Reading e-books before bed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

AOTM: Interview with David Estes



Welcome to the 4th week celebration for David Estes as author of the month. This week, I interviewed him about his life and his works, and it was so much fun asking him questions because he has a full answer each time. So without any further ado, here's my Q&A with Mr. Blue Eyes himself. ^_^


Nickle: Hi David! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. My first question is, you're an American living in Australia, what made you decide to move down under?

David: Hi Nickle! First off, I just want to thank you for letting me come on your blog to answer some questions!! Well, I need to change your question slightly, as I’m no longer Down Under, but it’s still a great question. I moved to Australia a little over 3 years ago for work, as a boring job as an accountant. I always wanted to do something with my writing, but it wasn’t until I met my Aussie wife and she encouraged me to take a shot that I really committed myself to a career as a writer. Exactly three years after I arrived in Australia (in June of this year), I left with my wife to become a full time writer as we travel the world. So now we live wherever we happen to be at the time, which is currently Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania visiting my family. Next stop is Mexico for 4 months!

Nickle: I didn't know you're back in the US. That's good to know. :)
So, How does it feel to be back in your motherland?

David: Awesome! I absolutely loved my time in Australia, and of course I met my wife there, but it's always nice to come home. For one, I can drive on the right side of the road again, which is HUGE for me. I'm a terrible left-side driver so I didn't drive much in Australia. It's been great to get back behind the wheel and drive again.

It's also been awesome seeing my family again, who I haven't seen in more than two years. So all in all, it's been an amazing four months back in the States.

Nickle: Did you always want to be a writer? Who are your influences?

David: I always had dreams of being a writer but I never really took them that seriously. Now that my dreams have come true, I slap myself (literally, I sometimes raise my hand and bring is across my cheeks rather hard) for not taking a risk sooner. So many years lost when I could have been creating novels! Oh well, such is life.

My influences? I have many, but my biggest are JRR Tolkien, Suzanne Collins, and Dean Koontz. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (which I’ve read more than ten times, I lost count!) was my favorite book growing up. He made me want to create worlds of my own. Suzanne Collins showed me how a dark, dark dystopian world could make her characters shine even brighter. The Hunger Games largely influenced me to write my own dystopian novel. And Koontz’s writing is absolutely breathtaking how he’s able to create suspense, comedy, action, and loveable characters with such beautifully constructed sentences. I read a lot of Koontz while I’m writing, which always helps me ensure my writing has the right amount of description in it. Thank you Mr. Koontz.

Nickle: What did you do before becoming a full time writer? What made you decide to write full time?

David: I was a financial auditor and then an operational risk officer for large companies (zzzzz, I think I just fell asleep during my own interview, how embarrassing!) Yeah, not really my cup of tea. I mean, I have OCD and I’m good with numbers and people and everything, but I didn’t have a chance to use my creative side, the side of me I like the most.

Honestly, I give the credit to my lovely Aussie wife, Adele, for inspiring me to write. When I was between jobs, she said “Why don’t you try writing a book like you always talk about?” Well, I wasn’t clever enough to come up with any good excuses at the time, so I just started writing the first idea that popped into my head. Angel Evolution was born. Now 12 books and two years later, she can’t get me to stop!

Nickle: Why young adult? Did you ever consider writing non-YA books? (Aside from MG/children's books)

David: I’m young at heart, I guess. I don’t like a lot of sex and profanity in books that I read (just my own personal preference), so I’ve always been drawn to young adult books for my own reading enjoyment. So it just made sense that I write for the same audience and genre, or younger (like my Nikki Powergloves books for children). I have a few ideas for adult books, and I might write one someday, but for now I’m focused on YA and Children’s.

Nickle: Which is easier to write, YA or children's book?

David: Ooh, tough one, because there are challenges in both. With YA, you have to fight between making it grown up and adult enough to be exciting to young adults and adults alike, but still keep the spirit and wholesomeness of YA alive. The book also has to be a lot longer, which is challenging because you have to write more, but easier because you have more words to work with to cover the entirety of your plot.

On the other hand, children's books are nice and short and to the point. I can be a little sillier but also have to take into account more the reading level of my audience. In other words, not making things too complex but still challenging my younger readers. Kids are smart, so you can't cut corners.

Overall, writing YA is probably a bit more challenging simply due to the increased level of complexity required in plots and characters.

Nickle: Why did you write children's books? Do you have kids?

David: I've never completely grown up myself! I've always related well to kids, even as I moved into adulthood, so the idea of writing children's books appealed to me right away. I don't have kids yet, but hope to someday! If you read Nikki Powergloves, you'll see that I have a big and somewhat zany imagination that I hope kids can relate to. I want kids to enjoy reading and feel like they can relate to the characters I create.

Nickle: What inspired you to write The Evolution series and The Dwellers?

David: I wrote the Evolution trilogy because I was really into angel and demon books, but I was getting bored of the same old heaven and hell/fallen angel plots. So I wanted to write my own angel/demon book, but with a new twist. Like what if a new breed of angel-like and demon-like creatures evolved from the human race? I’ve received so much positive feedback on the concept that I know I hit the nail on the head with it.

For The Moon Dwellers, it started when I fell in love with dystopian novels a year or so ago, I started thinking about writing one. I thought about all the great dystopian novels I had read and came up with a list of what elements they had in them, and what had already been done in terms of setting and political climate. I wanted mine to be different and unique, but still fit nicely within the genre. I realized that most dystopians take place on earth and everything has been changed. So I thought it would be cool to have everything take place underground, which would make my novel quite different and give me plenty of challenges in creating a world where people have never even seen the sun or the moon or the stars. A world without rain or wind or flowers or trees. Once I had the idea, I just started building my world from the bottom up. What forced humans underground? What changes would occur once they moved underground? How would politics change? I LOVED the process of creating this world from scratch developing a backstory to it all, and creating characters within all the turmoil. I almost feel selfish, like I got to have all the fun creating and my readers only get to read the finished product!

Nickle: How do you come up with your characters? Do you model them after someone in particular?

David: My wife always asks the same thing! I really don’t model them specifically after real people, but I definitely take character traits from people I know that I think are interesting and mix and match them to create my characters. I also include a bit of myself in my characters (usually my shortcomings). But in general, my characters are just figments of my extremely nutty imagination.

Nickle: If the Evolution series and/or the Dwellers were picked up for a movie, and if you had a say in the casting, who would you cast as the characters in your book?

David: Eek, I get asked this all the time and I suck at it LOL. I'll probably just pass on this one and let the readers and bloggers decide LOL.

Nickle: Can you give us an idea on how your normal day is like?

David: Absolutely! Sleep in (yeah, not a morning person) first. Get up around 9am, have breakfast with my wife. Then I start writing, putting in at least two hours in the morning (2,000+ words). Lunch with my wife and then we try to do something fun together, like if we’re near a beach (which we usually are), we go to the beach, go swimming, read books together, etc. I’ll put in another hour or two of writing in the afternoon, too, to bring my word count to between 3 and 4 thousand, or the occasional 5,000+ word day. We have dinner and spend the evening either at home watching movies, watching our favorite TV shows, or hanging out with friends, or going to watch live music.

Throughout the day and into the evening I do all the other stuff that comes with being a writer, like interviews, blog appearances, answering reader mail, doing blog posts, and publishing my books.

I always read before bed, too, usually 50+ pages of whatever book I’ve currently got my nose in. That’s it! That’s a day in the life. Day in and day out I put in 3-4 hours a day, which is the commitment required to publish a book every 2-3 months. It’s a lot of work, but the flexible lifestyle and creativity of it makes it all worthwhile. And, of course, all the support from my readers, who are absolutely incredible, the best people in the world, and my dearest friends!

Nickle: What are your other hobbies aside from writing?

David: Reading, tennis, TV, movies, watching/playing any sport

Nickle: Do you play sports? What kind?

David: Yes! I love all sports and will play pretty much anything. My all time favorite is hockey (either ice or roller) which I love playing. Right now, I’m really into tennis, which I play with my wife, brother, or whoever wants to! But I’ve also been known to play football, soccer, baseball, golf, bowling, racketball, and anything else with a ball.

Nickle: Do you have any hidden talents that do don't mind sharing with us?

David: Honestly, not really! I'm a decent hockey player, a fair juggler, and I've been known to play a mean game of Angry Birds, but that's about it! You won't see me on America's Got Talent anytime soon!

Nickle: What kind of music do you listen to? What/who are your favorite artists?

David: I love a variety of music and my wife and I go to see live music frequently. I like anything from country (Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, The Band Perry, and many others) to 90s alternative rock (Nirvana, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc) to heavier rock like Metallica, to softer acoustics like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. I’m also a huge Foo Fighters fan.

Nickle: How were you like in high school?

David: Do you mean nerd or cool? LOL. I was kind of in the middle I guess. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. I had plenty of friends, but not many really close friends. I was a book nerd (which I personally believe is the coolest thing to be in the world!), but also hung out with the sporty people. I didn’t really find my niche until my senior year when I started hanging out with a group of guys that liked playing pool and cards. But I also never really had any problems with kids in high school. I tended to get along with everyone, which is true of me to this day. I’m a lover not a fighter!

Nickle: What's the sweetest thing you ever did for your wife?

David: There are either so many I can’t keep track of them or too few to come up with one, it’s definitely one of the other! In all seriousness though, I hope I’m sweet to my wife on a daily basis despite myself. But probably the sweetest was when I proposed to her and sang God Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts to her. Yep, she liked it ♥

Nickle: If you win the lottery, let's say $1M, what will you do with your winnings?

David: I’ve never gotten this question, which is awesome!! I’m not a big spender and really only want money to give me a chance to support my wife and to allow me to keep writing full time, so I’d be very boring with it and stash most of it in the bank at the highest interest rate I could get. Although I would also spend a little bit of it on a cozy house with a 25 meter swimming pool for my wife, who swims every day.

Nickle: If you were a tribute, do you think you'd survive the Hunger Games? What would be your special skill?

David: Oh gosh, I LOVE The Hunger Games so this is an awesome question! I'm not really sure if I would survive. I'm extremely nonconfrontational and I hate violence, but when it comes to protecting myself or others I care about, I've found I have a bit of a hot-tempered streak. So I think there's a chance I would make it through, although not if Katniss is a tribute during the same games! My skill would be my speed and quickness. Ever since I was a little kid I've been fast, so I would take advantage of that by trying to get some good weapons quickly and then running away. (Although even the thought of using those weapons makes me cringe!)

Nickle: Last question, what should we expect from you in the coming months/year?

David: There's so much to come from me! I'm an obsessive writer, and I plan on continuing to publish at the high rate that I've already achieved (at least 4 books per year). On September 30th I'll release The Star Dwellers. The Sun Dwellers will be released no later than December 15th. Then next year I'll publish 2-3 books in the Dwellers sister series, another YA dystopian series, the first book of which will be called Fire Country, and then later in the year I'll publish the 4th and final book in the Dwellers Saga. To round out the year, I plan to publish the 5th book in the Nikki Powergloves series.

In 2014 it will be another 4-6 books, including the sixth and final Nikki Powergloves book and perhaps a new standalone YA dystopian that is still in idea stage.

Nickle: That's it. I really enjoyed this interview and thank you for your time. Do you have anything else to share with us?

David: Thanks again for interviewing me and for letting my kooky personality run amok on your blog.

The Moon Dwellers is now available everywhere ebooks are sold or in print via Amazon.com (links below). Also, I’ve pledged when I started writing to always respond to readers, and love getting comments and questions, so please contact me using one of my favorite social networking sites below. As always, happy reading!!

Where you can find David Estes hanging out:
My blog/website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
My Facebook page/s: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130852990343920
My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/davidestesbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/davidestesbooks

Where you can buy The Moon Dwellers:
Kindle Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FJV8SQ/ref=r_soa_w_d
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Dwellers-Saga/dp/1478150742/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342076706&sr=1-8&keywords=the+moon+dwellers
B&N Ebook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-moon-dwellers-david-estes/1111871065?ean=2940014644938
Smashwords Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/172596

Other YA Books by David Estes!
The Dwellers Saga:
Book One—The Moon Dwellers
Book Two—The Star Dwellers
Book Three—The Sun Dwellers (coming in December 2012!)

The Evolution Trilogy
Book 1- Angel Evolution
Book 2- Demon Evolution
Book 3- Archangel Evolution

Children’s Books by David Estes
The Nikki Powergloves Adventures:
Nikki Powergloves- A Hero is Born
Nikki Powergloves and the Power Council
Nikki Powergloves and the Power Trappers
Nikki Powergloves and the Great Adventure
Nikki Powergloves vs. the Power Outlaws (Coming in 2013!)

Giveaway

I have great news! David donated another set of The Dwellers AND 2 sets of The Evolution Trilogy. Isn't that AWESOME?

Be sure to thank David for the donation by tweeting him (@DavidEstesBooks) or leaving a message in his FB page. ^_^

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 comments:

  1. What great questions and you are right! David does give full answers. I had so much fun. I love reading interviews as much as doing them! Thank you both for the entertaining interview.

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  2. I'm super excited to read the second book! I read the first and fell in love! :D

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  3. Thanks for the giveaway and interview! I'm super excited to read the second book! I fell in love with he first book!

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  4. I would do something I wouldn't normally do for love. I would give my life for love if it meant the other person could live.

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  5. I think if I was up against Katniss I too would not be the last one standing!
    Great Interview!

    ReplyDelete

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