A warm welcome to SBW TalkBooks’ author of the month for March 2016, David F. Snider. The group read and interviewed him about his sci-fi novel, Stars in the Deep: Destiny, at its live author event. Continue reading to learn more about David and his writing, as well as what he thinks makes for a good story.
When the NAVCOM Computer takes the ECS Destiny irretrievably off course, the crew and colonists on board must find an alternative world to colonize. In order to save the one way mission from catastrophic failure they must overcome various obstacles from within and without. Woven into the story are themes of love, hope, forgiveness and restoration, human spirituality and its potential parallels.
What inspired you to write a story about colonizing humans in space?
As a kid I was a crazy sci-fi nut. I remember taking a road trip in Christmas of 2009 and thinking about all different kinds of ideas. This one caught me. I’d tried several times to write and couldn’t get it off the ground; this one I couldn’t put down.
Space colonization has always been an area of interest for me. It is something we, as a race, must accomplish, if for no other reason than to ‘see what’s out there.’ I have another possible story arc which I may revive that explores colonization from different angles.
The beginnings of the idea for Stars in the Deep: Destiny started with the question: what if we had a society that developed under the ocean—a colonization of a water city? But the story took on a life of its own, with a ship the size of a cruise liner with 2,500 on board, including the crew.
Who are your favorite sci-fi authors and influences?
To name a few: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Andre (Alice) Norton, Piers Anthony, and Frank Herbert. I like books that are very much about world-building. Personally, I like to write larger works rather than shorts.
How did you go about producing and publishing Stars in the Deep? Was the MS submitted to agents?
The production process was long and arduous. I started writing the book in 2009. I finished the long process of writing and rewriting in 2012, but I never thought I’d have so much trouble getting it looked at. After a year of trite replies of “sorry, we aren’t looking for this kind of thing right now…” from countless agents (claiming to do science fiction), I decided to try self-publishing.
In 2013, I released the first edition through CreateSpace under my own label, Starhome Books. It wasn’t a bad first try, but it lacked a good copy edit. Xlibris, a member of the Author Solutions organization, released the second edition. The book benefited from a reasonably decent copy edit, and the original cover art was tweaked a little. The new edition also includes a glossary, which I felt was quite necessary.
How did you invent a language based upon Sanskrit for your group of native inhabitants in your book?
Sanskrit is an ancient language that used to be a common, everyday language back in India, and which was used for early religious writings. I wanted to create something that seemed alien with an element of believability taken from history, which I believe gives a sense of familiarity. Sanskrit is mostly academic at this point. Online, I found a Sanskrit and Tamil to English dictionary, and I took the words I wanted for names that reflected the characters’ occupations, as well as ordinals and months.
Was it difficult for you to create a bad character?
It was hard putting myself in that role. I feel like I need to identify with the characters, and I feel sorry for my villains—like I’ve treated them badly. I even turned one of my villains around. The philosophical stuff that crept into the story wasn’t predetermined; but I found it sort of worked and figured out how it fit into the story.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first started reading seriously in the fourth grade. Science fiction caught me, and I didn’t stop reading from then on. I’ve wanted to write since I was married. I’m a musician who plays piano and organ (anything with keyboard attached), and I went to school, graduating with a BA in music and a BA in ministry. My college professors suggested that I write, but I didn’t feel I had the time.
When do you write?
I’m a VTA driver, and back in the day I could type during breaks. But they’ve changed the rules since then. So, I find time when I’m not working. The writing’s been on pause for a few months.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Writing is kind of new for me. I also enjoy music and woodwork.
What does your family think of your writing?
I had a habit of reading to my five children, who got to hear the book in progress. My wife also heard the whole thing and thought it would make a good graphic novel.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was surprised that sitting down and writing a story could absorb you so much. I created characters as I went along, and they grew on me.
This is the first book of a series. When will the next one come out?
I’m writing book 2 now, and there’s no anticipated release date. The characters decided the book should be different. I’m also looking for more beta readers. I hope to have Shining One out by year’s end.
What’s your writing process?
I have another story that I tried to write using the traditional outlining process. But I found that, for me it flows better and I have more fun freewriting to create all the characters.
What do you think makes a good story?
I need to like the characters; and I like a blend of action and thought provoking talk. I don’t like books where there’s action and nothing else. The story needs to feel like it could be real.
I am, after all, somewhat the normal average kind of person, though a few might beg to differ. I was born and raised in San Jose, California, USA. For those unfamiliar with California geography, San Jose is situated in Santa Clara County at the very bottom end of the San Francisco Bay. I attended Elementary, Middle and High school, all within moderately lengthy walking distance of each other. After High school, I moved to Santa Cruz, California for a couple of years to attend College. There, I made a number of very good friends. One of those friendships became so close it became a strong union which has lasted 35 years and counting. She and I are the proud parents of 5 children, all adults now. We are also proud grandparents of one young lad of 2.
The greatest love in my life, next to my God and my Wife, is Music. I began piano at about 5 years old, switched to the accordion at the age of 6. I mastered the accordion by late High School and studied music in college, where I earned a Bachelors for my troubles. So, I play, sing, read, write, arrange, and conduct music. It has been the air I breathe for nearly my whole life.
Recently, I finally owned up to the fact that it is possible to be passionate about more than one gift. I avoided the writing side of my skill set because of my full concentration on my music. All the advice and urging of friends, family and professors I’ve had over the years went in one ear and ‘mostly’ out the other. Then one day, with the echoes of all that urging rolling around in my head, I just decided. Why not? So, my computer and numerous spiral bound writing pads have become full of numerous story ideas in various stages of development.
Connect with David on:
His website: HTTP://WWW.STARSINTHEDEEP-DESTINY.COM