An Interview with David Stever, Mystery Author
Author David Stever’s detective novel, Auburn Ride, won the Maryland Writers’ Association 2017 Book Award for Suspense/Mystery fiction. Stever delivers a fast-paced detective story in the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker. His detective, Johnny Delarosa, also delivers–the cash for his client and a satisfying conclusion to the case.
I enjoyed Auburn Ride, and since David Stever lives in my neighborhood, I asked for an interview. A Google search turned up the fact that he has also been a film producer. The film, Coffin, is a horror flick with a surprise ending.
I wouldn’t associate David Stever with the horror genre. He grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, has a business degree and in real life works as a financial aid administrator at the University of Maryland University College. He’s a slim, pleasant man in his 60s, who looks like he works out and maybe plays golf since his home is on a golf course. He is married with three grown children who live nearby. So how did he become an author and get into the movie business?
“I’ve always loved the movies,” he said. He decided to try making a film and advertised for scripts in Variety and such industry publications. The scripts he received were so bad that he tried writing one himself and discovered how much he enjoys writing. He had met actor, director and writer Kipp Tribble and approached him with the idea of the horror movie. Tribble offered to write, direct and act in the movie if Stever could find the money. And that’s how Stever became a producer. He found a doctor willing to put up $100,000.
They shot Coffin in two weeks in Los Angeles, signed on with a distributor that put them on Netflix and Amazon and brought in contracts to show it in other countries. In fact, I saw it on Amazon. The twisted ending surprised me, and the production values were good. In the end the movie made $225,000 but commissions and fees ate up most of that. In short, he added, movie-making is a very risky investment. Nothing is guaranteed.
Despite his business background, David loves writing. Now that he realizes he should be writing, he wants to do it all the time. His favorite authors are James M. Cain, who wrote Double Indemnity, Steven King, Daniel Silva, Gil Brewer, Ian Fleming, and John D. MacDonald.
His biggest problem, he says, is getting over the fear to start. He works from a basic outline with a beginning, ending and basic plot points. The biggest help was educating himself about the self-publishing field. Once he knew he could get his writing out, he was okay. He tries to write 1,000 words a day.
He advises other writers to just do it. Start. Learn how to write a story and complete it. You have to write your own story—what comes out of you. You can’t compare your voice to others; you can’t be someone else.
The biggest hurdle now, he says, is marketing. He is relying on his kids to help him with social media.
In conclusion, I asked David the 10 questions Host James Lipton asks of guests on Inside the Actor’s Studio. The questions originated from French TV personality Bernard Pivot on his show, Apostrophes. Here are David’s answers.
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
Good books. Good stories.
4. What turns you off.
Not having time.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
A train at night.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Doesn’t have one.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates.
I’m very pleased that you took care of your parents and your family. You did a good job.