About the Book:
A dog down the block is being forced to live outside, at the mercy of abusers, wild animals and brutal weather. The author does nothing—at first. Then, an accidental meeting with Lance, a Border Collie, sets the wheels in motion for a life-saving rescue and a disappointing discovery: Lance turns out to be a semi-feral dog.
During the first twenty-four hours of his liberation, he attacks both the author and his wife, and soon proves to be a threat to anyone he can get his teeth on. His rescuers ask themselves: Do we euthanize the dog we rescued? Making their soul-searching even more difficult is Lance’s alter ego; when not threatening, he’s getting into all kinds of highly entertaining mischief. Among the many “victims” of his hilarious quirkiness are a State Trooper, the local school bus driver, and a neighborhood drug dealer.
This rollicking and—at times—heart-wrenching, true-life account of the unorthodox rescue of an unorthodox dog has been called “riveting,” “spellbinding,” and ”jaw-dropping.” The compelling tale reveals as much about the rescuers as it does the rescued.
Lance: A Spirit Unbroken is a book for any reader looking to have her or his faith in the human race restored.
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I’m a GED teacher and drug and alcohol counselor in local correctional facilities. Over the years I’ve started and stopped numerous creative writing projects. I completed Lance: A Spirit Unbroken because I was determined to break through a lifelong wall of procrastination, self-doubt, and, frankly, laziness.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Don’t tell my boss, but I often use time during my day job to write. I carry a pen and paper everywhere I go just to be prepared should I have a creative moment. If I’m a passenger in a car, I’m definitely writing.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Well, Lance’s story was handed to me on a silver platter. I’m currently about 70,000 words into the story of a young boy growing up on Long Island in the 50s and 60s. This will be presented as fiction although it is rooted in fact. I’m also hoping to write a military man’s memoir concerning a dog rescue that took place in Iraq. I have lots of trepidation about the complexities of writing about someone else’s experience, but the story itself is so good I don’t want to miss this opportunity. If I find the time, I think I have another real-life story about a child abused by the system. So it seems that my “brand” is speaking for the downtrodden.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
With nonfiction, the story is presented to me. My challenge is to write it in a skillful and entertaining manner. The fictional account of a young boy growing up on Long Island that I mentioned is based on facts but there’s plenty of embellishing. I tend to write in a vignette style meaning that many of the chapters could stand alone as short stories. I picture the scene that I am writing about and when I sense the opportunity to create something to heighten the drama, I do it.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
My one published book is a memoir, I hope to soon write two more memoirs, but the Long Island story is a fictional novel.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
If Lance: A Spirit Unbroken were to be made into a movie, whatever actors made up the cast would be a dream cast for me. Several readers have told me they feel Lance’s story is a natural for the big screen because of his antics. We’ll see.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I have been primarily a nonfiction reader all my life. Everyone else in my critiquing group writes fiction and they are constantly commenting on the latest nonfiction book they’re reading. Over the past two years, I have dedicated myself to reading fiction on a regular basis primarily because I feel the stylish writing of fictional authors can help me write both more compelling fiction—and nonfiction.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle and The Davinci Code by Dan Brown.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
I don’t have a single favorite book, just as I don’t have a single favorite piece of music by Mozart. Recently I read The Hit, a book by David Baldacci. The story didn’t grab me but I liked Baldacci’s style. At the same time, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, which I read decades ago and was written two centuries ago, still resonates because of the quality of the characters in the story. These days I read anything I can get my hands, or ears, on.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
That’s an easy question to answer. Stop thinking and start writing. My only regret is that I didn’t get off my duff sooner. Just put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. The next most important thing would be to put your ego on the shelf and join a critiquing group. Lance: A Spirit Unbroken would not be the book it is had I never joined a critiquing group.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
You can go to www.lanceaspiritunbroken.com to read Chapter 1 for free.
About the Author:
Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch really bad movies. Major accomplishment: He entered a 26.2 mile marathon race following hip replacement surgery and finished–dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog, Buddy (another rescue) and cat, Winky (yet another rescue)