David’s work has been praised by literary professors and by PhDs in science, by fans and by book reviewers around the world. His miniseries screenplay adaptation of his popular novel “The Shylmahn Migration” won the Pacific Northwest Screenwriting Competition in 2007.
David lives in Washington State with his wife Sylvia. When not writing, he can usually be found on any one of a dozen northwest mountains.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
I live in a world in which I get to create worlds. I then travel to those worlds whenever I want.
What made you start writing?
I was twelve years old, a sixth grader in a small town south of San Francisco. This was the late sixties, and our teacher was rather progressive for her day; our classroom didn’t have desks, we worked at tables, six students each. Each morning, she would write that day’s assignments on the blackboard and we would work in teams to complete them. When finished, each student went to the back of the room and turned their card from red side to green side, and spent the rest of the day on extra credit.
One day I wrote a short story. When my teacher returned it to me the next day, she handed me an empty theme book and told me that from that day on my only extra credit was to fill that theme book with stories.
How amazing was that? Teacher’s orders… write stories. I’ve been writing ever since.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
I was looking back at my body of work a few years ago when someone else asked me this question. It was only then that I realized I had been influenced by a category of author: British science fiction authors of the fifties and sixties. Aldiss, Wyndham, Christopher. Heavy on character study, throwing ordinary people into extraordinary situations and then observing how they deal with it. I grew up reading their end of the world books.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Write what you would want to read. If you’re writing anything else, then it’s just a job.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I look for books that take me to other worlds, other times. This is usually science fiction, but not limited to the genre. Dune is my favorite book that’s not one of mine, but also at the top of my list are Watership Down and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
Probably Tobias Quigley from Serpent’s Keep. He’s been around a while and has lived through so many experiences, still has a sense of humor. He’s taken all that’s been thrown at him and come out pretty solid.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
From my titles?
That’s tough, as each is so very different in style, genre and target audience.
If forced to choose…
For a fun scifi/fantasy adventure, Serpent’s Keep.
For serious epic science fiction, The Shylmahn Migration.
The novel received the Readers’ Favorite Five Stars Award.
The miniseries screenplay adaptation was a top ten finalist in an international screenwriting competition.
The Shylmahn Migration:
The novel received praise from literary professors and PhDs in science.
The miniseries screenplay adaptation won the Pacific Northwest Screenwriting Competition.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
An independent film producer had optioned the screenplay adaptation of The Christmas Cave, a holiday family fantasy. She asked that I include several additional scenes. The difficulty I had was incorporating material that I didn’t feel fit smoothly into the story.
I did manage to make it work, and in the end the new scenes do fit into both the revised novella adaptation and the screenplay. Hard to notice the additions to the book if you don’t already know they’re there.
After all that… the producer had to let the option lapse. She signed on as associate producer for a project with a major studio. But I’m thinking some of it had to do with the additional SFX cost of the new scenes that she requested, that it took the project out of her budget.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
It would definitely be The Black Tower… eighty floors, each floor an alternate world; way cool.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
I write what I want to read. I hope there are others out there who like what I like, but I write for an audience of one: me. My fan base is very diverse because my titles are very diverse. I never write the same thing twice. That would be boring.
What effect can a review have on you, if you read them at all? Both the good and the bad.
The negative reviews to now have almost always come from free giveaways, when folks who would never have bought the book downloaded it with a single click without knowing or caring what they were getting. Their reviews clearly reflect that and I always ignored those. This is why I don’t do the free downloads anymore.
Since I believe that what I create is very much a part of me, is much of what I am, I do appreciate honest critical reviews as well as the positive reviews. I don’t dwell on them, good or bad, but I definitely take them to heart.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
No. I cannot. I tried.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
I wrote a “which way” book years ago for my children when they were ten and eleven years old. I later reworked it into a standard novella, Shipwreck on ShadowWorld (available in print, ebook and audiobook). I am revisiting the main character two years later. Jim, having survived ShadowWorld, is now fifteen years old is now living on Kimara, capital world of the Frontier Worlds. Kimara Crossing should be available in April or May.
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
Life is a collection of experiences. You don’t want to get to the end and realize you don’t have any.
Our thanks go out to David for his answers. Great stuff.