A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
Award-winning screenwriter and author of science fiction, fantasy and adventure.
David's work has been praised by literary professors and by PhDs in science, by fans and by book reviewers around the world.
His miniseries screenplay adaptation of his popular novel "The Shylmahn Migration" won the Pacific Northwest Screenwriting Competition in 2007.
David lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State with his wife Sylvia. When not writing, he can often be found on any one of a dozen northwest mountains.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I was in the sixth grade. San Andreas school in Pacifica, California, the late 60s. Our teacher would write all of the day’s assignments on the blackboard, and each table of six students would work together to get through them. When finished, you went to back of the room where each student had a card, green on one side, red on the other. You turned your card from red to green and spent the rest of the day working on extra credit.
One day I chose to write a short story. The next day, my teacher handed me a theme book. She said from that day forward my only extra credit was to fill that theme book with stories. How cool was that? Every day my extra credit time was spent writing in that theme book.
We moved away about halfway through the sixth grade; never saw that teacher again… or that theme book.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I started writing when I was twelve, but I really didn’t think seriously about putting my stuff out there until I was in my twenties. That was in the late 1970s, back in the day of the typewriter and large manila mailing envelopes. I focused on short stories back then, sent a few out. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I began writing novels and fully intended to make a living at it.
I should say that I do still write the occasional short story when I get a chance.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I changed schools fifteen times growing up. My mom had a thing about moving. I spent a lot of time on my own, living in my own head. I began reading when I was seven years old; books took me away, took me on great adventures. Writing did the same thing; still does.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I have the story in my mind first, and give it a working title when I start writing. That working title seldom survives the process to the final draft.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write science fiction, some fantasy, though I do occasionally drift into other genres. Science fiction takes me out of the ordinary day to day, just as it did when I was growing up; the books I read and the stories I wrote back then. My work tends to focus on a protagonist living an ordinary life who is suddenly thrown into extraordinary circumstances.
Some of my titles lean to the young adult audience, though they are really for the entire family. This would include 'Ravenhill Court', 'The Christmas Cave', and 'Shipwreck on ShadowWorld'.
'Serpent’s Keep' is a scifi/fantasy that’s a few years older, and 'The Shylmahn Migration', my epic science fiction work, deals with themes that take it out of the YA audience.
I don’t write to a specific audience; the story takes me where it wants.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? When I finish writing a scene and I know right then and there that I nailed it. So cool to sit back, look at the words in front of you, and think… wow.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? A manager had sold the screenplay adaptation of one of my novels, and to celebrate he took a vacation to the Caribbean. Unfortunately, he was also the packager for the entire project, which involved a financing group, a television network, and a big-name producer/director. When issues came up, he wasn’t to be found. The producer/director couldn’t wait and dropped out due to scheduling issues. The network had become involved in the project only because of the big-name director, so they backed out. This then panicked the financing group.
Turned out my manager didn’t really have any experience at this sort of thing. I was to be his big break. Next time, I look much more closely at the manager’s creds.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The first time a stranger came up to me with a copy of one of my published print books and asked me to sign it. That was also my most uncomfortable experience.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Write for you. Satisfy your own soul.
Who are your favorite authors? Growing up, there was Brian Aldiss, John Christopher, John Wyndham; I was big on the British science fiction writers back then. I really went in for those books where something bad happened to the Earth, and how did ordinary people deal with it.
What are your five favorite books, and why? Other than my own work, the books that come to mind are all from the past: Dune, Greybeard, No Blade of Grass, Day of the Triffids, and for something completely different, Watership Down.
Dune was Frank Herbert’s epic masterpiece. None of his work before or after came close. The universe he created, the depth and diversity of the characters that populated that universe, the tightly interwoven fabric of the storylines, absolutely flawless.
Greybeard, No Blade of Grass, Day of the Triffids were three of the “end of the world” books written by the British science fiction writers that I read throughout my teenage years. You throw some disaster at our planet and see how ordinary people deal with it.
And as for Watership Down… I was completely drawn into Adams’ story, the amazing world of those rabbits. It just made me feel good. One of the few books I’ve read more than once.
Honorable Mention: half a dozen others, including “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
Featured Selection: The Shylmahn Migration – by David R. Beshears
Brings gritty realism to the nightmare of an overwhelming invasion of Earth. This is not 'slam-bam-welcome-to-earth' stuff. This could happen.
"Intelligent, epic science fiction"
Note: The three part miniseries screenplay adaptation was the winner of the Pacific Northwest Screenwriting competition.
Genre: Science Fiction
If you are a multi-book author please tell me three of your favorite book titles: My books are all so very different from one another that I can’t say that I favor one over another. However, here are three novellas that have recently been getting some attention:
The Christmas Cave – family holiday fantasy. The favorite of my son, injured in the war and suffering severe cognitive TBI. The two main characters remind him of his sister and himself, which had been the intent.
Description: December 1960. Thirteen year old Jenny Harper is exploring the caves with her brother Bill and their best friend Mike. They see a strange shimmering light up ahead. Bill rushes ahead, disappears around the bend.
Fade to present day. Thirteen year old Jack and his twelve year old sister Amanda visit their Grandma Jenny in the mountains over the Christmas holiday.
They hear the story of a mythical cavern that Grandma went searching for fifty years earlier with her little brother Bill and their best friend Mike. Her brother was lost, never to be seen again.
Drawn to the mystery, Jack and Amanda meet up with Daniel Madsen, a local boy diagnosed with Leukemia and only months to live. He tells them of a boy who went into the caves a few days before Christmas, 1910 and came out three years later telling of "The Christmas Cave", a world of amazing colors and lights.
They find their way to the Christmas Cave and discover much more than they expected.
Novella based on the screenplay "The Christmas Cave", written by David R. Beshears
Broken Sky – my little “sci-fi that could”. It’s based on a small budget indie screenplay that I really enjoyed writing and I believe turned out very well. It’s also recently caught the eye of an independent UK producer.
Description: A cluster of old buildings sits isolated on a quiet, desolate plain. Overhead, the sky is a smear of reds and purples, a shell enclosing the world. Here, strangers who have banded together for survival must strike out into the alien wilderness in search of a way home.
Novella based on the science fiction screenplay “Broken Sky” by David R. Beshears.
KHDZ – my dark satire. This is absolutely, positively completely different than anything else I’ve ever written. The response to my initial foray into satire put a smile on my face.
Description: John Smith is the first person ever sent downstairs due to a mix-up in the paperwork. While this is sorted out, he is assigned to work at Hades’ local television station, where he must deal with strange characters and stranger programming.
All the more bizarre, he arrived just in time for Founder's Day.
Dark satire novella adapted from the screenplay "KHDZ", written by D.R.Beshears
Industry feedback re: the screenplay
"The concept is brilliant and eye-catching."
"The situation is entertaining, the shows are fun, and life at the station with all its quirky characters is easy to become invested in… a fun script and a very talented writer.”
"The author has come up with a very inventive concept and gives us a very sympathetic protagonist. Not only that, the author understands how to balance the wit of the set-up with the real emotional issues faced by the characters.
Please list all your published books with purchase links:
The Shylmahn Migration
The Christmas Cave
Climb the Mountain
Shipwreck on ShadowWorld
The Black Tower Serial
The Black Tower – Section 1 – Episodes 1-6
Episode One – The First Floor
Episode Two – The Freighter
Episode Three – Ghost Town
Episode Four – Another Day at the Office
Episode Five – Night Train
Episode Six – Fog and Shadows
Episode Seven – The Tunnels of Hades
Please view my video titled ‘The Journey to Rainier’. Training to climb Mt. Rainier in the name of my son, severely injured in Afghanistan, recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJbSELRPKE
The Journey So Far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSs5mkWKS7E
David R. Beshears Author Reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXN0dfOqmVk
Greybeard Community Center 3D Walkthrough: A nonprofit facility for people with disabilities and their families. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Y4wRk7A1A Please donate to this worthy endeavor. http://www.greybeardcommunitycenter.com
To be fair, while Serpent's…Continue
I revisited the world of the Shylmahn recently, wrote a short story that takes place twenty years after the conclusion of the third book in the Shylmahn trilogy. "The Britton Journals" is the story of a Shylmahn historian’s visit to an aging…Continue