Exclusive Interview with
David R. Gross
When did you start writing?
I wrote many scientific articles during my academic career and started writing memoirs and fiction after retirement in 2006.
What makes writing your passion?
Doing the research necessary to write historical fiction. The writing is fun but the research is what gets me going and points the way to creating the story.
How long have you been writing?
Since graduating from Veterinary School in 1960. Started by publishing case reports.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I look for true life characters that I never heard of or know very little. They have to have made significant contributions and lived in a period I find interesting.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
All the people who make money by leading self-publishing authors to believe they can get them a contract with a traditional publisher and/or movie deal.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Never experienced it. I don't start to write before I have a story to tell and a good idea about how to tell it. I stop writing when I reach a point when I know what I want to write about next.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It is a solitary life and needs to be if you are going to be productive. You must enjoy being alone and creating something new to yourself and hopefully to your readers.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Not much about my life that I would change. I have a low threshold for boredom and my career as a cardiovascular physiologist allowed me to keep finding new avenues of research and discovery. Now I satisfy that need by finding new characters and stories to write about.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read them. Don't get too many bad reviews but when I do I remember that it is impossible to please everyone.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I feel like I did my job and told a story that pleased that person.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Not into my novels, but certainly in my three members.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Never have based a character on myself and can't make any comparisons with any of the characters in my historical novels.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
No, but without a great cover it probably won't sell,
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Rarely have meaningful conversations with readers. It's even hard to talk about my work with family and friends.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Haven't had that experience.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Sinclair Lewis. He was so very, very productive and I've never read anything of his that did not hold my interest.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Haven't thought in those terms. Just would like to have people read my work and, hopefully. enjoy it.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I've thought about it. Would have to think I could improve it.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Not something I would consider.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Not worth my time, even a minute, to acknowledge they even exist.
What would you say to your readers?
Hope you enjoy the read and maybe learn something you didn't know previously.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I'm 86 years old and just sold my house and moved to an apartment in Ballard, a Seattle neighborhood, to be closer to my older son. It's that time of life. I lost my wife, Rosalie, to lung cancer after 53 years of marriage, in 2013. We had two sons and three granddaughters. I'm still hoping to hold a great-grandchild before cashing it in.
What is your day job if you have one?
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I have a fused ankle and two very arthritic knees but can still ride a bike. Just returned from a six day bike ride in Tuscany, Italy, from Arrezo to Florence. It was a blast! It is the fourth bike trip I've taken in the last 3 years with Backroads. Check them out.
Did you have a happy childhood?
More or less, nothing especially bad or good.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not that I can think of.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes. I decided I am unable to write crime or detective stories.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Make grading meaningful again. Grade inflation is a problem. Not every endeavor deserves a trophy.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Can't think of anything I really need except for the good health of my sons, their spouses and children.
What is your favorite music?
It changes with time and my mood.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Every individual animal I have interacted with during 62 years as a veterinarian has its own unique personality.