Interview with Dave Howard

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was an early adopter of the Sony eReader. Indeed, I probably got in too soon. :) The next generation improved speed and weight considerably. Currently, I use a Kindle. They are relatively cheap: perhaps because of the embedded advertising that comes with the device. They also seem to work smoothly, in terms of loading and access to your books. The process for getting books onto a Sony eReader was painful at times.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The only real marketing I have done is to family and friends on Facebook. I would not really consider that as an "effective" technique. Nonetheless, I have built and am growing a small, but consistent group of fans.
Describe your desk
My desk is cluttered. My drawers are neat. Things are put in drawers only where they belong. To put something in the wrong place is roughly the same as throwing it away. I will never be able to find it again. However, the desk surface is where everything goes that doesn't have a place in a drawer. And that is most things. :)

Actually, though, the electronic era has reduced the clutter on my desk a lot. There is simply far less paper to pile.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Southern California. It was a steel mill town, which was relatively rare for California. Most steel mills were elsewhere in the country at the time. They are now in other countries...

I am not sure how that influenced my writing. My folks were teachers, so they were both college educated. I never really paid any attention at that point in my life to who had what sort of education, but the town as a whole would have been very distinctly blue collar.
When did you first start writing?
My fourth grade teacher was an author with a published book. I never read the book, nor do I have any idea what it was even about. However, the idea of being an author intrigued me. I started writing a book, which has since apparently been lost. It was some sort of an adventure, trying to find a treasure based on a map.

Somewhere in that same time frame, I discovered C. S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles. I loved them from the first time I read them. They too made me want to write. i wanted to be able to create a story as wonderful as that.

Sometime in high school, I was introduced by a cousin to J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Once I started reading those, I was engrossed and enchanted. I read the whole series, including The Hobbit in five days.

Between Narnia and Lord of the Rings, my course was set to write fantasy. I became somewhat serious about it in high school. It started with a short story, probably for a class at school. That became a few short stories. Over time, that became an idea for a novel. The original story is lost, I believe, as are the earliest versions of the novel. However, the novel lived on, and indeed it is my current work.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is the second in the series, which started with "Death Before Life". I was hoping to get it published by the second anniversary of the first book, but I'm not going to quite make it. Perhaps early in 2016.

The series is rooted in work I started in high school. Specifically there was a short story that I wrote, possibly for school. It was heavily influenced by Narnia and some other works as well. The main character wakes up, and finds an unknown world outside of his door. That morphed over time, and indeed the connection to this world disappeared. By the end of high school, the story had drifted in a new direction. Sometime in college the general form of the story as it is now stands settled. That was something over thirty years ago. In the intervening years, I worked on it only sporadically, until sometime around the turn of the millennium. At that point, I wrote an entire first draft for the whole of the fantasy series, something that had never existed in all of those years.

For those of you who are familiar with book 1, you may find it interesting to know that the whole book was originally written from Darv's point of view. Something was missing, so I rewrote the story from scratch from Catherine's point of view. The two did not mesh exactly. The final version of the book borrowed from those original two points of view, merging them and bringing consistency to the two plot lines. After I had it written, I read that you should write the story from the point of view of the character who has the most to lose. I believe it was in a book on writing by Orson Scott Card. In any case, I looked back at the first book and realized I had essentially done that.

Since publishing book 1, the subsequent portions of the story has morphed in some substantial ways from the first draft. The original story was too linear, and I think lacking in drama. And I've learned quite a bit about the characters and what they needed to grow up, at least a bit. The new story line reflects this new understanding, which I believe improves the story on many levels.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is when others are impacted. I love to hear that someone enjoyed the story. I hope that I am perhaps making a positive difference in someone else's life.
What are you working on next?
I have a multi-volume fantasy series underway. Book one was published July 2013. Book two is in progress, and might just make it under the wire by the end of the year.
Who are your favorite authors?
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien clearly stand above all others in terms of impact. My current "modern" author is David Weber, especially his orphaned "In Fury Born," which was clearly going to be a series. Nicholas Sparks writes in a rather different genre, but I have really enjoyed many of his books.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. My other main hobby is photography. I have focused on shooting landscapes and florals for some time, but I am getting more and more into photography such a portraiture and family photography that involves people, as well as nature.
What books have had the most impact on you?
I saw this question floating around on facebook. It actually asked for ten books. I have only come up with seven, so far, so here are those.

1. The Bible - God
2. The Lord of the Rings (one book published under 3 covers) - Tolkien
3. Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
4. In Fury Born - David Weber
5. Grace - Lewis Sperry Chafer
6. Knowing God - J. I. Packer
7. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Published 2015-09-08.
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Books by This Author

Death Before Life
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,960. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The world stands divided. A great Wall divides the world with magic from the world without. To the west, men live without knowledge or memory of magic. They also live free of the curse of the great Dragon. The east lies under the Dragon's power and lives in fear and darkness. The Wall, however, is weakening. When it falls, will all of the world fall under the Dragon's sway?