Today I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Dave Dobson, author of Kenai. This interview is part of my stop on the blog tour organized by Escapist Book Co. Thank you for allowing me to participate, and thank you to Dave Dobson for answering my questions.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, how do you handle bad or good reviews?
I always read reviews. Some authors say not to, but I can’t help myself. I think it’s a really important part of the writing process, actually. You have to know how your ideas, your characters, your stories are received if you want to get better. Good reviews are easy to handle – they make you feel ten feet tall and you walk around all day happy. Bad reviews can be a little rough depending on what they criticize and whether the criticisms have merit – the most useful negative reviews always do get at something you’re doing wrong, or that you haven’t quite figured out yet. I have a lot of experience reading course evaluations as a professor, and after that process, you (hopefully) learn to glean what’s useful from critics while letting the rest of it slide. That’s how I approach negative reviews of my books. Which is not to say I don’t sputter at my screen occasionally.
What do you think is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
There are all kinds of scams or semi-scams that take advantage of new writers, often offering publication and editing, or movie contracts, or agent representation, but for a big fee. Sometimes they’re set up like one of those multi-level marketing organizations, where you only get published if you can sell 500 books yourself. There are a lot of good resources available to avoid them, but like other scammers, some of them are very good at what they do, and it is hard to know what to expect from the industry if you’re very new to it, so you see a lot of people fall into these traps.
What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence you to become a writer?
As a young child, as some of the first longer books I could read, I read L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. My family had a set of hardbacks of them from when my Dad was a kid, so they were available and well-loved. Some folks don’t know that there was a whole series of books, and the movie is only the first book. There’s no doubt that those stories, with their abundant magic and quirky characters and grand adventures, led me to be a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, and later on, to write it.
(BLOGGER’S NOTE: I own the full set of Oz books because I, too, adored them as a child!!)
What is your favorite thing to listen to while you write?
I love listening to movie music – I have a curated station I made on Pandora that I set running. Most of it is fantasy and sci fi movies, but there are a lot of others on there too. Movie music tends to be intense, emotional, and exciting, and it doesn’t usually have words, so I find it a perfect match for when I’m on a roll writing.
Do you think it helps authors to have a big ego or hurts them?
I think there are very few people who are helped by a having big ego. I think I have ample experience with that based on my college years and from working in academia for most of three decades. There are very, very few people who deserve to have a big ego, and even fewer of them are well-served by acting like an ass. One of the only exceptions I’ve ever met was Stephen Jay Gould – his ego was just a part of his character and made his writing and his personality larger than life. Muhammad Ali also made a career of it, and it fit him and what he was doing.
As a writer, you have to remember that you’re an artist trying to appeal to a broad audience, and in the modern world, that means everybody has access to whatever you put out there in public in any context. If you’re obnoxious, everybody will know, and it’s not a good look, regardless of how great you actually are. I think in writing (as in nearly everything) you’re much better served by listening to others and respecting what they have to say. Trying to build a career based on having an overbearing personality can get you some attention, but for me, it wouldn’t be a fun way to live. Maybe it works for influencers, but writers should (I hope) have a closer and more honest relationship with their readers.
Do you read the genre of books you write? Do you read your own books after they’re finished?
I read my genres, for sure, although I need to do more reading. I’ve been on a writing kick for most of the last few years, and for me, that makes it harder to sit down with somebody else’s book and dig into it – I’m distracted, or thinking about my own stories, and not enjoying other books to the fullest.
I don’t restrict my reading to the genres I write, but I write in enough of them (thriller, mystery, fantasy, science fiction) that there are a lot of books to choose from. I stick mostly to those areas, though. I have a writing buddy who writes romance, and I always enjoy reading her stuff too. I’m never opposed to trying something new as long as it grabs me.
I tend not to re-read my own books after publishing them, but of course I’ve published most of them recently enough (last 4 years) that it’s hard to know if that’s a lifetime habit or not. I will occasionally go through them doing research on a sequel or on another book, and it’s always fun seeing what I did before. I bet I’ll come back to them in a bit. I have a pretty good memory for plot and dialogue, so it might take me a while before I can forget enough to enjoy my books again without feeling like they’re overly
Published by Self-Published on 05/24/2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Buy on: Amazon CA // Amazon UK // Amazon US // BookBub
A planet steeped in mystery...
Jess Amiko is long past her days as a space marine, with all the glory of that time tarnished beyond repair by what came after. Trying to rebuild from the ashes, she's taken a job as a security guard on Kenai, a lonely world far from the Council systems. It's supposed to be easy duty - quiet and peaceful, on a docile world with no real threats, watching over an archeological dig at a site built by a race long vanished.
Betrayed and attacked by forces unknown, and finding that nothing on Kenai makes sense, Jess is plunged into a desperate fight for survival that leads her deep into the mysteries of Kenai's past, and deep into the hardship and paradox the planet imposes on all who call it home.
Content Warning: violence, suicidal ideation