Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Interview with Jeff Davis

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Saving Angels is a suspense/thriller.  From the book blurb;

When two women are found brutally murdered and displayed in rural Mississippi churches, retired FBI profiler-turned-consultant Billy Jackson sees a resemblance. The red headed victims remind him of Special Agent Gabrielle Sinclaire.

When Jackson calls Sinclaire and her hacker boyfriend, the three discover that everything isn’t as it seems and sometimes the ones that should be helping them are the ones sending them into the darkness.

Saving Angels is the second book in the Archangel Series featuring Gabby and Michael. Each book in the series is a stand-alone.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the   novel at all?
Yes.  One of the main characters in Saving Angels began as a minor player in Preying Angels.  To my surprise, he grew in the first book and it was a no-brainer that he would be a major player in this one.  He's fun to write – he still surprises me with some of his actions and reactions.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I originally signed with an agent – before the indie movement.  I happened to be in Nashville when the indie music movement hit and I saw the results of iTunes for the “non-superstars” and was fascinated by their success.  When I got out of the contract with the agent, I had no doubt that I would go for indie publishing.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
Wow, that's not really an easy question to answer.  There are times that I like complete silence – typically in chapters/scenes that are more emotional.  I listen to a wide range of music when I'm coming up with ideas – I can sit there with a sketchpad and make notes that influence the book.  Most of the time though, while writing, if I do listen to music it's either classical or something soothing like Clannad – something that won't distract me (I'm a musician and need to remember to write and not get up and play one of my guitars!)

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you? 
I used to try and outline, but I can't stick with it.  When I write, my characters do most of the work, I just write it down.  My process is quite simple.  I come up with some characters, both returning and new, and put them into a situation and see where it goes.  Honestly, there are times that I'm more surprised than the people that eventually read my books.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes and I finally have an editor that understands my market.  I would warn new authors to make sure you choose your editor wisely.  To me, editing is not just grammar.  It's about readability and consistency.  I can name books by major authors all day long that have 'non-traditional grammar' – but it makes their words flow into my thoughts and mind – it 'might' be wrong, but it works.  My editor also helps to make sure that there is consistency throughout the book – If a character finds a box in the last chapter of the book – it better show up earlier – I don't like too many leaps of faith.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Definitely.  I actually started my current work-in-progress while doing the final edits and formatting for Saving Angels.  Although I should, I don't really have an aggressive marketing plan.  I love interacting with readers (even if they aren't mine) and other authors in social media.  I just enjoy talking about books, reading, writing, the process – the whole big picture.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Just write.  Surround yourself with people that support your writing.  Don't look back on mistakes and dwell on them.  I look back sometimes and do the OMG.. then I realize I do that now because (in my eyes) I've gotten better since last time.. and time before that.. and time before that.  Share your work with as many people as you can while you write (I have several beta-readers I rely on) and read as much as possible – I never stop learning from other authors.  But most of all, just write.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
I like vanilla dogs that text me at night about coffee.  Sorry, couldn't resist.  I'm a dog person and have a westie that listens to me talk to my characters.  I prefer voice over texting because there is no emotion in a font for 140 characters.  I'm definitely a coffee person – unless it's cocktail time.  And by all means, I'm a night person.

What’s next for you?
The immediate 'next' is my work-in-progress, Finding Angels – readers can preview the first five chapters at the end of Saving Angels – Kindle edition.  It's another in the series based on the same characters.  Without a major plot change (and my characters are known to do that to me) it should be ready sometime late spring.  My “next-next” will be one of the other projects I've been toying with, one a paranormal/thriller and the other a new suspense/thriller series with a new set of main characters.

And 'next-next-next', I want to thank you for having me!

Author Bio:
Jeff Davis published his first suspense/thriller, Preying Angels in 2011.  Distracted by life's events, he took time off from publishing but never stopped writing.  After his sabbatical he published the second book in the Archangels Series, Saving Angels in 2015.  Currently he is writing the third book in the series and is working on ideas for another suspense/thriller series and a paranormal/thriller. His goal is to keep you turning pages, afraid to think of what might happen next and get an occasional WTF from you.

By day, he's an IT executive and when he's not writing, he's reading, playing one of his guitars, tinkering with his latest hi-tech toy or just relaxing with a cold beer or a glass of wine.  He lives and writes with his wife and two sons in Clinton, MS.

You can find him on Facebook (facebook.com/jeffdaviswrites) where he loves to interact with his readers.

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