I recently had the pleasure of meeting author David Swatling at this year’s Rainbow Book Fair. His debut novel, Calvin’s Head, published by Bold Strokes Books, is now a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in the gay mystery category. I’ll have a chance to speak more with David on an upcoming Live Mic with Mark podcast later in May, just a week or so before the awards ceremony in New York City June 1. I’ll be talking with David about the book’s inspiration, its history from idea to publication, and at least a few things about his personal life. And if you enjoy listening to books, Calvin’s Head will be out soon as an audio book.
Life in Amsterdam isn’t all windmills and tulips when you’re homeless. Jason Dekker lives in a jeep with his dog, Calvin, on the outskirts of the city. A thesis on Van Gogh brought him to the Netherlands, and the love of Dutch artist Willy Hart convinced him to stay. But Willy is gone and Dekker is on the brink of a total meltdown. On a summer morning in the park, Calvin sniffs out the victim of a grisly murder. Dekker sees the opportunity for a risky strategy that might solve their problems. Unfortunately, it puts them directly in the sights of the calculating stone-cold killer, Gadget. Their paths are destined to collide, but nothing goes according to plan when they end up together in an attic sex-dungeon. Identities shift and events careen out of control, much to the bewilderment of one ever-watchful canine. Oscar Wilde wrote that each man kills the thing he loves. He didn’t mean it literally. Or did he?
David Swatling grew up in rural New York, studied theatre at Syracuse University, and pursued an acting career on both coasts – before moving to Amsterdam in 1985. He produced arts and culture programs for Radio Netherlands Worldwide and is a three-time winner of the NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Award, among other international honors. He wrote for Amsterdam’s first gay weekly Trash in the Streets and hosted Alien, a local gay radio show. He continues to blog about arts and LGBTQ issues – from Amsterdam and elsewhere. Calvin’s Head is his first novel.