not often a person achieves success in a career they love, much less
twice in two different careers! Don Reid has achieved that very
success, and he attributes it all to obeying the God he loves and
serves every single day.
years of writing and singing with the Statler Brothers has given you
many awards, many memories, and many friendships. Since 2002, you have
had seven books published . . . a second award-winning career. How did
writing music prepare you for writing books? What led you to tackle
novel writing after so many successful years as a singer and
Being a songwriter let me know
that I loved writing as much as performing. And my favorites were
always the story songs. I had been fascinated with fiction since my
high school days when I developed a love of many different authors. I
wrote short stories for my own enjoyment all through my music career
but never had the time to develop them into a published and working
entity. But when I retired, I wanted to use my time pursuing that part
of my creativity. I love the singular action of sitting alone and
bringing characters and story to life.
What role has
your faith played in your writing? Do you feel that Christian fiction
plays a vital role in reaching people for Christ? In encouraging
believers in their faith?
Christian fiction serves a great
purpose for me. It gives me the opportunity to do what I love to do
without competing in the marketplace for the most gruesome storyline,
the darkest and filthiest language, and characters that leave you
feeling as if you need a bath. I’m not a prude, but I do carry my
religion with me in everything I do. (If I didn’t, it wouldn’t be worth
having.) It also challenges me as a writer. You can’t just go with the
most base dialogue (which is easy). You have to find a way of keeping
it decent but still getting it across with attitude and synonyms.
Christian fiction allows you to be good at what you do and still not be
ashamed for your mother or your children to read it.
What kind of
writing do you enjoy as a reader? Who is your favorite author? Why?
I’m a mystery lover. I possess
and have read everything Agatha Christie ever published. Even what she
wrote under a pseudonym. The construction of a mystery has always
amazed me. My favorite type of movie is also mystery. (As kids, my
brother, Harold, and I used to speculate how mysteries were written. We
came to the conclusion they were written from the back to the front
because the writer had to know how the last page would read before he
could write the first page. It’s not quite that simple, but we were on
to something even as young fans.)
published both fiction and nonfiction. Which is your favorite to write?
I love both. Nonfiction gives me
the opportunity to do something I truly get engrossed in―research. I
have always been stimulated when I had to dig through reference books,
looking for a fact here and there. (You can imagine how much I like
Google.) Nonfiction requires a lot of searching and I can stay up night
and day doing this lovable chore. But then fiction gives you total
freedom. You can make your character do whatever you think he should
do. You can give him whatever characteristics and habits and manners
you like. You can make him as ugly or as handsome as you like. You can
even make him the villain but still be likable. So which do I like
best, a hamburger or a hot dog? Please tell me I can have both!
What part of
the writing process challenges you the most?
The schedule. I know writers who
write early every morning. I know some who make themselves write so
many words per day. I know some who write when they’re sick because
they have promised themselves they would. I’m none of those guys. I
don’t like to write when I’m tired or have other things that need
tending. I don’t like to force an idea until it’s ready. So I suppose
the discipline is the hardest part for me. I may go weeks between
writing sessions but I’m always writing in my mind so that when I do
sit down to commit it to paper, I have something to say.
Tell us a bit
about your latest novel, The Mulligans of
Mt. Jefferson. Where did you get the inspiration for this
The Mulligans of Mt.
Jefferson is a sequel to O Little Town,
which was published a couple of years ago. The inspiration was with the
first book in as much as the setting. It’s in the 1950s in a small
Southern town in Virginia and that is pretty much who I am. So the
facts were all in my head and my heart. The inspiration for the
storyline was simply a way for three friends to get together. I could
have had them meet in college, in the service, or in their careers. But
I wanted a stronger bond, so I had them grow up together. Thus, the
story of three little boys who become men together always have that
background bond that holds them tight through sensitive and near
upon your own strong, lifetime friendships to create the characters in
this story? What is the significance of the 1950s setting? What
research did you have to do to recreate the setting of the story?
To write anything this
character-driven, I think you have to draw on yourself and your
relationships. I never lift a singular character from my life and put
him or her on the page. Every one of my characters is a composite of
folks I’ve known. I’ll give my character a little bit from Tom, a
little bit from Dick, and a little from Harry. Only friends who know me
best can ever tell from whom I borrowed in real life.
’50s was the wonderful era of my youth. I’m dating myself for sure, but
I saw that decade come in when I was four years old, and I ushered it
out when I was fourteen. So I needed no research at all. Those memories
of that period are vivid in my mind and I could write about them until
the cows come home. (I’ve never known what that phrase actually means,
but I think it means a long, long time.)
What do you
hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope they will have a good
time with it. I hope they’ll be entertained and, maybe, a little
baffled from time to time. I hope they’ll sense that there is a bit of
the mulligan in all of us, a need for a second
chance. A little forgiveness from those who love us most. I hope it
makes them smile and that they may want to linger a little while longer
in Mt. Jefferson.
need to read O Little Town to
fully appreciate your latest novel? Have readers requested the sequel
so much that The Mulligans of Mt. Jefferson was
born, or did you conceive the idea as more than one novel at the
Both novels stand on their own,
even though they are connected. In a perfect world, you might want to
read O Little Town first, but it isn’t necessary. I
wrote O Little Town thinking of it as a stand-alone
novel, but I had such a good time with the folks in town that I wanted
to go back and revisit some of them. I think after all is read and
done, you’ll find that Mt. Jefferson is the center of both books. The
little town is the star. It is what you are eventually drawn to.
What is the
most memorable response you’ve received from a reader? What role does
reader response play in your writing?
I’ve had readers tell me they
have come to Staunton, Virginia, my hometown, and walked the streets
just to see Mt. Jefferson. This tells me they liked what they read and
what was conjured up in their minds. As for readers’ response, I have
the greatest respect in the world for their opinions. What they think
is more important than anything. If enough of them told me they hated a
particular character, then I would be foolish to try to sustain that
character. I’d listen closely and act appropriately.
How does your
family feel about your stories? Do they enjoy reading and writing as
much as you do?
My family members are my best
critics. Before publishing, my wife, my brother, and my sons read the
work. I can tell if they love it or just like it or are trying to say
something nice. I discuss it with them and I find the hot spots and the
cold spots. I trust these four people to give me the truth.
What words of
encouragement would you like to leave with your readers?
I’d most like to thank them for
their time. It’s a good hunk of time out of someone’s week to donate to
reading a book from cover to cover. They are doing me a favor and I, in
turn, hope I’ve done them a favor by not disappointing them. And I’d
like to encourage them to continue to read good books as often as
possible. Trends will always come and go with movies and television
shows, but no matter what genre of book is hot at the time, you’ll
always be able to find something in your special section of the
bookstore. Reading a book is personal and private. I encourage you to
enjoy yourself with no apologies to anyone else.
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World