Denton attended the University of Arkansas and obtained a BA degree in Psychology. Although he did not pursue a career in the field, his interest in human behavior is reflected in much of his writing. He is also a member of Ozarks Writers League and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc..
As I’ve gotten to know Denton, I not only enjoy conversations on writing, he is also one of my favorite people with whom to have a “political” conversation.
However, for this interview, I kept the subject about writing. 🙂
JAN: Midwest Book Review recently rated your book, Tailspin, as “Highly recommended. Thoughtful, humorous and charming reading.” How did you come up with the idea to write a political satire through the eyes of a dog? Did any special dog(s) help with the characterizations? Any special challenges?
DENTON: Several years ago, I was sitting on the deck behind our house, gazing out at Beaver Lake, contemplating issues facing the United States when the thought struck me, my d—n dogs could do a better job running the country. The first question was how could a dog do that? The answers to questions like that kept coming to me, so I wrote this book. Naturally, the two main dog characters were drawn from my two dogs. Fortunately, both were smart, telepathic dogs and they were able to guide me along the way. Writing this was a ton of fun, and marketing the novella has proved to be the biggest challenge.
JAN: Your book, Fatal Mistakes, is a psychological thriller that weaves a story around teen pregnancy issues and revolves around a protagonist who, with the help of a therapist, deals with a variety of emotions. What was the catalyst for this story?
DENTON: Years ago, I saw a lot of friends involved with decisions surrounding teen pregnancy. Many of them were, like most of us during that time in our lives, immature emotionally and prone to make mistakes. And because people tend to repress emotions for various reasons, these decisions can result in unforeseen consequences. The decision to use a male protagonist stemmed from influences in the screenwriting world where everyone wants to do something that hasn’t been done before. So, I thought it might be intriguing to write about abortion from a male viewpoint. For me personally, this book served as a vehicle to fulfill my fantasy of being a psychotherapist.
JAN: You write non-fiction and screenplays, as well as fiction short stories and novels. What do you enjoy writing most?
DENTON: Writing screenplays rocks. They are not the most fun to read, because the writing style leaves much detail to the director. But it is that economy of words that draws me to it. For me, any fiction writing involves visualizing the story, so the preference boils down to one of technique. Unfortunately, screenwriting is the most difficult form to sell.
JAN: Has your background in psychology or the insurance industry given you more writing ideas?
DENTON: The world of psychology offers unlimited writing ideas because the field deals with human behavior. If Fatal Mistakes receives a good response I’ll likely write another psychological piece. And with so much attention on healthcare and insurance issues, I’d like to write more on the subject, though it will likely be in the form of newspaper, magazine, or blog work. Like most writers, many ideas spring from my imagination and experience. The challenge is where to focus your efforts.
JAN: What question have I not asked that you would like to answer?
DENTON: Beneath the surface of all your work one sees a concern about social issues in a thematic sense. Why? Because I think all good writing should make human beings consider who they are and how they should be in this world by using their own head and heart for answers.
JAN: You are initiating a group for writers to brainstorm and focus on the marketing aspects of writing. Tell us something about that.
DENTON: In today’s competitive environment writers need to be thinking about audience and markets even before publishing their work. You can bet that a potential publisher will be asking questions along those lines. Most writers like to write but do not like to market their work. For many, this is a burdensome, difficult task that requires a good deal of research and knowledge in order to become effective. By sharing what we’ve learned and experienced with others, we can benefit each other. This group is in the formative stage so I don’t know how effective it might be. (If you are interested in participating, please contact Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Denton also has a website, AmericanHighwayRoulette.com that contains information and advice for people who have been affected by an automobile accident.
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