With more than six million books sold in fourteen different languages, Davis Bunn is an icon in the publishing world! It is a real pleasure to host Davis here and learn a little about his love of surfing, his home in England and the magic of smoothies!
If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
A while back I was asked to do a different kind of book for the largest mainstream publisher in the United Kingdom, Harper Collins. Because this was so totally new, they wanted me to do it under a pen name. Naming the baby became a full-time occupation. It was amazing to me, just how many people felt they had the right to re-name the author. When it came time for us to meet with the publishers, there were six of us in the room—the company vp, the head of sales, my editor, my wife, and myself. I had a list of the nine names I thought I could live with comfortably. They didn’t like any of them. Then out of the blue my wife suggested, “Why not Chase Dalton?” Everybody loved it. Except me. So I was left sitting there still working on my list, while the publishers took my wife and Chase Dalton out to lunch.
Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.
When I was fourteen I started swimming for the city team. Our coach was the captain of the local university swim team. He was also a surfing fanatic. He promised that if any of us made the state finals, he would teach us how to surf. I was not a particularly good swimmer, but I was desperate to learn how to surf. I scraped into the finals by the skin of my teeth, and was rewarded with one amazing trip. We went down to a place called Emerald Isle, on the coast of North Carolina, and we spent the weekend in tents. In a storm. In March. I was loaned a wetsuit that could have held four of me. After I caught my first wave, I didn’t care. Not even when I turned blue and my teeth chattered for a month, I still didn’t care. I had never found anything in my life that was even half as amazing as surfing. When I got home, I spent basically every cent I had—twenty-eight dollars—and bought a used 9’6” Dewey Webber surfboard. I would have slept with the thing if I could have sneaked it up the stairs.
What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
I am not much on ice cream. But I loooooove smoothies. Especially here in England, where fresh fruits and veggies are not a way of life, like they are in the US. So I prowl the local produce shops and come up with whatever I can find that is fresh and, if possible, organic. I take my prizes home and mix them in the biggest bowl we own, then stuff the mix in baggies and freeze them. I don’t use sherbert or ice in my smoothies because the frozen fruit works even better. Right now is the height of summer, and English fruit is really superb. In today’s smoothie there is, let’s see: peaches, blackberries, blueberries, apples, and seedless red grapes. I usually add a half-teaspoon of superfood for protein and some pomegranate juice and a trace of water. Yum.
Baseball, basketball, gridiron or cricket? (I’m hoping your time in the UK has given you an appreciation of more than one bat and ball game – LOL!)
Our home in England is in a tiny village of nineteen houses. We are sort of in between the huge industrial city of Oxford (yes, it has a university, which is great, but it also has factories that produce about a quarter of all the cars and trucks built in England) and a very hilly country called the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds has a very ancient heritage as wool producers and merchants. The reason that Oxford, the oldest university in the world, is where it is, is because the Cotswolds merchants wanted to have a place to educate their children. This happened around the year 1100.
Our nearest cities are Malmesbury, which was the capital of England under Alfred the Great in 800, and Cirencester, which was the capital of West England under the Romans about a hundred years after Christ.
There are two roadway systems in this area. The highways are old and narrow and extremely crowded. And then there are the country lanes. The country lanes are less than twelve feet wide and hold two-way traffic. To get an idea of what that means, most American highways have lanes that are about fourteen feet wide. And that is for traffic going in one direction. These lanes can be as narrow as eight feet, and the traffic moves in both directions. If you meet an oncoming car, you have to stop, reverse, find a spot to move over, and wait for the other car or truck or tractor to pass. But there basically isn’t much traffic on these lanes. I meet more tractors than cars, and more horses than both combined.
In America I surf, in England I bike. The biking here is just amazing. I did thirty miles the day before yesterday, never leaving these country lanes, and I met, oh, call it nine cars. In thirty miles.
My brother got me started. He is an ironman competitor and he had read about England country biking in some magazine. When we moved out here, he basically said, buy a bike or I will never leave you alone again ever. I bought the worst bike ever made, it cost me forty dollars, and I overpaid. When I got to biking five miles, I thought I had conquered Mount Everest. Four years later, and I have graduated to a carbon-fiber road bike. It is fingernail polish red. If Ferrari ever decided to build a race car powered by a gerbil on a wheel, it would look like this bike.
Right now I am working on two projects. A while back I co-authored seven books with Janette Oke. Then she had to retire because of ill health. Fast forward six years, Janette is feeling a lot better, and we are working on a new story. It is a romance-mystery set in the forty days between the Crucifixion and the Pentecost. The story is entitled The Centurion’s Wife and is due for release next January.
The other is still in early stages, and until a book is structured, I don’t talk about it. All the energy is focused upon the page. More on that one later.