Roaring Fork Valley native publishes first novel
David Anderson spent a brief part of his childhood going to sleep every night in a tent.
“I didn’t have a lot growing up as a child,” he said. “I found it easier to feed my imagination more so than to go outside and play and make friends.”
With the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers nearby, it would soon play a major role in Anderson’s thinking. The Carbondale native, who’d eventually find himself living in more suitable dwellings while attending schools around the Roaring Fork Valley, used the element of water as a recurring theme in his newly published fiction novel, “Diunthum: Illumnesia.”
“Being around water in Carbondale, the Crystal River, the Roaring Fork River and just our specific watershed and the people of Carbondale bringing light to how valuable it is, I think that actually impacted my mind subconsciously,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s self-published story — found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble or bookstores across the Valley — explores the nature of human freewill through the eyes of a 14-year-old protagonist living in an ominous, apocalyptic future. The science-fiction-esque read is already up for major literary awards, including Pacific Book and IPPY.
One could argue, however, that this hellacious tale was not only inspired by the waters of Garfield County rivers. In fact, Anderson — pen name “Spector Grove” — recalls several key instances in which the Valley forged his literary prowess.
It begins with religion. His father, Chris Anderson, is a Mormon who now drives a bus for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, and his mother, Rose Porter, is a Roman Catholic who’s now a retired hairdresser. Anderson spent Sundays worshiping God at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church. Questions, however, emerged over the conflicting ideologies.
“I find myself more searching for truth than believing,” he said.
It wasn’t until his experiences at Carbondale Middle School, however, that Anderson was truly set on the path of becoming a writer.
Anderson said he was on the verge of failing seventh grade language arts when his teacher pulled him aside and asked him to write a book of poems. After about a week, Anderson said he came back to his teacher with 10-15 poems, and in response his teacher wrote him a note: “Write these uncontrollably.”
“I assume he saw something in me,” Anderson said.
It was also during his formative years he’d butt heads with a teacher named Carmen McCracken, who’d push him beyond his limits, he said.
“Looking back on it, I can attest she’s one of the greatest teachers ever,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if she’s ever gotten an award for being a great teacher, but she definitely deserves it. Because she is responsible for making me the self-proclaimed literary genius that I am.”
By the time Anderson reached his freshman year of high school, he moved to New Castle and started attending Coal Ridge High School.
From there, Anderson’s obsession with writing took him to the San Francisco Art Institute, where he’d study film production and screenwriting. After graduating in 2012, he’d come back and live and work in Glenwood Springs.
It was right around this time that he’d start playing around with the plot points and characters for “Diunthum: Illumnesia.” Since 2019, Anderson, who sells building materials for a distributor in the Valley, would come home every day and write about 800 words, until finally he had his finished product.
Asked about how the sales of his book are so far going, Anderson didn’t really focus on the numbers.
“I’d rather give away a million copies of my book for free than not get a million copies put there. For me, it’s about sharing my story,” he said. “I want nothing more than to share my story with the world.”
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Sunday afternoon.