Saturday, August 30, 2014

Interview with Dave Edlund

             I am happy to announce that Dave Edlund, author of  Crossing Savage, agreed to do an interview with me and so for today I will be posting the interview questions he answered. So without further ado here are his answers to my questions:

 1.Where do you get the ideas for your books?
I suppose I’ve always had an active imagination—perhaps this is why I pursued an education and career in energy technology. There are many plot lines for future Peter Savage novels swimming around in my head. For Crossing Savage, I wanted to build on the abiogenic theory of oil formation (make no mistake, this is real science) and bring awareness to my readers. And I couldn’t resist connecting this to the social and political goals of energy independence—a worthy goal, for certain, but one that would not be viewed favorably by countries that are net exporters of energy. And many of these energy exporting countries are hostile toward the US.
2. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
For me, the terms schedule and writing are mutually exclusive! I must write when my mind and emotions are in the correct space, and I can’t really schedule that, although I try to get in 8 to 12 hours of writing on the weekends and up to a couple hours each evening. Before I commit to writing, I’ll spend hours, days, and even weeks thinking through the next events in the plot. Consequently, my writing time is far from predictable.
3. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I think names of characters are very important, and there are several factors I consider when choosing names. If the character is from another country, I’ll try to select a name that is fairly common to that nationality. It must also be easy to pronounce, and I try to avoid names with a “s-sound” ending because this makes plural possessive awkward. In some cases, such as with the protagonist and antagonist, I want to select names that are at least suggestive of the character’s personality. For example, Peter Savage is a strong figure who is stubborn and unyielding. To me, the name Savage is suggestive of these traits. Sometimes I’ve selected names of friends and former classmates (with their permission, of course—so far, no one has said no). There are many lists of common names for specific nationalities (Russian, German, Polish, Japanese, etc.) available through an internet search. For example, if you are looking for Chinese names, just type in “common Chinese names” and you’ll get plenty of hits.
4. Do you have any strange writing habits? If yes, what?
Hmm. Strange is a very relative term! I like to write when I’m traveling. It’s a productive way to pass time on an airplane or while waiting in an airport. Also, I think that time away from my family (business travel) heightens my emotions—a sense of longing, sometimes remorse and regret—and that helps me connect to my characters.
5. What does your writing process look like?
It begins with the kernel of an idea, a plot concept. I’ll work that concept, slowly expanding it into a rough outline. Lately I’ve taken to short bulleted notes that I write on small scraps of paper, and these are pinned to a cork board. Then I move the papers around, quickly changing the sequence of events and spotting holes to turn my attention to. Once the rough outline is done on my cork board, I’ll transition this to a slightly more detailed outline in WORD, trying to break the outline down by chapter. It is from this outline that I start to write. Along the way, detail is added, certain elements are omitted, and characters are fully developed. I feel no obligation to follow the outline; it is merely suggestive and I let the story and characters unfold.
6. What are your ambitions for your writing career?I want to delight and entertain readers with a series of intellectually and emotionally satisfying novels based on Peter Savage and Commander Jim Nicolaou. The sequel to Crossing Savage is with my editor and is scheduled for release in February or March of 2015. Presently I’m writing the third novel in the series. The future holds many adventures plus impossible challenges for my protagonists! And I have no intention of ignoring the bad guys (and gals) either. Memorable antagonists are (in my opinion) an essential ingredient to a satisfying story.
7. Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?Before I ventured into fiction, I had authored, or co-authored, three technical books. I enjoy writing, but I have to work at it—it’s not something that comes easily to me. Thinking up an exciting plot and interesting characters are far easier. It was in high school that I first recognized how much fun it is to become immersed in your characters and their circumstances. But it was several decades later that I seriously approached novel writing. Crossing Savage was originally written as a birthday gift for my son (9 years old at the time), and had it not been for the encouragement of a close friend (also an author) who I shared the manuscript with, it would never have gone farther.
8. What research, if any, do you do before writing a book?Plenty! Research takes the form of academic and on-site research. The academic research is through traditional reference sources (books, brochures, documentaries, company websites, etc.). This type of research is used to understand technology, weapons, and tools that are featured in my stories. I’ll also use academic research to explore locations that I cannot practically get to (such as a hotels or office buildings, or street layouts and geography, in far-away cities). Whenever possible, I like to do on-site research. For the past few years I’ve spent a fair bit of time in China, Taiwan, and Japan. Walking through cities or riding in taxis, I make notes of the sights, the way people dress, and type of commerce. I’ll soak up as much atmosphere and detail as I can and then use this in my writing. Currently I’m outlining a Peter Savage novel that will take place largely in China and Japan, so this on-site research will be put to use.
9. Do you ever get writers block? If so, how do you get over it?
Oh yes. Sometimes I get a mental block because I haven’t fully thought through the scenes I’m trying to write. In that case I step back and spend the necessary time to get it worked out in my mind before going back to writing. I have to be able to see in my mind the events my characters are experiencing. Other times, the block is because I’m simply not in the correct frame of mind—I don’t have the emotional connection to my characters. I’ve learned not to fight writers block, but accept it as part of the process of getting the plot and characters worked out. I suspect that what we call writers block is really our subconscious applying the brakes until the details are sufficiently worked out.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
One of my goals in fiction writing is to put together a story line that is well grounded in reality, with unusual (or unexpected) elements, and then extrapolate to plausible near-term reality. There was no way I could be certain this goal would be satisfied, but based on reader reviews I think it came out well. I write stories that are appealing to me—with characters and ordeals of my making. But writing is a solitary activity; consequently the author has no way of knowing how the final product will be received. That so many readers have given highly favorable reviews to Crossing Savage has been pleasantly surprising, and very rewarding!
11. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I often hear from readers, and I enjoy that. I want to know what part of the novel readers find noteworthy, what did they enjoy most. Many have commented how they were drawn into the scene on Chernabura Island (in the Aleutian chain), and I was a bit surprised to learn that the submarine scenes evoked such strong sensations of tension. But one of the most interesting and insightful comments came from an army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who commented that just as there are characters who need to be eliminated, perhaps more important are the characters who need to be saved. This wisdom totally escaped my conscious thought until he brought it up. It’s important to hear from readers, and I want to learn more from them.
12 .What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
First, fully understand what you are getting into—lots of hard work, rejection intermingled with praise, plus the requirement to market yourself and your books. You must be fully committed, and truly want to become an author. For most, the path is not easy, and there will be plenty of naysayers; don’t listen to them. Take criticism for the value it offers in helping you to improve, nothing more. Having said that, if this is a goal you aspire to, then embrace the challenge and give it all you have. If you do, you are likely to succeed.
My thanks go out to Dave Edlund for doing the interview and all the links will for everything will be down below: 
To watch the video trailer for this novel go here: 
To order this book on Amazon go here:
 Author info:
Twitter: @DaveEdlund
Check out my books on Goodreads:

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