In the spotlight today, Paul Drewfs, scientist, artist and author. His new release, Transforming Spirits is available both in print and ebook. Paul enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, and has experienced unusual opportunities, adding to his creative tool chest.
Q) You are a research scientist by training, how did you get from that point A to point B as a writer, and how would you describe your latest book, Transforming Spirits?
A) In truth, I started out as fine artist and graphic designer. Four years of Ford Foundation scholarships put me through the Portland Museum Art School, and gained me a diploma. Then, it was off to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and hob knob with internationally famous artists from around the World. Early acclaim brought me to a gut wrenching cross roads. Remain sequestered in a science and technology avoidant poverty prone closed subculture, or return to the real World and start over. I chose the greater World, and my reputation as an artist popped the door open.
Universities welcomed a young fast rising artist seeking an advanced degree. I chose Florida State University, went to work as a graphic artist at the international Center for Educational Technology, and started working on a Master of Science Degree. Long story short, just before I graduated from FSU, I was confronted by yet another mind boggling fork in the road. Option one was to go to work for the US Department of the Navy as a Development Department Head of Instructional Technology in San Diego and work with Hollywood guild card level talent. Option two was to travel to Caracas, Venezuela and become the Director of the Organization of American States (OAS) project to establish Centers of Technology in every country in South America. For personal reasons, I chose the Navy and Hollywood, and became a US government civilian employee.
In 1975, Memphis State University enticed me back to school to work on a doctorate in educational research and statistics. I took that opportunity. There, my mentor and major professor and I started our own government contracting firm, Human Systems Integrated (HSI). I became a business man scientist. In 1978, what would ultimately become Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) bought our company. They moved us to El Paso, gave me a job as a Research Scientist, and shares of what was then near worthless stock. I’d finished all the course requirements for a doctorate, but decided to go with the flow and SAIC.
I took early retirement from SAIC in 2000. The company had grown by then into a multi-billion dollar corporation. I began working at once on my own research projects, and started learning to write fiction. My research – some of which is defined in my published nonfiction books of 2007 and 2010 – fed my fiction books. I didn’t formally publish my novels for the first twelve plus years; I knew I wasn’t ready. This year all of that changed and Transforming Spirits was published as an Amazon eBook. The print version is about to be published this month. Transforming Spirits is Volume 1 of a drafted ten volume series, titled the Blood Countess Chronicles.
Transforming Spirits in a nutshell goes like this: It’s midnight, Central Bohemia, Sunday October 31, 1571 – Eleven year old Princess Elizabeth of the Dominions of Loyalty is tincture-tainted and cast before a mirror. Her mother, mother-in-law to be, and a three yard tall preternatural priest give her just six hours to save all transforming humanity, or four hundred and forty one years of her future selves. Elizabeth is about to discover allies and secrets in the far distant future and past she could never have imagined, and the enemies to rival them.
Q) Intriguing, Paul! Switching to your routine as a writer, describe your work area, your typical writing day, and how you’ve been able to integrate marketing into your writing routine.
A) I would describe my work space as a server farm, toy barn, and organized mess. I work from around 7:00 am to about 5:00 pm seven days a week, only stopping for dinner. At night I sculpt from about 8:00 pm to about 11:30 pm. As for marketing, I don’t. For thirty three years I was an entrepreneur scientist and businessman mustering up a Type-A personality. The intense marketing and sales dimension of that was a fulminating nightmare. I was amazingly successful at it, and I hated every damned minute. If I was going to play advertising account executive to make money, I would pick a product that makes real money, and it definitely wouldn’t be books. I don’t write to make sales and revenues. Writing is a necessary step in personal and collective human evolution. In short, I write because all those guys and gals in my head needed a safe place to play.
Q) Speaking of play, if you could research and personally interview anyone from any time-period, who would they be and how would the interview sound?
A) That interview would be with the protagonist of my novels, Elizabeth Bathory, one of the most unjustly divested, deposed, and disparaged individuals in human history. The interview would be conducted around the first of August of 1614. It would take place through the slotted brick wall fronting her cell, in her own keep tower at Castle Cechtice in Central Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). The interview topics would begin with her betrothal to Ferenc Nadasdy in 1571, and end with her arrest and conviction for six hundred counts of “Inhuman cruelty” (murder) by a false religious tribunal – as opposed to a proper civil, regional dominion, or imperial court. Her betrothal and marriage of 1575 created the largest single land merger since Charlemagne. That real-estate deal was the clever creation of the Countess Anna Dragfy Drugeth Bathory and the Baroness Orsolya Nadasdy of Kanizsa. That marriage imposed a responsibility on Elizabeth’s shoulders, that makes today’s international CEOs look like anemic wimps. The litany of events that led to Elizabeth’s downfall and death would ultimately result in war, famine, pestilence, and death on a scale the World had never seen. In the end, it resulted in the loss of over half of the population of Europe, and jump-started the colonization of North America over a decade before the Plymouth colony. Now, that is an interview I would very much like to conduct.
Find out more about nonfiction works: Change; Described-Explained-Predicted and Waters of Creation and Reality here.