Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Dave Pelzer Interview - Return to the River

Photo Content from Dave Pelzer 

Dave Pelzer is the author of nine inspirational books. Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for a record-setting six years. His other books were also on the New York Times Best Sellers List for over twelve years. Dave was the first author to have four #1 international bestsellers and to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans, joining a distinguished group including John F. Kennedy and Walt Disney. In 2005, Dave was the recipient of the National Jefferson Award, which is considered the Pulitzer Prize of public service. As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the then highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter. Dave has served as a Volunteer Fire Captain at the Northern Sonoma Coast and the Russian River, California.


Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite book is John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men about people who didn’t fit in and had a simple dream to live a life away from the horrors, per se, of the world. As the book progressed, they adopted other people of their plight that simply wanted to have a place to live in absolute peace. What I did in Return to the River, I sort of replayed a scene in which my father was dying, and I lied to him. And in the tale, I found a home where we could live in peace. It was the first time I ever really, really lied. It’s amazing now how that book has carried me and now I’m really living.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
A life in writing has changed since the days of Hemingway, or Steinbeck, or even Harold Robbins. Writing is the most arduous thing a person can do. You’re alone. You have to create your own tapestry. Writing is the most difficult thing to make people feel something. Whether it’s Stephen King’s Fear or the romance in a sultry novel or even in my writing, because my writing is a little visual and graphic. What I like about Return to the River is that it is very emotional about not my character, but about how it affects the reader. My advice to those who want a life in writing, best of luck.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Every book I’ve read has changed my life. I have books that I had as a child before I was rescued in my library. I have my James Bond novels. James Bond was a detective and he traveled to all these different places. And even books like Fail Safe about an accidental nuclear war, and trying to prevent it. Even now I’m re-reading 1984 by George Orwell. What I love about books is that you read a book at a certain time in your life, or maturity or your sphere of what you see or believe. As you grow older that kaleidoscope opens up a little bit more so you can then understand why someone said something or did something. Sometimes even the first page of a book can change your life. To me, all books change lives.

What were your feelings when your first book was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
I can’t describe the joy. It’s like holding your baby for the very first time. After a lot of pain and struggle, the ups and downs of conceiving an idea and trying to put it into words. It’s always a pleasure though. It’s amazing to hold that final product of your own new book.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
There was a book I wrote called The Privilege of Youth. As a writer, I wanted it to be a romp, a teenage version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Three teenage boys running amok. What I loved about the book is that I had a very good opening act in Chapter 1. I had adult characters, like Dan – the mechanic of the block. He was literally Gran Torino, and you did not touch his tools. He was short and very curt, with a hard shell. There was another character, Mr. Marsh. He was the Hunter S. Thompson of the block. His vernacular, the way he carried himself, the way he wore his glasses. What I loved about these characters, in the beginning of the second act of the book, Dan was hard and Marsh was affable, and when I slowly changed them like twisting a ball 180 degrees. Dan’s character became like a loving father-figure to me and Mr. Marsh’s character was my mentor. He allowed me to go into his library and read any book I wanted. The most surprising thing I learned about creating characters is that they create themselves. I’m just an observer who narrates.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I wouldn’t go back in time. Life is hard and life is brutal, if I went back and changes one thing, it might be deadly.

What is your greatest adventure?

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Coffee. Going outside and smelling the redwood trees and looking at the flowers

From #1 international bestselling author, speaker, and humanitarian Dave Pelzer comes the next chapter in his life—how, after spending decades saving others in the military, as a fire captain, and an internationally acclaimed advocate, he needs to confront a way to save himself.

On the surface, Dave Pelzer’s life seems like an action movie—he’s walked the red carpet with celebrities and stood shoulder to shoulder with soldiers in Iraq; he’s flown top-secret missions for the U.S. Air Force, obtaining the rank of chief, and battled wildfires in California as a volunteer fire captain. And now—on the eve of the 50-year anniversary of this rescue from horrific childhood of abuse and into the safety of the foster care system—he reflects on the battles he’s fighting in his own heart. From a lifetime spent serving and saving others, can he learn how to serve and save himself?

Banished to his basement at age five, Dave Pelzer had cried a river of tears before most children learned to tie their shoes. His now classic books, A Child Called “It ” and The Lost Boy , chronicled how he was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic a mother who nearly killed him multiple times. But despite the odds stacked against him, he rose to become a #1 New York Times bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and internationally recognized humanitarian.

After fighting for years to vanquish his pain and to channel it into service for others, Pelzer sifts through the psychological rubble of a life that has seemingly crumbled around him. What he shares is deeply transformative and unflinchingly honest. In his struggle to simply survive, he never learned how to just be. Reeling from the loss of a love—and a broken spirit—Pelzer must reconcile his life choices and free himself of blame and shame to find peace and renewed purpose.

Amidst the towering redwood trees and the serenity of his childhood utopia of the Russian River, Pelzer reflects on having the courage to move forward in your life, the peace to accept yourself, the vulnerability to strip yourself of facades, and to find the tenacity to carry on when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned.

For anyone who has been hurt, victimized, or feels alone, there is hope and there is always a way to rewrite your own story. Pelzer’s soulful and inspiring story will remind you to keep your faith, live with gratitude, and find the well of resilience deep within you.
You can purchase Return to the River at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAVE PELZER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Return to the River by Dave Pelzer.


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