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Here at Writers Inspiring Change we spotlight authors from around the globe, and today, we are interviewing J.P. Dalton, the author of Where the Campaign Ends.
Tell us about yourself, J.P.
I'm a married father of three adult children and have lived in the Phoenix area for the past 41 years. While I still sometimes wish my kids were young, the greatest benefit of their growing up has been the opportunity to travel with my wife, Kathie. Aside from a Mediterranean cruise many years ago we've not done anything too out of the ordinary, but we have made several trips to Disneyland and the beach. Last year, she took me to the Tampa area so I finally could see my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers play at Raymond James Stadium. Unintentionally, through these trips, I was able to form the backdrop for my debut novel and the ones to come.
How did you get started in writing?
I tripped into writing. I was the stats kid for a few sports teams in high school and called the local paper hoping to make a few bucks calling in game results. Instead, I was offered the chance to come and work in the sports department - for free, mind you - compiling stats and designing the agate page. This was heady stuff for a 16-year-old. Within two years I was writing byline articles and, when I went to college, I chose to major in journalism. I never took any creative writing courses. Fiction wasn't my thing. One deep secret of the journalism world is every reporter
fancies himself a novelist in waiting. I was no different. I first started writing fiction pieces more than twenty years ago, though nothing came to fruition. Usually I was working from half-formed ideas with the same basic theme. I finally completed my first novel about a decade ago and, happily in retrospect, it made it no further than my laptop. It was a disaster! Again, the story was poorly formed and I found myself adding filler to hit a word count. Fast forward to two years ago. I was talking to my wife yet again about wanting to write a book. "Why don't you write a love story," she asked. I'm certain that I laughed at that suggestion. I've never read love stories and am, after a youth blinded by John Hughes movies, generally a pragmatist. Nevertheless, I tried. And, I happily report, I succeeded beyond what I thought myself capable of writing.
Is there any message in your book?
There's no message to my book. All I wanted to do was write a good story with characters people can relate too.
What stands out from your reader feedback?
The most poignant feedback I've received is from readers who finished the book and still were thinking of my characters, wondering what the next stages of their lives might hold. For me, that's the ultimate compliment - the idea that I have created characters that will continue on after I'm gone and that have touched my readers' lives in some small way.
Tell us about your book, Where the Campaign Ends
"Where the Campaign Ends" is the love story my wife requested, though it doesn't follow the usual romantic tropes. Ryan Williams is a bare-knuckles political operative, a campaign whisperer, whose ultimate goal is to lead a presidential campaign and land in the D.C. Beltway. But everything changed on Election Night. His Senate candidate lost and, worse, he suffered a heart attack. Suddenly his indestructible, imperturbable persona is shattered and, while he can mask the doubts he feels in public, he finds himself confronting the so-called man in the mirror on a daily basis. He ends up renting a beach house in Del Mar,
California - one of my favorite places - and there meets Maggie Roberson, a yoga instructor with her own tragic past. Their relationship, though unlikely on the surface, develops as she helps him set aside much of the ambition which has driven him and start living for the sake of living.
Any upcoming works?
Thanks to that aforementioned trip to Tampa, a Florida-based romance currently is in the works. This one likely will be more of a traditional romance story, with the beach and an impending storm the backdrop.