Being a book store has lots of perks, such as knowing when new books by some of our favorite authors come out—and having them. David Drake’s The Spark novel will be released this Tuesday, November 7, so we’re shining our Friday Spotlight on him to give you extra reason to come in and get his book!
David Drake is a Duke Law graduate and a Vietnam Vet who has been writing full time since 1981.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from The Spark?
I generally write action/adventure, but this book is completely different in setting from anything I’ve done in the past. I’ve attempted to turn ‘the Matter of Britain’; that is, the Arthurian legends into SF. The result has a fantasy feel, but I think it’s technically SF. And it’s fun–nowhere nearly as grim as some of what I’ve written.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
The best part for me of being a writer is that I work alone. If I succeed, I did it; if I fall on my face, there’s nobody else to blame. I work my own hours–which are longer than what any employer has ever expected of me, but that’s my choice–and I can work just about anywhere and anytime. That’s real freedom. It’s also freedom to starve, but it’s my choice.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Writers are people who write. If you want to be a writer, do it. Don’t take courses, don’t join workshops, don’t tell your friends or relatives you’re a writer–just do it.
The only two people whose opinion matters about the quality of your writing are yourself and the opinion of somebody who’ll pay you money for the work.
Don’t ask your online friends to comment, because their opinions are valueless. (I don’t say they’re wrong–just that they don’t matter.) Don’t ask successful acquaintances about your work: it’s none of their business. They might be able to tell you how to change what you wrote into what they would’ve written, but why would you care about that?
It’s your job. If you want to be a writer, do it.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I love to do heavy yard work. We’ve got about 23 acres in the country, mostly meadow. Using hand tools, I keep the woodline (tree line) where it was when we bought the property. I chop down saplings, then using a hand saw turn the trunks into firewood (which I give away). Light branches I run through a chipper/shredder (the only power tool involved) to create mulch which my wife uses in her gardens.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
I’ll bet most people don’t know that I read popular literature from ca 1900 for relaxation. Folks like Stanley Weyman, E Phillips Oppenheim, Arthur Conan Doyle (non-Holmes material). There were some marvelous storytellers working then!
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Any bookstore that handles SF and fantasy is likely to have something of mine. Baen Books is distributed by Simon & Schuster who sells direct to bookstores, as well as distributors such as Ingram and Baker & Taylor. There is the internet, of course, but supporting your local bookstore is my preference.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I have a website (david-drake.com) and even a bi-monthly newsletter. (I don’t know that you’ll find me any more awesome than I find myself, though; which isn’t very.) Baen also posts original short pieces on their website.
Thank you so much for the interview, David! We’re looking forward to sharing The Spark with our ABSW family upon its release this Tuesday, November 7!