Would you like to get to know more about how the inner book brain of an Indie Author works?
This is the place!
Periodically, we'll invite an Indie Author to open up their brain, and show us inside. We'll have a conversation that deals a little bit with writing craft, reading influences, and some other fun stuff.
Today, we thumb through the pages of
Indie Author Jean Davis' grey matter...
Discover More About Jean Davis HERE!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
My pilgrimage is mostly to my writing room where I attempt to lock myself away for a few hours as often as possible so I can hang out with my fictional creations. I write most effectively on my own so I tend to be a solitary writer rather than seeking out the company of others during the creative process. I do venture out to a bi-weekly critique group though with other humans and beer.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Oh man, how can I forget. Orson Scott Card’s Songmaster. It is a terribly sad story...and yet so good.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
When I get stressed out I can’t write. Writing is often relaxing and therapeutic but there’s a threshold of when I can shut everything out and sink into the words. Thankfully I don’t get there too often. When I do, I usually turn to Netflix or reading other people’s books.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My space opera series, The Narvan, takes place in a universe of its own and revolves around the same characters, but each book does have its own resolution. A couple of the short stories in my new collection, Dreams of Stars and Lies take place in The Narvan universe but are entirely unrelated to the series. The rest of my books fall under various Speculative Fiction genres and are entirely standalone.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’d already written twelve other books by the time the first one got published through a small press, so I can’t say that the stage of being published significantly changed my process. The one thing that it did change though was how I format my drafts so I save time later when it comes time to publish.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My rat terrier, maybe. She gets very excited by whatever she’s playing with and blocks out everything else until she’s done having her fun.
What did you edit out of your books?(keep it family-friendly, please)
Out of my first book? So very much because I was learning to write as I went and there was so much unnecessary information. Weapons, characters, physical enhancements, world building, alien histories, it all went into a file somewhere on my hard drive, never to be seen again.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Lima Beans. Oh wait, I’d give those up any day for no reason. I should probably give up the internet connection on my writing computer so I could be more focused, but I need it for research and book promotion.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I remember waiting for weeks between each book of the Chronicles of Narnia series because my elementary school library only had one copy of each book. I loved that series and I’d have to call that my point of no return for avid (rabid) reading.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Getting through the middle of a rough draft. Yeah, that’s the downfall to being a pantser, but I know I can do it so it’s just a matter of slogging through those spots where the creative engine cuts out.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
Rewriting. Once I have the bones of the story nailed down with the rough draft, putting flesh on them and weaving it all together is where I really get excited and words happen fast.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A rough draft takes me one to three months. It’s the rewriting and editing that eats up another six to eight months. Sometimes a story just works and it’s ready to go to print from start to finish in a year to eighteen months. Other times it takes years for that editing phase to smooth out all the bumps or for the solutions to plot problems to hit me.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
Not very. While it is true that some authors aren’t comfortable with the idea of having to be a salesperson or even just talking to readers at a book signing, the majority of those I’ve met are okay with socializing and are more than happy to talk about their books.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
In elementary school. I was super shy and didn’t like talking to people but I could write and communicate that way. I was very fortunate to have several supportive teachers along they way that offered enough encouragement to keep me at it until the fires were fully lit.
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Frank Herbert, Steven Brust and Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey and C. J. Cherryh.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
Dune. Love the movie. Love the book. The entire series, really, but I digress. Frank Herbert created an amazing universe and filled it with memorable characters. The movie brought it all to life. I’m cautiously optimistic about the new Dune movie.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
Holding my first book in my hand was gratifying. I’d had several short stories published before the book so I wasn’t quite as when I’d held that first magazine with my name on the cover years before that, but I did have a definite sense of accomplishment. I used my advance toward buying my comfy writing chair to celebrate.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
If you’re going to make me pick just one I’d have to go with how little authors get paid. Not only do many readers want a free or .99 book but they don’t realize that creating that book may have taken months or years and countless hours, tears, and bouts of depression and frustration, or how much of a percentage retailers take. We greatly appreciate everyone that supports authors by buying their books.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I’m currently wrapping up the final round of edits on Bound in Blue, the third book in the Narvan series, co-authoring a YA book, and ironing out the plot in a rough draft of a YA Fantasy novel I started last year. No time for boredom around here!
Are you attending any conventions/festivals where readers can meet you and/or buy your books? Please provide all the “find it” information.
That’s all kind of up in the air right now but I hope so. I had book signing events scheduled all year and so far everything has been cancelled since February. If all goes well, I’ll be selling and signing books at the following events:
August 8-9 at the Blueberry Festival in South Haven, MI
August 21 at the Tulip City Comic Con in Holland, mI
Sept 5-7 at the Newaygo Logging Festival in Newaygo, MI
Sept 19 at the Monroe Pop Fest in Monroe, MI
Nov 13-15 at the Grand Rapids Comic Con in Grand Rapids, MI
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
You can find information on all of my books on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Davis/e/B00UY4XNEC If you would like to purchase signed copies, I sell them at the same price as Amazon and ship books direct within the US for $1 per book. You can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
You’ll never have the chance to publish anything unless you finish it.
Don’t expect anyone to edit your work with as much care as you should before sending it to them. I’m always amazed by how many aspiring authors think they can just pound out a draft and someone else will be grateful to clean it up. You’ll either be paying an editor a fortune or be collecting rejections because no one will read past the first full page of typos.
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