“Writing, like nothing else, encourages me to focus on the bigger picture, to try and make sense of my community, my place within it, and how and where change can be affected.”
–David Eric Tomlinson
A member of the Writers’ League of Texas for three years, David Eric Tomlinson lives in Dallas.
David Eric Tomlinson: I write fiction and the occasional book review or personal essay.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
DET: My college writing professor, novelist and memoirist Mel Freilicher, who I haven’t seen in more than ten years. He always has a unique perspective on the intersection of art and politics, so I’d want him to explain the recent presidential election and what it all means. If anyone can do it, Mel can.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
DET: Underworld by Don DeLillo. It makes sense of this modern world like nothing I’ve ever read.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
DET: The Writers’ League has given me access to a whole diverse community of Texas writers, all of them pushing boundaries and taking chances with their work, which is so often excellent. I’ve reviewed several novels for the Members Review, something that has helped hone my own craft, because it forces a closer engagement with a manuscript, which is always a good thing for an author.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
DET: I’ll keep writing novels. It’s a long game, many years from idea to finished product, but that process forces me to both retreat from and engage more deeply with the world around me. There is such a constant barrage of information these days, much of it meaningless. And writing, like nothing else, encourages me to focus on the bigger picture, to try and make sense of my community, my place within it, and how and where change can be affected.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
DET: I read a fantastic novel by Dallas author Joe Milazzo a few years ago called Crepuscule W/Nellie. It’s about a love triangle between Thelonious Monk, his wife (just diagnosed with cancer), and Monk’s benefactor, a wealthy baroness. It’s a big, brilliant, rambling, gutsy book that dives into jazz and the creative process and intimacy and friendship. Another great one is Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft, about Mexico’s invasion of Texas (which had been stolen from them), in 1859. It’s a funny, irreverent, and politically relevant take on the seemingly endless cast of characters struggling for control of the border.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
My debut novel The Midnight Man was just released this month from Tyrus Books, now a division of Simon & Schuster. It’s a story about five Oklahomans who overcome deep racial, political, and social differences, to form a kind of family unit, in the year preceding the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The plot revolves around a capital murder trial. We’re having a book launch party on Monday, January 16, at The Wild Detectives bookstore, in Dallas. You can learn more about all of that here: www.DavidEricTomlinson.com.
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!