Interview with David DeRosa

Published 2014-08-28.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Island Heights is a little town near the coast of New Jersey. I was raised there. It's located on The Toms River with lots of sailboats and pirate stories. I write about pirate adventures and things I imagined as a kid. The songs I write are about the experiences I've had wherever I've lived, and I started writing songs in that little town.
As for growing up... My wife maintains that I haven't. She says I just got bigger. She maybe could be right.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing songs as a teenager. I played guitar and sang them for anyone who would listen. Before that I enjoyed the stories we were given to write in grade school. For me it was easier than the reading assignments. I was dyslexic before that word was used alot, so the reading came hard and I didn't know why. I just didn't like it. I couldn't do it as well as other kids, but I always got good marks for creativity.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The joy for me is letting the characters lead me through their adventures. I don't outline the story. For me it's more of a study in human nature. The characters won't act out of character. They'll do or not do according to their ilk. The best is when they surprise me. And, they often do.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are the reason I publish. Just when I'm ready to hang it up someone will say something that restores my confidence.

I write about fantasy and fiction and impossible science, but I try to make the characters as real to imagine as possible. Their observations and reactions are based on my own observations and core beliefs, so it's very personal. I'm never sure how others will see the people I invent. When somebody gets it, and becomes a fan of my work... What's better than that?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Without the Meatgrinder I would still be peddling paperbacks. E-books are the way to go, and Smashwords is the way to do it.

I'm also a fan of Mark Coker and the Smashwords team he's built. The founding philosophy of this site is simply to help independent authors find an audience. The distribution channels alone are reason enough for any author, established or otherwise, to publish here. Mark and the Smashwords team are like a godsend to those of us struggling to make a name. Here we have a chance for which I am very grateful.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like the classics; Jules Verne, Jack London, Herman Melville, Pliny the Elder. Ok, maybe Pliny's reaching a bit. He is considered classical, if not classic in the classical sense. I love fantasy and sifi adventure. J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Patricia A McKillip, J.K. Rowling, Piers Anthony, Alan Dean Foster, Katherine Neville... There are so many.

I didn't read a lot when I was a kid, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm finding new favorites all the time.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life is good! It's only circumstances that sometimes suck. But circumstances are always changing. I don't need a reason to get out of bed unless there's someone in it who wants me to stay. That's assuming, of course, that I got into bed with them in the first place.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job. I work as a machinist and equipment specialist for the Department of Defense. In my spare time I sing and play music with friends, record the songs I've written, and try to get outside as much as I can; hiking or sailing or just taking a walk around the neighborhood.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I trawl the Smashwords home page, or amble through a bookstore or library. If I find something I think I'll like, I look for it online. There's a lot of good reading I haven't done, a lot of books I've heard about but never read. Enough that I'm certain I'll never be without something to read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Wow! I think it was in the 3rd grade. We were asked to write a true story about something that happened to us. I wrote a page and a half on how I lost my homework on the way to school. It was, to my eight year old mind, a very sophisticated fabrication for which I unjustly got a D- and a note to my parents emphasizing the words "True Story".

In retrospect, my teacher was probably being generous. She didn't give me an F.
What is your writing process?
In a word, long.

I know the story. I know the characters and where they need to go. But I don't know how they'll get there. We sort of start the adventure together and find our way through it.

I write the scene that gets us to the next leg of the journey, then I write it again. After that I re-write a few more times with equal parts of 'add' and 'edit' until I feel the story is progressing smoothly. When I've got the whole story I'll put it away for a month or more, until I've forgotten about it. When I think of it again I'll read it with fresh eyes. If it still looks good I'll give it to someone else to read. The only way to know if I've succeeded is through someone else's eyes.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was young I rarely finished anything I started to read. It was too much of a chore. My wife explained it to me when I was 20. She handed me a copy of "The Hobbit" and said, "Take as long as you want. It's supposed to be fun." So I did. And it was.

That first novel from beginning to end gave me three reasons to choose books over movies. You can't miss anything. If you do, just go back and read it again. You can take a break whenever you want. When you come back the story will be right where you left it. Now-a-days you can do that with the pause and rewind buttons on your remote, but movies still leave less to imagine. I think that's why people say, "The book was much better."
How do you approach cover design?
I give it to someone else.
Describe your desk
It's a laptop, though I can't type very well when it's in my lap. It sits on top of my piano.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything I read is for pleasure. What I read most is sifi and fantasy adventures, but I'm just as likely to pick up a history book or something on philosophy, mythology, psychology; anything that teaches me something and helps me create believable stories.

What interests me are the things that motivate people. Good fiction makes real what really matters in life. That's what I look for in a book.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

The Orphaned Princess
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,810. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Two children (Theo and Kynthia) on a journey to become the heroes of prophecy, find that even characters out of a legend need help to become heroes. Out of a land ruled by a tyrant, they are propelled toward a destiny that has been predicted. Predictions, however, are a funny thing. They never unfold quite the way you’d expect.
The Immortal Jake
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,140. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Jake’s life is a merry jaunt around a militant mindset of misusing impossible science. He’s a seven thousand year old teenager, an extraterrestrial marooned since the Bronze Age, waiting patiently for us to advance in science and social graces. He needs a way back to the stars but he won't risk giving us anything too dangerous. That is, until he loses the formula to manipulate time.
Anaxiunara (One Brief Eternity) book I
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 170,690. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
On an epic quest to seek justice for his murdered wife Captain Jo Lee Validad finds the perfect nanny for his kids, a mysterious woman with a magic about her that might even mend his broken heart. But, what could the mother of dragons know about love? It is, to Anaxiunara, a curious thing. And, if it can be said that a dragon has a weakness it would be curiosity.