Author David Simms is promoting his latest book Fear The Reaper by offering a truly creepy and yet fantastic giveaway. Once the book reaches 100 reviews one lucky winner with receive a night's stay at The Blackburn Inn in Staunton, Virginia. It's supposedly haunted, too.
1) What inspired your leading character? My main character for FEAR THE REAPER (Crossroad Press) Samuel Coleridge Taylor, is based on a real man, one of the men who designed the IQ test we still use today. I named him after the writer of "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner." (Not sure more for the poem, writer, or Iron Maiden song). I needed a psychologist, morally conflicted, and on the edge of sanity. Perfect for taking a job at the nation's most infamous mental hospital and known for jump-starting the American eugenics program.
2) How are you balancing writing, everyday life, and this health crisis?
A writer who I intensely admire, told me he wrote "between the minutes." I didn't get that - until I did. I teach English and psychology at a high school, counsel a few nights for teens, and am a ghost tour guide a few months a year. Toss in a 7yr old son and life gets bonkers quick. I'm currently editing the new novel and finishing up a kids' book. When the pandemic hit and the governor closed down schools, you'd think time would open up wider than the jaws of monster, but life throws more into the fray.
My talking to several writers who are in the same leaky boat, I learned to muscle in writing time before I leave school, when the boy goes to bed, during sports (when we had them!), and giving up some hours when I could be relaxing. I've learned writing is an amazing form of therapy and escapism. When it comes to storytelling, if I don't find an outlet for it, I'm quite annoying to be around!
3) If you could give advice to your younger self about this chosen path, what would it be?
Get off your ass sooner! Don't be afraid of failure and apply yourself in your twenties. I could've had so many more rejection letters if I had submitted stories a decade or so earlier! Also, hang around those who inspire you more. When I hit my first big writers' conference, the world changed and the fire was forever lit.
4) Do you watch tv shows? If so, what kind interest you?
Yes, like many, I'm a streaming nut. I love the dark stuff. From the X-Files and Twilight Zone of the past (which still thrill me) to Breaking Bad and Games of Thrones, I seek out the fun in the shadows. Right now, I'm running through Ozark, Killing Eve, The Walking Dead, Evil, and Hannibal. Of course, I'm also a sucker for dumb comedies.
5) Do you drink coffee or tea or both?
Coffee is my vice of choice and there would likely be murder in my future if I tried to quit it. I do love green tea, though.
6) Do you fall into the author cliché` of having depression and/or anxiety? (There is no obligation to discuss this issue. It is something I struggle with and discuss on my blog.)
Wow. Such a great question! I've actually run several panels at cons before about writers and mental health. My Master's thesis focused on music therapy - and its effect on anxiety. I've suffered with it over the years and thanks to my psych degrees, learned how to treat it and help others along the way. I often ponder why writers suffer and came up with my own conclusion (that might be totally off): we're so open to everything, like an open wound. "Normal" people can close themselves off to a lot of outside stimuli - and pain - while we constantly tear ourselves open. Too much finds itself within us and festers. On the plus side, working out those demons is a great tonic, exorcising them with the joys of creating something from nothing. When I'm writing stories or songs on my guitar, the dopamine and serotonin spike and the stress hormones fade. We see it all, and sometimes it's too much.
But the alternative? Not seeing all the colors in the crayon box and hearing every note in the orchestra? I'll take the hand I was dealt.
7) What is the best part about publishing? Do you self-publish?
The best part? It's a tossup. First, getting that email that someone loved a story or novel enough to say yes. Second, holding that book or anthology, the culmination of that abstract concept that became a concrete thing. I've been lucky to work with Crossroad Press. They work with authors every step of the way and allow so much freedom. I have friends who self-publish well. I just have a hard enough time promoting my books published this way. I can't imagine getting things right doing it 100% on my own.
8) What do you wish to accomplish with your writing?
I'd love to have a novel that inspires people. Sure, the life-changing contracts that some of my friends have would be wonderful. I'm still aiming high, and will never settle. Writing is a journey (I apologize for cliché) and by befriending some of my favorite authors along the way, I've heard their stories of grinding it out and building a career - and the flame-outs of a one hit wonder. I just want to continue to bring to life the stories that swim between my ears and hope that someone somewhere wants to read it.
Kindle~ FEAR THE REAPER: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Reaper-David-Simms-ebook/dp/B07DN327FG