Every writer has their own path to publication. Some paths are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, caution signs, and for some, serious roundabouts, but what always remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft and their enduring dream to see their work on bookshelves one day.
In bringing you the W.O.W. series, I hope as a writer you will learn that no dream is unfounded. That with time, patience, perseverance, and commitment to your craft, it is possible to cross that finish line and share your story with the world.
Today, I am pleased to share Dave Connis’ writing journey…
Amy: What inspires you to write Young Adult fiction?
Dave: Sponges, specifically the yellow kind with scratchy backs.
YA has a playfulness, honesty, and emotional connection that I think can only be found in that stretch of life. Adult fiction often feels, to me, like it goes out of its way to be gritty. Most of the adult books I’ve read feel like this: we’re adults and we can have sex with anyone and say **** all the time. Oh, **** my childhood totally ****ed me up and now I’m gruff and need to solve this problem with sex and drinking. You get some of that formula in any genre really, except for maybe picture books, but YA just seems to have an unrivaled honesty to it that cuts through the layers of BS we adults get so used to operating in.
Amy: How did the story idea for THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM come to you?
Dave: I was thinking about how porn affects brain chemistry on a long road trip, promptly looked up if there were any YA books that honestly discussed porn as an issue (there aren’t) and decided that it was too big a gap to leave. I drafted the story line and the main characters for the rest of the drive, then started writing it as soon as I got home. I didn’t even unpack from the trip.
Amy: In your bio I read that you are a musician. Do you find that music ever plays a role in your writing?
Dave: Songs and albums define some books for me. When I listen to Benjamin Francis Leftwhich’s album, Last Smoke Before The Storm, I think of the Eragon series because I listened to that album while I read the series, and that was four years ago! The same is even true in my own writing. The music I listen to while I write always tends to affect the mood of what I’m writing. As for music in my books, most of the include it in some way. TOA has a pretty big plot point that revolves around music. One of my plans (this might be idealistic, but who knows) is to always have some sort of album come out with a new book. I don’t want to make it my “gimmick,” or my “thing.” I honestly just like having music and books hand-in-hand because they’re so hand-in-hand when I write.
Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?
Amy: How many agents did you query for THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM?
Dave: Oh boy. I can’t remember. I think it was about 40-50.
Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?
Dave: I collected responses (8 full requests, all rejected) over about a year and a half because I queried ten agents at a time. When the last agent in my last wave responded, I’d send out another ten.
Amy: What was your call like with your agent, Eric Smith? How did you know he was the right fit for you?
Dave: There were a lot of jokes and I couldn’t really think straight because I was so excited. He asked me if I had any other projects and I’m pretty sure I explained one like, “well, there’s a girl and I made up a sport and there’s space. I mean it’s in space. With, like, a Last Avatar thing kind of happening…I’m still working on that.” I knew because he didn’t take himself to seriously in the whole process. He never treated me like I was the one getting the deal, he always acted like he was the one honored to come along side of me and help, and this has continued to be the case. I’m so glad I signed with him.
Amy: What one thing are you looking forward to most as a debut author?
Dave: FAN ART. For real. I’m gonna put all of it on my office wall.
Amy: If you were doing a book signing and met a writer who was about to give up on their publishing dream, what would you say to them?
1. Writing is a lonely, comparison ridden, idolizing, performance pushing sort of task and the only way to defeat those demons is to remember why you like to write. At any point, you’re going to wish for more. “If only I had an agent.” “If only I had a better book deal.” “If only every publishing house showed up at my book auction.” There’s always a reason to never be satisfied. One of your biggest obstacles as a writer is being satisfied with what you’re given. Make sure you realize this early so you can remind yourself of it often.
2. I suck at grammar, and it took me years to learn that grammar was spelled with two a’s instead of an a and an e. The biggest reason I have a book deal is because I kept writing. I got better, and I learned as much as I can. You’ll never stop learning if you don’t stop writing.
Dave Connis is an author based out of Chattanooga, TN. He feeds his family by working at a local library and at his church as Assistant Youth Director. He loves Jesus, cusses a lot, makes music, and is probably struggling with social media comparison right now. For more on Dave check out his website or follow him on Twitter (@DaveConnis)