Interview with Dave Amonson

Describe your desk
I have three desks at; my office, my home, and my place in the country.
All are special
I'm mostly retired but I maintain an interior office with a skylight which splashes sunlight around my office whenever the sun shines. My office desk is messy. I routinely do the interesting thing rather than the appropriate thing. Therefore, all the remnants of things already solved, but not put to bed, linger.
My home desk is not so messy because my tasks there tend to be writing with not as much need for files and loose paper. But I do have books; lots of books on library shelves on three sides of my office. My desk is an old wooden one; originally used by a banker. The pencil drawer pulls out to unlatch the pedestal drawers. There's a wooden arm chair to match. When we bought our home, I negotiated with the vendor to get his desk and chair. I appreciate it.
Our place in the country is a refurbished and renovated railroad station. The upper floor once served as the station master's home for him and his family. We tore out the ceiling joists and now have a lofted ceiling in a library 22 feet by 28 feet. Library shelves circle the room except for the window and door spaces. My desk pedestals are the original pedestals used to support the station master's desk as he sat looking up and down the track. The desk surface is laminated pine covered with heavy glass.
I love my desks!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading a book I found in the school library. I was likely about ten years old. It was a sports story which mentioned Boom Boom Geffrion; who was a popular hockey player for the Montreal Canadiens. I don't remember the author's name, the name of the book, or the story line but I do remember the mention of the intriguing name; Boom Boom Geffrion. Prior to that book, I think the various magazines ands catalogues around our farm home would have been my choice for recreational reading
How do you approach cover design?
I've always been interested in artistic expression. My cover for my novel Tunnel Vision reflects the fabric of the daily activities of villagers as they pursue their segments of a world scale project. I chose jute as the fabric because it has a coarse weave which shows well as the unique background for a storyline where some significant tears occur in the life of the protagonist's family Growing out of the tear is a pole topped by a symbolic star. I believe the symbols of the fabric, tear, and star will resonate with readers as the story unfolds.

My next cover design was for my nonfiction book, Toward Improving Canada. The book suggests ways to improve governance in Canada. I wanted the symbolism of an arrow pointing toward improvement. As I cast around for ideas, I happened on a flight of Canada geese flying in formation in front of a setting sun with the attendant red sky. This is the most eye catching of my covers, to date, but I prefer the more subtle messaging in the other two covers

The book I'm working on now is called Village Café, A Buffet of Ideas. Its central messages are parallel to its predecessor, Toward Improving Canada, but the ideas are structured to resonate with readers, outside Canada, who are interested in improving governance. The cover involves a group of light bulbs with four lightbulbs in the forefront. Each of the four light bulbs has emphasized light elements which show the letter "I" in one, "D" in the next, "E" in the next, and "A" in the last one. This ties elegantly with the title of the book.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Atlas Shrugged
I read Atlas Shrugged when I was in my early twenties. I liked the way Ayn Rand integrated her philosophy into a scenario and characters I appreciated. I have since decided Rand's philosophy is right but too strident.

Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy
I fantasized I would be a cowboy when I grew up. Rich Hobson dramatized Chilcotin ranch life and added memorable characterizations such as Panhandle Philips with his dispensing of cigarette ashes in unhelpful places.

A Town Like Alice
A ranching story set in the Australian outback, serviced by the town of Alice Springs. Many years after reading the story, I visited Alice Springs and pictured how it might have looked decades earlier. I can visualize the setting, the distances, and the hardships to this day.

M is for Murder
I enjoy the Sue Grafton stories. Her protagonist is a lady detective who is ordinary in general but likeable in multiple ways. The mysteries unfold with enough believability to encourage me to pick up the next story for a light read.

Long Walk To Freedom; The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
The story of a rebel with a cause, a couple of decades in jail, a grace that appeals, and a manner I appreciate. I know there are critics of his decisions and I suspect he smoothes over some of his less pleasant traits but I see a man who has walked the walk. Who, amongst us, has no flaws? I admire the man.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lee Child's Jack Reacher books. I think we all need to be in tune with individual responsibility. Jack Reacher provides one image of a man who can take care of himself and expects to do so. He also finds a little loving along the way. I don't much appreciate his moving on after each adventure but it fits with the serial nature of Lee Child's efforts.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I started out with an iPad. However, my work made access to the full Microsoft suite mandatory. I discovered the Microsoft Surface Pro would allow full Microsoft integration; so the Surface Pro has been my choice for the last couple years. My wife happily adopted the iPad!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
None, so far! I resent salesmen and I don't want to be pushy.

I have recently developed a website called www.VillageSource.net. I expect individuals with interest in alternatives to current manipulative democracies will discover my blogs and books and my reach will expand over a longer period. Royalties are not a driving force. I'm more interested in good ideas being implemented, anywhere and everywhere.

Most acquaintances admire a person who takes the initiative to publish a book. This doesn't often lead to immediate purchase and reading of the book.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a family farm near Fort St. John, B.C. Canada. I'm the middle of five children born over a 22 year stretch. My parents were salt of the earth folks involved in the community and respected neighbours. They encouraged individual enterprise, innovation, integrity and sportsmanship.

We raised cattle, pigs, and chickens along with cereal and grass crops. My parents were careful with animals and plants and resisted the pollution of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. The farm was a perfect place to learn about life and develop a work ethic.

My siblings and I were blessed.
When did you first start writing?
I listened to an elderly gentleman (Gus Yaki) who is interested in nature, primarily plants and birds. He was asked how he got started on his obsession. He said something like, "Nine months before I was born, I didn't have much to do, so I started taking notes. I was born with a stubby little pencil and a notebook in my fists"!

Well, I don't know when I started writing in a casual way. I think the family Christmas letters were some of my early efforts. Recipients often said they enjoyed my turn of phrase. In my early training as a Chartered Accountant, I was encouraged to write persuasive suggestions for management improvement. This involved making suggestions to hirelings who were more interested in seeing the backs of the auditors as opposed to listening to suggestions for improvement. This was good training because the audience wasn't predisposed to be receptive. It is only in partial retirement that I have dedicated enough time and effort to produce a body of published work.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Tunnel Vision is a novel premised on the idea that unhappy, young people can find high satisfaction in a village setting where they can live, learn, work, and save with few rules and profound consequences. The title is a play on words. The villagers build a world class tunnel 4,400 kilometers across northern Canada and they do it with vision. There is something to be said for an alternative to welfare and delinquency for young folks who reject the status quo.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first formal writing effort was about 13 years ago when my professional magazine invited Chartered Accountants to propose ways to improve governance in Canada. The initiative didn't come to fruition but I had put effort into my submission, so I put it up as a free book on a website. I put no effort into popularizing the book. When acquaintances discovered the book, and read it, they were complimentary.

When I decided to write Tunnel Vision; I wanted to be a little more proactive about getting the book known. However, there was no assurance any arm's length person would be interested. So, I started looking at indie alternatives. I assumed my reputation and my story were less than automatic drawing cards so I put no effort into attracting a conventional publisher. Beyond that, I liked the idea of launching from scratch. As I searched out alternatives, a neighbour author told me about Smashwords. I liked the Smashwords approach and here I am.
Published 2015-11-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Village Cafe A Buffet of Ideas
Price: Free! Words: 39,230. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Contemporary philosophy, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Social policy
Our democracies appear healthy but they suffer malignant cancers. As you contend with frustration; open this book and consider wholesome remedies. You might find ways to reduce hyperbolized fat. Each village café offers a buffet of ideas appropriate to every country. If your interest is fairness, debt management, taxation, jobs, justice, welfare, environment or governance; look here.
Toward Improving Canada
Price: Free! Words: 37,190. Language: Canadian English. Published: August 5, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Political, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Social policy
Imagine making a difference in your village, district, country, or world. This book provides fodder for challenging our assumptions and considering whether governments are doing what we think best. If they aren't, consider embracing the ideas in this book and applying them to the situations where you might have influence. You can make a difference.
Tunnel Vision
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 83,100. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Brett Larson saw a need. He assembled a team. The toll he was called to bear would challenge any man but he could not fail; he would not fail. Imagine the world's biggest construction project and experience intrigue as a bevy of unlikelies embrace individual responsibility and abiding goodness.