Where Are They Now: Don Calame
Don Calame was featured on Creative Spaces five years ago when his YA novel Beat the Band was published. CLICK HERE to read his original interview. Let’s check out what Don has been up to since then!
What have you been working on since Beat the Band?
Since Beat the Band came out I’ve written two more YA novels: Call the Shots and Dan Versus Nature. Call the Shots was the third installment of the Swim the Fly series, this one featuring Sean’s point of view. Now each boy – Matt, Cooper, and Sean – all have their own books and that series is complete.
Dan Versus Nature is a brand new story with all new characters. It’s a stand alone book but once again featuring a teenage boy. It’s the story of Dan Weekes, a fifteen year old boy, whose mother has had a string of horrible boyfriends. When Dan’s mother suddenly announces she is engaged to the latest “loser,” a strapping, handsome, outdoorsman and bear hunter, Dan starts to freak out. He’s worried his mom is making a terrible mistake and that their lives are going to be made miserable. To make matters worse, for Dan’s sixteenth birthday his mom gets him an outdoor survivalist camping trip with his soon-to-be stepdad so that the two of them can bond before the wedding. Unfortunately, once they get out into the middle of nowhere it turns out that this would-be outdoorsman knows absolutely nothing about how to survive in the wilderness. And, as with all my novels, things go horribly and hilariously wrong.
I’ve also been working on a picture book and developing a television series with my wife who is an absolutely amazing writer and all-around wonderful person.
Have your work habits and writing routine changed since 2011, and if so how?
My work habits have changed a bit since Beat the Band was published but not that much. We’ve moved to a new house but my office is still in one of the spare bedrooms. I’ve gotten a new desk and desk chair (my last chair lost its hydraulics and kept sinking me down). I also bought a new couch so my new dog (Anna) can lounge on it while I write. Scooter’s still in our lives but he prefers to lounge elsewhere.
I’m also back on coffee. I gave it up for awhile and stuck with tea but old habits die hard.
I still try to get three pages a day but am not always successful. I still listen to music while I write. I still outline my books before I start on them and I still procrastinate as much as always.
One thing that’s changed is I’ve recently set up a system where I can stand and write for part of the day because apparently sitting all day is supposed to be terrible for your health. Plus, I’ve heard Hemingway stood when he wrote so maybe there’s something to it.
Any newfound wisdom to share?
Last time I mentioned that you have to have faith when writing because you are always heading into unknown territory, feeling your way as you go. If you don’t have faith that it will all work out in the end then self doubt creeps in and can squash the creative impulse.
I still feel this very much but beyond faith you also just have to get to it. Meaning, you can’t wait around for the muse to show up. You have to put in the hours and sometimes the work goes well and sometimes it doesn’t. I think some people have this idea that creative work is this romantic thing where you are struck with inspiration and the creative ideas flow. But it doesn’t work that way at all. Doing anything creative is hard work that requires a time commitment and unless you view it that way you will never get anything done.
I’ve also come to understand that although it’s great to put in the hours working you have to have balance in your life. So, while it’s nice to sit at your computer and be creative for hours on end, it’s equally important to spend time with loved ones, see friends, play with your dog, and sit on the porch and read a book.