Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Don Reid, a member of the Statler Brothers, country music's premier singing group for nearly forty years, has established himself as a singer and professional writer in multiple fields.
As a songwriter of 240 published and recorded songs, many of them number one and top ten hits, Reid is the recipient of 18 BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) awards, 3 Grammy awards, 9 Country Music Association awards, 48 Music City News/TNN awards, 13 gold albums, and 8 platinum albums.
Reid also cowrote (with his brother Harold) the television series The Statler Brothers Show and numerous TV specials. He has published three nonfiction books (Heroes and Outlaws of the Bible, Sunday Morning Memories, and You Know It's Christmas When.). O Little Town is his first novel.
Don lives with his wife, Deborah, in Staunton, Virginia.
I'm thrilled to be interviewing Don. James and I love the Statler Brothers. So, Don, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
As little as possible. I’m sure some of me seeps through, but I try real hard to make sure they don’t talk like me; they don’t reason like me; and that different things make them irritable and angry.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m full of quirks. I don’t like crowded restaurants and will leave if I can’t get a table in a corner or at least against the wall. If there’s a line at the post office, I’ll drive 10 miles down the road to another community to mail my package. I can’t bear to drink bottled water, I eat my dessert first and there is hand sanitizer in my pocket at all times. You want more? Ask my wife. She could fill a book with them.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first song when I was 12 years old. It wasn’t much good, but it was a song. I took writing classes in high school. Converting my songwriting career to writing books seemed like a natural move.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Home and hearth. Debbie and I have our four grandchildren living in shouting distance. We’re together almost daily. They can calm the fiercest storm.
All of our grandchildren, except the one serving in Afghanistan, live close by. What a blessing! How do you choose your characters’ names?
This is the most fun about writing. I love names. I’m thinking up new ones all the time and writing them down for future use. I try to fit the era of the story with the right name. You don’t want a ‘today’ name showing up on someone born in 1962. You must go to that decade and get in that frame of mind. Sometimes something a little unusual is right and then sometimes a good old common moniker hits the spot.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m very pleased with my years of songwriting. I had over 250 songs recorded by everyone from The Statler Brothers, Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette to Elvis and George Burns. I’m in two Halls of Fame – Country Music and Gospel Music. I still find that hard to believe.
But it's well-deserved. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If I were an animal I’d like to be a dog of mine. He’s got the best life possible. I know he does because I see to it. He’s asleep at my feet right this very second and I’m working – so who has the best life here? His name is Chipper.
What is your favorite food?
I am such a cheeseburger and Coke guy that it’s a sin. Macaroni and cheese and chocolate pie. I have to force myself to the fruit bar, yet I could live on salads.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t call it a roadblock, but it was a concern. I was a little fearful, when I started writing fiction, that I would have trouble with female dialogue. I am well aware women speak differently in cadence and in content than men, and I wasn’t sure I could capture two women sitting around a coffee table talking to one another. But once I got into it and got my feet damp, I found the challenge rewarding. I think I’ve made it work. I feel pretty good about some scenes I was originally worried about.
Tell us about the featured book.
One Lane Bridge. Set in the fictitious town of Hanson, NC. J.D. and Karlie Wickman have their hands full with a daughter just entering college, one of their parents in a nursing home and someone stealing cash from their business. Then add a strange family out on a country road who needs their attention in more ways than one and their marriage is stretched and stressed like they would never imagine it could be.
What eventually happens and how they handle it is the story. To say too much would be saying too much.
Sounds like a very good read. How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.donreid.net/ is my website address. It is also linked to http://www.statlerbrothers.com/
Thank you, Don, for visiting with us.
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