Friday, March 14, 2014

Author Java Davis writes...

Java Davis response to my list of interview questions... 

College and graduate studies in literary research and linguistics. 15 years in marketing as an editor and typesetter/photocompositor. Retired/disabled.

Leanne, you asked me lots of questions about writing, but to me, writing is not the issue, nor is it the goal.  My goal is to be an interesting story-teller.  A person can write beautifully, but if you have no story, it’s pointless.
My method of writing a novel is to have a good story in mind.  Then I just start.  I let the story and the characters surprise me along the way.  If I’m surprised, so might a reader be.  This is contrary to the conventional wisdom that you should work with an outline and have your characters’ growths fleshed out in advance.  In the book I just finished writing, a minor character became a major character, and one that I thought would be a major character became a minor one.  Ultimately, the story is the way it’s supposed to be, with the help of my characters.
I try to include places and things that I know well.  I’ve traveled through many states in the U.S., and I incorporate those places.  I’m a car nut, and I love choosing the cars that my characters drive.  I’ve had a variety of jobs over the years, and my characters are often employed in those occupations.  I also like to have at least one of my characters be Jewish, throwing my own faith into the mix.  In my latest book, however, I wasn’t able to work in a Jewish character. 
For three years after I wrote my first novel, I kept it a secret from all family and friends.  It was important to me that they be spared from giving me their candid opinions.  If they hated my work, they would feel terrible giving me the bad news.  Eventually, I opened up to family and friends, including my husband.  That was a big hoop to jump through, for his sake.  Only my sister had a poor opinion that she was scared to express, but she reads books on astrophysics for fun, so my simple stories have nothing to offer her.  And that’s OK.
Meeting other independent authors and their readers online is a huge part of the process.  I adore them all!  Creative, fun, enthusiastic, and anxious to please!  I try to be as supportive as possible to fellow authors and am grateful when they do the same.  A few of them are way too sensitive to criticism.  They’re in love with every word they write.  That’s just not practical.  Criticism comes with the job, and not every book is for every person.  Marketing is often the equivalent of bashing your head into a brick wall.  The wall doesn’t give, and your head gets bloody.  I wish I had a magic bullet for the marketing part of independent authorship.
-- Java Davis, 2013

My Amazon U.S. author page:
My Amazon U.K. author page:
My Twitter handle: @javadavis
My Goodreads dashboard page:
No Facebook fan page; just the real me, Java Davis.

Depression Carpenter
A Road Trip through the Gulf States during The Great Depression
tags: Coming of age, race relations, historical fiction

A young man, Jackson "Jake" Ferry, born into a privileged New York family, loses them in a car accident.  Young and wealthy, he needs to justify his existence during The Great Depression.  He is skilled in carpentry and drives around the Gulf of Mexico, working on building projects with his peculiar friend and partner from Florida, Chin, who has cheerfully abandoned his family in favor of an adventure.  Together, they travel an amazing road trip, helping poor folks along the way, repairing their homes and their lives.Eventually, Jake lands in Galveston, where he stays to help rebuild the island after their first Great Flood, building an inter-racial school for the island's orphans.The road trip comes to an end in with Jake back in New York City, an older and wiser man with an internal compass to guide his path.

COWGIRL Book Blurb:
Turn-of-the-Century Jewish Girl with Attitude!!
tags: Coming of Age; Western; Humor

In California at the turn of the century, teenager Risa and her baby brother left their insulated Jewish town, choosing East to walk toward a new, free life.  She runs from an arranged marriage, and brother Yani was tossed out for an illicit gay affair.  Together, they endured physical hardships and new challenges to fight for their new lives in the emerging Nevada frontier.  The hard-won successes are tempered with tragedies, but both ultimately find their places in the sun.

TRIPTYCH Book Blurb:
a Mechanical Romance
Tongue-in-cheek love triangle spanning from New Jersey to Arizona!
tags: publishing, love triangle, circus, Marines, obsolescence, lost love

New publishing technologies and pressing personal issues cause crazy angst in the lives of three people.  Hannah moves from New Jersey to Phoenix to become a newspaper press room supervisor, a job she's not sure she's qualified to do.  Warrior, a typesetter at the newspaper, grew up as a tattoo'd "jungle boy" circus performer who later joined the Marines. His hopes for the supervisor promotion have been dashed by Hannah's arrival.  Declan, a drunken motorcycle mechanic, was Hannah's first love back in NJ.  Now living in Phoenix, he sees his opportunity to get Hannah back, but has he really matured?  Is love even possible in all this mess?

On Becoming a Dinosaur

A Freelance Typesetter Speaks!

For many years, I was a freelance typesetter/photocompositor.  It was a wonderful occupation, and I loved every minute of it.  Eventually, however, that occupation was "eaten up" by desktop publishing.  This short memoir illuminates those years, and the time afterward, readjusting to life in the pink collar jungle.

COMMUNE Book Blurb:
tags: commune, apples, Michigan, bank robbery, fortune telling
If you’ve ever lived in a commune, or been to a commune, or heard the stories from someone who has, the characters populating this Michigan apple commune will seem familiar.  It’s the story of one woman’s vision of a healthy, working commune, her friends who bolster her up, and the parasites who threaten her dream.  Add a gorgeous delivery driver, a fortune teller, some bank robbers, county tax assessors, and other peripheral characters, and you’ve got a full complement of involved individuals.


Laurie Buchanan said...

Oh my gosh, I'm bowled owner (tremendously impressed!) with your work. My hat is off to YOU!

Leanne Dyck said...

I like the element of surprise you weave into your writing process, Java.
Marketing seems to be the author's bugbear--whether she be traditionally or indie published. I've had some success, thanks to tremendous support, marketing this blog. But marketing books is a entirely different animal, in many respects.

Java Davis said...

Laurie, thank you so much for sharing the love! Leanne, that is a succinct analysis. Where is the marketing magic bullet!!??

And thank you, Leanne, for the heads up about the comments. That's a nice touch.

Leanne Dyck said...

You're most welcome, Java.
And it was nice of you to take the time to reply.