Saturday, 28 January 2012

Author Interview - David Estes

David Estes, author of The Evolution Trilogy, stopped by today for an interview!
Hi David! Thank you for taking time to answer some questions for us today. I know you're super busy, so we won't take up too much of your time. Let's get started!

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Very good question. Because I've managed to work on so many projects in such a short time, it wasn't long after I began writing that I considered myself a writer. Although I've heard various points of view on the matter, I believe that you're a writer if you want to be a writer and are actively writing. I read somewhere that you're not really a writer until you've written one million words. By that measure I'm just half a writer at the moment, so hopefully in a year or two I will meet the criteria!

With three published books, I think you're well on your way! Of your three books do you have a favorite?
Although all three of my published books are part of the Evolution Trilogy, I do have a favorite, 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 16 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.

How about a favorite character? Which character did you have the most fun writing?
Great question. In Angel Evolution I liked writing from Gabriel's perspective. In the first book he's such a conflicted character, who really can't decide what's right and what's wrong. I thought it was fun to start him as a pretty evil character and slowly morph him into something better (although I won't give away whether he ever makes it to the good side!)

In Demon Evolution I preferred writing Taylor's character because I think her personality picks up quite a bit. She is a sarcastic person by nature and she has quite a few zany thoughts that show her good sense of humor a bit.

Lastly, my favorite character of the whole trilogy doesn't really come out until the third book, Archangel Evolution, although he is involved in all three books. Gabriel's brother, David (named after me, but hopefully not like me at all!), is probably the most interesting (but very scary) character. I've had one of my beta readers suggest I do a spin off series that is all from David's point of view. I really hope that readers decide to read all the way through to the end of the series if only to get a chance to appreciate David. 

Why did you choose to write children's/YA novels? What appealed to you about that age group specifically?
Ahh, so many things. I guess first and foremost it's the chance to write for a young audience. I loved loved loved reading growing up, as both a child and teenager, so it is so exciting to help young adults use their imaginations while developing a love for reading. I am also so excited about what is happening within the YA genre. The interest in it has expanded across generations and so many not-so-young adults are reading YA books these days that there are really no age restrictions anymore (I know I regularly explore the YA section in the library!)

Although I am in the gender minority for authors in the genre, I feel right at home in the space. I am a bit of a romantic, and I prefer writing about younger characters, so it's a perfect fit for me!

Finally, I've never really grown up myself, always enjoying reading books across all genres and age groups, so it was just natural that I should write in such a versatile genre. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? Where is your favorite place to write?
Pretty crazy! Because I'm not a full-time write yet, I'm extremely busy, trying to fit writing in with my regular job, spending time with my wife, Adele, and relaxing a bit too.

Inspiration comes at so many different times and in so many different places, that I find myself writing all the time. Sometimes I may just jot down a few ideas or words on my iPhone, and other times I might write a few paragraphs. Then I can come back to these random thoughts and piece them together later. I write every single day on the way to and from work on the Manly Ferry in Sydney, Australia. The entire trip is 30 minutes so I get a solid hour of writing done while commuting. I also try to write at least an hour over lunch in my favorite cafe, GGs. But the ferry and GGs are definitely not my favorite places to write. I much prefer writing on our day bed on our balcony overlooking Manly Beach with the sun shining, a cool breeze in the air and more inspiration than I usually know what to do with. I've also recently started writing at the pool while my wife, Adele, does her laps. 

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
To be honest, I find the writing part quite easy. I have a nutty imagination that works overtime, so I don't really get writer's block or anything like that. My wife always says how she's amazed how I can just sit down and start writing. I read the last paragraph or page that I wrote, and just get going. I don't worry too much about getting every word perfect, that's what rewriting and editing is for; rather I focus on moving the plot along, feeling the emotions of the characters, and enjoying the ride. Occasionally, I will just have a little trouble getting started at the beginning of a writing session, but it's usually because I'm not in the right state of mind. To fix it all I need to do it listen to a song I like or read a book I'm enjoying. That's it!

What authors, if any, (living or dead) would you would name as influences?
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 kind of music do you listen to when you write?
It's pretty varied. My writing playlist has anything from Gaga to Rascal Flatts to Metallica. To be honest, when I'm writing, everything else disappears, so even if I'm listening to music I don't really notice it.

Sounds like me when I'm reading! Here's one to make you think…If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
Tough question. Maybe. I hate to have any regrets about Angel Evolution, because it was my first book and it's what made me want to be a writer. But when I read the later books in the trilogy I realize how much I've improved and it makes me wish I knew at the beginning what I know now. I've found that for the YA genre, I prefer writing in the first person. I might have tried that with Angel Evolution. I also would have developed Taylor's character a lot more in Angel Evolution, instead of waiting until Demon Evolution for her to really come into her own. I also would have slowed down the love story a bit. I was so focused on moving the plot along and getting to the action, I skipped over the romance more than I probably should have. 

The cover of a book is what usually grabs a reader's eye first and draws them to take a closer look at the book. The artwork on all three of your books is beautiful. Who designed them for you? What is the design process like for you as the author?
Thanks so much, I love the covers too! Good story about the covers. I'm a writer, not an artist or graphic designer or photographer, and I really don't have an eye for those kinds of things. Thankfully I married someone who did!! The concepts for the covers were Adele's. Lately we had seen so many YA covers featuring female models in some kind of a beautiful setting. Adele thought we should try something a bit different, making it clear that the books were about angels and demons with a consistent theme of varying colors and types of wings on them, with mystical and intriguing backgrounds.

We hired Claudia McKinney, owner of Phatpuppy Art to bring Adele's concept to life, which she did beautifully. We found her after seeing a few amazing covers she did for Amanda Hocking.

Lastly, the finishing touches were put on the covers by our book jackets designers, our friends Tony and Claire at Winkipop Designs. They did the custom font, spine design, and dark angel symbol that's used between sections within each chapter. I'm so happy with the finished product and so thankful we had such awesome designers to help us!

Do you have any advice for budding writers?
My advice is that if you love writing then just do it. Don't worry about what people will think of it or whether anyone but your spouse, mom, or dog will like it. Do it because you love words. Even if you entertain only one person with your story, it will be well worth it; that I can promise you! 

Now here's the big question…What are you reading now?
Divergent by Veronica Roth. Depending on the project I am currently working on, I try to read books in the same genre that will help inspire me. As my current project is a YA dystopian trilogy, I thought Divergent would be the perfect accompaniment, especially because it's been compared to one of my favorite books of all time, The Hunger Games, which I hope my new trilogy will be compared to one day!!

Thank you David for opening yourself up to us today! One last question before you go. How can your readers follow you?
While I don't particularly enjoy 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!)

Like me on Facebook
Follow My Blog
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Goodreads
LibraryThing
Friend me on Book Blogs

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


Where can you purchase David's Books?  Glad you asked!  Just follow the links:
 

 Angel Evolution- the first book in the young adult fantasy trilogy: The Evolution Trilogy... When Taylor meets Gabriel at college, she is in awe of the subtle glow that surrounds him. No one else, not even her best friend, seems to notice. Something about him scares her. Is all as it appears? While Taylor struggles for answers, she finds herself in the middle of a century old war centered on one miraculous revelation: evolution. 





Demon Evolution- the second book in the young adult fantasy trilogy: The Evolution Trilogy... Spreading darkness... Guilty of treason for which the penalty is death, Taylor's angel boyfriend, Gabriel, has been captured. The fate of the world sits on a knife's edge, with Taylor being the key to everything. Taylor's aura is growing stronger, but will it be enough to save Gabriel and defeat the Archangel Council.





Archangel Evolution- the third book in the young adult fantasy trilogy: The Evolution Trilogy... The battle concludes... While Taylor is still getting used to her evolution, the Archangel Council has uncovered a bold new secret, one that will allow them to finally defeat the demons. Dionysus has a new deadly apprentice, hell-bent on eradicating the human race. Can Taylor master her newfound abilities to finally end the Great War, once and for all?

5 comments:

  1. i hope i can get a copy of his book the soonest! :)

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  2. I am going to have to find time to read th this series because I've heaed some great things about this one!

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  3. I was thinking the same thing, Tt...Everyone seems to be loving it!

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  4. I will agree with you I have the first book but just never have time, soon though

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