Today’s interview is with David Young, a writer originally from the states who now resides and works in Thailand.
David Young’s stories reminds me of those amazing adventures told in some dark divey bar, full of fantastic characters and crazy twisty plots that just sucks you in. He has the sense of humor of Charles Bukowski, a sense of wonderment of Tom Robbins and the world of fantasy of William S. Burroughs.
ep: Could you please describe your creative process?
I usually start with a scene. Maybe a story someone told me or something weird I see on the street. After that, I figure out the how’s the why’s, toss some characters into the mix and let them go. If the characters are strong, they write themselves. But if they take work, I know I’ve got a dud on my hands.
ep: What is your favorite story you created and why is this your favorite ?
I just re-read one of my old ones that I always thought was one of my favorites and it was awful. I mean, I could barely get through it. Which is why you don’t re-read your old material. Of my recent stuff, I’d say “No Problem Girl” probably comes the closest to being the book I set out to write.
ep: If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?
Don’t get too excited.
ep: Apart from writing, what do you like to do?
Go to the post office, get my shoes fixed, eat lunch, grab a coffee – all that stuff. It sounds pretty mundane but since it’s Thailand, there’s always a bit of fun and weirdness involved.
ep: How did you start out as a writer and what kept you going?
Back in school I was terrible at sports so I joined the school newspaper. I wrote movie reviews, humorous pieces, and a page long obituary for John Belushi. Anyway, people seemed to like my stuff so I figured, well, here was something I could do that didn’t involve throwing, catching, or dribbling. As I got older I discovered it wasn’t just sports. There was a whole bunch of stuff I couldn’t do. Fix cars, cook, paint, change doorknobs, build bookshelves – basically, all I could do was change the water in the ice trays. But I could still write. So I guess you could say it’s my complete and utter lack of ability to do anything else that keeps me going.
ep: What inspires you/where do you find your inspirations?
I wish I could say “Everywhere! All around me!” but that’s not exactly true. People are inspiring so long as I don’t have to spend a lot of time with them. That sounds misanthropic, but what I mean is, I’d rather fill in the details myself. Once I start learning about someone’s tastes and interests and political viewpoints, the less of a character I have to write about. So the less I know about someone, the better. Also, nature. The less I’m in nature or forced to look at nature or have any sort of nature around me, the more inspired I am.
ep: What was the defining moment for you that made you realize you are there (Thailand) to stay?
It was probably when I got my first book published by DK Books way back in 2000. Until then, I figured I’d stay for a few years and head home like everyone else. Once I saw my book for sale in the window of a Bangkok bookstore, that sealed it. Like that scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin discovers his name in the phone book. “I’m somebody now!”
ep: What is your comfort food?
Anything that comes in “Fun-Size” or “Party-Size.” I like to eat it when I’m alone and depressed.
ep:Coffee or tea?
I was going to come up with a sarcastic answer but I realize you sent me these questions a month ago and I still haven’t answered them. So for the sake of getting on with it, coffee.
ep:Do you have a favorite quote, what is it and why is it your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite quote, and I know that I should. The problem with quotes is that they all start to sound ridiculous after awhile. You say one once and everyone goes, “oooh.” You say it a dozen times and people are ready to punch you in the face. Plus it always seems that the person and his quote never quite match up.
Saying that, I’ve always liked “Don’t Try” on Charles Bukowski’s gravestone.