Exploring Themes, Influences, and the Organic Craft of a Prolific Author
Daniel V. Meier Jr., a former Aviation Safety Inspector turned prolific author, guides us through the labyrinth of his literary journey in an exclusive interview with The Reader’s House. His multifaceted career traverses the skies of aviation safety and delves into the enigmatic realms of writing.
From his inaugural Action/Thriller, “Mendoza’s Treasure,” published under the pseudonym Vince Daniels, to his recent foray into the realm of Action/Thriller/Crime with “Guidance to Death,” Meier’s bibliography reflects an eclectic blend of genres. But it’s not just diversity in genre that defines his work—it’s the profound depth within each narrative.
Meier’s literary path intertwines with history, fueled by a passion for storytelling and a profound appreciation for the human condition. His influences span wide, ranging from the enigmatic writings of Thomas Pynchon to the legacies of the Lost Generation and the Bloomsbury Group, illustrating his fascination with profound themes—avarice, societal structures, and the human struggle.
Yet, amidst his breadth of influences and interests, Meier’s current focus resides in the world of mystery/thriller. Leveraging his extensive experience from two decades with the Federal Aviation Administration, he infuses his narratives with a depth that only insider knowledge can provide.
Intriguingly, Meier’s approach to writing is as diverse as his subject matter. He doesn’t adhere rigidly to outlines; instead, his narratives evolve organically, sprouting from seeds of human condition and societal contemplation.
His reflections on meeting literary icons—wishing to delve into Tennessee Williams’ tormented yet triumphant soul—reveal his keen interest in the inner workings of writers’ minds, their struggles, and the achievements garnered from such tumultuous journeys.
As The Reader’s House magazine, we are invited into Meier’s world not only to experience gripping tales but to contemplate the underlying messages woven into each narrative strand. His words carry weight, urging readers to ponder the complexities that underlie our existence—be it the machinations of power or the depths of human desires.
The Reader’s House is honored to present this illuminating conversation with Daniel V. Meier Jr., a writer whose words soar above mere storytelling, embracing the skies of introspection and contemplation. Dive into this engaging dialogue to uncover the myriad facets of a writer whose works transcend genre boundaries, inviting us to explore the depths of the human psyche.
A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School. In 1980 he published Mendoza’s Treasure, an Action/Thriller with Leisure Books under the pen name of Vince Daniels.
He worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines.
He has recently published 4 books with BQB Publishing. Guidance to Death, his most recent,is a return to a favorite genre of his, Action/Thriller/Crime.
Dan and his wife live in Owings Maryland, about 20 miles south of Annapolis, Maryland and spend summers sailing their Bayfield 36 on the Chesapeake Bay.
Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?
I am currently reading “The Woman In White” by Wilke Collins. He was a pioneer in the genre of mystery and suspense.
You’re organizing a party. Which two authors, dead or alive, do you invite?
With the understanding that a good party means great conversations, I would invite Joseph Conrad, for his grasp of the human struggle and Saul Bellow, for his portrayal and awareness of Post War conflicts.
Which writers — working today do you admire most?
Noam Chomsky, as an incisive social critic. And Earl Charles Spencer for his historical knowledge and his clear writing style.
What books and authors have impacted your writing career?
The post WWI generation of writers (The Lost Generation) and the Bloomsbury Group, originating at the residence of Virginia Wolfe. The legacy of both groups were at the forefront of modern writing.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?
Tennessee Wiliams. I would like to know if he thought the angst in his life, and the demons he dealt with while writing was worth the achievement he attained in his career.
How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?
I’ve written six published books:
MENDOZA’S TREASURE: Mystery/Thriller 1980
THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA, A Novel Based on True Events: Historical Fiction, 2019
NO BIRDS SING HERE: Literary Fiction, 2021
BLOODROOT: Historical Fiction, 2021
BLOOD BEFORE DAWN, Historical Fiction and the sequel to THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA, 2021
GUIDANCE TO DEATH: A return to the Mystery/Thriller genre.
Asking me to tell you which one I like best is like asking a mother which child she loves best. All the books have their own separate identities, and I am very proud of them all.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
In college, when I was first inspired to write, I was captivated by the work of Thomas Pynchon. His work is dense and complex, and his works encompass a vast array of genres and subject matter.
Anything you would like to say to your readers?
I have always found it difficult to define my “brand,” due to the fact that I do not always write in the same genre. But what I would like to point out is that whatever the subject, I always try to imbed a deeper meaning. Human avarice, the power of the elite…that sort of thing.
What are you working on now?
I am in the middle of writing the 2nd in the series of Frank Adams, Aviation Accident Investigator. I like the mystery/thriller genre. It is entertaining and a good platform to expound upon a message. And having spent 20 years working for the Federal Aviation Administration, I am very familiar with the subject.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find that getting started with a plan for the entire book is a challenge. I’d like to say that I write an outline and follow it throughout the book. But I often don’t. I begin with an idea—stimulated by something in the human condition—and it develops from there. The outline exists, but usually, only in my head. And the characters develop on their own and reintroduce themselves repeatedly throughout the book.
PHOTO: Unveiling the Intricacies: Daniel V. Meier Jr.’s latest book,
‘Guidance to Death,’ delves into the enigmatic world of mystery and thrill, weaving a narrative that transcends genres.”
“. . . Author Meier employs enough technical terminology to keep the pillars of his plot credible without drowning the reader in a sea of aeronautical and avionics jargon. He skillfully melds intricacies of flight, internecine corporate skullduggery, and good old-fashioned pulse-pounding action into a satisfying stew of suspense. The pace is swift, the characters are crafty, and the read is rewarding for those who like stories seasoned with plausibility. He even finds a way to make one car following another a bit of a Hitchcockian drama on the printed page.”
− US Review of Books
* Excerpt from the book. Chapter 1
The weather was perfect: heavy clouds down to eight hundred feet, and a driving cold rain. Salvatore Sassavitte had been waiting for this day for over a month. An opportunity like this may not present itself for another month or more. The thing had to be done now. The longer it dragged on, the more likely he was to do something extremely careless.
The tie he was wearing bit into his throat. He loosened it slightly. A dark, ghostly image of himself reflected in the windshield of the van. He had never worn a suit to work before. This was the first time, and he promised himself it would be the last.
He double-checked his tools and stowed them in his black attaché case. He stepped quietly out of his van, slipped on his black wool overcoat, and walked briskly across the executive parking lot toward the secure area with his attaché case in hand……
….. Then he hurriedly closed the plane up, careful to leave no trace. He then walked back past another dozing guard and out of the gate. Once he was in his van, he drove to a small public park near the north end of the longest runway…..
…. “Cleared for takeoff.”
The jet moved into position on Runway 19 and accelerated down the centerline of the black runway, leaving two swirling trails of dark exhaust behind. He followed the plane as it climbed out of a cloud of hot steam created by the jet blast on the wet runway. He continued to watch as the jet was swallowed up, with surprising quickness, by the black-gray layer of stratus cloud hovering several hundred feet above Reagan National Airport and the city of Washington, DC. He hurriedly switched to the jet’s assigned departure control frequency.
“Citation 99 Alpha are you receiving me?” the controller’s voice demanded.
“Affirmative,” answered the pilot, betraying no alarm.
“Citation 99 Alpha, radar shows you at seven thousand feet.”
“Standby,” answered the pilot calmly.
“Citation 99 Alpha, can you climb and maintain flight level 180?”
“Standby,” answered the pilot, still professionally calm.
A few seconds passed.
“Citation 99 Alpha, we’ve lost you on radar. Are you receiving me? Can you read me?”
No answer. The controller tried again.
“Citation 99 Alpha, are you receiving me? Are you receiving me? If you are receiving me, squawk ident.”
Sal switched off the radio, put the van in gear, and drove out of the small park onto a nearly deserted George Washington Parkway. He smiled as he drove home.
This “Editor’s Choice, Award of Excellence”
is presented to Mr. Daniel V. Meier Jr.
and a select group of exceptional authors
by Reader’s House magazine.
This interview is showcased on the magazine’s 42nd issue.