Saturday, March 24, 2012

D. A. Adams and the (Lot More Than Seven) Dwarves

Alex Adams (or D.A. as his book covers know him) is my kind of people. Salt of the earth, and all that good ol' fashioned stuff. That's why when I met him, I completely expected him to be a completely different kind of person. He writes a strong traditional fantasy epic, and yet, I've never had a single conversation about Tolkien with him. Just about the craft, his kids, the joys and annoyances of convention travel, etc.

And he wears a mean red shirt too.

But enough of me man-crushing on Alex. Let's let him speak for himself.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My latest release is “The Fall of Dorkhun,” book three in the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. It’s the pivotal point of the five book series and follows Roskin back home to his kingdom, which has been besieged by war. There are many unusual twists and a surprise ending that sets up what’s to come in books four and five. So far, the feedback I’ve received from my readers has been pretty amazing.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I’m interested in camaraderie, self-sacrifice, redemption, and perseverance, so each book revolves around those themes. Also, I’m trying to allow each main character to grow and mature as unique individuals, so they often take the story off in unexpected tangents. There’s also a sub-context of the importance of interpersonal relationships over materialism, but I try not to be too heavy-handed with it.

What would be your dream project?

Honestly, this series is my dream project. I love these characters and this world I’ve created. Working on this series has been the most rewarding aspect of my career, and I‘m not sure how I’ll feel when it’s complete.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

If I could go back and re-launch the first book in the series, I would’ve bypassed offset printing completely and gone straight to Lightning Source as my printer. Their technology has revolutionized small press and offer a fairly level playing field in terms of distribution. That also would have allowed me to start with a color cover, which was my biggest hindrance with the first couple of printings of book one. A lot of people hated, with religious fervor I might add, the simplicity of that cover, but it was a product of budget limitations.

That said, I’m exceptionally grateful to be with Seventh Star Press, now, so I probably wouldn’t make the change even if I could because at SSP, I’ve found a good home.

What inspires you to write?

Not to be too cliché, but honestly, my children. I want to leave something in this world that they can point to and take pride in that their old man wrote these books. Also, I’m inspired by music, probably more so than even prose. At heart, I wanted to be a Honky Tonk singer, but I happen to be a much better writer than singer, so listening to quality music, from all genres, moves me to want to write better books

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Harry Crews as much as anyone; there’s a grit and realism in his works that I strive to match. Also, I went through a big Hemingway phase, so a lot of my minimalist approach is because of him. Hermann Hesse was another major spark for me as a young writer. His imaginative meanderings opened up my own creativity at a crucial point in my intellectual development. In terms of fantasy literature, C.S. Lewis is probably my biggest influence, even though my stories are nothing like his. He was my gateway into fantasy, so I always feel indebted to him for opening that door.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Good writing is a blend of both. The artistic side is fueled by the imagination and creativity, but even the most imaginative works need to be grounded in scientific reality to some degree. Also, because writing a learned craft, there’s an element of science to the construction of plot, tension, character development, and narrative voice. However, without fresh approaches to these techniques through artistry, writing becomes formulaic and predictable.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I have a fairly active and growing blog, called The Ramblings of D.A. Adams, where I write entries on whatever moves me that day. Recently, I divested completely from politics and have tried to focus more on my personal growth as a human being. The reader response has been absolutely amazing, (Sean, if you want to mention the New Breed story, feel free to toss it in here, too. I don’t want to presume anything.) And of course, I’m working on book four in the Brotherhood series, hoping to finish the rough manuscript by late summer so I can begin my revision process. With any luck, we’ll have it released by next spring at the launch of convention season.