20 Questions with David Burnsworth, author of ‘Southern Heat’
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.
His latest book is the southern noir/mystery, Southern Heat.
Visit his website at www.davidburnsworthbooks.com.
- Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
Both. I have a day job so my writing time during the week is when I can squeeze it in. Monday through Friday, I write thirty minutes in the morning before I leave for work and thirty minutes in the evening after I exercise. On weekends, I try to schedule blocks of time. Sometimes it’s Saturday night and sometimes it’s Sunday morning before church.
2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?
I like the term “pantster.” What I did for my debut mystery, Southern Heat, was start with a setting, then work on the protagonist, Brack Pelton. Once I had those down through a decent opening and a few scenes, I took a breath and framed in a story. It took me six years to go from zero to a contract, so that description is really an oversimplification. To answer the question, I have to say both again. I start out as a pantster and then end up outlining to fill in holes.
3. Which comes first – plot or character?
For me it was character. Actually, characters. Once I had my cast, I went back and worked on the plot.
4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?
Melody in the form of music. With Southern Heat, it was classic rock. I was born in ’73 so late seventies and early eighties music is a sweet spot. For the follow-up, I have added new country, eighties new wave, and modern Christian to the mix. But classic rock is what I would call foundational for me.
5. Favorite TV show?
Seinfeld. Aside from some event like the Masters or the Olympics, I have replaced most of my TV watching with writing. I catch Seinfeld reruns at the gym.
6. Favorite type of music?
Classic rock, which, for this Generation X’er, means Journey, the Eagles, and U2.
7. Favorite craft besides writing?
My other passion is automobiles. Specifically, the details like engines and options. Classic or new, import or domestic. I like them all.
8. Do you play a musical instrument?
I’m sorry to say I don’t. I’d like to learn to play the piano or guitar at some point, but there are a few things ahead of those on the bucket list.
9. Single or Married?
Happily married for eight years. My wife has been very supportive of my writing and I can’t thank her enough.
10. Children or no?
We have a 50 pound chow-lab mix that was rescued. He’s really my wife’s because she took him in before she took me in. He rules the house and keeps us in line.
12. Favorite place to write?
I am fortunate enough to have a home office and a big desk. The restroom is only a few steps away, as is the kitchen. So, it works out nicely.
13. Favorite restaurant?
My wife has succeeded in turning me into an Italian food lover. We like the local, family-owned places as well as Carrabbas.
14. Do you work outside the home?
Yes, I work in manufacturing. My role is to manage the company’s Continuous Improvement activities. It is very rewarding to work with all levels of the organization on a daily basis.
15 What was the name of the last movie you saw?
The last movie my wife and I went to the theatre to see was Two Guns. My choice, not hers. I like the action flicks. My wife prefers comedies or chick flicks.
16. Favorite outdoor activity?
I like going to car shows when I have the time.
17. Pet peeve?
Animal cruelty and poaching.
18. Your goal in life?
To be able to support my wife and me with my writing and be able to give more to humanitarian and environmental causes.
19. Your most exciting moment?
After my wedding day, it was being offered a contract for Southern Heat.
20. The love of your life?
My wife, of course.