Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Anaiah Press Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Bricks (John Davidson)

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Sixteen-year old Cori Reigns learns that not all tornadoes take you to magical places. Some take your house, your school, and life as you knew it. Struggling to put the pieces of her life back together, Cori learns to rebuild what the storm destroyed by trusting a family she didn't know she had and by helping friends she never appreciated.

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Married to my bride for twenty-four years, I have an amazing son and a wonderful daughter.

Born and raised in central Oklahoma, I work in education, first as a teacher now in technology curriculum. I write. I read. And in the summer I make snow cones.




1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

The biggest thing would be the tornado that struck my hometown of Moore on May 20th, 2013. The tornado went through the neighborhood where my wife and I bought our first house, through the neighborhood I grew up in, destroyed the elementary where I went to school, hit my daughter's junior high, and then destroyed my truck and the office buildings where I worked. Living in Oklahoma my whole life, I’d experienced other tornados, but this one literally hit much closer to home. Several weeks later, we were watching the Wizard of Oz, and I couldn't help but think of how the four travelers mirrored those impacted by the storm. Some just wanted to forget. Some were numb, as if they’d had their hearts taken from them. Some were, of course, afraid. And some just wanted to go home. I let the story idea stew in my head for a while, but it was on a 20 plus hour vacation drive to New York where things started to fall into place. Fitting I suppose since my wife had bought tickets to see Wicked.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

I think Slim is my favorite character. He’s the guy hardest to have sympathy for in the beginning since his house doesn’t get hit by the tornado, but Slim’s weathered life’s storms since he was a kid, and he’s always found a way to deal with it. That’s really what BRICKS is all about—surviving life’s storms.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

Almost always with me, it’s the title. Names are so powerful, and I have a hard time getting to know a story if I don’t know its name. I chose BRICKS for the rubble the tornado left behind, but also for the yellow brick road.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I’m not sure I’m proud, so much as satisfied. I like the scene between Slim and Cory in Slim’s trailer when Cori realizes what’s really happened to her closest friend. It’s there she comes to understand that being unable to control events in your own life is one thing—having no control over what happens to those you care about is truly devastating. 

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I thought writing was about being an artist—a gifted wordsmith. I’ve come to realize it’s more about being a craftsman, being someone who can stare at the same building materials day after day while relentlessly battling to turn them into something that’s art.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I think Melinda did a wonderful job for choosing Cori. I didn’t give her much to go off of, but she chose someone that I could immediately recognize as Cori.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015?

I’m looking forward to Duplicity by N.K. Traver. A teen hacker confronted by an alternate version of himself that he sees in the mirror, Dynamite premise—lots of things that interest me there.

8. What was your favorite book in 2014?

I really liked In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis. Starting a trilogy or a series is a commitment. I picked up Not a Drop to Drink thinking it would be a stand-alone, but liked it so much that I was glad when a companion piece was released. I think Mindy does an excellent job of pairing the voice, tone, and style to the sparse landscape within the book. Really immersive. 

9. What’s up next for you?

I’m finalizing a YA fantasy/fairy tale that falls somewhere between The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Princess Bride about a princess whose parents divorce has broken true love’s bonds. As a result a divorce court curse is placed on their daughter. To replace what her parent’s broke, she has to find her own true love before she turns eighteen--only she’s pretty sure true love is just a fairy tale. I wanted to write about some harsh truths in life, but I thought the best way to do so might be to wrap them in as much ridiculous humor as I could. I have subsequently learned that being funny is not easy. 

When the queries are out on that one, I think I’ll tackle either a MG monster/adventure or a YA doomsday alien piece that’s been rolling around in my head for a while.

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Thank you again for having me on the blog. I hope readers will have as much fun finding the Wizard of Oz connections as I did putting them in. 

To those writers who are reading this, I would just like to encourage you to keep going. I’m convinced that anyone with passion and a desire to improve can be a talented writer. I’m not as bad as I once was and not as good as I will be. It’s a journey—one I plan to enjoy making.