Interview with Victor A. Davis

What do you read for pleasure?
I read mostly fiction, although as I've gotten older I've come across more and more non-fiction books that I like. This is going to sound strange, but big books annoy me. The concept of creating "treatises" and "masterpieces" and multi-volume tomes of knowledge is archaic. I admire efficiency. Short stories, short story collections, and 200-300 page novels have become my forte. I could start listing books & authors, but I'm afraid I couldn't fit an adequate taste "fingerprint" into this box. Find me on Goodreads.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an old Kindle 4, without internet, apps, emails, or games. I interchange freely between ebooks and paperbacks, and I have pros and cons for each. My favorite things about my kindle are: 1) The e-ink screen. I think it is fantastic and I cannot wait for the day (not too far off, I think) when e-ink screens become the norm and LCDs become obsolete. 2) I like being able to carry dozens of books around with me so I can choose what I'm in the mood for reading without as much advance planning. 3) The onboard dictionary is a huge feature. In middle school, my lit teacher used to say that the proper way to read a book was with a dictionary, a pen, and a highlighter, and that every book was a learning opportunity. Only with the advent of the Kindle has that concept become practical.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've not attempted to market my books yet. If you're in the biz, please feel free to contact me.
Describe your desk
Well, right now I'm laying in bed with a laptop on my lap, a dog at my side, another one snoring on an arm chair, a fire smoking in the next room, and rain falling on the tin roof above. I don't exactly have a desk. My world revolves around the computer, and I love the portability of laptops. (I can't wait until e-ink screens become the norm and render LCDs obsolete, because then I can bring my work outside in the sun.)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the south. Mine was not a church-going family, so I was partly ostracized for that (story in the works). I think that, among other things, made me a shy kid, and writing was a hobby that mostly grew out of that: isolation and a desire to express myself. I've lived in Florida, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia. I've traveled a bit, but I don't know if I'll ever leave the south. Even without belonging to the pervasive conservative Christian norm, the culture and the land feels like home to me.
When did you first start writing?
I can remember putting dreams to paper and writing half-page "stories" in the second grade. In the third grade I won second prize for the state in a writing contest. In the tenth grade, my lit teacher encouraged us to submit stories to a contest and I spun out five or six of them that year. In short, I've always been a writer. It's not a profession or a hobby for me, it's my identity.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The scene from "Change" actually played out next to me at the high counter at a Waffle House one morning. I was just eating breakfast on my way home from Atlanta, and this girl came in and her whole scene unfolded. When I got home I scribbled it all down as best as I could remember it, then a few weeks later spun it into a story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I was sixteen, I wrote a novella, printed it off, and mailed it to a publisher. They rejected it. That kind of pissed me off, because, well, I thought it was good! After doing some research and little growing up, I began to understand what traditional publishing entailed. Long story short, I made a promise to myself to never EVER sell my copyrights, even if that meant obscurity. I would do it on my own, money and fame be damned. I thought I was rash and strange, but as an adult, I read Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" and that cemented it for me. I wasn't the only one who felt unnerved and repelled by the system, and this book helped me put to words what I have felt since I started writing. Obviously it was the demand from others like me that made websites like this and other technologies even possible. Soon, being an "indie author" is just going to be synonymous with being a writer.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It hasn't... yet. I just joined a few months ago and I'm working my way through learning the platform. Impression so far? This is what I've been looking for, for YEARS. As a developer, I've even made some attempts at creating it myself, but no need. This place feels right.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sounds cheesy, but I love the process. The actual writing, editing, and research can be tedious, but the inspiration/creation/accomplishment cycle of actually conceiving and then completing a work can be euphoric. Recognition? It's just the cherry on top. I'd keep writing even if nobody read it. The greatest joy of writing for me is the godlike feeling of creating worlds. When I dream up a story, it feels so right and so beautiful and so perfect that I think: How is it that nobody's dreamed this up before? That is the gift that has been given to me, this ability to look at what others look at but see what others do not see. Crafting that world is its own reward.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love both of them very much. They're really great and supportive!
What are you working on next?
I have three shorts I'm working on. "Shiva" was inspired by my dog. "Poinsettias" came as an anecdote about a real person. "Shelter" was kind of a "cold feet" dream the week before my wedding. Those will put me at 11 new short stories. Once I get to 12, I plan on publishing these as a collection, perhaps as early as spring 2016. I'm also kicking around some ideas about the Civil War, so I want to spend the next few years reading up on my history and becoming a subject matter expert so I can write some historical fiction about that.
Who are your favorite authors?
That’s easy. Ayn Rand. Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller, Mitch Albom, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck. I’m sure there are more but I have not read them yet! I usually like “modern classics,” that is, 19th and 20th century writers like Steinbeck and Whitman who managed to lodge themselves in history books and win Pulitzers and Nobels. I've recently discovered Jane Smiley, Nancy Huddleston Packer, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Eggs and coffee.
Published 2015-02-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Gingerbread Collection
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,840. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General
Inspired by the tradition of short stories, whether the classics of Ray Bradbury, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allan Poe, or the contemporaries of Anthony Doerr, Julie Orringer, and Stephen King, The Gingerbread Collection blazes new trails in the forest of literary prose.
The Flying Kite
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,890. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) Inspired by a true story, this tale of Patagonian wanderers will challenge your sense of credibility. In one of the southernmost towns in the world, a photojournalist walks into a pub with a tall tale: He's spent the last several weeks in the wilderness with a man the world thought had disappeared thirty years before. Do you believe him?
Grains of Sand
Price: Free! Words: 79,370. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(COLLECTION) In this beautifully lyrical collection, Victor A. Davis delivers twelve emotionally charged short stories exploring the depths of his imagination. A peasant discovers true wealth in a field of clovers… The paths of a pizza delivery boy, a snowman, and an iceman cross in unexpected ways… A chick hatches late and must face incredible odds to reunite with the flock that left her behind…
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,750. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) On moving day, the family dog runs away. A week later, she turns up on their doorstep, but there is something very wrong.
The Last Night on Earth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,930. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) A troubled couple goes to a show together, trying to cling to normalcy as the world falls apart around them.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,920. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
(SHORT STORY) Two children sneak into a candy factory at night to steal sweets in this modern retelling of Peter Rabbit.
A Night at the Lake
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,860. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(SHORT STORY) A young couple goes out camping at the lake. But they meet some hunters with malevolent intentions and the night goes terribly wrong.
The Bargain
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,900. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) One hundred thousand years ago, a gift is given to primitive man, that will determine the course of history.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,930. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) A bluebird keeps flying at his reflection in a window, thinking he's found his mate.
The Wall
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,890. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) A photographer reaches an impassible wall hiking through Peru.
Monster and Me
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,520. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Monsters
(SHORT STORY) A little boy grows up, but the monster in his closet won't go away.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,290. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(SHORT STORY) A touching scene unfolds for a man sitting at the high counter of a roadside diner.