Hello, my name is Chuck Waldron, author of Tears in the Dust. Often people are curious about where a writer gets the inspiration for a story. A group of us were discussing this at a recent writer’s conference and we all had differing answers. Here is mine.
The idea for Tears in the Dust began to form when I read The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War. That part of history has been consigned to a dusty storage room and rarely visited anymore. Yet thousands of men and women became warriors of conscience, fighting the evil of fascism.
I dusted off a short story I wrote years ago. It was about a day and night in the life of a man in 1937 as he was trying to enlist as one of those volunteers. I looked at the short story and realized the back-story leading up to that day and night, and the journey the man eventually took was a novel waiting to happen. In that context I plunged into an exploration of discovery, discovering a character and his story.
I closed my eyes and imagined what Alec Ferguson was like, and let that image marinate until I was ready to send him on his passage. Then I set to work to dream up an evil antagonist that would hound Alec from the beginning until the end.
Since I was painting my word-story on a historical canvas I spent countless hours checking my geographical and incident references. I gave up trying to find the exact moment the idea for the book emerged. It was a combination of the seed planted when I read The Gallant Cause and grew to full bloom in Tears in the Dust.
I hope readers will enjoy a good action/thriller and keep turning the page to find out what eventually happens to Alec Ferguson.
U.S. born, Canadian novelist Chuck Waldron is currently working on his fourth novel, a thriller about an investigative blogger who uncovers more than he ever imagines…and has no idea what to do with his discovery.
His first novel, Tears in the Dust, is a mystery set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1937. When Alestair Ferguson volunteers to fight in the International Brigade he doesn’t realize the true price he will have to pay. Chuck’s second novel, Remington and the Mysterious Fedora, is a quirky fantasy, a story about what happens when a young man sits at the keyboard of a manual typewriter and puts on an old fedora. When the fedora and its mysterious power begins to whisper a story to him, the young man has a strange adventure indeed. His third novel, Served Cold, spans decades and stretches from the countryside of rural Ontario to a quiet artists’ studio in Tucson, Arizona. With lots of murder and mayhem in between, the story is what happens when a long-standing feud erupts into hot-blooded vengeance.
Chuck wrote over thirty short stories before setting out to write novels that are affordable and entertaining. He has attended writing workshops in Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Ontario, Canada.
“I grew up,” Chuck said, “listening to my grandfather, an Ozark Mountain story teller, spinning tales of the caves on his farm, describing them as hiding places once used by the Jesse & Frank James’ gang. It didn’t matter if the stories were true or not. Those legends set fire to my imagination, creating images that emerged slowly over the years, finally igniting as my short stories and novels.”
Now, thirty-plus short stories and three novels later, ideas keep coming, with more novels under development. Do they share anything in common? Each has its own unique voice and tale to tell, yet, at their heart, his stories tell about the human condition – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Chuck adds, “stored images that echo in my writing include train whistles in the night, Norman Rockwell childhood scenes, U.S. Army memories, blue collar jobs, university, a professonal career, and finally retirement. Many of my images are drawn from this pool of memories: places visited, sights seen, and people met. The rest I filled in with my imagination: dreams of places yet to be visited, sights yet to be seen, and people yet to be met.”
His literary roots were planted in the American Midwest and thrived when transplanted – over thirty-nine years ago – to the rich, cultural soil of Ontario. He and his wife, Suzanne, spend their summers in Kitchener, Ontario and are warmed by a winter sun in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Tears in the Dust is a contemporary novel with gleams of hope intertwined within the despair of life. This is a story which serves to lift the reader up, only to take him back down into the darkness that lurks around the corners of one man’s life. Alestair “Alec” Ferguson beings a journey as a young man, off to enlist in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Samuel T. Harrison is a dark and warped detective with a deep hatred of communism. He is the dark and violent nemesis who makes his way into the ranks of the detective agency where his boss uses his violent talents. People disappear whenever Harrison comes to town. The story chronicles Alec’s journey to Spain to fight in a war filled with personal loss and disillusionment. While in Spain, Alec falls in love with Tamarah, a convoy drive for the International Brigade. The war takes a heavy toll on Alec, and he learns just how high the cost of war can be. Disheartened, Alec fights on despite the damage done to his once strongly held beliefs. When Alec returns to his home in Vermont, seeking healing and the redemption of his ideals, what he finds there instead, causes him to flee to Canada and live the rest of his life under a false identity. But, no matter how far he goes, Alec cannot outrun Harrison, who pursues him through years and countries, only to catch up with him in a stunning conclusion to the story.
Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!
In celebration of his new release, Chuck will be attending Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a paperback copy of Tears in the Dust! Visit the official party page here!