This is the cue where you should clap your hands till they are caught on fire.
David had been kind enough to answer all my long and almost sensible questions. Okay, maybe he had been too kind because he should never encourage me -_-" But his kindness doesn't stop there, he is also willing to give away an e-book copy of his new-released, The Moon Dwellers (sold wherever e-books are sold).
In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.
After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.
Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.
At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.
When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.
In their world, someone must die.
Not that anyone cares, but you may check out my gushing review for this book here.
Zuleeza: First, we start off with the burning question I had since well, since I found out that you're the author of Evolution trilogy and now the Dwellers series. As a male author, how does it feels to enter the Young Adult market which we all know is pretty much dominated by female authors?
David: First off, I just want to say thank you so much for having me on your blog and for reading and reviewing my new YA dystopian novel, The Moon Dwellers. I really enjoyed reading your review and was so pleased you enjoyed it!!
Zuleeza: *Giggles stupidly* Eh, it was nothing! I thoroughly enjoyed the book
David: Now to your question which is a great one! Before I was a writer in the YA market, I was (and still am) a reader. I love diving into a great YA story by authors like Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, James Dashner, or Maggie Stiefvater, to name just a few of my favorites. So when I decided to write for young adults, I never really thought twice about being a guy, because I LOVE the genre so much. So really it just feels funny to me when people point it out and I tend to think Huh? Oh yeah, I guess I am in the minority. In any case, the vast majority of my friends on Goodreads are women and it feels totally comfortable to me, so I guess I fit in OK!
Zuleeza: Of course you're fit in okay. You are, as I dubbed, the Goodreads Heartthrob these days. *giggles some more*
Zuleeza: *clears throat* So, next question, having written a paranormal fantasy series, the Evolution trilogy, a dystopian fiction, The Moon Dwellers is quite a departure, and I'd say quite a brave departure since our Young Adult market is now literally overflowing with dystopian fictions. What do you have to say about this?
David: I am completely and utterly addicted to YA dystopian books at the moment and am reading as many of them as I can get my hands on, and it seems like a lot of other people are loving dystopians now too. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps because they have a real feel to them, like What if that really did happen? In any case, right now it seems there’s enough room in the market for a few more dystopian series, at least until some of the bestselling ones are finished, like Divergent and Delirium.
Zuleeza: The setting for The Moon Dwellers is refreshing; a society which was forced to live underground after the Armageddon wiped out most of the U.S citizen and probably the rest of the world. What inspired you to come up with this premise? And how difficult it was for you to craft the economic and the political structure of an underground society?
David: Another awesome question! When I fell in love with dystopian novels a year or so ago, I started thinking about writing one. I thought about all the great dystopian novels I had read and came up with a list of what elements they had in them, and what had already been done in terms of setting and political climate. I wanted mine to be different and unique, but still fit nicely within the genre. I realized that most dystopians take place on earth and everything has been changed. So I thought it would be cool to have everything take place underground, which would make my novel quite different and give me plenty of challenges in creating a world where people have never even seen the sun or the moon or the stars. A world without rain or wind or flowers or trees. Once I had the idea, I just started building my world from the bottom up. What forced humans underground? What changes would occur once they moved underground? How would politics change? I LOVED the process of creating this world from scratch developing a backstory to it all, and creating characters within all the turmoil. I almost feel selfish, like I got to have all the fun creating and my readers only get to read the finished product!
Zuleeza: The Moon Dwellers is such an action-packed flick. The fighting scenes were very well-written. Do you know martial arts yourself? *Grins*
David: Hahaha! I wish! I’m basically just living vicariously through my characters. But one element of the many dystopians that I love is that they have plenty of action so I wanted mine to have that too!
Zuleeza: Oh well, I guess I can't have a butter knife fight against you. *shrugs* Okay, I can confidently say that The Moon Dwellers is not just another cliche Young Adult book laced with fluffy romance. The book emphasize the importance of family ties, friendship, loyalty and fighting for the right cause. Do you purposely incorporated all these good values, or they just came naturally? Do you believe in nurturing our youngsters through literature?
David: Oh my gosh, you’ve hit the nail on the head (sorry, couldn’t help using a cliché after you said my book was NOT cliché!) I grew up with parents who helped me develop a love of reading and steered me towards books with good messages and values that would make me a better person, while providing me and my imagination with a place to dream. That’s exactly what I hope to accomplish with my writing. I want it to be subtle but at the same time evident that good conquers evil in the end (although evil will get its licks in sometimes!).
Zuleeza: Adele is for me, one of the most memorable female protagonists in YA books. She is strong inside and out, gets her priorities right and very strong-willed. What inspired you while writing Adele's character? *Ehem* I kno w that she is named after your wife. Is that had something to do with Adele's characterisations?
David: You’re right, I did name her after my wife. It’s funny, because a lot of people have been saying that’s adorable and cute that my wife’s name is the same as my main character and although I love that fact, I chose the name because it’s the right one for her, which is the most important thing. However, I will admit that my wife is awesome and opinionated and says what she means and means what she says, so they do have a bit in common. But Adele (and my wife) also has a softer side, one full of compassion. It’s the balance that I think makes Adele such an endearing character. By the way, my wife and I have the most wonderful relationship, we have truly found love in every sense of the word, and it’s many of the emotions I feel with her that I use to pour my heart and soul into my writing.
This is the part where you should say 'awwwwwww.......'
Zuleeza: Classic question but I believe many readers would like to know about this. You read a lot of books yourself, you interact with your readers and Goodreads friends quite often, you have a family to be taken care of at the same time, and yet you have to write books as well. Tell me, David. Do you take a special tonic of some sort, because man, you are unstoppable! How do you manage to do everything (and I mean everything) when you got so much on your plate?
David: Haha! Sometimes I feel like the days just sprout wings and fly away. I can barely keep up with everything I have on my plate at the moment, particularly because I’m in the process of launching the first four books in my first kid’s series. Although I’m travelling the world with my wife while writing full time, I work A LOT! I’m always online, working on interviews, giveaways, writing, formatting, editing, etc etc. It’s exhausting but I wouldn’t change it for anything. My wife is so supportive, always helping me find the best way to get my work done while still doing activities together. I am so blessed to be a writer and to have such a loving wife. I’ve taken a vow to respond to every piece of fan mail and so far I haven’t let anyone down!
Zuleeza. I must say that with your current achievements (Trust me, David has a strong fanbase already, it's not like I never stalked his fan group on Goodreads. Haha!), I do believe that you will not have any problems getting accepted by big publishing house already. What made you choose to stay as an indie author?
David: Being completely honest, I’d LOVE to be accepted by a big publisher, if only to get my books out to a wider audience, but first I have to get past the gatekeepers: literary agents. Most big publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts so you need to have a literary agent to assist you in finalizing your book and getting it in front of the publishers. In the ultra-competitive YA market, I haven’t been able to find an agent yet, and so I’ve decided to go the route of self-publishing, which has been extremely rewarding. My readers have been so amazing and supportive and allowed me to write full time even without a publisher.
Although it has its challenges, I love being an Indie author. I get to control the creative process from start to finish and learn all the ins and outs of publishing. And the rewards are simply incredible as I get so many nice messages and reviews from those who have taken a chance on my books.
Another one of my favorite things about not having a publisher is keeping the prices of my books low. Even if I was a bestselling Indie, I’d still be able to sell my ebooks from less than $5, and paperbacks for less than $10, which is impossible if you have a publisher, as they have to make their money too, thus pushing the prices for both paperbacks and ebooks over $10. I think it’s awesome making my writing affordable for everyone.
Zuleeza: The cover for The Moon Dwellers is such a piece of art. Would you like to share who had designed it and did you provide any inputs?
David: Thank you so much for noticing the cover. My good friend Tony over at Winkipop Designs in Australia did the cover art and did a fantastic job! I think readers will really appreciate the cover even more after reading the book because it is a perfect representation of the world I created. When we first sat down to brainstorm the cover, it was actually my wife who had the initial idea of having a gnarled tree near the top with the roots descending deeper and deeper, showing the transition to an underground world. What Tony did is bring it to life, beautiful in its simplicity without overdoing it. He hand-drew the tree and roots and customized the font. What you get is the perfect cover for The Moon Dwellers. Thanks Tony, I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the sequel!
Zuleeza: Okay, I believe David has grown tired answering so many questions from me. LOL! I know, I'm so excited I can barely stop *recompose myself*. So David, tell me, what are your current projects? I need to prepare
David: My first priority is the sequel to The Moon Dwellers, which will be published in September of this year. I’ve just finished the first draft, which we be reviewed by my beta readers soon!
I have also completed the first four books in a children's series aimed at kids between the ages of 7 and 10. It's a classic superhero story about a girl who meets a strange animal who leads her to a treasure chest in the middle of the forest. The chest contains a gift that allows the girl to perform miraculous feats. I have another two books planned for the series, which I will be working to complete in 2012, although the first four books in the series will be published on August 31st 2012.
I have also recently finished a Middle-Grade novel about a boy with a very unique disability and one hell of a sense of humor who meets loads of interesting early teenagers on a suspenseful yet funny adventure to uncover the truth about the father he never knew. This book is scheduled for release later this year.
My remaining projects range from a variety of children's novels from the fantastical to the downright silly, to my next venture into YA fantasy, and to the creation of an adult suspense/mystery series with a strong and interesting male character. I have written the first page of more books than I can count without taking off my shoes!
Thanks for your time and for interviewing me. I just want to end by saying that I love my readers and I always love hearing from you all. Without all of your support and encouragement, my books would be nothing but words on a page. I owe my career to my readers, which I’ll try to repay by publishing books that entertain, excite, and delight all those who read them. I welcome any and all comments, encouragement, feedback and questions by one of my favorite social networking sites shown below. Happy reading!!
Thanks to you too David. There you have it, folks. David Estes, the author with a heart of gold :) Shoo, shoo! Go fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway widget below.
David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table. Follow David on Goodreads | Blogger | Twitter | Facebook
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