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David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.
What inspires you to write?
So much! As an obsessed reader myself, I love when an author can create a vivid world and interesting characters that make me want to read all night. That’s what I love to do, too! When I write, I live in my worlds, I become my characters, I cry when they cry and I laugh when they laugh. Writing is the most fulfilling career in the world, because each time a new reader says that they enjoyed one of my books, I know I’ve made someone’s life a little bit better, and that means the world to me.
Tell us about your writing process.
With dystopian novels, world building is as important as anything you do, and it’s something that can either make or break your book. So I definitely focus significantly on this aspect. I don’t really use a strict writing process, preferring to let my imagination run wild, but I usually try to come up with the key ingredients for my world. What’s the setting? What kind of people would live there? What problems would the world have? What’s the role of the government/leaders, if any? What happened to make the world this way? Regardless of whether I decide to give my readers the answers to these questions right away, later on, or at all, I need to know the answers. However, no matter how much I think about it before hand, my worlds always tend to evolve in ways I didn’t even expect them to! That’s the fun part 😉
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
YES! All the time! I don’t really talk out loud to them (that would be a little crazy!) but I do in my head (which is probably even crazier!). And I most certainly listen to them, because it’s their story to tell, not mine. In one of my two most popular books, Fire Country, my main character, Siena, has one of the loudest voices I’ve ever written, and that’s because she spoke so strongly to me.
What advice would you give other writers?
My biggest advice is to do it for the right reasons; namely, because you love writing. Although it is my career and livelihood, I write because it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. Don’t expect to become the next bestseller (although you might be), don’t expect millions of readers to flock to your books (although it’s possible), and don’t do it to make a quick buck (because you probably won’t!) DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS!
For those who are looking for more substantial advice for Indie authors, check out my popular blog post on Everything I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/everything-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started.html
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Originally I wanted to be traditionally published, so I tried to get an agent. But after a few close calls and a bunch of rejections, I decided that I would try my hand at self-publishing, and I’m so glad I did! Back then, I was working a boring 9-5 as a financial risk officer, and now, three years later, I’m a full time Indie author!
That being said, it’s still my dream to have a major publisher and see my books in all the big bookstores someday. Fortunately, my success as a self-published author has attracted the attention of an agent, so I’m now working with her to find a publisher for my books!
I would advise authors to self-publish while they look for an agent/publisher. It’s never too early to start building your platform/fan base. Plus, success as an Indie can really help show agents and publishers that there’s an audience for your books. That’s what happened to me!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Well, ebooks are obviously going to be getting bigger and bigger, which is awesome for us Indies. I think it’s great! The more people that are able to publish, the more creativity will be spawned and the more fantastic books will be written. Publishers will have to adapt and be willing to change their strategy to embrace all the positive changes coming their way!
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Young Adult, Teen, Dystopian, Children’s, Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print