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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Don Reid

Don Reid

Genres:
Contemporary
Don Reid, a member of the Statler Brothers, country music's premier singing group for nearly forty years, has established himself as a singer and professional writer in multiple fields. Reid also cowrote (with his brother Harold) the television series The Statler Brothers Show and numerous TV specials. He's published numerous books, including novels and nonfiction. Don lives with his wife, Deborah, in Staunton, Virginia.
Q&A: Don Reid

Q&A: Don Reid

(January 2012)

What do a cop, a preacher and a shopkeep have in common? Well, in this small Virginia town, they're known as "the Mulligans". Best friends from childhood, they somehow always managed to get into - and right back out of - trouble together. But now one of them has been murdered and it's up to the remaining two to figure out what happened - and to get each other through this...

Q: WHAT INSPIRED THE MULLIGANS OF MT. JEFFERSON?
Growing up in a small town; knowing the people I knew and wanting to preserve that culture for folks who’ve never experienced it. The characters are more important to me in many ways than the story. I want them to live and I enjoy the time I spend with them. I even get to believing in them and think of new things for them to do and thus, a plot forms. I’m just a sucker for nostalgia and reminiscing.

Q: ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOK IS FICTION - WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
The town came from real life. If I could walk down the main street in my hometown, Staunton, VA, with you, I could show you where the restaurants are or were; I could show you the jewelry store and the movie theaters and where Cal got his bag of popcorn every Saturday morning. The buildings are still there; they may house a different business than Cal and Buddy and Harlan knew, but they are still there and it only makes the memory richer and dearer to my heart.

Q: WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I think the most important word in writing fictional characters is 'composite.' No one person I ever write about is a perfect description of someone I know or knew. But a physical description of this friend is melded with a personality trait of that friend and after a few additions and subtractions you have a character of your own who is capable of doing something maybe no one friend could ever do. That is the joy you bring out of a darkened room lit only by the computer screen. You put him together and just hope and pray it’s believable.

Q: IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
Buddy Briggs for sure. He’s the police lieutenant. We see him as a father and husband. Then as a friend and a policeman. And every time he put on a different hat, he did something just a little surprising to me. He reacted sometimes in a way I wasn’t expecting. He replied to a question in a way that startled me.

I know this sounds silly to a person who may not totally understand the creative process. They probably think I should know exactly what he would do and say if I invented him, but it’s not always true. Once you start writing, you let the situations happen and you have to stop and think, not how I would react, but how Buddy would be affected and what he would do.

Q: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
I’m not real sure. I live with ideas. Maybe for months. And when something lingers with me and captivates me, then I know this might have enough heart to make a book.

I disregard more ideas than I keep. I don’t even write them all down. I just wait for that one that won’t go away and then I start giving it conversation. (If you see me talking to myself while sitting at a traffic light, I have no excuse. I really am talking to myself. I’m writing dialogue in my head.)

 
 

 

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