Interview with debut suspense author Douglas Solvie

My special guest today is author Douglas Solvie. He’s chatting with me about his new psychological suspense novel, My Irish Dog.

During his virtual book tour, Doug will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:

My Irish Dog is the debut novel by Douglas Solvie and was motivated by a trip taken to Ireland and the chance discovery of a lost dog there. After spending most of his adult life living and working in Japan, Douglas is currently living in his home state of Montana. He hopes to make a new career out of writing and to travel the world, looking for inspiration for that next book, perhaps another set in beautiful Ireland. My Irish Dog is, after all, a story with a lot of unanswered questions.

Welcome, Douglas. Please share a little bit about your current release.
My Irish Dog is a psychological suspense novel, its plot focused on an emotionally lost soul named Spencer who takes a trip to Ireland, hoping time alone might possibly reveal an answer to what ails him. Near the end of his uneventful trip, in a small Irish village, he chances upon a lost dog that he rescues and then leaves in the care of a young woman living in a nearby farmhouse.

A puzzling episode a few minutes later compels Spencer, even though he’s not exactly sure why, to return to the village the next day. A day or two of changing plans would hardly disrupt his vacation; little does he know that it will mark a new beginning as Spencer dives headfirst into a parallel world that will test his will, sanity, and even physical well-being.

What inspired you to write this book?
My writing of this novel basically evolved by accident. I took a trip to Ireland by myself, because I had always wanted to go there and I thought I might try some fly-fishing. I also needed to just get away.
The trip went as planned until near the end I stumbled upon a stray dog near this small village in the southwest of the country. I spent half a day trying to figure out what to do with her, succeeding at last, but never knowing what really became of her. And a strange thing happened as I left the village that day.
So a few days or weeks or I don’t remember how long later, the idea came to me that I could write a story. And I did. Small portions of the book are actual occurrences (greatly embellished mostly), and the rest imagination.
The main character and protagonist, Spencer, isn’t necessarily based on me. But we do share some quirks, characteristics, and a few other qualities. Writing for his character was easier that way.


Excerpt from My Irish Dog:
“You should not be here,” said the old man.
“What? What do you mean?”
“You should not be here,” the man repeated without the slightest emotion.
“What are you talking about? The sign over there clearly says that public fishing is allowed here.” Spencer set his fishing rod on the ground and pointed in the direction of village, not remembering exactly where he had read the information.
He studied the odd fellow. The man wore an old woolen trench coat that hung to the top of his thighs, and underneath a tattered brown sweater. Rubber boots extended to his knees, the kind of boots a farmer trudging through the mud would wear. His beard was an unruly mess of gray whiskers that encompassed the lower half of his weather-beaten face, and on his head sat a tweed cap. Everything about him was dirty and unkempt.
His dog didn’t look much better.
The man spoke again. “Everything you say is nothing. Everything you think is nothing. Everything you believe is nothing. You are just a bystander; you are just a voyeur. You do not belong. You must leave.”
Spencer took a quick look around the area, thinking this crazy man’s caretaker surely would soon be coming to the rescue. “What are you talking about, old man? Do you know me? What do you mean I must leave? You mean I must leave this area, this village? Why?”
“Can’t you see that it resides around you? It is there around you and inside you. It is shallow, and ugly, and hollow. You must leave.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Honestly, I haven’t determined that yet. Logically, I think my present story lends itself to a sequel or the second in a series. I’m not certain that I could include the dog character, Shandy, because she’s been through a lot already, but the protagonist, Spencer, certainly would be included. I’ve got some ideas floating around in my head, but I am busy trying to promote the present book. I imagine I’ll get started on the follow-up within the next six months or so.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I never did, really. I knew that my writing skills were/are likely above average, but that does not make one a writer. I wrote a short story several years ago that got published (and for which I even got paid). Perhaps that gave me the confidence to embark on writing a novel. I simply knew that I wanted to write a novel someday, and so when I had the time I got going on and remarkably finished.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m retired now from my professional business career, so when writing My Irish Dog I guess you could say I was a full-time writer, although I certainly didn’t spend eight hours a day on the endeavor. Again, I’m retired for now, but I’m not certain that will last. I’m presently working on a business idea, which may or may not come to fruition, but ideally, for the time being at least, I would like to spend my time writing and traveling.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that I didn’t work with a story outline at all. I really couldn’t sit back and envision how the entire book would play out; it just didn’t work for me. I had some basic ideas in my head, but the next scene and the next chapter would never come until I got busy writing the present scene or chapter. Then things would flow. It’s a bit unorthodox, but that method works for me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

No idea. Even when I was in college, I had no idea. I probably changed my major three times before graduating with a degree in something I had essentially no interest. If I could go back in time, I believe I would have concentrated on sports management (or maybe even writing).

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

I just hope there will be some interest among your readers in this book. If you’re a dog lover, it’s for you. If you like an inspirational story about someone lost who manages to find himself in the most unlikely of circumstances, this book’s for you. If you have any interest in a book set in an exotic location (perhaps with an affection for things Irish), this is a story you’ll like.

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