Friday, October 22, 2010

Bryan Davis Interview

 The Worthy Fantasy team would like to thank Mr. Davis for taking the time to answer a few questions about his writing life.

Why do you write fiction?
I believe that storytelling is the most powerful way to communicate truth in a memorable way. We are wired to connect with stories and the conflicts the characters go through. Because of the emotions involved, we can empathize with portrayals that reflect some of our own experiences or else issues we have considered even if we haven’t experienced them ourselves.
Through these stories, I am able to raise themes that get readers to think. Why do people suffer? What is the meaning of sacrifice? Why be courageous in the face of danger? Why love those who are in need? Why trust in God? When readers see these questions and answers acted out, and they wrestle with the questions themselves, they remember the lessons far longer, because they effect the heart as well as the mind.
Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction?
I prefer good fiction over non-fiction. The problem is that most fiction that comes across my desk is pretty poor, so I end up reading more non-fiction. 
Is there a message you want to get across with your fiction?
There are many messages in my stories—love, courage, sacrifice, redemption, holiness, contentment, and others. The one you will see most often is the importance of sacrificial courage in rescuing those who are oppressed or suffering.
How does your outspoken faith play into your writing, or does it?
My faith permeates all that I do, so it’s natural for what I believe to come out in my stories. I believe in hope, so my stories, no matter how bad things get for the characters, are never without hope. I believe in love, so you will always see some of my characters exhibit extraordinary love in their willingness to sacrifice for others. I believe in holiness, so you will see some of my characters exhibit integrity no matter how terrible the temptation might be to do otherwise.
Out of all the series you’ve written, which is your favorite? Why?
I am terrible at deciding on favorites, because they can change from day to day. So if I pick a favorite, and that pick gets published, I might speak to a group on a different day and choose a different favorite. Then someone might claim, “But you said your favorite was …” 
At this moment, I think my favorite would be Oracles of Fire, because I was able to dive more deeply into characters in the course of lengthier books, and I was able to probe important themes at greater depths.
Will it be my favorite series tomorrow?  Time will tell.
Out of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite? Why?
Same as above. I have a hard time with this question. Right now it would be either Eye of the Oracle or The Bones of Makaidos.
With “Eye,” I was able to go back to the beginning and build a lot of intriguing back story, and with that effort came the development of new and unusual characters who enabled me to develop the theme of loving sacrifice to an extent that I never had before.
With “Bones,” I had the opportunity to complete what Eye began, and I did so with an epic story that allowed me to explore many emotional and spiritual dilemmas. Judging from my readers’ responses, it seems that I succeeded in that effort.
You are known to be highly connected to your readers, personally I’ve found this to be true in your amazing email back response time. This is definitely a contrast with some other Christians YA authors, do you have a reasons for your exemplary response time? (aka) Why so fast?
My readers are very important to me. They are the reason I write. I didn’t become an author just to sell books. I was more successful financially as a computer geek. I wanted to reach people’s hearts. I wanted to change lives. Following up with readers and letting them know that I care is crucial. I am in this for hearts and souls, not sales numbers.
I understand you have a daily goal of around four thousand words, I’m sure many of the readers are wondering, how do you crank out that many words?
Since I write full time, during my writing seasons, I am pounding on the keyboard between eight and sixteen hours a day. Most writers have other jobs and far less time to write, so four thousand seems like a high standard. It really isn’t. Frankly, sometimes I think four thousand is quite low for the number of hours I put into a day, but I try to make sure those four thousand words are solid and more than just a rough draft.
Do you outline your stories? If so, how much outlining do you do?
I do not outline my stories at all. I sit down with a bare premise and begin writing about a main character’s normal way of life, and I go on the journey with my characters. I can’t imagine outlining. I think it would take the fun and adventure out of writing. I enjoy the openness and freedom of just letting the adventure take off and develop organically. It allows for more twists and surprises, and, I think, more openness to spiritual guidance.
Do you ever listen to music while writing? What puts you in the mood?
I listen to music about a fourth of the time I am writing. I usually play music when I need a scene to be filled with emotion—power, sadness, empathy, etc. And I will choose music to match the emotion I need. I like classical and clean modern music, especially a strong vocal lead with lots of emotion.

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