Sunday, October 28, 2012

Phil Davis

Interview with Phil Davis            
Author of The Affect of Red

Questions by R. Murry  

1.   Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born in Los Angeles, CA and at the age of four my family moved to Laguna Beach, CA which is what I consider my home town. I am the son of an electrical contractor but never really considered following in my father’s footsteps. 

I have always had a creative bent, and as a youth I admired the work of some of the local architects in Laguna. When it came time to go to college I surprised my family and made a turn to music. After two years I decided the hours and the pay were terrible. I came around and returned to architecture and have been on that track since.

I’ve been writing small pieces for as long as I can remember and in 1984 I started expanding a short story that I turned into a complete novel in 1994 (The Red Poppy). I hope to retire from architecture in about five to seven years and spend more time writing, playing golf, and who knows.

2.   Were you inspired by someone or something?
It’s hard to point directly to a single person or entity with regards to inspiration.

Writer’s who have inspired me in fiction are: Pat Conroy, Frank Herbert, Liz Hoban and Leo Tolstoy. Science fiction writer’s who inspire me are: Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, and Sarah Hoyt.

I learned a great deal about the use of language from J.D. Salinger and the beauty of harmony in language by reading the poetry of Robert Frost.

3.   What do you like about writing a story?
Writing is challenging and complicated, it requires tremendous planning, and it demands that you pour your soul out on the page without fear. 

To me, conceiving of a story and then setting up a general plan depicting how it plays out is the easy part. I enjoy expanding the outline, for me this is where my creativity really takes off, and where the story happens.

I love to do research, especially now that I don’t have to wade through the stacks at the library anymore! I guess the architectural training is ingrained as I make sure my facts and descriptions are correct before the work goes out to the public.

4.   Can you tell us about your book?
The Affect of Red is a tragic love story. Robert Jordan and Camille Durran both find themselves victims of failed relationships. Robert is a studio manager for successful engineering firm and Camille is a young attorney in San Francisco. They both have consuming jobs that leave little time for romantic affairs.

Through her normal discovery research, Camille realizes that the plaintiffs in her court case are a front for an international human trafficking operation run by the Russian mafia. She exposes them to the FBI and threats on her life begin. Anxiety and epinephrine become a way of life, resulting in fear and despondency. Her friend, Stacy shakes her loose from her melancholy, but the threat remains.

Camille meets Robert in a bar in San Francisco. She is wearing a red evening dress and she attracts Roberts’ attention. They both quickly realize their connection is a fairy tale of love at first sight. They meet the following weekend in Reno, Nevada for lunch, and then find themselves fleeing from the Russian Mafia thugs who are after Camille.

5.   How did you come up with the story?

The Affect of Red really blind-sided me. I was finishing up my second SciFi novel (Raindancer) and I wanted to take some time off writing. I did make some notes for a new novel, but didn’t plan to act on the notes for a few months.

I think I lasted a week. My wife went to Phoenix for two months to help our daughter through the end of her pregnancy, and I had huge blocks of time to myself. One evening I went back to my notes, looking for ideas I remembered writing for my next work. I had a section titled “Writing Ideas” and I began looking for the notes I made and they weren’t there. Turning a few more pages I found the notes, there were five: Witness protection; Women’s rights; Abortion; Color; and  Human trafficking

These were all powerful subjects, and human trafficking was a cause whose roots disgusted me (and still does today), and an expose appealed to my writing needs. I wanted to write a love story, but a story with more of a purpose, and based on some reality. In my mind, human trafficking made a perfect backdrop for a tragic love story.

I read two other novels about human trafficking, one before and one during the writing process. Both concentrated on the dark side of the subject, and each contained graphic details of the hideous lives these young girls were forced into. I wanted a wider audience and decided to stay within my original plan, and I was off and running.

After a huge research project I finally laid out a general outline, created the characters: Camille Durran, Stacy Babineaux, and Robert Jordan. Stacy became a unifying character that I needed throughout the story, but I still wasn’t sure how to begin.

One morning (at an ungodly hour) I wrote what is now the first Soliloquy before Chapter 1. It has changed little since that first writing, and it was the fuse to the rocket that ensued. By the time my wife returned in late May, I was into the editing phase.

6.   What genre best fits for the book?
Fiction – generally in the crime area.

7.   Are you working on something new at the moment?
Yes. I’m growing as a writer and focusing on character-based stories. I like the subjects of: personal growth, conflict, the subtleties of relationships, and redemption. My next novel is about 75% complete now and is very different from all my previous work. The work goes slower as I’m spending more time marketing and communicating with fellow authors on social media. I’ve projected a completion in early/mid 2013 and still feel it’s a good timeline.

8.   Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
*      Read
*      Write
*      Go on sites like Autonomy and read others work. Solicit other writers to critique your work, and write critiques for them.
*      Put your ego outside and listen to what is said and make adjustments in your knowledge and ability, and to your style of writing, if necessary.
*      Write reviews.
*      Read
*      Write
*      Don’t be afraid to spill your guts on the page.
*      Learn social media / share with followers and other authors
*      Read
*      Write
*      Do it all over again.

9.   Where can people go to read your work?
Both ebooks and paperbacks are available at this site.
My blog: (there are samples here)

10. Where can people go to find you on the internet?
Author Site: (there are samples here)
Twitter: padavis249

11. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I think I can speak for all the authors I know on this subject.
Readers and fans; please don’t be afraid to send us a note, make a suggestion or request. Even a “Hi, how are you” is welcome. Most of us are spending hours writing and reading, and the break of a friendly voice is welcome. 

If you’re writing a review, let the author know, get more in-depth information about the piece you read before committing to a review. We love feedback and we love providing context with regard to our stories. Writing in a vacuum inhibits growth, who knows, you might influence our next novel.

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