Sunday, October 28, 2012

Broken From Within ~ David Hall

Cover design by David Hall and Thom Renbarger.

David at football camp with coach Barry Switzer.

Photos provided by David Hall and Ann Hall.

Difficult pasts are no less relevant with the passage of time. Broken From Within is a poignant testament by first time writer, David Hall. David was a street child, living in a broken family where food and love were often sparse and abuse was often abundant. When his mother left his life, a circle of adult friends stepped in to feed and clothe David. While not always the best examples, their lifeline kept him from being a casualty and helped him survive and eventually overcome his situation with a very positive outcome, unlike his brother.

Broken From Within, though considered fiction, is substantially a memoir. David, who has struggled with dyslexia, has a beautiful writing style. His words evoke vivid images and touch on deep emotions of pain and joy.

David's mother Dorothy Hall, David Hall (David's uncle), Nancy Hall (David's aunt).
David’s uncle, David Hall (above), was governor of Oklahoma from 1971-1975 
when David was very young - before David’s family life began to unravel.

SHAN: What made you write this book?

DAVID: When I started writing, I lived in China. I had no experience. In some ways, I taught myself. I didn’t get the basics when everyone else did because I am dyslexic. I really thought I had something to say. There is a lot of truth in the stories. It felt like I needed to get this pressure off me and relive some of my childhood - things about my brother. His name was actually Jamie. I felt I had to tell the story about our life together.


SHAN: What challenges did you encounter as you delved into your past?

DAVID: There was a lot of emotion that I thought I had gotten over, but I really hadn’t dealt with it. Some of the things I wrote about the father character – were actually things that my brother had done. He was almost two years older than me and he was a really abusive guy.

There are a lot of people in my past that made my life easier. They helped me through the situations I was going through. A lot of them became my foster parents when I went into state’s custody, but I’d known them all before through the streets where I hung out.

David's mother, brother and David.  The first time David had seen his mother in two years.


David's fifteenth birthday at the home of foster parents Gary and Betsy McVean.

David playing football in high school.

SHAN: What was your most memorable experience with this project?

DAVID: I learned a lot writing this book. My reading skills were so limited because of my dyslexia. But after writing my own stories, I could understand and read so much better. The stories gave me a schedule and a passion.

One afternoon, I started a story and I wrote for 27 hours straight. I had to just keep writing. I was so excited. In general though, I would write for weeks at a time and when I wasn’t writing, I was editing.

SHAN: Is there any advice you can give to others who would like to write about family, friends, or especially challenging experiences?

DAVID: When I wrote the book, I knew I would probably burn a bridge with my brother. But we hadn’t spoken in 12 years, so there wasn’t much of a bridge there. The truth is he died before he got to read the book. I’m kind of sad I didn’t get a chance to show him my work or have him see how I felt about what happened in our lives. After I finished writing the book, it really gave me a chance to forgive him.

When you’re writing your life stories, you need to be charged up. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard to write. Everyone has a story worth telling. Be patient with yourself. Writing about my life was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, too.

David attending the wedding of foster parent Jack Crawford.

SHAN: What are you working on now?

DAVID: I actually finished another book and need to get it edited and do the cover art. It was amazing how easy it was to write the second book. And I’m now working on a third book, which is a totally different genre – science fiction.

David Hall is a special education teacher and lives with his wife Ann who is also a teacher. For more about his book Broken From Within visit:

update on 12/30/15

Congratulations to David Hall on his latest book, Jack.  

Jack is a magical children's story with wonderful illustrations that demonstrate that David is not only a talented writer, but a very adept artist as well.

Jack can be found on



Shän Boggs is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. Her interests include science, technology, the environment, health, education, multimedia, art, and gourmet cooking. When she was in journalism school, her friend Jack Crawford was one of David Hall’s foster parents.