. You can see this influence in Southern Heat. However, for the second book, Burning Heat, coming out in 2015, I found myself tuning in to a few country stations. I believe the flavor of the book changed slightly.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Southern Heat would be dark chocolate because it is on the noir side of the spectrum. I like characters with baggage and depth, and Brack Pelton, my protagonist, has a lot of both.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I lived in Charleston for five years on Sullivan’s Island. At the time, I wasn’t writing. After I decided I wanted to write a novel, I already had the setting. Charleston is very unique in its old southern charm and all that implies.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
To me, it takes a familiarity with evil to be able to come up against it. My main character has a sketchy past. He’s seen evil and been part of it. He understands what it takes to defeat it.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Just when Brack’s life was reaching its zenith, his wife got sick and died. He spiraled out of control, first with booze, and then going off to war. He’s just starting to get his life back together at the beginning of Southern Heat when another tragedy occurs and he has to reface his demons.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
The series I like to read have an influence on my writing.  You can see elements of Mike Hammer, Joe Pike, and Chet the dog in Brack Pelton.

If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, John Sanford, Robert Crais, Walter Mosely, and Spencer Quinn

What’s next for you?
After the final edit of Burning Heat, I will continue with book three in the series.  There is still a lot of unfinished business among the characters.


David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.

Twitter: @DavidBurnsworth


12 thoughts on “Interview: David Burnsworth”

  1. Welcome David! We share a couple of influences. Hank has been great for me and I just met Chris at the 2014 WPA – what a lovely woman. Brack sounds like a deep guy; just my kind of character.


  2. I am curious to see how your character is a mash-up that includes a dog! (A charming dog, btw.) Love your cover, too. I’m looking forward to checking it out.


  3. Great interview. This description stands out (awesome): “I like characters with baggage and depth, and Brack Pelton, my protagonist, has a lot of both.” Your book sounds so intriguing. Adding it to my must-read list now.

    Thanks so much for visiting!


  4. Great interview. There is something about your description of liking characters with baggage that resonates in a deep place. What a great way to bring passion to your writing. Looking forward to a great read.


  5. I can’t believe Diane said exactly what I was going to say! (My favorite line was “To me, it takes a familiarity with evil to be able to come up against it.”) Your perfect day sounds great, too. Wishing you continued success, David!


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