Friday, September 24, 2010
Thirteen Questions for David J. Normoyle
Welcome to Boston daydreaming… David. It’s great to have you here today. Thanks for joining us and answering these questions. My readers are thrilled to learn more about you and your work. Congratulations on your contract with MuseItUp Publishing.
ksm: You know I have to ask this, when and why did you start writing?
David: I started emailing travel updates to friends and family while traveling in Latin America. They expanded from a few paragraphs to full blown stories where I'd spend hours in an internet cafe writing them up and then I'd email them to myself, and come back the next day to edit them before sending them back home. Or I'd email them to myself again for one more edit the next day. (Back then editing three times seemed ridiculous, little did I know...) You can read one of those travel stories on my website.
That was about six years ago and I started work on my first novel when I returned. That novel became Crimson Dream. (The six years involved quite a few stops and starts.)
ksm: What an interesting beginning. Please tell me a little about Crimson Dream.
David: It's a young adult fantasy, set in a world where one nation became dominant. The hero's people think they have escaped this nation by fleeing to a remote valley. Then the hero foresees his sister's death at the hands of soldiers from this dominant nation, and the story begins...
ksm: What inspired you to write this book and why did you choose to write this in the YA genre?
David: I adore fantasy novels. I've read the first four books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time over five times. And some of my favourite characters start young and then change and grow such as Raymond Feist's Pug in Magician. So I wanted to write a fantasy with a young main character.
The idea I came up with was a teenager who dreams that his sister will be killed by soldiers of an evil empire. How would he cope? Would he be able to stop them?
When I finished writing the book, I realised it was more suitable to the YA genre than mainstream. I tend to avoid descriptions and try to get to the heart of the action quickly. That along with the length of the book and the young main characters made YA it's natural home.
Given my style, I'll deliberately aim on writing YA for the next few books at least.
ksm: Did you do any research for the book and what was it?
David: Most of the research I did on this book involved learning how to write. I spent a great deal of time studying the art and craft of writing over the last five years. There wasn't a huge amount of specific research for this book. My next one, on the other hand, has boatloads of research. Luckily, we have the internet these days.
ksm: They say that books choose their authors. How has writing this particular book affected you?
David: If it has affected me, I'm not sure how. (I probably need to work on my self-awareness.) Art tells more about the artist than the subject, and I definitely think there is plenty of me in the depths of the book, but I don't care to delve too deeply.
ksm: What do you want readers to take from your writing? What do you want them to understand and why?
David: I want readers to be entertained. I write to tell a story, not to send a message. Of course there are themes and elements that, say, modern teenagers can relate to despite the fantasy element. However I just let them come out naturally and don't realize they are there unless I look for them. If I've done my job well, certain parts will resonate with different readers.
ksm: That’s so true, David. Do you prefer longhand or typing? Do you carry a notebook with you all the time?
David: I don't carry a notebook with me. Unfortunately, I don't get writing inspiration from Heaven as often as most writers seem to do. I have to sit down in front of my computer and force the ideas out. Any random writing thoughts I get, I let percolate. If I forget them before I get a chance to write them down, they possibly weren't worth the ink.
I find that when I'm writing longhand, I write in ideas and snippets and thoughts. When I'm typing I write in sentences and scenes. So outlines are done on paper and the first draft is done on screen. It works out to be a pretty good system.
ksm: Do you consider yourself a full-time writer or do you have a day job? Where do you see yourself in five years?
David: I'm taking a career break from electronic engineering and I'm traveling and writing at the moment. But I don't spend enough time writing to consider myself a full-time writer.
I've no plan and like to follow any opportunities or adventures that crop up. So I'd like to be somewhere in five years that I could never imagine now.
ksm: Are you working on any new projects? Can you give us a short preview?
David: I'm working on a book about a teenager who lives through both Norse and Greek myths in my head and uses the lessons he learns to help himself through his real life problems. I think I have an exciting concept but have a long way to go yet. Hopefully the final version will live up to the potential.
ksm: That sounds very interesting. What is the hardest thing for you as a writer?
David: Getting first drafts out. I love editing and refining, but put that blank page in front of me, and I'll think of any excuse not to start writing.
ksm: Do you have any pearls of wisdom to pass on to aspiring writers?
David: I think the best advice I've heard is just get your butt in the chair and start writing. Once you do that, everything else is possible. It's still bloody hard from that point, but once you get words on a page you have something to work with. After that, I don't think there's many general pearls of wisdom. Like most things in life, it takes hard work to achieve anything and there's no shortcut. I have some more advice and some writing links on my website if you want to check that out.
ksm: Can you tell us what your favorite pastime is? (other than writing!)
David: Like most writers, one of my favourite pastimes is reading. I guess I could say traveling is another major one if that counts as a hobby.
ksm: If you could do anything you’d like, go anywhere in the world without time or money constraints, what would you do and why?
David: This is a strange question for me because it's not hypothetical. I don't have many commitments and am good at saving money and taking career breaks. So I've lived a year in Australia and nine months on a backpacking trip in Latin America. I've spent a number of months in Asia and Africa. These days I prefer to go to a country and stay in the same place and get to know the area and the people well, rather than traveling around as much. So, to answer your question, I'd choose to go Colombia because it's got good weather, has a nice lifestyle and the people are really friendly. (It's not nearly as dangerous as it's reputation, it's quite safe.) And here I am.
ksm: Living in so many places will give you a lot of details for your future books, I think. Thank you for joining us, David! How can fans find, follow and friend you?
David: Check me out on my website http://www.davidjnormoyle.com/. And follow me on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-J-Normoyle/157832707561908
Centuries ago, Deren's people fled to a hidden valley deep in the mountains chased by the Domain whose powerful Seers could not find them.
Deren’s safe world disintegrates when his vision foretells his sister’s death by a Domain soldier. Deren can't defend Bennie because of his asthmatic attacks, so he trains her in archery and prepares his people for war against their ancient foe.
As the invasion advances, Bennie's mastery of the bow leads her along unexpected paths. Although she hates killing, she must make hard choices. Her loved ones will die if she doesn't help them.
Will Bennie’s encounter with an enemy prince prove the key to survival? Can Deren overcome his physical weaknesses and the doubts of his own father to lead his people?
With fate and overwhelming force stacked against them, it seems their best efforts will be in vain.
Deren tried to get up to help Oso and Bennie and fell onto his back. He began to gasp, his breath labouring through his lungs, fighting for every mouthful. He took deep sucking drags of air, clutching his neck with his hands. His own lungs were drowning him, refusing to breathe. He looked into the sky, thinking he would die. Although it was only twilight, a ghostly moon peeked over the trees.
Whistling noises crept up and down his throat. He prayed to the Goddess of the Moon. Yenara, help me. Please, don't let me die. Bennie needs me. Please.
A face swam across his vision. "Deren, are you okay?" the face asked. "Deren, try to calm yourself."
The voice was laden with worry. A hand touched the side of his face. Warm drops landed on his forehead. "Don't give up on me," the voice said in a fierce whisper.