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Writers Inspiring Change feature author: David N. Pauly

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Tell us about yourself…

I grew up in suburban Chicago, in a town where they filmed all of those 80s movies, like Breakfast Club, Home Alone, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. While majoring in History at university, I also received a minor in Meteorology, which remains an interest to this day. After graduating from Law School, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they filmed some of the scenes from Breaking Bad in front of my office. I built my practice up from nothing, interviewing my first client in my apartment. I was successful and had a strong small business for over 20 years. I began training in Karate shortly after arriving in Albuquerque and began collecting antique Japanese swords. I moved out of the city to the mountains and having a 2.5-acre property that was fenced, I began rescuing giant dog breeds from the shelter. I chose giant breeds, such as Great Pyrenees, Newfoundlands, and Russian Wolf Hounds, not just because of their gentle nature, but because virtually no giant breeds get adopted out of shelters and wind up being killed. I also rescued cats, ferrets, and birds, to the point where my voicemail said “Thank you for calling Menagerie Manor, we will return your call as soon as we get back from a walk.” During my one and hopefully only divorce, I went to Paris to study culinary arts at Cordon Bleu. Returning home with my certificates in cuisine and pastry, I applied my cooking skills to not only French food, but Italian, Mexican, and other foods. Classical cooking techniques can be applied to virtually any cooking as knife skills, sauce building, and meat and vegetable preparation, allowing someone to make any food that they enjoy better. It was shortly after returning home that I began writing my first pages which became chapters, which became my first novel. I met my wife on Eharmony, as she was living in Vietnam and I was in the U.S. She was reluctant at first to trust me enough to give me her contact details, so I sent her the rough draft of my book. As any psychologist will tell you, nothing reveals a person’s inner self like their own book. My wife was able to see that I was not some crazed serial killer, so within a year of receiving my book, we were married and remain so to this day. We have one 10-year-old daughter who is the delight of our lives. Shortly after my daughter was born, we realized that we did not want to raise her in a poor, violent place like New Mexico, so we migrated to Australia where we live. I still enjoy cooking, karate, fishing when I get a chance, and writing of course.

What or who inspired your writing…

I was inspired to write, due to several factors. Recently divorced and having a well-organized law practice meant that I had a lot of time on my hands. More importantly, I had loved Fantasy novels since I was 7, beginning with the Chronicles of Narnia. Reading Lord of the Rings and other fantasy series always left me feeling that I wanted more from the series. I always wondered what would have happened if the series had continued. So one night I began writing some ideas down to see how it would go. Unfortunately, growing up and even through university, I was told that I was not a good writer, that my grammar is atrocious (which it is, lol), and that I could barely write a paragraph. I was determined to prove my detractors wrong, and I have now written 5 novels that are published by a small publishing company and one self-help book.

Is there a message in your book….

The message that I am trying to pass on to readers, besides the stories themselves is that anyone can write a novel if you work hard enough and believe in yourself. My first novel was initially not well received by anyone other than my brother and wife, I wrote over 50 query letters to publishing companies and was rejected by everyone. Still believing in myself I signed up with a vanity press to print 150 copies of my book. I went to bookstores, grocery stores, shopping malls; anywhere I could try and sell the books. The first reviews of my book by readers had similar criticisms: I had too many plot holes, bad grammar, and the dialogue was too long. I continued and hired an editor from New York, who helped me rewrite the book from scratch, eventually forming one large novel that has since been divided into 3 smaller books. My novels were then quickly picked up by an online publishing house and I have been with them for 6 years. I have learned that writing is the easy part and that marketing is the really difficult part of being an author. So, I hope that potential authors will be encouraged by my story and write what they love to write, even if it’s not a best-seller, you will enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-appreciation once you are finished writing.

What are readers saying about your book…

Readers have consistently praised the fantasy world that I built, which was as original as I could make it. There is no unlikely hero on a quest to defeat an evil overlord, but instead a diverse cast of characters in a complex plot that readers appreciate. They also really enjoy the plot and the pace, it is a mystery thriller set in a medieval fantasy world. Readers empathize with many of my characters, all of which are flawed, and are eagerly waiting for another series, which is halfway written and will be called The Fourth Age Dark Shaman.

Tell us about your book…

The Fourth Age Shadow Wars: Assassins as I said above is the first of 3 novels in the Shadow Wars series. Always interested in wondering what happens afterward in a typical fantasy series, where an unlikely hero defeats the dark lord. So I began writing the first chapters about how formerly allied races, Men, Dwarves, and Elves rebuild their kingdoms and interact with each other after the end of the Great War. Each race has a majority moderate faction that wants to coexist with the other races and rebuild their societies. Each race also has a smaller radical faction that is bent on keeping what they have and taking what they can from others. My inspiration for the plotline came from the politics of the 90s and 2000s, where after the fall of the Soviet Union, rich western countries had the opportunity to make the world a better place for everyone. Instead, sadly, in my opinion, they did the exact opposite, exploiting developing nations, continuing to support despots who terrorized their peoples, and destroying the environment at a rapid pace. I had hoped that there would be consequences to these actions, that would stop this exploitation, but that has not occurred. In my world, however, there are consequences to destructive actions and each selfish person pays a price for their behavior. Assassins is unique in the respect that there is no clear Protagonist or Antagonist. Instead, there are several major characters from each race that are flawed, believing that what they are doing is not only in their best interest, but is the best course of action for their race and the rest of the world. I was heavily inspired by The Lord of the Rings in building my unique fantasy world, and also by Frank Herbert’s Dune and its’ complex political storyline.

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