Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview: David Estes


Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
First and foremost, I’m a husband to my lovely Australian wife, Adele. We spend the vast majority of our free time together in our little apartment on Manly Beach in Australia. Homebodies by nature, we love just chillin’ out together, making dinner, watching movies, or reading on our daybed on the balcony.

I was born in El Paso, Texas, but my family moved to Pittsburgh when I was very young. I grew up in the Steel town and am a fierce Penguins and Steelers fan. A loss by one of them is like a dagger through my heart (although being halfway around the world slightly eases the pain nowadays ;).

What inspired you to write?
Mostly my love for reading, but also my wife. I have been an avid reader my entire life (I even won a reading contest at school when I was little once), and I always wanted to give writing a try, but felt like I needed a “Big Idea.” Really that was just an excuse to put it off though—I know that now. When I met my wife, my perspective began changing. She encouraged me to give it a shot with whatever idea came into my head, and when I had three weeks off between jobs I started writing Angel Evolution. Yes, Angel Evolution was my first book and I took it all the way through to self-publishing, although I must apologize for its imperfections—I have since written 7 other books and have improved drastically as a writer.

Anyway, I fell in love with writing in less than a day of really trying it. Even after I started my new job I kept it up, writing a half-hour on the ferry to work, an hour at lunch, and a half-hour on the ferry back home. I was averaging 2 to 3,000 words per day, which allowed me to finish Angel Evolution in less than a month. So I started a new project, leaving the Evolution Trilogy unfinished. But I always came back to it, finishing the trilogy and self-publishing it about 13 months after I first put fingers to keyboard.

What authors influenced you as a writer?
Oh, there are so many authors that I cannot possibly list them here. But at the very top of the list are authors like Dean Koontz and J.R.R Tolkien. Tolkien was my favorite author as a child, while Koontz became a favorite of mine later in life. Each of them have an uncanny ability to weave words into a book, like threads into a tapestry. I have also been inspired recently by Suzanne Collins and Amanda Hocking, who have both seemingly come out of nowhere to gain immense popularity. They are both great storytellers, which is what I hope to be.

What is your favorite Quote? Why is it your favorite?
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” As I’m sure many of those who read this will know, this is from The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. There are a million amazing and inspiring quotes out there, but this one has always been my favorite. It was the perfect line for Tolkien’s characters and their story, but the beauty of it is that it can be related to many other books, as well as to real life. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, because once you take it you are out of your comfort zone. But I can promise you that it’s always worth taking anyway

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Geez, you ask incredibly challenging questions! Again, I have lived in so many different worlds in my mind that I feel like I am trying to choose my favorite child. (Not that I have kids yet, but if I did, ya know what I mean?) There are great series like Tomorrow When the War Began, but although I live in Australia now, I would definitely steer clear of the Australia in that story—it is pretty much just a warzone. Same goes for the post-apocalyptic country of Panem in the Hunger Games. Although still dangerous, I might choose the monster-infested world in the Percy Jackson books. That is, as long as I am a demigod offspring of one of the Greek gods! Another good option would be Hogwarts. Again, dangerous, but worth it to be able to use magic!

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
These days, a Twitter account! While I’m sort of kidding, there is a lot of truth to that, especially given the importance of reaching fans via the internet, particularly in the YA genre.

On a more serious note, however, I think the most important thing for writers to do is to keep reading. For me, that has made a huge difference. Finding time in between writing chapters of my books to read my favorite authors has helped me to remain inspired, continue to learn the art of writing, and remind me who I am writing for: the readers!

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors?
Absolutely, but I can see the influence of my favorite authors in my books. For example, one of my favorite things about Koontz’s writing is his ability to build humor into the very substance of the story. I think you will see a bit of that in my writing, although not nearly to level of perfection that Koontz has achieved over the years.

At the same time, I hope that my writing style is unique, even if it is a conglomeration of the many people and things that have inspired me. If nothing else, I think readers will find that the plots of my books are unique. From early readers of the Evolution Trilogy, I have been told, “I expected…” or “I thought it would be just another book about…” and then the readers go on to say it was a unique spin on angels and demons, or the relationships were different than what they expected. That is extremely gratifying to hear.

What lead you to writing in this genre?
At the moment I write for the YA and children’s markets, specifically in the fantasy genre. I suppose there is a bit of Peter Pan in me. Okay, okay, a lot of Peter Pan in me. My parents and wife can attest to that. I have never really grown up in terms of what makes me laugh. I love Pixar movies more than most, read books intended for an audience well below my own age (I am regularly sniffing around the YA and children’s sections in the library), and generally prefer hanging out with children to adults—they simply have better imaginations! I guess that’s why I decided to write for these genres.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
The dreaming! As a fiction writer, you get to dream big, crazy, impossible things. While I am writing, I feel like I am just daydreaming, except I have to find a way to write it all down, so that others can enjoy my daydream too. When I am able to give my daydreams justice (by using the right words), it is the absolute best feeling in the world.

Least favorite part of the writing process?
I want to say promoting my work, although I’m not sure that would technically be considered part of the writing process. It is hard work and I much prefer to have my nose stuck in a book than having to try to convince people to read my books. I am not money driven when it comes to writing and that is not why I do it. I write because I love it. Unfortunately, if I want to fulfill my dream of becoming a full-time author, I have to try to sell my books, too. I would prefer to just give them away, especially the children’s ones. Putting a smile on a child’s face is worth way more than any amount of money.

What are you currently working on?
Ooh, so glad you asked! I hate promoting my work, but I love talking about what I am writing. In addition to trying to promote (ugh) the Evolution Trilogy, I am finishing up the 4th book in a children’s series that I have been working on over the last year or so. I currently have 6 books planned in the series, and love, love, love the concept I’ve come up with and how the 6 books are flowing together. I don’t want to give the story away, but it is a classic superhero story with a number of really cool twists on it (if I do say so myself!). The manuscript for the first book in the series is currently being read by a large children’s book publisher. Fingers crossed they are interested!

Where readers can find you?
While I don’t like promoting my books, I really enjoy connecting with my readers. I do it via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Book Blogs. See below for links to where you can find me at all of those places. If you send me a message, I will respond. (I take this promise more seriously than any other!)


Oh yeah, and my books are available on Amazon.com in print and anywhere e-books are sold (Kindle, iBooks, Nookbooks, Smashwords.com, etc.)!

LAST QUESTION:
Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?
Two, actually, if you don’t mind. First, do I have a favorite book in the Evolution Trilogy? In fact, I do. My favorite is the third book, Archangel Evolution. Many people complain about how the 3rd or 4th book in a series let them down, or was disappointing. I know I’ve said that before. Well, for my trilogy I think it’s the opposite. I have grown so much as a writer in 15 months that it is only natural that my later books would be better. I only hope that people cut me some slack on the imperfections of Angel Evolution and read on to the other two books in the Evolution Trilogy, which get better and better. I must admit, I have received some negative feedback amongst the positive for Angel Evolution, but for those readers that continued on and read the other two books, I eventually won them over, which makes me really happy.

The second thing I was wishing you would ask was: Tell us something funny about yourself. I read all the time, but that’s not the funny thing. The funny thing is that my wife calls me ‘Brick’, after the child character from the TV show The Middle. In the show, Brick is constantly reading no matter where he is. That’s me. We’ll be watching TV and then a commercial will come on and Adele will run back into the kitchen to get a drink, and when she comes back, I will have my book out, trying to sneak in a page before the show comes back on!

Anyway, that’s enough about me for now, thanks so much for the opportunity to be featured on your lovely blog and I hope to have a new book for you soon!

1 comment:

Sarita Lopez said...

Great interview, I enjoyed it very much!!

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