Dan Dunbar


Welcome to my blog page. Look for updates to my releases and progress on future writings.

November 30, 2022

"Why me? Why now?"

Welcome to my very first blog, ever. In this I'll try to answer the question above.

Creating fiction has been a part of me since fifth grade in elementary school, when I wrote my first spy "novel," a 24-page espionage adventure, followed by numerous skits that we performed in class.Then, in middle school, I dabbled in filmmaking and formed various rock 'n roll bands.

In ninth grade class all that derailed, taking me down a wormhole that lasted for over fifteen years, but is now the source for many of my characters and storylines in my current writing. The trigger for this monumental event? Cigarettes!

I discovered, once I flexed my teenage muscles and started on the Marlboros, that the bullies I'd avoided now became my friends. I was cool, and the girls who noticed them now also noticed me. One particular kid, Milton, and I became best friends, and that kid was tough. Fearless. He lived on a farm with no plumbing, surrounded by abandoned cars, and it is his farm that is the inspiration for the setting in "Sally and the Hunter's Moon."

Bonus, with him by my side, no one fucked with me, either.

As I followed this journey, doing things I could never tell my parents (who separated during this time), I finally got busted cutting school. My father, at a loss being a single parent, and I, thought attending a military academy was the correct answer. Cool! This will be like summer camp all year long!

NOT. My year there was life changing, to say the least, and its experiences lay dormant in the back of my mind until recently, when I came up with the concept for my next project, the novel "Huck."

Having been a bad cadet in possession of marijuana, I was expelled and returned to public school. Again, living alone with my father and now empowered with a driver's license in my wallet, I was left to my own devices. Milton, and the others I'd known for years, had all dropped out from school. I was adrift and, seeking a new direction, I embraced the Jesus freak movement, witnessing at concerts, even speaking in tongues, until even that became too fantastical to believe. This period of my life may show up in future writings; it's too rich to ignore. The good news is, the separation allowed me to break from my past, and for new doors to open.

I made new friends, a much-improved peer group who brought me in from the cold. I graduated high school (by taking summer school classes), but I hadn't applied to college and needed a gap year.

From there, my story path is like following an ant.

With $86 in my pocket and the verbal promise of an apartment, I moved to New London, CT and was trained as a welder on Los Angeles-class attack submarines at General Dynamic's Electric Boat Division. At the age of 18, I had my own apartment located in a distant region of the United States. When I read Frank McCourt's 'Tis, and Wally Lamb's This Much I Know Is True, it was much like reading my own diary.

I attended the University of South Carolina for two years, unsure what major I should choose. A film class elective awakened my storytelling chops, so I decided to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures (RTVMP). But, as always, nothing is easy. Applications had closed for the fall of 1976. I needed to sit out another gap year. What were my assets? I'd been a shipyard welder once, I can do it again.

I passed the welding test at Detyen's Shipyard, which at that time was located on a bend in the Wando River, outside Charleston, SC. For the following 15 months I worked among retired sailors, ex-cons, alcoholics, any combination of, or all three. I see a future novel here. Once again, when I read a novel, this time Pat Conroy's Beach Music, I felt I was walking the streets in the book.

Arriving at Chapel Hill in the fall of 1977, the ant trail begins to smooth out. I still didn't blend in with the campus population- I had a dog, lived in a trailer set in the middle of cow pastures twelve miles outside of the village, and delivered a daily morning paper seven days a week. But, I knew where I was going, and staying on the path now was all up to me.

Having this deep treasure trove of experiences answers the question, "Why me?"

To answer, "Why now?" is to look at the culture of ageism. After graduating university I became a video editor, a career that spanned three decades and carried me from Charlotte, to Boston, to New York City. My skills opened doors, won awards, and allowed me to experience, from within, NBC/Universal network and United Nations. But, as my hair turned white, and the producers continued to be in their mid-20s, around 2015 I could see that those doors were closing. When Covid raged across the country in 2020, my last few leads evaporated. I needed a Plan B. I thought, other than following my intuition from film study to television production, what other skills did I have? I remembered the encouragement I'd received for my creative writing while at Chapel Hill, and decided it was time to develop that as a new career (which had always been in the back of my mind, anyway).

Hence, my debut novel, Sally and the Hunter's Moon, with two more novels in development, as well as feature and television film scripts.

These are the seeds that hopefully will grow into a library of entertaining and quirky novels, and films, over the next few decades. Thanks for reading, and I hope you become a fan!