Author David K. Hulegaard discusses his debut novel, Noble and his writing and publishing journey.
David K. Hulegaard is an author and student of film and music. From an early age, he was encouraged by his parents to read a little bit each day, and developed an extensive imagination while burying his nose into a mixture of R.L. Stine books and literary classics.
With an established professional background in the real world of category management, consultation and marketing, he felt unable to quench the thirst for creativity he'd been harboring for years. This led to the release of his debut novel Noble in October 2010.
Hailing from the postcard-perfect
IAN. Hi David. Let’s begin with a bit about Noble.
DH. Noble is the story of a small town private detective named Miller Brinkman and his quest to solve the case of a missing teenage girl. Like any good detective, Miller simply follows the clues in an effort to solve the case, but accidentally stumbles across a connection between the missing girl and something much, much bigger. Every instinct tells him to back away, but he’s too emotionally invested in the case to turn back. He begins to uncover traces of a secret organization that had remained hidden for years, which then attracts the attention of a mysterious ally named Puckett. Impressed by his exceptional investigative abilities, Puckett leaves a trail of bread crumbs for Miller to follow that lead to all the answers he seeks, but he will first have to crack Puckett’s grand riddle in order to get there. With every piece of the puzzle that Miller solves, it only leads to more questions. Who is Alyssa Noble and why does her name keep coming up at every turn? What is her involvement in the disappearance of Jane Emmett? Who are the men in black suits that appear to be following Miller’s every step? To answer these questions, Miller will be forced to suspend all reality as he knows it and open his mind up to the possibility of a whole other reality beyond his comprehension.
IAN. How long did it take to write the book?
DH. I wrote the first draft in about three months, but then the editing and rewrites took me another three. I’d say from start to finish, I came in at just under six months. Once I got going, the excitement made it impossible to slow down.
IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
DH. I love a good story and I had wanted to tell one of my own since I was a child. My life was forever changed after being introduced to creative writing in grade school. We had these books made of construction paper covers and college rule sheets and were instructed to write for thirty minutes every day. It was my absolute favorite part of the day. I even still have the books, but they’re embarrassing to read now days. J When I finally sat down to begin work on Noble, it was just the right combination of time and content. I was letting my day job consume too much of my life and the years were just passing me by. I felt like if I didn’t take the time to do it now, I probably never would. I had been sitting on the main idea for the book for over a year, but it was very raw. I saw potential, but I needed to give it substance. Creating and shaping the characters, connecting the dots between the plot points. There’s really nothing else quite like it.
IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?
DH. My style might be considered a little unorthodox, but it works for me. I need to write when it’s quiet, so that fluctuates between day and night on a daily basis. I start with the brainstorming process and jot down all of ideas I have in my head. From there I continue to add to them until I feel like I have enough to begin the outline process. After the outline is complete, next up is the first draft. I write the first draft in its entirety without re-reading a single word. I know there are errors in both spelling and grammar, but stopping to correct them would only slow me down. It’s more important to keep the creative juices flowing and fix the mistakes later. When the first draft is done, I print it out and mark it up with a red pen. I take those corrections back to the computer with me and create the second draft. From the second draft, I pick 2-3 proof readers to help me stamp out all those frustrating little mistakes that my brain refuses to see. I then take those corrections and create my third, and hopefully final, draft. The important thing to understand is that you’ll always be your worst critic and will nitpick yourself to death. At some point, you just need to be happy with what you’ve created and share it with the world.
IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
DH. I can’t even imagine trying to write without an outline! The outline is a handy way to slot your ideas into an order that makes sense from a continuity perspective, but also to make sure your story is paced appropriately. Early on, my outline is my best friend. It helps you to visualize where your story may be heavy in some areas and light in others.
IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
DH. My influences are about as diverse as they come, so I wanted to try and extract a little bit of inspiration from all of them and attempt to blend it all together. Sometimes you also need to look beyond books for inspiration. There are good stories available within all different types of media and the television show Lost was also a big influence on me. I believe what makes my book stand out is that there’s a little something for everyone, so it doesn’t have to appeal to just one type of audience.
IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
DH. Both! Noble is available in standard paperback and e-book, but there’s also a hardcover version available exclusively at FastPencil.com.
IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
DH. I hope this doesn’t sound too generic, but legitimately, I just want my readers to come away feeling as though they’ve experienced a good story. There is an endless supply of books out there begging for a reader’s attention, so I want the reader to feel justified in investing their time in my book. If I’ve done my job correctly, they’ll have some type of connection to the story that doesn’t end when they close the book. I love it when people finish Noble and say things to me like “your book gave me a sudden craving for apple pie,” or “I’m so mad at you right now!” It’s the most flattering thing in the world when your words can leave the reader with some type of reaction.
IAN. Where can we go to buy Noble?
DH. It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle, on barnesandnoble.com in both paperback and Nook, on the iBook store for iPad/iPhone in e-book, and on FastPencil.com in paperback, e-book, and the exclusive hardcover edition.
IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
DH. Noble is the first book in a planned trilogy and I hope to publish the second book by the end of the year. I am currently working on a novella entitled The Jumper, which is going to be available in the next couple of months. If you like ghost stories, this one’s for you! It’s about a middle-aged man named R.C. Dawson, whose retirement plan goes awry when the real estate market collapses and he’s forced to take on a job to make ends meet. The only job he can get at his age is a night custodian position at the youth community center downtown. They’ve been having some trouble keeping the position filled for very long, and R.C. is about to find out why first hand.
IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
DH. Being an independent author is hard work because we don’t have the thousands of dollars in marketing support from a major publishing house. What we do have is all the heart, passion, and talent in the world! I realize that asking a reader to invest their hard-earned money into an unknown and unproven author is a tall order, which is why I’ve decided to release the e-book version of Noble at just .99 cents. I want readers to feel comfortable investing in my hard work, and I am confident that at just four quarters, readers will easily get their money’s worth in enjoyment.
I would encourage readers to keep an eye on my website over at www.davidhulegaard.com and to follow me on Twitter @HulegaardBooks.
Noble by David K. Hulegaard
Page count: 256
Excerpt from book:
The day had been passing by quickly and the sunlight from outside was starting to dim. Soon the station would be dark and I would be spending another night alone lying in wait for Sheriff Coleman’s next move. Though I knew it was selfish, I began to shed a few silent tears. I doubt most people ever imagine that their lives will eventually succumb to misfortune, but it would have been an understatement for me to say that I never saw my life going in the direction it had. I was mortified at the thought of living out the rest of my life as an innocent man in a prison, but it was more than that. I had let my parents down and that hurt worse than anything Sheriff Coleman could do to me. They would not have wanted the life of a private investigator for me. They were so convinced that I would go on to become a writer working in the city for a living, but I only humored them to make them happy. I never saw that for myself. They wanted me to use my gift of creativity in life and I wanted to use my desire to help people in need. In the end, neither of us got what we wanted.
Just as I was beginning to lose myself in my lament, I heard the sounds of someone jiggling the handles of the front door. I figured it must have been Sheriff Coleman coming back to rub his master plan in my face some more, smug son of a bitch that he was. Finally the doors opened and then closed quietly behind him. It was now dark in the station and I couldn’t see his face, which was fine by me. I had seen his face about as much as I could stand to and relished in the fact that never seeing it again was one perk of being sent to a state prison away from
“What’s the matter, Sheriff? Did you decide that a knife would have been a more practical murder weapon after all?”
There was no response. I could see the outline of a figure walking towards me and could hear the sound of footsteps moving along the tiled floor, but couldn’t make out any features. Suddenly there was a loud bang on the floor right outside my cell. I knelt down to see what it was. It was a set of keys for the station that the sheriff kept on a hook near the front door for the deputies to use, but why was he giving it to me? I stuck my arm out between two bars of the cell and reached the key ring. There was no mistaking that these were definitely the keys to the station, including the one that would open my cell.
“You’re not the sheriff. Who are you?”
Again, there was no response, though I could still plainly see the outline of the figure standing in the hallway no more than twenty to thirty feet from me. It was too hard to make out specifics, but the figure appeared to be wearing a dark trench coat and a short-brimmed fedora. I was positive that I was not in the presence of the sheriff, but according to him, he was the only person that even knew I was here. If not him, then exactly who was this standing before me?
“Kind sir, I am appreciative and mean no disrespect, but why are you helping me?”
Again, I was receiving no response. Whoever this person was apparently wasn’t big on small talk, but I was grateful for the help none the less. There were about ten keys on the loop in my hand, so it was going to take a few minutes to find the right key and get out. As I began to try out the different keys, I pondered what would be the first task at hand once I had my freedom. Based on what Sheriff Coleman had told me, I knew that he would be at Sunset Hill putting the finishing touches on his frame job. He would eventually head back to the station however and would surely not be happy to see that I had escaped. No matter what I would do next, I couldn’t simply just return home.
I was quickly pulled away from my thoughts by the sound of an unfamiliar and deep voice. It was a commanding voice that startled me to the point of dropping the key ring back on to the floor.
“Miller Brinkman… the answers to all of your questions begin in
The man dropped something on the floor, then turned and walked away. I heard the sounds of the front door open and close again. Just like that, this mystery man was there and gone. I had many questions about what had just happened, but time was of the essence at that point. If there was still time to stop Sheriff Coleman from setting me up, then it was clear to me that my next move would be to try and beat him to Sunset Hill. Since he could not know that I was free, there would be no sense of urgency on his part to get there. I could use that to my advantage.