Thursday, October 20, 2011

Return visit from YA author, David Slater

YA author, David Michael Slater, returns today to talk about the next book in his Sacred Books series. 

AUTHOR: David Michael Slater
PUBLISHER: Blooming Tree Press/CBAY

Please tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, but moved to Portland in 1994. I’ve been publishing books for about 15 years for children, teens, and adults. Meanwhile, I’ve been teaching full-time. After working in a middle school for 13 years, I’ve been teaching college-credit Writing classes to juniors and seniors in high school. I have a wife and 10 year-old son.

Tell us your latest news?
THE BOOK OF ALL THINGS (Sacred Books, Volume IV) will be released Oct. 16th. Even more exciting: THE BOOK OF NONSENSE (SBI) is being developed for film by Producer Kevin Bannerman (Lion King/Curious George) and Screenwriter Karen Janszen (one of Variety’s “top ten screenwriters to watch”). Finally, my first e-book/picture book has just been released, WESTLEY THE WICKED AND THE RASCALLY RING BEAR.

When and why did you begin writing?
I started to write while taking some English classes, post-graduation. There were two extra books listed on the bottom of the syllabus for a class in Realism with a note that said, “Read these if you have time.” They turned out to be just about my favorite all-time books. One was Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. The other was Jorge Luis Borges’ FICCIONES. It was after reading Borges’ short stories, “The Circular Ruins,” in particular, that I suddenly realized I had to try to write stories like he did. They were a revelation.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I used love composing and loathe revision. I think I became a writer the day that reversed.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is complicated. Asking questions, facing the mysteries, and finding yourself with the help of those you love is how to get through it.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?)
No, but I am a twin, and we were very different as kids—though not nearly as different as Dexter and Daphna in Sacred Books. Neither of us has a vision/reading problem.

What are your current projects?
Editing the last two books in the Sacred Books series (THE BOOK OF NAMES and THE BOOK OF ALL BOOKS). Hoping to start a new novel about summer camp.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Don’t think so. I’ve had the benefit of  staying several books ahead of each volume’s publication, the result of which is that they are unusually tied together. I was able to constantly go back and revise to make sure the stories meshed perfectly.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Probably when I learned the power of advertising, specifically how words could be used to quite literally shape people’s behavior. That seemed like magic.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
Never really have enough time for it!

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I teach full-time: junior and senior dual-credit writing classes at a high school outside of Portland, OR. Between that and spending time with my wife and son, I’m pretty well booked!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
As is always the case with me, composing is tough: filling the blank page. Once I have text—good, bad, or ugly—I’m good to go. I can revise ‘till the cows come home. And even when they’re home.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persistence is every bit as important as talent—or to paraphrase Henry Austin: Genius is oft but perseverance in disguise.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Don’t try to ban the books! Keep in mind that the Sacred Books are fiction!

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Blooming Tree Press/CBAY Books. I have an agent, but I found them included where most publishers are listed.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Feel free to drop me a line any time! Thanks so much. — Dms


The little silver book was sitting harmlessly on the floor next to some random mechanical bits of something or other Dexter had once taken apart. Teetering a bit as she bent over, Daphna picked the /Aleph/ up. Then she opened it, wondering if perhaps it had all been a dream, or some kind of hallucination. Brilliant, variegated light burst from the book, dizzying the twins. But neither tried to
look into it this time. Daphna closed the cover. In the palm of her hand, she held all things—the universe, its every point concentrated and contained, including, it seemed, even the entirety of time in which it spun.

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