Today we welcome Jean Davis to The Contents Page. Jean has published three novels and many short stories. ‘Jean Davis lives in West Michigan with her musical husband, two nerdy teenagers, and two attention-craving terriers. When not ruining fictional lives from the comfort of her writing chair, she can be found devouring books and sushi, weeding her flower garden, or picking up hundreds of sticks while attempting to avoid the abundant snake population that also shares her yard.’ Jean is going to tell us about her novel, Sahmara (http://amzn.to/2nqLBih), and how she finds time in her busy family life to write and spread messages of strength.
The blurb of Sahmara (http://amzn.to/2nqLBih):
Deep in the enemy land of Atheria, one young woman escapes her captors only to find herself alone, unarmed, and starving. Torn from her life of privilege and the arms of her ma’hasi lover, Sahmara is unfit for life on the run. The well-being of her family is unknown, and if Zane isn’t dead, he is a slave. No one is coming to save her.
Desperate, Sahmara prays for help, but the gods have price for their assistance. Along with her lovers Olando and Sara, she may be the one to help take her homeland back if she can only find the strength within herself.
Welcome, Jean. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Let’s see what I can think of beyond my usual bio. I’m self employed, which helps greatly with the whole self-discipline aspect of bring a writer. My morning writing time is accompanied by the not so melodic sounds of six chickens making a racket while they prepare to lay eggs. During my evening writing time my husband is often practicing guitar, which is thankfully, much more melodic. Sadly, I write best in silence, so I keep a pair of earplugs handy.
To date, the strangest place I worked on one of my books is in bar while waiting for the band to start. Thank goodness for Word on my phone. I’ve also written in my car under a blanket in winter while my daughter shopped with friends, on the floor of an elementary school hallway while she was in choir practice, and my favorite, the play place at McDonalds with twenty-some screaming kids creating questionably white noise. There’s never enough time. Write where you are.
How do you start to write a book?
My books usually start with very minimal planning. I started Sahmara with a character name, a last sentence and the intent to make it a fantasy novel. A Broken Race started with the intent to write a book where my main character didn’t kill anyone. That didn’t work out, by the way. I prefer to have the field wide open when I sit down to start a book and then see where the words take me.
What is your advice to other writers/authors?
If you’d like to publish a book, the first step is finishing it.
If you’d like to publish a book, you’re going to have to submit it and be prepared for rejection.
If you’d like to publish a book, realize that those first two parts are the easy ones. Now you have to have to go out and sell it.
What was the best money you ever spent as an author?
When I got the advance for my first book, I used it toward a comfortable writing chair. In this chair I can put my feet up, forget about distracting aches and sore backs, and just write. It also reclines, which is great for leaning back to ponder scenes or napping if the pondering goes on too long.
Describe Sahmara in no more than five words.
Girl saves gods and country.
What brought you to write Sahmara?
As Sahmara started to take shape in the first few pages, I decided I wanted to write about a female character that didn’t need to be saved. If anyone was going to do the saving, it was going to be her. I like my female characters to be strong and capable. That idea brought the book together during the drafting stages.
What genre is Sahmara? Have you ever considered writing in another genre?
Sahmara is a fantasy novel, my first foray into that genre. I also write science fiction and dystopian.
At one point, I even wrote a western, but that won’t ever see the light of day. It was a fun personal project.
What is your favourite part of Sahmara?
The relationship between Sahmara and Olando became my favorite part of this book. What starts out as a necessary evil turns into something beautiful between them, and eventually, also with Sara. All three of them find love in an ugly world.
What got left out of the final draft?
Earlier I mentioned starting this story with three things, one of which was the last sentence. Ironically, that last sentence got dropped when I changed the direction of the ending in the last draft.
What part of Sahmara surprised you when you were writing it?
Yanis, one of the characters from early in the book, wasn’t intended to play an impactful role when he first arrived on the page. As it turned out I enjoyed the interaction between him and Sahmara. He grew on me and ended up helping shape the story all the way to the end.
Is there a message in Sahmara that you want readers to grasp?
Life is what you make it. Situations can be horrible. People can be horrible. You can choose to be beautiful in spite of it all.
What’s next? What are you working on now?
I’m currently wrapping up the first draft of book 4 of The Narvan, my science fiction series. The first of which should be out at some point this year. After that’s done, I’m going to dive into a fun fantasy novel I started years ago that needs a middle and a full rewrite.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
When I’m not writing, I like to read, mostly: fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, romance, or historical. When I’m not in a chair with my face glued to a book or laptop, I’m usually out my yard getting dirty. Last year I built two ponds and a waterfall. This year I plan to enjoy sitting by them and watching the fish. From experience, I will admit, I’m not good at sitting and enjoying. I’ll probably end up weeding my flower or vegetable garden; however, it’s nice to have the goal to relax.
Thank you so much for your interview, Jean. It has been lovely to hear about your work. Good luck with your upcoming releases in 2018 and we hope to see you here again soon.
You can contact/connect with Jean here:
You can check out Jean’s books here:
The Last God: http://amzn.to/2DO2tuc
A Broken Race: http://amzn.to/2BCZu1S
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