On Being a Small Press Author – Dean Mayes

Running a small press is just like running a business with a group of employees – well almost. I don’t actually get to see them every day and we can’t gather around the water cooler to chat. Since we all see each other only virtually, I thought it might be nice to ‘introduce’ our authors to both each other and their readers via a series of short interviews. These interviews will run twice a week until December – it’s a neat way of finding out how similar authors can be, and yet so different.


Today, I’m very happy to introduce Dean Mayes, an Australian author who has penned the critically acclaimed THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM. His second, widely anticipated novel GIFTS OF THE PERAMANGK will be released on Friday, Oct 26. I met Dean on Twitter, where his witty comments led me to his blog, where I got a glimpse of his romantic, ethereal writing. I was able to convince him to publish his book with us, and despite a boatload of ups and downs, he has stuck with me. He’s been a great partner in this venture, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his new book – which is almost 3 years in the making. It is an inspection of the transforming power of music, even amidst abject poverty and racism. Gifts of the Peramangk is available in both print and digital editions and you can catch up with Dean at his blog.

1. The first book I can remember reading is:  “A Night To Remember” by Walter Lord. I picked it up at a hospital jumble sale as a 5 year old, mainly because it had pictures of this amazing looking ship, which of course was the famed “Titanic”. It sparked my love affair with the legend, even though it would be a few years before I could read it cover to cover.

2. The first book I ever wrote was: My first attempt at a novel was a sci-fi political thriller called “Syndrome”. Set in the late 21st century, Syndrome follows a burnt out former Counter Terrorism Specialist as he races against time to recover the cure for a crippling virus that is killing the world’s children. The cure comes from an extremely rare aquatic mammal but in the course of his investigation, the protagonist discovers that the mammal also contains the ingredients for the most devastating biological weapon the world has ever known. Presently, the unfinished manuscript is sitting on a shelf in my work shed. It became an unworkable mess, but strangely, I refuse to give up on it.

3. An average day in my life goes like this: I come home from work a little after 7:30 in the morning (I work nights mainly). I spend a little time with my serioso and my children before they all rush about getting my oldest ready for school and then they are out the door. I have a cup of warm milk and honey and then I settle down to sleep. I rise around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, just in time for the children’s evening bath. I make a coffee and watch as they reduce the bathroom to a waterlogged mess, then I carry them down stairs under each arm, dry them in front of the heater and help them with their pajamas, while my serioso prepares dinner. We usually catch “Deal or No Deal” on TV, because – strangely – that has become a bit of an institution in our house. Then after dinner, dishes and homework with the six year old – it’s time to settle down with stories before bedtime. Once the children are packed off to bed, I’m into the shower, into my scrubs and ready for work. I usually start about 9 in the evening. What can I say – I am a vampire…but not nearly as glittery.

4. I found out about Central Avenue Publishing from:  I began having a Twitter conversation with Michelle, who had happened across my blog where I was posting weekly installments of what eventually became The Hambledown Dream. We talked about me considering taking the project seriously and that in turn, lead me to the home of C.A.P. The rest, as they say, is history. I was really attracted by Michelle’s collaborative ethos and her drive – especially in the embracing of the digital platform as a legitimate literary medium. I sensed then that Michelle was onto something with respect to the emerging digital market and I went with it.

5. The last book I read was: I just finished “Dark Prairies” by R.S. Guthrie – a modern day Western set in the heart of Wyoming.

6. In order for me to sit down and write, I need:  Classical music on hand, a cup of coffee, my red leather journal and a HB pencil.

7. My ‘day job’ is:  I am an Intensive Care Nurse specializing in Pediatrics and Neonatology.

8. I carve out time to write by:  I devote each Monday to writing and the business of my writing. If I get a spare moment during meal breaks at work, I’ll usually be found writing notes and ideas down in order to keep up the momentum. I’ll also fit some time in after I get home from work in the morning. But that is rare because, usually, I am completely wiped from work.

9. In order to find time to write, I feel as though I sacrifice: Episodes of The Cosby Show.

10. I am currently working on: Getting my new novel “Gifts Of The Peramangk” ready.

11. The best piece of advice I ever got was from: my grandfather George and it was: Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

12. The best piece of advice I would give is: Make sure your nose is clean before you enter a room and always compliment a woman on her choice of shoes. Apparently they love that.

5 thoughts on “On Being a Small Press Author – Dean Mayes

  1. Molly

    You are a great writer, Dean, and I’m so glad you don’t sparkle in the sunlight. That could be awkward in sunny Australia. Hah, I read ‘A Night to Remember’ as an assigned book in 5th grade, and found it fascinating. I still remember a lot of those chilling details. Congrats again on the new book!!

    • banistersmind

      Haha – Thanks Molly! I have a really tattered 1958 Corgi edition paperback that I simply adore and have kept it together with copious amounts of tape over the years. Hands down it remains the best account of the sinking and it is my source of Titanic love.

  2. Lisette Brodey

    What a wonderful interview. Loved learning more about you, Dean. I am a fan of you as a human being and a writer. I can’t wait to read your new book. I already know I’m going to love it.

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