For a man steeped in the complexities of advanced technology, engineer Everett De Morier has an equally tight grasp on the human condition.
De Morier, 54, has penned six Christmas musicals, some set in Dover and numerous how-to articles for his 543magazine.com website. His 2015 novel “Thirty-Three Cecils” has been honored with the 2015 London Book Festival fiction prize and optioned for a feature film.
The upstate New York native moved to Dover in 2007. At the Dover Public Library’s July 23 Writers and Readers event, he’ll be keynote speaker. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen will present him with a certificate of appreciation.
“Thirty-Three Cecils” takes the traditional linear storytelling style and flips it on its side. Although it starts in the present day, most takes place in 1992. Con man Walker Roe and Riley Dutcher, an almost-unrepentant alcoholic, meet, go into business and then they’re found murdered.
But instead of a whodunnit, De Morier focuses on the characters as flawed human beings. Why and how they died isn’t central to the story, he said.
Who is Cecil?
That’s something you’ll realize about halfway through. It’s not a real trick, but it takes some investment to learn where it comes from.
Both men are flawed characters. How did you get the inspiration for them?
I don’t really know. They’re both me, they’re just different parts of me. You just wind these two characters up and let them go. I could step into either one of their skins at any time.
You’ve used a very unusual style.
It started out very linear, but I wanted a little nostalgia in it. I moved them back a little in time and decided to give them some notoriety, some mystery.
You’ve written that your father was viciously assaulted, causing him to suffer epileptic seizures the rest of his life. How did this affect you growing up?
Back then people associated epilepsy with alcoholism and there was a stigma to it. He carried an enormous burden and I know now he did a great job with what he had. I’m so proud of him now, but back then I was ashamed.
I’ve learned that real heroes can be guys who get their skulls crushed in and take jobs as janitors so they can hide themselves when they have a seizure, just to put bread on the table. When you’re a kid of 16, you don’t see that but as you get older you realize what a true hero can be.
What’s your next project?
I’ve finished up another Christmas play. I’m about one-third of the way through a second novel, and I’m letting it cook. I’ll take it up again when we’re done with the play.