Q. When did you start writing?
I began writing as a young teenager, but didn’t really get serious until a few years ago. It was one of those things… get a job, work a job, put dreams on hold. I decided enough is enough and got into a groove.
Q. I read the description of Toys in the Attic, and was struck by the fact that the lead character is a woman. How did you find a voice for her?
As with all my characters, kind of like any artist, they speak to me. Their voice follows who they are. I’m not sure I can do the process justice by trying to explain it. A character must be who they are. In TITA our character is a severely abused teenager who wants to live a normal life, and makes every possible effort to do so, in spite of the horrible odds against her. I will also add here that some of her trials and triumphs are largely based on girls I have known and worked with as a counselor and teacher.
Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A need to get lingering and horrible emotions out and make some peace with myself and my world. Knowing teenagers who were raped, and watching them struggle, is tragic and deeply troubling. I wanted to bring hope and inspiration into a dark and painful topic, while also showing that personal redemption is possible, no matter what the odds to the contrary might be.
Q. Did the book evolve from your original story idea, and if so, how?
Yes and no. The idea of the setting and the community were mine. The events, however, were ALL based on true events, pieced together from different girls and young women I have known. Some I observed personally. Some came from reference, some via police reports and personal witnesses.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about the book?
The book chronicles the life a teenage girl whose mother dies when she is just fourteen, leaving her alone with an alcoholic and severely emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive father. Shortly after her seventeenth birthday her beats and rapes her, and she is forced to kill him in self-defense. She ends up giving birth to his child, an immediate and ever present reminder of intense evil. Her life, from that point on, is a daily exercise in duality. The desire to be a top-notch business woman, and the inability to be a parent to a completely innocent child. As the novel progresses, her personal growth requires her to confront her demons, of which there are so many.
Q. How long did the book take to write?
About a year to write, and quite a bit longer to frame in my mind. Wrapping my head around the emotions and getting out of my own way slowed some of the process, and the end product is better for it.
Q. Were you inspired by any authors? Who?
For this novel, no. Although there are some Stephen King-like concepts, that is fairly situational. In some ways the must-bes of a given situation.
Q. Are any of the characters based on real people?
Indeed. But not so much the characters themselves, moreso the things they have endured and overcome. The son, Conner, is largely based on a schoolmate of mine in grade school, who also demonstrated uncanny athletic prowess at a young age.
Q. Was this book easy to write, or a struggle?
Difficult. Both from an emotional standpoint, and also because I needed to get very delicate and disturbing situations just right. Because the novel is filled with horrors and triumphs, melding the two together became an ongoing exercise in balance and control.
Q. Tell me how you picked the title.
The title is a dual reference. In one way it deals with actual lives built in real attics. It also refers to the mental struggles we all face, big and small.
Q. What is your favorite genre of book to read?
I’m pretty open in that regard. At one time I loved fantasy above all else, followed by science fiction. As I have matured, while I still enjoy fantasy and sci fi, I am enjoying historical fiction more, and religious irony (I would call it satire if satire did not imply funny).
Q. Are you working on any projects right now?
Always. I am rebuilding my published novel, Principle Destiny. Pulling it from print and going Indie with it with a new cover and title. I am rewriting my original fantasy series, begun when I was thirteen, and rewriting another that I began in the early 1990s. I have recently published an article marketing guide called. Wait for it, The Article Marketer’s Guide, and I am doing a vampire short series that changes the concept from blood to something more scary and less directly edible.
Q. Do you have any writing goals for the future?
My main goal is to explore myself and create something unique and cutting edge. I know myself well enough to state that it will be based on emotions and interpersonal struggle, regardless of the final form.
Q. There are many steps in publishing an ebook, do you like any parts more than others? What are they?
Really all I would say is that an ebook is just a print book formatted for an eReader. The writing process is identical. As always I prefer the story development and the characterization the most. The formatting part is easier, but a lot less fun.
Q. From your website it looks like you are very busy, you run a company and a foundation, what made you decide to write and how do you have the time?
I find that I am most productive when I am busy. If I have too little to do I get bored and lackadaisical. I need a full plate to keep me going. In addition, having multiple projects going is more fun than being underworked!
Toys in the Attic: http://davidcleinman.com/writings/my-books/about-toys-in-the-attic/