I can't remember how I came across Donald Stilwell but I know it led me to his book titled, Obligation, the first title in his series by the same name.
I enjoyed the time I spent between the pages of Obligation and, if you're interested, you can read my review of the book here. For now, though, I'll allow you the opportunity to get to know a little more about Donald Stilwell and what makes him the man he is. I asked him a multitude of questions and, below, you will find his answers:
Budden: What does being an author mean to you?
Donald: It provides an opportunity to relate/share with people on a worldwide scale. There is something quite personal and satisfying about touching a stranger with your words.
Budden: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Donald: I've been writing since childhood. As my personal experiences piled up, so did my desire to write them down. After reaching a very low point in my life, I began OBLIGATION. It brought out emotions I'd alienated my entire life. When I felt the impact of it myself, I thought it might be worthwhile to someone else as well.
Budden: From its inception, how long did it take you to write and publish your first book? Was the experience mostly rewarding or filled with varying levels of frustration?
Donald: It took three years to complete my first book. Working full-time and then some, along with raising an autistic son, left very little time to write. It filled me with a distinct purpose, so I carried on until "THE END" found its way.
Budden: Are you currently writing another book which you hope to publish at some point? If so, we'd love to hear more about it.
Donald: DARKNESS, now published, is the second book of the OBLIGATION Series. For those who read OBLIGATION, it is similar and yet very different. We introduce a new, darker character, Vincent Stillwater. He is Will's second student and was a great deal of fun to craft.
Budden: Which book is your favourite and why?
Donald: OBLIGATION will always be my favorite as it was my first, and so much of me went into it.
Budden: Who has been a major source of inspiration for you as a writer/author?
Donald: As far as writers go, I'm a huge fan of Stephen Hunter and Orson Scott Card. In respect to finding inspiration, I need look no further than my partners, past and present. I've been fortunate to stand beside some great warriors, men you would literally walk through the gates of hell with. They know who they are, and their essence graces the pages of my books.
Budden: What is your ultimate dream, in terms of being a writer/author?
Donald: Great question... Ultimately, I would like to see OBLIGATION optioned for film. When I wrote it, I saw it before me as one would on the big screen. I pictured Clint Eastwood as the Grandfather, Denzel Washington as Will, and perhaps Channing Tatum, or Ryan Gosling as Kevin. It truly aided in crafting the details of their presence in the book.
Budden: OK, Donald, I'm sorry but I must interrupt for a minute because I'm absolutely astounded! I, too, saw Denzel Washington in the role of Will; I pictured him as I read the book and, to make things even more intriguing, I pictured Channing Tatum as Kevin from the point when Kevin joined the Marines. In fact, I was thinking I'd like to see this movie with those two men in these roles.
Let's talk about quotes for a minute. Usually people are inspired by something they've heard in the past. What is one of your favourite quotes?
Donald: "I never think of my own life, but of the life I can save." Something I heard while serving in the Marine Corps. I believe in it with my soul.
Budden: Tell us a little about your life. What does an average day look like?
Donald: An average work day is ever evolving, always different. I'm employed as a full-time peace officer, so for 12 hours a day, I patrol the streets of a city and deal with everything imaginable and some you could not. Free time is spent with family, enjoying life every way possible.
Budden: I'm always fascinated by what busy people prefer to do in their spare time and you are no exception. I have one more question for you before you leave: what are three of your favourite hobbies?
Donald: Obviously, I love to write. Following that, I'm an avid golfer; I've been playing all of my life and still hold a single digit handicap. (For those who don't play, that simply means I play pretty well.) Love my dogs, working out, and of course, reading...
Budden: Well, it has certainly been a pleasure having you with us.
Donald: This has been a pleasure Norma and thank you so much for having me. Hope all is great in your part of the world!
Budden's closing thoughts: Donald, I must admit to wondering about which parts of Obligation were based on fact and which were based on fiction. I think it's an exciting thing to finish reading a book and still have questions about the story. I realize you are busy and I thank you for taking the time to share aspects of your life with us and I wish you much success in your writing endeavours.