Blue Water & Me
Question: How did you come up with the title Blue Water & Me? Who or what is Blue Water?
Question: What is Blue Water & Me about?
Question: Some of the stories is this book are hard to believe. Are they really true?
Question: Why did you decide to write Blue Water & Me?
Question: You grew up with a father of Scottish descent and a Mexican mother. What impact did this have on your life and writing?
Question: Do you have other projects in the works? If so, what are they?
Question: Did you and Papa really get caught in a hurricane?
Question: Why did Mama let Papa keep going off on his adventures?
Question: Did writing this story trigger memories that you had not thought about in years?
Question: What one book by another author do you wish you had written?
Question: What are the challenges and opportunities of promoting your book in the digital age?
Question: How did your adventures in Blue Water & Me shape your life?
Blue Water is my father, Blue Water Charlie, whom I refer to as Papa for most of the book. The title is a takeoff from Tim Russert's book, Big Russ and Me.
Blue Water & Me is a tribute to my father. Papa was a bigger than life commercial fisherman. This is the story of his adventures, told from the point of view of an eleven-year old boy who looked up to him like an Olympic god. It specifically focuses on the one summer I spent fishing with him for albacore tuna off the coast of Baja California.
Without question. This story took place over fifty years ago and I was eleven years old at the time. I have faithfully recounted the stories as best I can remember through the fog of time.
Keep in mind that most of these stories were told to me by my father and his fishing cronies. Everyone knows that fishermen never lie. However, I have presented them to the best of my memory.
Blue Water & Me is a labor of love. I wanted to tell Papa's story for decades. I always thought that I would write it, but life was just too busy. Then, in 2003, while I was recovering from surgery, I opened up my lap top and began writing.
The story just poured out. I was afraid that I would short out my key board as the words and tears flowed.
It impacts me every day. I grew up with a foot in both worlds. Abuelita (my grandmother) never learned English. If we wanted to speak with her, we had to do it in Spanish.
With light skin and a name like Pendelton Wallace, most people don't know I'm half Mexican. But if they get to know me, it doesn't take long to figure it out. To throw modesty to the wind, I am an exceptional Mexican cook. I've even written a book about Mexican-American cooking.
I grew up with that typical Mexican inferiority complex. That forced me to be better than everyone to feel as good as anyone. This led to success in the business world and a solid place in Anglo society.
My mind never rests. I have written a Mexican-American cookbook that I plan to publish soon. I am working on a slightly irreverent story called Christmas Inc. about the commercialization of Christmas and what happens when Santa decides to fire the elves and outsource his workshop.
Then there's Ted and Chris. Ted and Chris are the heroes of a thriller series. Ted is a young Mexican-American computer security analyst and Chris is his best friend, a law student at the University of Washington.
I have dozens of other story ideas popping out of my head all the time. Will I ever have time to commit them all to my hard drive?
That was an experience I would not recommend to anyone. Yes, we did get caught in a freak hurricane off the coast of California.
Did we survive the storm? You'll have to buy the book to find out.
It was the defining moment of my life. Before the storm, I was a normal little boy, with all the same hopes and fears as other little boys. After the storm, I changed. I can honestly say that I have never been afraid of anything (with the exception of dogs, I'm terrified of dogs) since then.
Papa was a force of nature that could not be contained. She married him, then hung on for dear life. Before children, she went along for the wild ride. After we were born, her life changed. Her nesting instinct took over and she became more concerned with home and hearth.
This was an on-going point of friction for them for the rest of his life. In the end, Mama knew her place as a Mexican woman. It was to make his tortillas, wash his clothes and load his rifle
You will have to read the book for a more detailed answer to this question.
The most exciting time for me was when Mama discovered an old scrapbook of Papa's writings. He wrote a regular weekly column for two different newspapers in Southern California.
When I read his stories, memories came flooding back, along with gallons of tears. Each memory lead to some other memory that I hadn't thought about in fifty years. I had so much material to work with, it was hard to decide what to put in the book and what didn't add to the story. I have over one hundred pages of stories about Papa and his friends that lay on the cutting room floor.
I have been influenced by many other authors. Robert Ludlum, Elizabeth George, Stephen King, Clive Cussler, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs to name a few. But I live in awe of Larry McMurtry.
The one book I wished I had written is Lonesome Dove.
The way he develops his characters leaves me breathless.
It's a whole new world. I've read several books and blogs and attended many seminars on the subject. The whole publishing industry is struggling to figure this out.
People are reading fewer hard copy books. This is the result of television and movies. Television and movies have also shaped how books are written, but that's the answer to a different question.
The Kindle/Nook/iPad phenomenon of electronic books has changed everything. Authors who could not get an agent, much less a book deal with a major publisher, are publishing their own books electronically. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of titles available for download over the Internet.
The question is how to get your book noticed in this sea of activity? The answer is go viral. You must come up with a plan that will get people from all over the world thinking and talking about your book. You must have people Tweeting each other saying, "just read blue water & me. U gotta read it." You need people blogging about and recommending your book.
How does this all happen? It's a mystery to me, but one that I will figure out.
I've already said that I came away from that summer a changed person. I have lived my life without fear. I have seen opportunities and seized them. I've lived a full and adventurous life. I have Papa's Scottish itch for adventure and lifelong love for the sea.
Papa and the Marine View were good teachers. I came away from that summer with a knowledge base that has served me well throughout my life. Not only did I learn about boats, working with tools, and the sea, but I learned to be tough, to face life head-on, to live a life of opportunity, not a life of fear.
Papa and I formed a bond that summer that will never be broken. I saw and admired much in him, but I also learned of his human frailties. It taught me that strength and wisdom are desirable characteristics, but that we all have our Achilles Heels.
Even thought Papa has been gone for more than sixteen years now, I rarely have a day when I don't use some knowledge that he passed down to me. I always feel his presence in my life.