Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview with Diana's Client, David Stearman, Author and Songwriter

Dear From the Heart reader, it is my privilege today to introduce to you, author David Stearman. David’s first novel, Hummingbird, was co- written with Hope C. Flinchbaugh. I am currently pitching it. David, how did you come to co write this book with Hope?

Hi Diana. The idea of bringing a co-writer into this work came by way of my career as a songwriter. (Songwriters tend to co-author their works more often than not) I’d already completed a slightly shortened version of Hummingbird before contacting Hope, but the story seemed to lack some important element. Having met Hope years ago in a Pennsylvania church where I frequently minister, I read her award-winning book Daughter of China, and felt she’d be a perfect fit for co-authoring this story. So I cranked up my courage, called her, and asked. Her contributions to Hummingbird’s concept and story line have been nothing short of transformative.

You mentioned songwriting. What’s your experience in that field?

I began writing contemporary Christian music years ago, when the genre was still in its infancy. I’ve been called a Contemporary Christian Music pioneer, although I think the real CCM pioneers are the guys like Nancy Honeytree and Larry Norman, who originally fought the system and made the way for the rest of us. But I’ll still accept the title, since it kind of makes me feel like a big shot. :-) Anyway, my songs have been published on many artists’ albums since that time, and I still write music--both CCM and Country, although writing novels is definitely my first love.

In your writing journey, how and when did you decide to focus your writing on the literary genre you have?

The genre I write reflects my personal perspectives as a missionary and music industry professional. I’m just trying to live by the faithful adage, “write what you know.”

Where did you get your inspiration from for the title that is currently being shopped around?

My travels up and down the Western Mexican coast have taught me that we all have much to learn from other cultures. I dearly love the USA, but we Americans don’t know it all. I’ve learned a little about living and a lot about love from my friends south of the Line.

Do your characters represent people you know or are related to?

Absolutely. “Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent”

Have you traveled to do any of this research or spend a lot of time at your library?

Most of my research is the fruit of a life spent on the road in the US and other lands. Everything else I owe to Google.

What has been the hardest part of writing your novel and how did you overcome it?

I can sum it up in one word: dialogue. I’m learning to write my characters’ conversations in the way I naturally talk, rather than in the way I think a character in a novel should speak.

What do you hope people will take away from reading your book?

That Jesus saves to the uttermost. That your life can be transformed into something beautiful, no matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done.

What new projects are you working on, are they in the same genre and time period?

I’m currently finishing another contemporary work, this time about the music business, entitled Hot. It’s a tale about the dark side of fame.

What is the best and worst writing advice you ever got?

The worst advice I received was to avoid writing in my own voice and vernacular. The best advice was to avoid verbosity.

What new gadget have you added as a tool to help you in your everyday writing life?

The iPhone. There’s an app for that.

I'm jealous- I definitely want to get one of those iPhones myself.

Is there an area in your writing that you are working on improving?

Devising creative plots; it’s all about the idea. I want to write innovatively, to compose fresh, poignant story lines.

What obstacles have you run up against in your writing journey?

Learning the craft itself, I think. My first novel took four years to complete, since it was kind of my “authors’ college.” Grasping the concept of POV was a tough one back then, as was the” showing-not-telling” thing. I’m still learning daily, but that’s a good thing, right? ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing and your previously published titles? Website, FB, Twitter, Shoutlife?

You can learn more about me at, a site devoted primarily to my missions work. Or you can friend me on Facebook. I love to make new friends.

Would you like to offer the other authors out there a last word of encouragement?

Yes, I would. Two things.

1: Yes, there is a future for you in literature, regardless of what others might say. Just keep learning, and pushing, those books. God’s on your side. Your time will come, as Book of Ecclesiastes says, “Time and chance come together for every man.”

2: Ask others for advice, and don’t stiffen your neck to what they say. But be careful--you’ve gotta know who to, and who not to, listen to. Everyone has an opinion, but the people to pay attention to are the ones who actually know what they’re talking about, i.e. heavily published authors and experienced agents.

David, thank you so much for joining us here today and I hope our readers will check out your sites and your books when they are published.

Thank you From the Heart Readers for joining us here today.

From my heart to yours,



writer jim said...

After reading your great post; it brought to my mind something regarding "contemporary Christian music."
When I was in my teens in the 1960's, I was friends with Homer Hammontree and Paul Beckwith. They had been the famous evangelist Billy Sunday's songleader and pianist...and typist of sermons, etc.
Paul stayed in my bedroom for years when visiting and ministering in Central Florida. The greatest thing he taught me was about being on our knees seeking God. In fact, I first learned God's voice on my knees at that time.
Paul was a most humble man. He was the editor of HYMNS in 1946-7.
What I want to EXPLAIN here is that the controversy churches have today regarding the 'old hymns only' OR 'contemporary music' is not really new. This same controversy was going on in the first half of the 20th century. Many people seem to think it is something new.

Nicole said...

Reading your post has really uplifted me as an unpublished but passionately pursuing being published author. Never give up has been my ultimate motto but the quote from Ecclesiastes has really brightened my day and my future. I love it! My time and chance are on their way, I can feel it and have faith in God to provide it. I can't wait to read your book!!! Congratulations :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Thank you for opening your heart to us in this interview, David.

The more I read about/meet people from other nations, the more your words prove true: Americans don't know it all. I love that the Body of Christ is composed of all our various cultures--won't Heaven be fun?

Blessings to you on your publishing journey,

Caroline said...

Enjoyed reading the blog, David, & looking forward to the time when I can get you on mine. :) Soon, I hope.

Thanks, Diana.