Introducing David B. Seaburn, author of the just-released, coming-of-age novel, CHARLIE NO FACE:

Hello All!

I started writing seriously when I entered seminary at Boston University in 1972. There I was published for the first time—a series of poems in an alumni journal, work lost long ago. In the parish, though, I became a disciplined writer, having to produce a sermon each week, both a literary and theological task. The challenge was to write at the intersection of human experience and divine response. During this period I wrote many short stories, song lyrics, poems, and two nonfiction manuscripts. One manuscript ("Dancing on the Edge") was accepted for publication only to have the offer withdrawn. On the strength of this success, I stopped writing for several years!

I left the ministry and entered the field of psychotherapy, working in community mental health where I published a few papers on my experience as a clinician, including one on a patient's suicide.

In 1986 I started working at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where a focus on academics accelerated my development as a writer. Over the next twenty years, I co-authored two professional books and wrote fifty-five papers and book chapters. The rigor of mentored writing and excellent editing taught me a great deal about the craft.
During my academic career I remained interested in fiction, but did little more than collect ideas and make notes.
My first novel, DARKNESS IS AS LIGHT (2005), was based on a personal vignette told by a former patient. I couldn't get the story out of my mind and reworked it in several creative nonfiction workshops, finally transforming it into the backbone of a novel about a middle-aged man sorting out the truth about his mother's death. I wrote Darkness in exactly one year.  
In 1990, I did extensive work on a story idea and then stored it all away in a folder. I returned to them years later. They became the basis for my second novel, PUMPKIN HILL (2007).

I am very excited about this, my third novel and first with Savant, CHARLIE NO FACE. I enjoyed this writing project more than any other, perhaps because it gave me the opportunity to speak with the voice of Jackie, the eleven-year-old protagonist. And it is set in my western Pennsylvania hometown, Ellwood City. It also introduces a Boo Radley-esque character, Charlie No Face, that is based on an actual person from western Pennsylvania. This person was severely burned as a child and was not expected to live. Though severely deformed, he survived and lived in semi-seclusion all of his life. He walked country roads at night and was often the target of thrill-seeking teens. In this novel, I humanize Charlie No Face and create a unique relationship between him and Jackie, one that has connections that will surprise and transform them both.

Common to all of my work is an abiding interest in the common struggles that make us human—loss, fear, hope, uncertainty, connection, separation, meaning, seeking, questioning, love, guilt, wonder, joy, and storytelling. I think we are all storytellers. That is how we make sense of our lives and the world around us. When I write, I feel that more than anything else, I am trying to make sense of life, trying to explore its meaning. And, of course, I am trying to tell a good story in the process.

David B. Seaburn
Author of CHARLIE NO FACE (Savant, 2011)