The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in-depth answers to questions that our staff has decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.
CAMERON DAVIS Author of Nocturne of the Sea (release date: Oct 20, 2018)
So first, when did you realize that the voices were telling you to write stories or go mad with all that stuck in your head?
I don’t know about the voices in my head, but I decided I wanted to write stories when I was about ten. I realized I could actually make a living off of the long and creative lies I told my teachers when they asked why I didn’t do my homework.
I know many writers who jump in all different genres, so what is your favorite to write?
Definitely fantasy. I always wanted to create my own worlds, and the fantasy genre allows me to do so in as much weird or extraneous detail as I like.
Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself, do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?
Oh my god, Twilight. You put “vegetarian” vampires that close to a city like Seattle and make the story an angsty love triangle? It had dark comedy written all over it— which is a genre I would love to try my hand at— with the added plus of a classic monster. Also, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but I won’t depress you with the details on that one.
What is your favorite book not written by you? See that question is not the same as the other one above… to follow up, what was your favorite book that you wrote?
Based on creativity, narration, and the inspiration it gave me as a storyteller: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusach, a story about a young girl in Nazi Germany who learns to write from the Jewish man her adopted family was hiding. It’s narrated by death and is extremely powerful; it never fails to make me cry. On a more personal note, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Very rarely does the conclusion to a lengthy book series live up to one’s expectations, and the last Harry Potter book is one of the views that blew my expectations out of the water.
Out of the books I wrote, my favorite has to be one whose title I will not disclose just yet. Surprisingly enough, it isn’t fantasy; it follows the story of a group of boys who are all orphans, foster kids, or runaways, and the makeshift family they made as they grow up and face the difficulties of adulthood without any parental guidance. It’s different from anything I’ve ever written and is based on some personal experience (I’m not an orphan, foster kid, or a runaway, but I am a young adult navigating an intimidating world).
When the muse is off doing their own thing instead of pushing you to write, albeit by gunpoint at times, what is your favorite time-waster?
I watch a lot of tv shows—all sorts, from gritty historical dramas to Game of Thrones to sci-fi to baking shows. Sometimes they inspire me, sometimes it’s just for the purpose of entertainment. I also draw, which can help me figure out scenes I’m writing that I need to see in pictures rather than in words.
What is the one thing that you must do to get into a writing mood? For me, it is listening to 80’s hair metal.
Coffee + a Spotify playlist with carefully-chosen songs that fit the mood of my novel.
Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?
Honestly, nothing helps a writer more than constructive criticism, and accepting that and looking at changes through the eyes of someone else will help your manuscript become what it’s meant to be. I’m always open to editing and revising. Unless I have a purpose behind something I wrote that editors and beta readers didn’t pick up on, I don’t argue changes; I change them hoping that it will make my story better.
When you read a book by another author do you ever look at it and criticize it or edit it in your head as the way you would have done it yourself?
Unless I’m super passionate about the series or about the topic at hand, I can easily ignore the English major critic in favor of enjoying the book. Especially regarding new authors and new ideas, I don’t see it as my place to judge their choices or writing style. That doesn’t mean I enjoy every book I read; there are plenty I’ve put down, and plenty I finished that I wish I hadn’t, but I see those opinions coming from the reader side of me, not the writer side.
What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?
“At Least She Tried.”
What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?
Life Saver gummies and Reece’s cups. I would happily trade the rest for just those two.
What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?
The Addams Family, no contest.
Beach, Mountains, Country, City? And follow up… favorite season… just a hint here… you should say, Autumn.
Definitely city. And yes, I’m totally going to say, Autumn. Late Autumn, though—early Autumn is still way too hot for me.
I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?
Mine is through the roof; I don’t always have the time or the money I would like to read. I prefer paperbacks—I would much rather have a physical copy than a digital one.
If you could not be an author then what would you be?
Miserable. (I’d probably write book reviews or do some online journalism; I can’t imagine any career that doesn’t involve writing.)
What was your childhood ideal job to be as an adult?
Still writing; I knew pretty early on I wanted to be an author. Before that, I think I wanted to be a singer; I had a karaoke machine with a few Brittney Spears songs on it.
Cats, dogs, both, other?
I love both, but I could only be a cat-owner. I don’t have the energy for dogs, unfortunately.
Most newbie authors are told to write emotional state in what they already know… so how did you break away from that newbie status of writing what you know in the beginning?
I never wrote what I knew. I first started writing through tall tales I told. “What did I do this summer? Oh, I went to the…. The Bahamas. Yeah, I swam with sharks. One tried to bite my leg off, and I ended up in the hospital; see, I have this scar. Oh, you can’t see it? It’s still there, just really faint…”
I always thought that advice didn’t leave much room for the imagination. I’ve never seen dragons in real life; how does that stop me from describing one? There’s nothing wrong with telling a few tall tales if it means a more interesting story.
Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?
Don’t wear yourself out outlining, or you’ll never start writing the book. Also, when you do have a manuscript, don’t doubt yourself. Try to get it out there; you owe it to yourself and to your novel to let it be read.
Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCI-FI? Other genres?
My family is the reason I started reading fantasy in the first place. I was raised on magic, and it came as no surprise to any of them that I chose to write my own fantasy. They’ve supported me from the very beginning.
Do you ever use writing as an excuse to get out of doing things with the family… especially the in-laws?
Without a doubt. No in-laws, but I’ve used it to avoid phone calls, and as an excuse to stay in my bed all weekend.
If you had written a sex scene in your book, would you be embarrassed to have your mom read it?
Oh, for sure. There’s none in Nocturne of the Sea, I’m keeping this series PG, but yeah. I don’t think my mom would like that very much.
Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?
It has to be those who read my work as it was first being written. That’s when I made the biggest and most plot-altering changes; when I followed the advice of those close to me. They were more willing to give honest opinions knowing that my manuscript was unfinished and that I had plenty of room for changes.
In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?
I tend to take mental breaks to avoid burning myself out, but there are some days I write non-stop (Hamilton reference intended). I just make sure those “mental breaks” include backing my manuscript up on a few platforms so that I don’t lose the pile of words I just typed out.
Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors?
I travel occasionally, and very cheaply. It’s usually not for writing purposes, however, even though I come home filled with inspiration. I have yet to do conventions; I’m a first-time author, and my novel is set for release on the 20th of this month (Eek!).
Book signings? Necessary evil even for the introvert?
I haven’t done one myself, but I’ve volunteered at Yallfest in Charleston before and I’ve attended many signings myself. I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the table, and those interactions between readers and authors are worth the hand cramps and awkward small talk.
What do you have coming out in the next year and who is producing it?
Nocturne of the Sea, being published by Burning Willow Press, comes out October 20th!
What is your go-to alcoholic beverage of choice?
Unfortunately, I’m underage. (cough… cough. Cersei Lannister cough… cough)
In the book, Misery by Stephen King, his main character celebrates the end of the Misery books series by smoking a cigar and drinking a scotch so, how do you celebrate a finished story?
I usually freak out for an hour or so, and then I might go out and do something fun. After a brief break of about a week, I get to work on the next project on my list.
Ideas come from all over. I get mine everywhere… so my question is what was the inspiration for the last (or upcoming) book you released?
I knew I wanted to do something I’d never done before, and Nocturne of the Sea was my first high fantasy. I decided to focus on world-building for the most part, so I played a lot of open-world video games and read a lot of fantasy books, and that led to me creating the world that Freya explores in this installment.
Who would you compare your work to and would love to have them read and give you a review of or even better, a tweet and post about it?
Honestly, I hate comparing my work to other authors, it feels like blasphemy; but I would love to talk to J.K. Rowling. Her world is one of the best developed in this generation. (If we were talking before our generation… you know I would love to grab lunch with J.R.R. Tolkien and slide him my manuscript.)
Where can we stalk you at? Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, website?
You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all under the handle @camidavisjr.
You can also find me on Goodreads under Cami Davis, and the Amazon pre-order link for the Nocturne of the Sea e-book is here:
*Editor’s note: The printed version for Nocturne of the Sea will release with its ebook counterpart on October 20, 2018.