The official launch of Dean Mayes’ THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM happened last week in Moe Australia. It was full of food, family and friends all surrounded by the great books that Avid Books sells. Dean was kind enough to share his speech that he made at the launch and without further ado, here it is:
I have enjoyed writing in one form or another since I was seven years old. It was the one past time where I thrived – putting ideas to paper, giving a voice to my imagination, creating situations, people, life. It has been a satisfying if a little aimless pursuit at times.
The genesis for what has become my first published novel can be traced back to about 2002 when I was pursuing another, altogether different story. I dreamed of a novel that would grace the bookstands of the airport terminal – the kind of Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy political thriller that is the staple of great airport fiction. Only I wanted to set mine in the future and have it be a sprawling saga of the George Lucas kind. It was a daunting challenge and one that became too ambitious. It was, perhaps inevitable that it would fall over.
All the while, however, the idea for a very different kind of story began as a mere splinter in my minds eye – a concept for a kind of what if fable. All I envisioned then was a scenario – two young men, one noble and proud – the other duplicitous and mean. If something happened, an event that affected them both. One died, the other lived but that was just the beginning. What then?
That’s all it was – an idea. For years it stayed with me as my life twisted and turned as life always does. The airport fiction blockbuster faltered, other events occupied my life.
And then, one day in March 2009, I decided that this idea was finally going to have its turn.
I started an internet blog and decided that this endeavor was going to be purely one of enjoyment. I would write ‘on the fly’ with no bells or whistles and put it up there on the blog. I would announce a new edition on Facebook and Twitter each week and let anybody who wanted to read it.
A funny thing happened. I suddenly found myself with a dedicated readership – a following who would ‘tune in’ each week to see more of this unfolding story – a fable about a struggling young drug addict with a brilliant gift for the guitar, who is rescued from a near fatal overdose in urban Chicago. Meanwhile, a beautiful young lawyer is trying to rebuild her life in Southern Australia following the death of the love of her life – a promising architect…who also has a gift for classical guitar.
People were ‘hitting me up’ – in internet parlance – asking me when the next installment was coming, telling me how hooked they were on the story, encouraging me to keep going, to keep writing. And out of all these new found fan messages came one in particular. It was a message of encouragement, but one that also invited me to have a look at ireadiwrite Publishing – a small digital press in Vancouver, Canada. Though it’s a fairly new player in the industry, ireadiwrite Publishing offers an alternative vehicle for up and coming authors, facilitating publication in both the digital and print formats.
After checking out their credentials and determining that this was indeed an attractive and genuine publishing house, I became very serious about my project. I stopped publishing it to my blog, much to the chagrin of my loyal following, and began constructing the manuscript proper. I stole moments of time whenever I could, working on the story on any medium I had available to me – my computer, my Smartphone, pieces of paper, even shopping dockets. Whenever I had a good idea, I would get it down on whatever I could. And then Emily bought, for me, a beautiful leather bound journal which centralized all my work into one place. This gift, in particular, was invaluable.
Within a few short months I had a manuscript and by the end of the year, after having edited it heavily, then turning it over to a freelance copy editor for further tweaking, I submitted my work to Michelle Halket, ireadiwrite’s creative director.
Within a week, I received a notice of acceptance, confirming that my first novel – The Hambledown Dream – would be published by ireadiwrite Publishing. My dream had been realized. It began life as a digital book – a format that is fast gaining popularity among today’s modern technology consumer. This alone was a huge deal for me but when Michelle decided that The Hambledown Dream would go to actual print – my realized dream became all the more wonderful.
What I offer you today is a rich and immersive story, filled with gritty and very real characters that are affected by a paranormal situation. At its core The Hambledown Dream is a love story about two people searching for each other in unconventional circumstances. In parts, it pulls no punches. The tone is dark and confronting. There is language; there is sex (some might regard that as a selling point). But as the story evolves, The Hambledown Dream takes on a very lyrical and musical feel with the classical guitar at its heart. There is the spiritual journey of a young man who seems bent on destruction when first we meet him. But he is presented with the opportunity for change, an opportunity to lift himself up from an all consuming addiction. It is a painful thing to bare witness to but we witness it because somewhere deep inside this ruined soul there is a spark of nobility that has not been extinguished fully.
The Hambledown Dream is a fully realized work that I am very proud of and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
(Note from Michelle: I just noticed his book is on sale at Amazon for 25% off – check it out!)