I love interviewing. Each interview opens the door for us to meet great writers, up-and-coming or already established, to discover their bodies of work and to gain insights into what makes them tick. Today, I have the distinct pleasure of sharing someone special with you: Davidson Haworth, historical fantasy author, international speaker on writing, and Dr. Who expert. Intrigued? You should be. So, read on, dear Reader, and meet this humble yet distinguished author.
Welcome to Dropped Pebbles, Davidson! I’m thrilled to have you with us today and am looking forward to learning more about you and your writing. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I was born in San Jose, California and was an average student during my formative years, but excelled in sports. Growing up I was surrounded by the entertainment industry through my father and enjoyed all aspects including film, books, ballet, and just about every art form known to man. I had an early hunger for it all when I was just learning to read and write.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And are you interested in other forms of artistic expression?
The writing just came to me one day through my joy of the arts. In the mid 1970’s tragedy films were very popular, for example the film “Earthquake.” I decided to do a screenplay of “Airport 1975,” but done the way I wanted it done. I guess it was more like me wanting to redo the film. I was only six but wrote the script and created ten copies by hand. I presented the script to my teacher and eventually my friends and I performed an assembly using the script and acting out the parts on stage in front of students and teachers. It was a great success.
Looks like you were bitten by the writing bug at an early age. What a nice story!
People often say that the life of a writer is a lonely one. How do you stay motivated/inspired? Do you have advice for writers going through a difficult time?
I have fallen into some dark and tragic times as a writer and moments of loneliness. Every writer goes through it in their personal life or feels it through a character they have created. There was a time in my life being a single writer that was lonely and in those times I would visualize and think about past conquests to bring me back to reality and to know that all emotions pass into history like all things and those moments of happiness and friends will come again. Today it is through my family that brings me the joy in life and those I meet during my times on the road from Moscow to Los Angeles. I have met some incredible people on this journey called life.
That’s great advice: to recall past successes and positive moments to bolster us through the tough moments, because they will come.
What draws you to your preferred genre? What can you never see yourself writing?
Hands down it is J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis that draws me and sustains me. In regards to never seeing myself write a genre, that is an interesting question because I like to think I can write it all, but if I had a choice it would have to be my own life story or possibly romantic novels. There is an old saying about writers who write about sexual subjects or lust, and I don’t fall into that category.
What do you think makes a good story? What do you try to avoid doing at all costs in your own writing?
A good story must consist of all the structure points that create the book writing format, for example creating good character structure and trying not to do something that someone else has already done in the past. That is difficult since there is really only seven real plot points in writing. A solid antagonist is a must because that is the character that drives the story and drives all the characters. Avoid a boring story or a boring chapter because today a reader wants to be entertained, but with that being said I write for myself and only me. If others enjoy what I do then that is a plus, but I don’t cater to industry or popular demand.
Very interesting points. So much goes into writing a book and there are so many things to keep in mind in the process, but somehow we have to reign it all in, and, as you say, write for ourselves so we stay true to our vision and our story. It’s not always an easy balance to achieve, but it is an essential one.
Would you mind telling us what you think your strengths and weaknesses are?
I have been asked this in the past, and it is a question that is asked often, but if I say I have strengths then people label me as pompous, or if I mention weakness, people will say I have no confidence. I will say this, love life every day, and in those times you will see strength and weakness within you. We are humans after all.
Who/what are your biggest influences, and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as previously mentioned, but they always deserve a second mention. In film it is Charlton Heston, in music – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Growing up in the 1970’s Heston was a very strong personality and his courage in his personal life was an inspiration from the time he walked with Martin Luther King in Washington D.C. I tend to gravitate towards strong figures.
Clearly. Excellent choice of role models to look up to and to be inspired by.
What makes your genre unique? And why is it so popular, or perhaps less popular than it could be?
Fantasy is a difficult genre because it has never been a huge money-maker, but those who write the genre don’t do it for a payout, they do it for the love. Fantasy is a small niche that most people ignore unless Peter Jackson decides to make a Hobbit film or the Harry Potter wheel house spins around again. For me fantasy is an escape from reality, but for most people I think that fantasy escape is too bizarre for them to recognize. It takes a special person to love and appreciate fantasy.
Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
2014 will be the release of “The Defenders of Prali” which is the fourth book and final of the Prali series. Majority of my fantasy tales have elements of true events or historical figures, hence historical fantasy. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can honestly say that if you love Tolkien, you will love these books. The book should be out about the time this interview is released. For the next year I will be working on a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories and releasing them all together in one book. Some of these stories can be seen on my website http://www.davidsonlhaworth.com.
Also, Davidson will be a Guest at Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con signing his books! See banner below for details.
For those of us trying to figure out the marketing aspect, what tips can you share? How did you come to establish your support team?
On my book tours throughout the United States and Europe I am asked about my staff and how they accumulated. It all happens through time, the longer you are in the industry, the more people you seem to collect, but they are all eventually essential. A writer’s first objective should be a public relations person, of course this is after a writer has a few books under their belt because hiring people costs money and in this day in age money is hard to come by. Never take an offer that sounds too good to be true, because it always is and there are people out there who prey on writers. The best thing an author can do for themselves is advertise, and I mean advertise in just about anything. From periodicals to convention leaflets, do it all.
That is all very good advice.
What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?
Finding the strength to do it on some days because it is tempting to just sit around or do something else besides writing. Sometimes it takes strength to sit down and do a paragraph. I know that sounds a little sad and odd, but when you write every day, it can be a strain. Writers block can happen from time to time and it can also destroy a project. Stay focused.
Thank you for normalizing the writing experience. I’m sure there are many struggling writers out there at the moment who will find it comforting to know they are not alone. Writer’s block, fatigue and discouragement can happen to us all, regardless of where we are in our writing journey.
What is the best piece of (writing) advice anyone ever gave you?
I was told to write something every single day no matter what happens in your life. This is why I carry a journal with me everywhere I go including the bathroom. I know how many ideas can rush through one’s head and within seconds the thought is gone forever.
What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into your preferred genre?
First and foremost never give up and never let people tear you down. For every person who says they love your work, there are a thousand saying how horrid it is. Always be positive and never sell yourself short.
How can readers get into contact with you?
That is an easy question thanks to Facebook. I ask everyone to join me on Facebook and write to me anytime because I am approachable, and can ask any question thrown at me. I have many people who ask me questions about formatting and the business in general. I welcome everyone, and let’s not forget my website DavidsonLHaworth.com, Twitter, and so on.
Official website: www.davidsonlhaworth.com/
Davidson L. Haworth in Social Media:
February 7, 2014 – Guest at Salinas Valley Comic Con (National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, CA) www.steinbeck.org
February 14-16, 2014 – Panelist at Gallifrey One, the oldest and longest running Doctor Who convention (Los Angeles, CA) www.gallifreyone.com
March 7-9, 2014 – Guest at Wizard World Sacramento (Sacramento, CA) http://www.wizardworld.com/home-sacramento.html
April 12-13, 2014 – Author Guest at San Jose Fantasy Faire (San Jose, CA) www.sjfantasy.com
May 17-18, 2014 – Guest at Big WOW! ComicFest (San Jose, CA) http://www.bigwowcomicfest.com/
Davidson, thank you so much for sharing your works as well as your insights about writing and the business of writing with us. It has been a pleasure; I wish you continued success with your future book projects and upcoming events. Readers, I hope you enjoyed getting to know our guest and encourage you to check out Davidson’s website and blog where information about other upcoming events can be found as well as some of his other writing. And as usual, please leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Have a great week everyone!