Interview with David Burnsworth, author of 'Southern Heat'

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.
His latest book is the southern noir/mystery, Southern Heat.
Visit his website at

About the Book

Gunshots echo down an antebellum Charleston alley. Brack Pelton, an ex-racecar driver and Afghanistan War veteran, witnesses the murder of his uncle, Reggie Sails. Darcy Wells, the pretty Palmetto Pulse reporter, investigates Reggie's murder and targets Brack.

The sole heir of his uncle's estate, Brack receives a rundown bar called the Pirate's Cove, a rotting beach house, and one hundred acres of preserved and valuable wetland along the Ashley River. A member of Charleston's wealthiest and oldest families offers Brack four million dollars for the land. All Brack wants is his uncle's killer.

From the sandy beaches of Isle of Palms, through the nineteenth-century mansions lining the historic Battery, to the marshlands surrounding the county, Southern Heat is drenched in the humidity of the lowcountry.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Southern Heat came about after I’d lived in Charleston, S.C. on Sullivan’s Island.  Thanks to that experience, I had a great setting.  My favorite authors are James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard, and Mickey Spillane.  Throw their influence in a blender along with the lowcountry location and a slightly bent imagination, and I had the makings of a book.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I read that Robert B. Parker could write a novel in one shot with minor editing.  I am not Robert B. Parker.  Southern Heat took six years and six drafts.  What I had going for me was a very supportive wife who taught me persistence.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Five Star / Gale is my publisher and they have been great to work with.  I found them through Deni Dietz, their acquiring editor, at a writer’s conference called Killer Nashville.  For the writers reading this, I would say that Killer Nashville should be on your list to check out.  They are truly interested in helping writers, no matter which stage of the process the writer happens to be.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

What has surprised me the most is feeling sometimes that it isn’t really real.  Except that it is.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently working on a second book in the series.  Because I like to read series and I love the characters that came out in Southern Heat, I want to spend as much time with them as I can.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I usually start with Yahoo News and work from there to see what’s trending.  Stories about the latest new car will peak my interest first, along with world events.  I also try to be cognizant of what people are reading and spend time in Goodreads.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Like most folks, I have strong beliefs.  However, I didn’t want Southern Heat to end up being a soap box of them.  I don’t think I would have been able to sell it, and surely no one would have wanted to buy it.  I just wanted to write a book that had things I love about life: the lowcountry, cars, and intrigue.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Look for the sequel, which I think I’m going to call Burning Heat.  And make sure you support your local indie bookstore!
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