SF17 Keynote Speaker: David Baldacci

David Baldacci was the Saturday keynote luncheon speaker at Sleuthfest 2017. He began his talk by relaying a humorous story about why he won’t go up to anyone reading his book. He said he saw a man reading one of his books and offered to sign it for the man. The man told him, “No way.” It was his book and he wasn’t letting him (Baldacci) put his name in it. Baldacci then tried to explain that he wrote the book. The man still didn’t believe him until Baldacci finally pulled the book out of the man’s hands and held the book up near his (Baldacci’s) face showing the author photo on the back cover. Only then did the man believe him.

David Baldacci

I was impressed by the fact that sixteen years ago David and his wife started a literacy foundation: the Wish You Well Foundation®. “Reading is food for the mind and body,” he said. “Dictators take over when libraries close.”

He also told a cute story about when he went to Italy with his family, to a small town near Tuscany where his relatives had come from. He thought it was going to be a simple affair where he, his wife, son and daughter would stop by and see the mayor. It turned into a huge affair. There were signs all over proclaiming it David Baldacci Day, and he ended up giving a speech in the town’s center courtyard. He met relatives who came from all over. He writes about the experience in “Coming Home” which appeared in an anthology titled An Innocent Abroad: Life-changing Trips from 35 Great Writers Site for anthology

His advice about writing:

  • Listen to people.
    • Ask questions, sit down and shut up.
  • Leave out 99% of your research.
  • Face to face interviews are the best.
    • You can watch the body language.
    • You have eye to eye contact.
  • Where you grow up has an effect on what you write.
  • Every writer does it differently. What works is what is important.
  • Writing should be fun.
  • It’s a fabulous way to live your life.

Today I’m also on Leslie Ann Sartor’s blog. Do drop by and say Hi.  http://anindieadventure.blogspot.com/2017/04/take-five-and-meet-multi-published.html

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10 Responses to SF17 Keynote Speaker: David Baldacci

  1. Melissa Keir says:

    He sounds like a wonderful man! I can only be fortunate enough to have one person love my work. He’s made a career out of it!

  2. How wonderful to hear such a well-published, well-known writer speak. I really like his advice.

  3. I like David Baldacci’s powerful quote “Reading is food for the mind and body. Dictators take over when libraries close.”

    • Maris Soule says:

      I agree, Irene. I’m wondering if he mentioned that because funding for our libraries is being cut. We do need to make sure everyone can read what he or she desires…not what others tell us to read.

  4. Enid. From Calif. says:

    Thanks for the story! Love his stuff, sounds like he would be a good friend to have. A REAL person!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Actually, Enid, he’s the sort of person you want to hate (but can’t). He’s good looking, seems to have a loving wife and family, writes great books, has a wonderful sense of humor, and on and on. Disgusting. Right?

  5. Paula says:

    You seem to enjoy your SleuthFest and that’s a GOOD thing! The piece of Mr. Baldacci’s advice that you included which I like best is “leave out 99% of your research.”
    I’ve read novels where it seemed an author is simply trying to show how much work they put into their research when I’d just as soon they got on with the story. “Showing off” research is (IMO) only appreciated in non-fiction. And then, of course, the author must write it in a way that’s understandable to the average person and doesn’t sound academic.
    Looking forward to seeing you again.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Hi Paula. Your comment is timely. I just finished reading a book where the author included paragraph after paragraph of very interesting information. Problem is, this was a mystery not a non-fiction book and I totally lost track of the mystery. She should have left 99% of that information out.