A Brief Word with David A. Poulsen

A Brief Word with David A. Poulsen

Posted on May 10 by David A. Poulsen in Fiction, Mystery
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“How much of you is in your Cullen and Cobb characters?”

It’s a question I’m often asked and for a long time my stock answer was not much, if anything at all.

But as I think about it more and more, I’m not so sure. In fact, I’d say there are varying degrees of me in a number of my characters, and the Cullen and Cobb series is no exception.

A number of friends who have read the first two books in the series have said they see some of me in Adam Cullen, the crime-writing journalist who acts as research partner to cop-turned-private-investigator Mike Cobb. They may be right. Cullen is a left-leaning, staunchly Canadian writer who lives in, works in, and loves Calgary. Like Cullen, I carry the Maple Leaf in my heart. I’m a writer who lives and works near Calgary, and I love the city. I inhabit a somewhat right-wing world because of my involvement with the rodeo and ranching industries. And some in that world jokingly refer to me as their “commie pinko friend.” So yes, that too puts me in Cullen’s corner.

Cullen is assailed by self-doubt. And I suppose, to a lesser degree, I share that characteristic too. What we do have more in common, I think, is the realization that neither of us is a very big deal. Like Cullen I have been fortunate to have enjoyed some modest successes in my life. But I really believe that I’m much more defined by the less successful moments. Take, for example, that unforgettable (and regrettable) day when I was fifteen years old. I had recently figured out that girls were no longer objects of derision but interesting and exciting beings to be around. And so it was that, as I was riding my bike to school and passing a different school en route, I was captivated by the sight of the cheerleaders on the front steps of that venerable sandstone structure practicing a cheer.

Donning my most engaging grin, I watched them perform, hoping they might notice the dashing young man riding by. And they did. They really had no choice. My attention thoroughly focused on them as it was, meant that I did not see the pickup truck stopped in front of the school. The crash, the pained yelling, the smashed bike, and yes, the blood did, in fact, stop the cheer and got them looking in my direction. As I righted my mangled bike, and limped off, trying to pretend it was really nothing at all, my exit was accompanied by … laughter. It was weeks before I could bring myself to ride by that school again. And when I did it was strictly eyes front. That moment and a number of similar self-inflicted disasters are much more “me” than the occasional success or victory that might have come along. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Adam Cullen had equally catastrophic adolescent moments etched in his memory.

Yes, there’s a little of me in Cullen—and maybe some of him in me as well.

David A. Poulsen

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
David A. Poulsen photo

David A. Poulsen

David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, and — most of all — a writer. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the first three books in the Cullen and Cobb Mystery series. He lives on a ranch in the Alberta foothills near Calgary.