Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview with David Estes, author of the fantastic Dwellers and Country Sagas

Welcome, David, and thank you for stopping by my blog for this interview.  I'm excited to participate in the Earth Dwellers Book Blast event.
Thanks so much, Patricia! It’s an honor to be able to stop by your awesome blog.
1.   Before we get started on the interview questions, why don't you take a moment to tell us a little bit about the Earth Dwellers?
This shouldn’t be a complicated question, but it is! Why? Because The Earth Dwellers is the 7th and final book that brings together two other series that, to this point, haven’t had any connection to each other; namely, The Dwellers Saga and The Country Saga. 
The Earth Dwellers is an attempt to bring an epic end to two YA dystopian series that take place in the same overall world, but with different characters, settings, and plotlines. However, in the final book, these characters and plotlines come together in a tale of rebellion against a tyrant, love, family, and unfortunately, loss. 
2.  David, you've written quite a few books over the past couple of years. Do you have a favorite?
Whew! It’s been a really busy couple of years! I’ve written and published 14 books (including my 4 Children’s chapter books) over the last three years. But picking a favorite would be like choosing your favorite child, right? Ha! Not exactly. Well, my favorite of my books was Fire Country, because of the strong and colorful personality of the protagonist, Siena (random fact: I’m responding to these interview questions while staying in Siena, Italy. Just a coincidence!). Siena spoke to me so strongly that she practically wrote the book herself. So I’ll always love Fire Country. But I have to say that my new favorite is definitely The Earth Dwellers, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my newest book. 
3.  What makes Earth Country your favorite?
First off, it’s the culmination of so many hours of hard work, more than 600,000 words, and a whole lot of stress and tears. It was never my goal to write a 7-book dystopian series, but now that I finished, it feels really really good.
Second, I honestly believe The Earth Dwellers is the best of my books. It has a lot of interesting characters, tons of twists, serious emotion, and what I believe is an amazing ending to the series. I was VERY worried I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the series in the final book, but I truly believe that, in the end, I was able to accomplish what I wanted.
4.  As a child, did you enjoy writing?
Great question! Surprisingly, not really! I think mostly because I never wrote what I wanted to write. Everything I wrote was for school, for assignments, dictated to me by someone else. I think if I had started writing just for the fun of it, I would have fell in love with it back then. Instead it took some encouragement from my wife when I was almost thirty years old before I gave it a shot!
But I DID love reading. I read so much as a child, it’s crazy to look back on it. My copy of The Lord of the Rings was so worn it looked like an antique. I read it at least ten times growing up.
5.  Let's talk a little bit about characters now.  I've seen a meme of your character, Perry, from Fire Country making the rounds on Goodreads. Can you share with me your thoughts on Perry and how he came to be?
Ha! No interview would be complete without a reference to Perry, one of my most famous and loved characters. Yes, a few of my awesome readers have started using various images of cacti as their Goodreads profile pictures.
For those who don’t know who Perry is, he’s a cactus, or a “prickler”, which is the slang term used by the characters in Fire Country. During a particularly troublesome time when the main character, Siena, is in prison, she begins conversing in her head with a prickler she names Perry. Is she crazy? Or does he really talk to her? Even I can’t answer that question, but all I know is that Perry is a funny one, always cracking jokes and taunting Siena, until they become good friends. (Spoiler alert: Perry might just make a cameo appearance in The Earth Dwellers!) 
So where did I get the idea to write in a plant as a character? Well, to be honest, it was inspired by a teddy bear (appropriately named “Teddy”) that my wife has had since she was very young. When we first started dating, I met Teddy, and immediately I started treating him as if he was a real, live creature (because he is), and the joke has lasted the length of our relationship. Teddy is a constant source of entertainment for us, and I consider him to be my arch nemesis. So yeah, Perry is based off of him! (Yes, I’m weird, I completely understand if you stop reading the interview at this point. But I highly suggest you check out Fire Country and give Perry a chance!)
6.  What are your thoughts on one of your characters going viral?
It’s hilarious!! I never thought that Perry, of all characters, would be the one to attract so much attention. But I’m glad. It shows people have a sense of humor and are as weird as me, which I like. 
Also, at the back of The Earth Dwellers, is an interview with Perry the Prickler. It was also posted on a blog here: http://lolabookreviews.blogspot.it/2013/02/book-blitz-fire-country-country-saga-1.html  
Finally, Perry has also done a guest post as part of The Earth Dwellers Blog Blast, all about how he feels about being a celebrity and having fans, check it out over at The Cover Contessa’s Blog! (Sorry, I don’t have a link yet)
7.  Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Easy. Siena. As I mentioned earlier, she practically wrote Fire Country herself, that’s how loud and certain her voice was in my head while working on that book. And in The Earth Dwellers it was no different. Siena is back with a whole point of view to herself, and the words just flowed like they were meant to be, like what I was writing was really happening.
8.  Let's shift from writing to reading for a bit. What kind of books do you most enjoy reading, and how do you pick which books to read next?
I love love love (did I mention love?) reading! Other than writing, it’s my favorite thing to do. I like most anything YA, although not contemporary as much (unless it’s really good). My favorite genres are dystopian (of course), fantasy, and paranormal. Some of my favorite books of all time are The Lord of the Rings, Chaos Walking, The Book Thief, and The Scorpio Races. I like books that move me and make me love the heroes and despise the villains.  
Well, nowadays most of my book recommendations come from Goodreads, and most from people I know from my Goodreads Fan Group, which now has more than 1,600 members (link at the bottom of the interview). I trust the people in my group and they rarely steer me wrong. If they say I’ll love a book, I usually do!
9.  Who do you look up to in the writing world?
Patrick Ness! I’m pretty much obsessed with his writing. Chaos Walking is an INCREDIBLE dystopian series. And A Monster Calls is poignant and magical. He has an unbelievable ability to build characters in just a few pages, and add so many layers and complexities to them. I wish I was a tenth of the writer that Ness is! Some of my readers have noticed Ness’s influence in Fire Country, and it’s definitely there!
Also, Dean Koontz. He’s one of my favorite adult writers (Odd Thomas and his Frankenstein series are both completely brilliant). What I take from him is that you can fill a book with suspense AND humor at the same time. I love that, and I try to do that in my own books.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share before you go?
Yes! I pledged when I started writing to always respond to readers, and I love getting comments and questions, so please contact me using one of my favorite social networking sites below.  As always, happy reading!!
Thanks again for making a stop on my blog, David.  It's been great chatting with you.  You are a true inspiration to both indie authors and readers alike, and I wish you all the best with your new agent and a promising career as an author.
Thank you SO MUCH! It’s been a true pleasure chatting with you too. If anyone is interested, check out the links below for ways to stalk…I mean follow me. My fan group in particular is a fun place to hang out if you like chatting about YA books or reading books with a buddy! Plus, we have lots of authors who giveaway books in exchange for reviews and we have a monthly Amazon gift card prize to the member of the month!  

Where you can find David Estes hanging out:

My Goodreads Fan Group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70863-david-estes-fans-and-ya-book-lovers-unite?clear_facebook_session=true
My blog/website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
My Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130852990343920
My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/davidestesbooks
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/davidestesbooks

Other YA Books by David Estes!

The Dwellers Saga:
Book One—The Moon Dwellers
Book Two—The Star Dwellers
Book Three—The Sun Dwellers
Book Four—The Earth Dwellers

The Country Saga:
Book One—Fire Country
Book Two—Ice Country
Book Three—Water and Storm Country
Book Four—The Earth Dwellers

The Evolution Trilogy
Book One- Angel EvolutionBook 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 soon!)