Hi everyone! Well, the month of April is ending, but that doesn’t mean the blog tour is over. Another entire month lay ahead filled with authors and interviews. To end this month, David Estes is the author for this evening. Enjoy the read everyone and thank you David for joining the blog tour!
Title: Fire Country (The Country Saga, #1), Ice Country (The Country Saga, #2)
Author: David Estes
Genre: YA dystopian
Blog: Same as website
Social Media connections:
David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70863-david-estes-fans-and-ya-book-lovers-unite
My blog: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
Release Date: Fire Country- February 2nd, Ice Country- April 4th
Where to buy: Links to buy Fire Country:
Reviews: Early reviews can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17250818-ice-country
The Dwellers Saga:
Book One—The Moon Dwellers
Book Two—The Star Dwellers
Book Three—The Sun Dwellers
Book Four—The Earth Dwellers (coming September 2013!)
The Country Saga (A Dwellers sister series):
Book One—Fire Country
Book Two—Ice Country
Book Three—Water and Storm Country (Coming June 7th, 2013!)
The Evolution Trilogy:
Book One—Angel Evolution
Book Two—Demon Evolution
Book Three—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!)
Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.
Excerpt from Fire Country
When I’m sixteen and reach the midpoint of my life, I’ll have my first child. Not ’cause I want to, or ’cause I made a silly decision with a strapping young boy after sneaking a few sips of my father’s fire juice, but ’cause I must. It’s the Law of my people, the Heaters; a Law that’s kept us alive and thriving for many years. A Law I fear.
I learned all about the ways of the world when I turned seven: the bleeding time, what I would hafta do with a man when I turned sixteen, and how the baby—my baby—would grow inside me for nine full moons. Even though it all seemed like a hundred years distant at the time, I cried for two days. Now that it’s less’n a year away, I’m too scared to cry.
Veeva told me all ’bout the pain. She’s seventeen, and her baby’s five full moons old and “uglier’n one of the hairy ol’ warts on the Medicine Man’s feet.” Or at least that’s how she describes Polk. Me, I think he’s sorta cute, in a scrunched up, fat-cheeked kind of way. Well, anyway, she said to me, “Siena, you never felt pain so burnin’ fierce. I screamed and screamed…and then screamed some more. And then this ugly tug of a baby comes out all red-faced and oozy. And now I’m stuck with it.” I didn’t remind her Polk’s a him not an it.
I already knew about her screaming. Everyone in the village knew about Veeva’s screaming. She sounded like a three ton tug stuck in a bog hole. Veeva’s always cursing, too, throwing around words like burnin’ and searin’ and blaze—words that’d draw my father’s hand across my face like lightning if I ever let them slip out of my mouth like they’re nothing more’n common language.
In any case, everything she tells me about turning sixteen just makes me wish I didn’t hafta get older, could stay fifteen for the next seventeen or so years, until the Fire takes me.
It’s not fair, really, that boys get to wait until they’re eighteen ’fore their names get put in the Call. I’d kill for an extra two years of no baby.
1 When did you first start writing?
First off, thanks for having me!
Ahh, I have fond memories of when it all began. I started seriously writing in September 2010. Before then, like so many others out there, I’ve LOVED reading my entire life, more than any other activity. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to write my own books, but I always managed to come up with an excuse—either I’m too busy, too lazy, or I just don’t have good enough ideas—to not do it. Perhaps it was a fear of failure, I’m not really sure. But for whatever reason, I drifted along, reading, but not really writing.
Then I met my wife, Adele, a sweet and beautiful Australian, who encouraged me to put my dreams first. So, while I had a few weeks off before a new desk job in September 2010, I started writing a book using the first idea that came into my head, one about angels and demons that evolved from humans. Six weeks later, Angel Evolution was born!
I’d officially caught the writing bug, and so I kept writing, averaging 2,000 words a day, and slowly moving up to 3,000 words. I finished my first children’s book, Nikki Powergloves, 4 weeks later. Then I wrote Demon Evolution in another 6 weeks and followed it up with a middle grade book called I am Touch, which I have yet to publish. Finally, 10 months after starting Angel Evolution, I completed Archangel Evolution. So I had 5 books written in 10 months, but hadn’t published any of them!
So I just went for it! The rest has been a whirlwind adventure in which I’ve written 14 books in less than two and a half years, 12 of which are now published. On the back of The Moon Dwellers, I became a fulltime author in June of 2012, making what started out as a dream become a reality!
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always had dreams of being a writer but I never really took them that seriously. I never really wanted to do anything else. 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.
3 What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up?
Primarily YA dystopian, although I’ve dabbled in YA paranormal (one trilogy) and children’s superhero (one four book series). But since five of my books are YA dystopian, with two more to come in the next few months, I’ll focus there.
In short, I’m OBSESSED with dystopian novels at the moment. You have to write what you enjoy reading and what you can connect with, and for me that’s definitely dystopian. The genre has so much versatility and can be combined with many other genres too, although I haven’t really played around with that much (yet). I also LOVE how real dystopian books can feel, almost like it’s something that could really happen, if you just really think about it.
There’s also a real sense of good versus evil in dystopian books, which usually involves some form of an oppressive government. Bad things happen. People get hurt. But those dedicated to the cause fight on, almost like it’s their destiny.
Finally, dystopians have so much room for world building, which really excites me. Imagine if you could take pretty much a blank slate to the earth and start over. What would you build? What would you create? That’s dystopian. In The Moon Dwellers I decided to build my society underground, deep below the surface of the earth. With Fire Country, I took things back aboveground, but in the middle of a changed world where the sun is hotter than hell, the sky is red and the clouds yellow, and the air full of toxic fumes. Yeah, not the best place to live. And yet….humanity struggles on.
4 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Because most of my life revolves around writing and books, I’ll give you an idea of an average day for me. I 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). Have 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!
5 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Honestly, I wish I had something interesting to say here, but I don’t really. Most of my character name’s just pop into my head and I know right away that they’re right. I never use name databases or anything like that. I don’t use a lot of place names, but when I do, they pretty much just appear in thin air and hover around long enough so that I can reach out and grab them, try them out on my tongue, on my keyboard.
6 In your most recent work, who is your favourite character and why?
In Fire Country, my favorite character is the main character, Siena, mostly because she spoke the loudest to me. It was incredible how she just started talking to me one day and then she wouldn’t shut up. She’s someone who speaks to you loud and clear, like no one else you’ve ever met before, and she basically just wrote herself, which is a rare and awesome thing. Her language is colorful and interesting and very, very, real, because like I said, she tells me each and every thing she wants to say! Yes, even now that the book is finished, she still talks to me ALL the time.
7 Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
Writing is hard! I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I could write a book!” after reading a book by one of their favorite authors. It seems easy when you’re reading it, easy to identify the flaws, where it could have been better. I was definitely one of those people! But since I started writing 3 years and 13 books ago, I’ve learned that writing is extremely difficult and an ongoing learning process that requires years and years of hard work and dedication. There is no easy success to be gained in this industry. Once I recognized that, I was able to focus on improving, on taking constructive feedback, and on moving forward with my craft. Only then did success truly start to come.
8 How did you/do you market your work?
I wrote blog post a while back that has become quite popular amongst Indies, called My Dos and Don’ts for Attracting New Readers. Here’s a link for those who might be interested: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-dos-and-donts-for-attracting-new.html
To boil it down to a few things:
- I’ve become part of the ever growing book community, particularly on Goodreads. I’ve made friends, talked about the books I love to read, helped people when they needed it. I love talking to other readers, much more than anything else. I don’t expect anyone to read my books, but many people do simply because I care about them and treat them with respect. And if they like them, they read more. I don’t overpromote because people just get turned off by it.
- I giveaway LOTS of free books. This is a great time to be an Indie. Publishing is easy. And giving away books is even easier because of ebooks. If someone doesn’t know who I am, why would they take a risk and buy my book? But if I give it to them for free, they might just give it a read. And if they do, they might just like it, and then I’ve got a reader for life, and likely a friend too (even if they don’t enjoy my books, I’ll likely become their friend too J
- I’m active online, but I DON’T only talk about my books. When I post on Facebook, I post about other things. What I’m doing, funny pictures, not just endless crap about buying my books.
- Appreciating my readers! I know that most people don’t have an endless budget to spend on books, so I value each and every person who spends even a small portion of it to buy one of my books. I thank as many of them as I can, personally if possible, and try to host lots of giveaways to show my appreciation.
Those are just a few of what I feel to be the most important aspects of attracting readers to my books, but I do lots more!
9 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
Giddiness. My wife and I were together when the proof arrived. Ebooks are cool, but nothing beats a paperback. We danced around a bit and then went out to celebrate. I still love when I do book signings and see all my books lined up together. Pure joy in seeing all that hard work pay off.
10 Favourite authors?
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is my all time favorite series! I read it a dozen times growing up. But in terms of current stuff, I love The Knife of Never Letting Go (and the rest of the Chaos Walking series) by Patrick Ness, UnWind and UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, and Divergent by Veronica Roth.
11 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?
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!
12 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I’m going to cheat because I have way too much to say on this topic. I get a ton of messages from other Indies out there asking for advice and I think it boils down to just a few key things.
1) Write awesome books and always work to perfect your craft. No matter how good you think you are, you can always get better and there’s always someone who’s better than you, so listen to feedback, take on constructive feedback, and strive to make each book your best one yet.
2) Become part of the reading/writing community. Don’t do this to sell people your books! Do this because you love books and writing and want to talk to other likeminded people. People will respect you more as a peer than some omniscient writer who thinks they deserve attention just because they write books.
3) Don’t over promote! This is absolutely crucial, because there are so many Indies out there all shouting for people to read their books. So if you shout, too, you’ll just fade into the noise with the rest of them. Less is more. This goes hand in hand with number 2 above. Be a reader first, be helpful in the book community by recommending the books that you love, and never, ever recommend your own book! If your books are good, people will read them because they respect you as a person, and then they’ll tell all their friends to read them too.
4) Give away LOTS of free books. I know how hard this is, because I’ve been there. You work so hard to write a book and then you should give them away for free? Well, yeah, you have to because no one knows how you are or how good a writer you are. Focus on building a fan base over a LONG period of time. There are very few Amanda Hocking’s or Stephenie Meyer’s out there who will find almost instant success. Give your books away in exchange for reviews and over time, the readers will come. Be patient and never give up.
13 Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it?
Always! If there’s one thing that’s certain for me, it’s that I’m always in the middle of a new project while trying to publish my old projects. Well, given I’ve just published the sequel to Fire Country, I’m working on the third book in the series, Water & Storm Country. The first draft is complete and with beta readers, so I’m just waiting in anticipation for their feedback. To keep my occupied while I wait, I’ve begun work on the 4th book in the Dwellers Saga, which will consequently double as the 4th book in The Country Saga. Because the two sagas are sister series, they’ll come crashing together in the 7th and final book in the combined series, titled The Earth Dwellers or Glass Country. Confused? So am I!
After that, I’ve got plenty of ideas for my next series, but one in particular stands out, however, I can’t be too forthcoming with information at this time. Just know it has an awesome title and will combine more than one genre within YA.