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Writer's works rooted in W.Pa.

- David Drayer
David Drayer
- Cover of David Drayer's latest novel.
Cover of David Drayer's latest novel.

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Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The combination of Western Pennsylvania's landscape and people is so rich in terms of story, said author David Drayer, it's hard to believe the region isn't written about more.

Drayer, who grew up in Rimersburg, Clarion County, has published two novels. Even though he has traveled and lived in a number of cities and states, the region's influence has stayed with him and continues to permeate his writing.

“The people I've grown up with and my earlier influences are tattooed on me,” he said.

His first novel, “Strip Cuts,” published by Rowdy House Publishing in March 2000, is set in the blue-collar coal town of Cherry Run.

Drayer, who lives in the nation's capital, recently returned to his native area for a visit. He took a few minutes during the half-time of a Steelers game to talk about his new book, “Something Fierce,” which was published by Route 33 Press in June.

It's a love story with a forbidden affair that challenges definitions of love, he said.

He said his novels are character driven and told from multiple perspectives.

“I love the idea of perspectives, how if there are five people in a room and something happens, there are five totally different perspectives,” he said, adding that for him, writing allows him to slip into the lives of his characters.

But following a character's lead can sometimes be frustrating if that character takes over, as was the case with the troubled and brilliant young woman of his latest work, Kerri Engel, Drayer. said.

“Kerri really took the book over for a while,” he said, adding that she was fascinating but a hard character to write.

“I had wanted to write a beautiful love story,” Drayer said. “But it didn't exactly turn out that way.”

Drayer's publicist, Susan Kane, said that “Amazon reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.”

One review praised the complexity of Drayer's characters. Another described his writing as breath-taking and deeply engaging.

Drayer said he fell in love with reading and writing in high school and earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.

For young writers starting out, Drayer suggests keeping a journal and reading a wide variety of styles and subject matter.

He has worked many jobs, including as a playwright, screenwriter, actor, ghostwriter, college professor and government contractor, he said, but makes sure writing is a part of his schedule.

“I'll write forever, regardless if I become famous,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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