Guest Blog Post with Author, D. P. Curran
My guest blogger for this month is Fountain Blue Author, D. P. Curran. Dan's first novel with FBP, Born of the Sea, was released earlier this month.
Like many of the author's I have met, Dan's journey has been a long one.
Welcome, Dan and thank you for being my guest.
How I Became an Author
My earliest connection with writing came by way of reading. Reading and writing was a gift that started before entering school. Having been an orphan and in foster care, there was never an explanation as for why this might have been. Being in Catholic School in the sixties, the nuns would have me read in the classroom, church, or in front of an assembly. Praise of any kind in those days was thrown around like manhole covers, not often.
In seventh grade, a lay teacher, Miss Walsh, was the first to encourage me with my writing. Even then, I knew that she was more than an English teacher. Her reading of poetry and classic literature was not done out of curriculum alone. She transformed a classroom into a special place, an oasis for me, away from the violent world that I otherwise lived in.
This was the one class that I was in the highest track, because I loved it. We went over my work after school at times where she would dangle a non-filter Lucky Strike from lips of coarse leather and encourage me with the voice of a thousand cigarettes. She had it all planned for me, what high school, even college, but this was not to be and I believed that at the time. Already drinking, drugging, and smoking myself, her dreams did not match the world I lived in. We parted ways, not speaking after that year, and she cried when she last saw me, before high school. I realize now that they were tears for a wasted life. Sports remained my one escape from being less than, and I excelled at that alone.
Years of the streets, violence, and righteous rage followed all the way into an early marriage and children. The insanity of booze had taken me to the darkest places I’ve known.
At the age of thirty-five I had what is known as “a moment of sanity.” I immersed myself into a twelve step program, and a spiritual experience soon followed. I had been reborn, as it were. I’ve been clean and sober for twenty years. In my first year of sobriety an older gentleman in a meeting with years under his belt asked me this question. “If you could do or be anything in this world, what would that be?” I blurted out, “A writer.” He asked, “What’s stopping you?” I gave him five sure reasons why not, and I won’t say what he said next, but it infuriated me.
That weekend, down the shore, I walked into The Atlantic Bookstore on the boardwalk and took out a book about writing. I was going to show this old man what time it was. God bless him, he was what I needed.
I actually called the author of the book, and being Irish, I had her on the phone for over an hour. She agreed to look at my first manuscript. (Against all odds, she was a University dean, professor of English, author, and editor.) I waited no more than two weeks with a return parcel with her comments. She mirrored the sentiments of my former teacher. I ended up going to night school at Temple University, her not so subtle suggestion.
Though this woman at the end of her own career, she passed myself and my work along to Carol Dechant, famous in her own right to be sure. Carol then sent me with her blessings to my first editor and publisher in Los Angeles. I began appearing in anthologies for poetry, prose, and short stories. Then my first book was published.
I’ve since written a novel that was published by Fountain Blue Publishing, Born of the Sea, released on 9/2/16. My work in progress is a Philadelphia noir novel, Swampoodle. This will be followed by the novel, My Father’s Name. I’ve found one of the few places where I feel comfortable at Fountain Blue Publishing. In large part because of Melanie Fountain, herself.
I’ve been blessed, not just by my writing, but the fact that I appreciate it. One of the first lessons that I was taught was to respect the gift of writing. Treat it with reverence and never take it for granted. I write each day, knowing that I was born with a gift. The rest is up to me.
As for my seventh grade teacher, she is mentioned in the acknowledgments for Born of the Sea…
You can find D.P. Curran on his Facebook page here.