Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?
I started writing a long time ago – way before the indie movement and the kindle phenomenon. I chased the traditional path years ago, even signed with an agent, but that didn't lead to anything but false hope. I was in the Nashville area when the indie music movement hit, and I saw what iTunes could do for musicians first hand, and followed the path to Kindle and indie publishing.
What got you into writing?
I've always had to have creative outlets, whether it was music, drawing or writing. I enjoy writing because of the process and the solitude. I also get to create/meet/hang-out-with some pretty cool characters.
But seriously, I've always been an avid reader, and it only seemed natural. Ideas would pop in my head and I would be like, “Hey! That would make a damned good book! Write it!” So I did.
What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?
Saving Angels is the second book in the series. Don't panic, they are completely stand-alone. You can read them in any order. Basically, the main characters stem from the first book in the series, but this story actually started when a friend of mine said he wanted to be in my next book. I told him he could either be a victim or a serial killer and he informed me he would never be a victim. The idea just grew from there.
Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?
I really like Gabby, but I would be lying if I said my favorite character wasn't Michael. He's a hacker that made a lot of money (legally?) and lives on the Gulf Coast and just bums around. He's smart and definitely a smart-ass. Where Gabby believes in the legal system and process/procedure, he doesn't really think laws specifically apply to him. He does what he wants.
Physically, he's a good looking guy in a roguish kind of way. Tall, lanky, permanent-tan, with longer, shaggy blond hair and blue eyes. He's not the kind of guy women would go, “Oh My God!” over, but they would definitely notice him in a crowd.
Gabby, well just google actress Dina Meyer – 'nuff said.
What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?
It's a combination of scenes, and without a doubt it's the flashbacks. When the first book came out, I had a lot of readers comment that they wanted to know more about Michael and Gabby. Because of the constraints at the time (trying to keep the word-count to the Big 5 publishers limit, blah, blah, blah...) I couldn't tell enough about their backgrounds. These scenes give the reader a better idea of where they came from, and why they are the way they are. Michael is sitting on the deck of a houseboat reminiscing and later Gabby has a flashback scene. You see both of them in their early teens. And besides, I had a helluva lotta fun writing them.
What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?
Definitely dialogue. I love the interaction between the characters – especially Michael and Gabby. Those conversations are beyond fun to write. And to tell the truth, I steal a lot from the conversations I have in my life and fit them into the books – I just don't tell my friends.
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?
Now that I take my writing more seriously, and make time to write, I can write a novel in about 2-3 months. Saving Angels is around 105K words, but the first draft was over 140K words. The editing/rewrite takes about a month, but I'm lucky to have great editing help and beta-readers. I started the third book in the series days after I finished the “best” draft of Saving Angels and went for final edit. I did the edits, etc.. while working on the next book.
Process? Not really. I have a personal goal of writing on average 2,500 words a day, but that doesn't always happen. Some days I have to double (or triple) up because I was slack other days. I also set aside a certain amount of time for reading everyday. I feel lost if I miss my reading time.
What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?
With suspense/thrillers, I love the twists and turns. I've got a techie background and I really like throwing in some of the tech twist, but also just the OMG/WTF moments. If I can get a reader to the OMG moment, or have them worried about the character.. I think I'm winning.
Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?
There are so many, but I guess the main would be John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee series. I love John Sandford and all of his works. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have been inspirational – jeez look at all that talent. I talk to other indie authors almost every day. There are so many, but they've influenced anything good I've written – all mistakes are mine.
Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?
OMG, constantly. I don't plot. I've tried, but I can't stick to it. I come up with some characters and put them in a situation and I have a general idea how the book will end, but I just let them lead me through the process.
My neighbors probably think I'm insane, because I sit on the back porch and “talk with the characters”. They live in my head, and there are a lot of times I finish a section or chapter and say, “Where the hell did that come from.” When I do, it's pretty cool.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for having me!
Jeff Davis published his first suspense/thriller, Preying Angels in 2011. Distracted by life's events, he took time off from publishing but never stopped writing. After his sabbatical he published the second book in the Archangels Series, Saving Angels in 2015. Currently he is writing the third book in the series and is working on ideas for another suspense/thriller series and a paranormal/thriller.
His goal is to keep you turning pages, afraid to think of what might happen next and get an occasional WTF from you.
By day, he's an IT executive and when he's not writing, he's reading, playing one of his guitars, tinkering with his latest hi-tech toy or just relaxing with a cold beer or a glass of wine. He lives and writes with his wife and two sons in Clinton, MS.
You can find him on Facebook (facebook.com/jeffdaviswrites) where he loves to interact with his readers.
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