Please welcome David Kubicek to Mass Musings today. David is the author of A friend of the Family, a science fiction thriller. David is on tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe', and will be offering you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift card, plus he has a trivia game you can partake in to win a copy of the book. You can follow his tour HERE to get the trivia questions, plus for more chances to win.
Seven Things You Didn’t Know About David Kubicek
I like finding out things about people, authors in particular, because it gives me insight into how they became who they are today. So I thought it might be fun to share with you some experiences in my background that have shaped the kind of writer I have become and caused me to write the types of stories I write.
1. Whereas most kids set up lemonade stands to make extra money, I decided to open a museum in our back yard and charge the neighbors 25 cents admission. But in order to have a cool museum, I needed dinosaur skeletons, and I didn’t have access to dinosaur bones. So I did the next best thing—every time we had chicken for dinner, I collected the bones and stored them in a brown paper sack in my closet. Unfortunately I never achieved my goal of accumulating enough chicken bones to build a T. Rex skeleton. My Mom found the bag of moldy table scraps and, after a good scolding, made me march them out to the garbage can.
2. I wrote a college thesis about Ray Bradbury. On the advice of Stephen King, who I met when he was doing a promotional tour for The Dead Zone, I sent Bradbury a copy. Bradbury reciprocated by sending me a copy of the galleys of a book about him that was currently being published.
3. To research my short story “Clinical Evaluation,” I found a fellow at Lincoln General Hospital who agreed to show me around the morgue. “Clinical Evaluation” became my first published story, in an anthology called The New Surrealists.
4. On a cold winter day, while I was sitting around with my co-workers on a break, I spun a silly yarn about how at -17 degrees Celsius, certain chemical changes take place in the human posterior which, if ignored, would cause that part of the anatomy to fall off. I went home, wrote up the story, and sold it to National Lampoon for $50. Because it was written in the form of a newspaper article, the magazine used it as the lead story for its Yellow Journal section. They even found a photo to illustrate it.
5. As a photographer I was once hired to take a series of photos for a Nebraska Department on Aging brochure.
6. I have a black belt in Okinawan Goju-ryu karate.
7. When I was learning how to write I copied my favorite stories by my favorite authors in longhand. This exercise taught me how stories flowed. It taught me their rhythms. It taught me how authors wrote action scenes, and how they wrote low-key scenes. It taught me how to add subtle touches of characterization. The story must be copied in longhand—not typed!—because writing it out forces you to think about it more, and you become more aware of the author’s craft. I highly recommend this exercise for aspiring authors.
In a desolate future, long after the nuclear war, practicing medicine is illegal. Health care is provided by Healers who treat patients using primitive methods like chanting and bleeding. Hank is a doctor who practices medicine only for himself and his family. His fear of being sent to prison has estranged him from the Underground, the loose network of physicians that tries to help people who have lost faith in the Healers. Then late one evening a 16-year-old girl named Gina knocks on his door. She has a secret of her own and the power to destroy Hank’s life if he doesn’t come with her and make her seriously ill father well. But there is one catch — Gina’s father is the brother of a Healer.
Gina unbolted the door and lifted off the bar, set it with a bump in the corner, and went out. A cool breeze, touched with the smells of mildew and rotting wood, whisked into the room. It dried the perspiration on Hank’s face and rocked the lanterns. The door slapped shut. Maud went to bolt it. When she came back, she drew her chair closer to the bed, sat down. She touched her robe near the left shoulder.
“I’ve got a knife in here.”
“I understand,” Hank said, feeling cold.
“My own child doesn’t think I’d use it, but I would.”
Hank looked down at his hands. He tried to still the tremor within him.
“I don’t want to cause trouble.”
“You bein’ here is trouble.”
“Maud, stop it,” Vic said. Then he was coughing again.
Hank prepared penicillin and vitamin injections. His hands shook. He had difficulty grasping the syringes, and he couldn’t make his muscles do what he wanted them to.
Hank put the syringes into his medical case. He didn’t want to give the injections until Gina got back. He tried to convince himself that it was common sense to wait until he had checked this man more thoroughly. But besides the blood pressure, there were no more tests he could do. He was afraid of what this old woman might do if he frightened her badly enough.
David Kubicek received a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He has published several short stories (his story “Ball of Fire” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses in 1989), hundreds of articles, a Cliffs Notes on Willa Cather’s My Antonia, and a Hollywood producer has optioned one of his screenplays. For nine years he wrote for MBJ Publications, publishers of the Midlands Business Journal, the Lincoln Business Journal, and the Mountain Plains Business Journal. As President of Kubicek & Associates, he published five trade paperback books, including two he edited—The Pelican In The Desert: and Other Stories of the Family Farm and October Dreams: A Harvest of Horror (with Jeff Mason). He lives with his wife, Cheryl, and their son, Sean, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Follow me on Twitter: http://bit.ly/hGcjOU
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