Monday, June 2, 2014
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Davidson L. Haworth at Long Beach Comic Expo 2014
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
Actually it just kind of fell into my lap. I'd been writing since age six, and then started professionally at age twenty-one. I slways loved it. I never just decided to write; it's just something that I always wanted to do and I enjoy it. It's a lot of fun.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
Well, when I was a kid, J.R.R. Tolkien. The first fantasy book I read was The Hobbit. I consider it to be the Bible of fantasy. C.S. Lewis was s big influence with Chronicles of Narnia. What I read today, though he's passed, is a lot of Robert Jordan.
3. What was the inspiration behind the Prali series?
There was a lot of inspiration. Reading fantasy novels today, it traditionally used to be good vs evil; now there's just this grey. Everyone's kind of chaotic, not really good or bad. I wanted to get back to telling traditional fantasy like Tolkien, like how it was 50 years ago.
What inspired The Dragon of Prali was actually 9/11, believe it or not. The dragon is the symbolof the destruction. A lot of the scenes when the dragon is destroying the villages, I had s vision of 9/11.
The second book, The Wizard of Prali, wad kind of like my answer to Harry Potter: bringing wizards back to what they were back in folklore, when they were evil. I used Simon Magnus. He's a historical character; he really exists. In writing historical fantasy I use a lot of historical figures in my books. He's considered the first wizard in real history, so I thought it would be great to spin that into a while fantasy tale.
The third book is kind if my answer to Twilight: The Vampire of Prali. I was kind of tired of looking at vampiresgoing to high school, dating the prom queen and taking their shirts off every five minutes. My vision of vampires is Christopher Lee from the Hammer films, Nosferatu or Bela Lugosi. It was a time when vampires would sneak into windows and steal an infant to feed. I wanted to express that in the third book.
The fourth book, The Defenders of Prali, is the fourth book but also all three tied into one. Very much in the tradition of Lord of the Rings, how it was originally published in three volumes and then they combined them later.
4. Are you working on anything that you can share with KSR?
Right now I'm working on a book that's supposed to come out in 2016. Usually, I wrote a book a year but because I have kids who are teenagers, I want to be there more, so it's a book every other year until they're eighteen.
Right now I'm writinga book of short stories because, when I was doing my book tours in Russia, they are big fans of short stories. So I decided to write a book of short stories of science fiction, fantasy, just a mixture of those genres. I thought it would be a different change of pace front what's out there today.
5. Why did you decide to set the book in Italy?
I chose it because it takes place in the Middle Ages during the age of the Crusades and, in the Middle Ages, Italy was pretty much considered the center of the world in regards to what wad happening in the world. Italy was probably the most powerful country in the world at that time, just like America is now. Everyone pretty much would gravitate there during that time period for everything; commerce, even economics. But I wanted to get away from the big cities like Rome, even though the big cities are mentioned.
Prali is just a small village on the Appalachian Mountains, on the border of France and it's a town that was historical back in those times, with major events that happened there in those times in the Middle Ages and now it's just a ski resort with some historical places. But I thought bringing that back, using that village in the story...as far as I know, it's the only book written about that town!
6. Would you like to see the series made into a movie or TV series?
Funny you mention that! When I was in the middle of writing Dragon, Dreamworks called me and they were looking for a movie to do, fantasy-wise, and as soon as they called me I was in San Matteo within the hour to do a luncheon meeting. They wanted to take a look at my material. The problem was, it wasn't copyrighted yet, so I told them once it's copyrighted we can talk. They said, "Well, we're looking for something right now." I said, "I can't give you now." They said, "Well, if you don't take our offer, we might not come back to you."
So, you know how it is living in LA, you know the movie industry: you don't copyright your material, they'll just steal your ideas. Even Stephen Spielberg steals ideas! Like the kid who created Venom for Marvel, he was s fourteen-year-old kid who created Venom and Marvel just paid the kid $400 for the character and the kid was ripped off. You've got to be very protective.
I've never spoken with them again.
After they spoke to me, a couple of years after that, considering the time period, How To Train Your Dragon came out. They were also talking to me about doing Dragon of Prali as an animated film, but I wanted to do the live action like in Lord of the Rings. I didn't want to go the animated route. Some people think, "Aren't you kicking yourself in the head because of the sequel out now that's making millions of dollars?" Maybe some greatness would've happened, but like I told people during my panel today, you can't write for society. You can't write for production houses or directors or whatever. You have to write for yourself. You have to enjoy what you're writing. Because if someonetells you what to write you won't enjoy yourself. So just write what you want to writeand whatever happens after...happens.
7. You mentioned on your website that you were raised Roman Catholic. Did that influence your writing in any way?
I think a person's religious upbringing effects them every day their entire life. My mom was Italian and my dad was from England. My mom was very traditional when I was a kid. I wad listening to the Church when it was in Latin. It kind of sticks with you. I'm happy growing up in that background because the Church enables me to delve info their history. They've been around for over two thousand years and it's very easyto use such a tremendous history and background, specifically if you'rewriting in regards to the Middle Ages. The Church was the centerpiece of every Christian in the world till the 1500s. They dictated everything; even the King of Germany, when he was excommunicated by the Pope, he walked from Germany to the steps of the Vatican to beg for forgiveness. So they had extra power back then. When you're writing about those times it helps to know a little about the faith and history. I've written about other faiths as well, and for that it's a little harder because I had to study!
8. What author, dead or alive, would you love to collaborate with?
Actually, it's not as authors I'd like to collaborate with, but artists. I've always wanted to do a comic book. I've never been able to find the time or the right people. Growing up with comics and being here at Long Beach Comic Expo, comics are a big part of my life and it's one dream I've always wanted to fulfill--to do a comic book.
9. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I see myself moving to the great state of Washington, where things are cheaper and quieter. Continuing to write and release books. Continuing to go forward with what I'm doing now. That’s pretty much what you do for a living: it's not a job anymore, it's just doing what you love. I'll never stop doing that. I probably write till I can't write anymore and by then they'll have technology where I can just speak it out. I'll never stop, jusy continue to go and whatever happens happens.
10. You also mentioned on your site that you traveled to England and discovered its charms. Did that also influence your writing?
It did. As I mentioned, my dad is from England. I'd go there every year and when I was a kid I used to walk into a sweetshop and pick up a Captain Britain comic book and sit in an alley eating jelly babies. That's wherei found my love for Dr. Who, which I've always been a big fan of. England always plays a big part in that and the story. There was one time I had a mental block while writing Dragon and so I needed to take a trip to take my mind off things and I decided to go to Wales.
Idon't know why I didn't realize this at the time, but Wales has a giant red dragon on their flag. Boom! It snapped and I was back to writing again.
England, if you're a writer or have an idea in the general area of fantasy, swords and sandals types of things, going to England and visiting castles will expand your mind.
11. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
Wow, that's a good question! When I wass kid I wanted to play professional football, but that's not going to happen now!
You know, if I wasn't writing or just decided to quit one day, I'd probably own a little bookstore or comic shop. I always have to do things that I enjoy. My first job, I was thirteen, and I worked ever since. Many times in high school, if it wad flipping burgers at McDonald's, if I didn’t enjoy it, it never ended up being long term. I realized I need to continue with what I enjoy. You only love once so enjoy what you're doing.
12. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Well, it may surprise San Jose [California], where I'm from, that my favorite hockey team is the LA Kings and has been since I was a little kid. Usually I don't mention that when I'm in San Jose because I get a lot of backlash. So when I'm doing events in San Jose I don't need that out there because, believe it or not, people won't buy your book just because you like a certain hockey team! I've been disappointed with the playoff series now [against the Chicago Blackhawks], but I have hope and faith!
Another surprise is that I have three kids and when I had my first son I becamea single parent when I was nineteen.
I don't know if this is a good thing or a criticism, but I've done book tours in Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe, so they're calling me the David Hasslehoff of Russia! I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's something that may surprise people in the States!
Find Davidson L. Haworth via:
Facebook (LIKE page)