John D. Nesbitt riding a horse

An Interview With John D. Nesbitt

John D. Nesbitt has been a part of Wolfpack Publishing since July 2017. Nesbitt bases his writing on his familiarity with the people, landscape, and animals he has come to know in the American West and does not write about people or things he doesn’t know. His work is most often praised for its characterization, its sense of place, its prose style, and its blend of both popular and literary styles.

 

Wolfpack: Why do you write?

John D. Nesbitt: I write because I think I have something that could be interesting or useful to other people, in terms of ideas and details about life in the American West, past and present.

WP: Do you write from personal experiences?

JDN: Yes, I write from personal experience when I can. I write about everyday people and their experiences in farm, ranch, and small town settings, all of which I am familiar with. I do not write about people or things I do not know anything about—for example, people whose cultures or socioeconomic levels I am not familiar with. If I am writing a story with a historical setting, sometimes I have to look up some background material, such as how wheat was harvested, how hay was lifted into the loft, and things of that nature. I do read background information for historical milieu and to see how others have relayed their life experiences.

WP: When writing a book do you write for what the readers will enjoy or what you enjoy?

JDN: I hope for the reader to have the feeling that he or she is participating in the scene or watching it from close up.

WP: Do you continue to write from routine or new inspiration?

JDN: I try not to write the same story twice. I try to work with a new idea each time. When I begin to write a new story or novel, I review others that are similar so that I may avoid repetition.

WP: Do you think as a writer you see the world differently because you’re always thinking about how situations could play out in stories?

JDN: I think I see the world to begin with as a first-hand experience. At some point, perhaps I jot down my impressions so that I might have recourse to them for future reference, as for a story. For example, one morning this last spring, just before I stepped outside to go to work, I saw a pheasant rooster perched on the fence brace, his plumage shining in the morning sun. I waited for him to crow. When the moment had passed, I thought, these are the moments we live for. The next day, I wrote down my memory of the experience, in case I might want to refer to it at some point in the future.

WP: You’ve written a wide variety of genres, which genre do you prefer to write?

JDN: I prefer to write what I am working on at the time. I don’t write something unless it’s the thing I most want to be working on.

WP: What type of books do you read?

JDN: I read westerns and mysteries because those are the two main genres I work in and study. I also read works by friends and fellow writers, often in order to give feedback or provide blurbs. In addition, because I am a lifelong student of literature and the traditions of fiction, I read classic literary works. The most recent ones in this line that I have read have been Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Courtship of Miles Standish, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I also read shorter works, such as “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas and “L’Hôte” by Albert Camus, at least once a year.

WP: What’s the best advice about writing you’ve ever received?

JDN: Find yourself as a writer and write about what you know best.

WP: What’s the last book you read?

JDN: Flight of the Hawk, by W. Michael Gear.

WP: Who are your biggest supporters?

JDN: My wife, Rocio; my horse, Pal; my donkey, Pierre.

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