Spotlight: Writer Doug Simpson
Doug Simpson is a retired high school teacher who has turned his talents to writing. His first novel, a spiritual mystery titled Soul Awakening, was published in the United States in October of 2011, by Book Locker. It was reissued in October of 2012 by 5 Prince Publishing as Soul Awakening, Book I of the Dacque Chronicles. Soul Rescue, Book II of the Dacque Chronicles will be published in November of 2012. His magazine and website articles, published in 2010 to 2012, span the globe: Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Q) Welcome, Doug! Your first novel, Soul Awakening, is a work of fiction. Yet you base some of the writing on the life of Edgar Cayce, who many have defined as a mystic. How would you describe Soul Awakening, and how did the book develop?
Because this part of his story is actually my story, here is an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Soul Awakening where protagonist Dacque LaRose explains Edgar Cayce to his new protégée, Dani Christian.
“Edgar Cayce was born in rural Kentucky, but in his middle years was guided to settle in a coastal fishing village in Virginia, called Virginia Beach. Over his lifetime, he gave more than fifteen thousand psychic readings in a self-induced, coma-like, trance state. Copies of over fourteen thousand of these readings have been preserved in the archives of his Association for Research and Enlightenment, or A.R.E. About ten thousand of these readings were medical readings, where in his unconscious state he was able to diagnose problems that medical doctors in those days could not locate or identify, and even prescribed medical procedures and medicines that had not yet been invented.
The next largest group of readings was reincarnation or past life readings, some 2500 readings for about 2000 different individuals. Edgar Cayce was a very religious person, as well as a Sunday School teacher, and was personally disturbed when the first reading implying reincarnation surfaced. A careful search of the Scriptures convinced him that there was actually nothing in the Bible that contradicted the notion of reincarnation, and in fact, a number of verses that pretty-much, if read with an open mind, implied that reincarnation existed. Convinced that reincarnation was at least possible, Edgar and a group of friends commenced a series of readings seeking an explanation of this unknown world that many people today still do not believe exists. This initial investigation, over many decades, led to an enormous number of readings that revealed previous incarnations back to Atlantis and Adam, and to Creation.”
After I retired as a high school teacher I discovered that I had time on my hands and I undertook some serious research into the life or reincarnation readings in the Edgar Cayce files. I had always wanted to write a book, and after studying Edgar’s reincarnation readings for quite a while I knew there was a book in there somewhere. Some of the wind was quickly taken out of my sails when I discovered that there were already over 300 books, including more than 30 biographies, written about Edgar Cayce and his marvelous revelations. That’s pretty tough competition. I eventually came up with the idea that I should take a crack at writing fictional stories using the knowledge I acquired through my research about the survival of souls and spirits after the death of bodies, and the reincarnation of souls. I could then reintroduce a group of new readers to the legendary American mystic, Edgar Cayce. And that is where and when the seeds of Soul Awakening were planted. Soul Awakening and its characters are all fictional, but the events that take place throughout the story have occurred to real people.
Q) Interesting process, lots of research on your part, hours and hours to yield fascinating fiction! Switching to your news and other writings, which are considerable, do you see additional novels coming? What are your works-in-progress and what does your creative space look like?
A) Soul Awakening was first published in October of 2011 by Booklocker. After I completed Soul Awakening, I continued to write a second and then third somewhat similar novel with Dacque LaRose and Dani Christian as principle characters but incorporating new adventures and additional characters. About two months ago I had book II ready to send to Booklocker when a Facebook friend, just like you, Roxie, introduced me to 5 Prince Publishing. They asked to see some of my work and they liked it. They offered me a four book contract that I simply could not turn down. Soul Awakening, Book I of the Dacque Chronicles was just published by 5 Prince Publishing on October 11, 2012 as an eBook and the print edition is scheduled for release on October 25, 2012. Soul Rescue, Book II of the Dacque Chronicles is scheduled for release in November of 2012. Soul Mind, Book III of the Dacque Chronicles is scheduled for release in January of 2013. I am working diligently on book four.
My creative space is nothing special. I have my computer desk and a large bookcase of reference material. The room also serves as my television room. I love to watch hockey games, but they are not high on my wife’s priority list so she has a second television in the family room. We babysit the grandchildren a fair bit, especially in the summer when school is out, so they take over my television and computer room and I get the boot. That is okay with us as we consider ourselves privileged to have the opportunity to spend so much time with our grandchildren. We truly are family.
Q) Family is important; sounds like your priorities are in the right place. Doug, if you could sum up the writing experience to someone just beginning to compose a first novel, what would you say, and what advice would you offer? How or what steps should a newbie take to follow the passion of the pen?
A) I am not going to try to give advice on the craft of writing because I still consider myself a beginning writer and I am definitely an unorthodox writer. Instead I will restrict my comments to courage and determination.
For forty years I tried to write novels. Some were abandoned, but a few were completed. Unfortunately, the completed ones contained major flaws which were basically impossible to rectify so they ended up in the junk heap. It took me forty years, off and on, to come up with a manuscript that a publisher considered worth publishing. So, beginners, if you have faith in yourself and your manuscript, never ever give up. You can learn to be a better writer. Practice may not make you perfect but it sure makes you better.
The one big secret for me, as far as I am concerned anyway, and I highly recommend it, is to write about what you know about not what you consider exciting. I learned a lot about souls, spirits and reincarnation, and writing about those subjects made writing my novels rather easy.
Thanks Doug! Congrats and good luck with your new venture at 5 Prince Publishing, what an inspiration for us all! See more details about Doug’s Dacque Chronicles Series at 5 Prince Publishing, available in print and eBook format through most book stores around the world. His articles can be accessed through his website.