Welcome, W.C. Highfield to Author Interview Friday. Highfield is a graduate of the University of Delaware and also a native of The First State. After a decade of employment in the moving and storage industry, he embarked on a twenty-year run of ownership of a residential and commercial painting business. In 2006, he moved to Fort Myers.
Since 2007, he has written numerous articles for the Island Sand Paper, a weekly on Fort Myers Beach. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Stay Alive….Just Drive, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. He is a member of Gulf Coast Writers Association.
Sports have always been a big part of his life. Baseball was tops from an early age, and culminated with playing ten years in the Delaware Semi-Pro League. Later, he picked up the running bug and participated in hundreds of road races ranging from 5Ks to half-marathons. He continues to take part in various forms of physical activity, and endeavors to enjoy outdoor life.
In the 1990s I had a desire to write children’s stories. I successfully completed a Special Publishing course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Shortly thereafter, I decided I would rather write for adult audiences. In early 2000, I self-published my first novel, In Sun Down Far. The novel is set in a fictitious Southwest Florida beach town that I modeled after Fort Myers Beach. The story is a slice of life about a group of friends and their interactions. Emotions escalate as the story goes on.
Do you always write in the same POV or do you switch it up in different stories?
I prefer to write exclusively in first person. It allows me to sink myself inside the skin of the narrator and, essentially, act out his character. In this way, the narrator can express his thoughts and feelings personally to the reader. The reader doesn’t know what the other characters are thinking, only what they say and do. I like the way it creates a one-on-one relationship with the reader.
What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?
I think it is important to capture random thoughts on paper, even if they are unrelated bits and pieces. The organization of these diverse ideas can come later. Plus, what seems to work for me is to just start writing from these notes, whether it turns out good or bad. I find it is much easier to come back later to pick and chose what you like from your writing—and what you don’t. When something is in black and white, and not just in your head, it is less demanding to edit it than to write it in the first place. I find that editing is at least fifty percent of writing.
What is the premise of your novel, Streets, we are promoting today?
My most recent novel, Streets, is set in Key West. The main character is thirty, and has lived on the streets of Key West for many years. His life is transformed by a series of unusual, out-of-the-ordinary experiences. We are not talking about typical Key West experiences here. These odd occurrences slowly start to have a positive impact on his life. I wanted to deal with the issue of homelessness, but I didn’t want the book to be negative or depressing. So I took a quirky approach to a serious subject and made the story go in a more uplifting direction.
Can you share a small sample from your book to whet our appetite?
One creative way to cool off when it’s really hot is to walk up and down Duval Street and slow down in front of the entrances to the stores. Most of them have the doors open, which allows the air conditioning from inside to pour out onto the sidewalk. When your appearance is one of a street person, you can’t loiter for too awful long, though. You’ll quickly get chased by store management. Our types can easily have the tendency to discourage the purchasing public from shopping at a place that looks like a deadbeat hangout. That would be especially true at one of the swanky-ass art galleries. They really crank the air conditioning, which is nice. But the clientele the galleries are catering to needn’t have to rub elbows with a street dweller. Management at those joints keeps us moving on down the sidewalk.
Do you have another manuscript in progress?
Yes, Joanne, I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on my third novel. It is scheduled to be out in November. The book is entitled, Sanibel’s Secret Bank. The bank is evil and ruthless. And it is very powerful in the international banking industry. This is not your typical neighborhood bank. The residents of Sanibel are not aware the bank even exists because it is camouflaged in the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. There is a nepotism requirement for employment. In this way, the secret is kept protected more easily. But several of the younger employees are outraged by the cruel and brutal actions of the bank, to the point where they are driven to bring it down.
W.C Highfield’s website is http://www.wchighfield.com/
His author page on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/W.C.-Highfield/e/B00424KLKO