This week, I’d like to introduce John Davis, pulp science fiction author of the Gunship series, the Fleet series and many other stories. If you’re a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Firefly, or pulp sci-fi in general, you’ll love his books.
Adam wants anything but a normal life. As captain of the Gunship, he and a crew of unique characters do what they have to in order to survive. But with a war between planets looming, the only decent paying job could be the job that kills him.
John Macallen Davis is the author of over 30 published stories, and has picked up a readership because of his pulp influence on science fiction. Prior to writing full-time, he worked for a satellite company that everyone hates while studying physical fitness in college.
When he’s not writing, John enjoys reading and listening to good music and is trying to learn how to play the guitar. He reads a variety of books, most notably early 1900s pulp fiction and Stephen King.
John currently lives in Southwest Virginia with his wife of 15 years and their two children.
1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.
I’m a regular guy who loves to read/write and I’ve worked my butt off every step of the way. I figured out somewhere along the way that authors typically find success when they pin their hat to a certain niche and style. I write short stories and love science fiction, so I incorporated the lifestyle of a 1920s pulp author and so far it’s worked. That’s my niche. Short stories that are fun to read. I’m not striving for perfection here, I just push myself to entertain readers. Currently I’m laying the foundation for a brand new series called Reach, which takes place in the distant future and will arrive in serialized installments.
You As A Reader
2. When did you first fall in love with books?
We were rather poor growing up and books were cheap. So while a lot of my friends were scoring the newest video games, I was forced to read. It didn’t take long for me to discover that books are both a form of entertainment and an escape. The human imagination is far better than any video game I’ve ever played.
3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?
I was really into fantasy growing up and I know the obvious answer here would be Lord of the Rings. However, it’s not. I was quickly sucked into the world of Conan the Barbarian and really loved the idea of a strongman with a wicked weapon basically roaming through whatever country he pleases and making short work of anyone who tries to stop him. To me, this was the idea of true freedom and absolutely spells adventure! I still get excited by it today, and collect as many of the old Savage Sword of Conan magazines as I can get my hands on.
4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?
I think all published authors have had the same moment. For me, I bought a book based on the EVE universe (science fiction), only to realize that it was like reading a 600-page dictionary. I mean, there was absolutely no sense of action or adventure, and I began to wonder how this book (though well-written in a literal sense) ever got published. That’s when I did some research online, found out the guy was a first-time author, and realized that anyone who takes it seriously enough can get into this writing thing – even me.
5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?
The last book I read was the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. I saw the movie and it was original enough to get me excited, so I rushed out to continue the story. My current favorite is At The Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In fact, I’m a huge fan of pulp fiction and this guy had it all figured out.
6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?
Well, as a writer who’d like to know as much as possible about success, I would have to pick Stephen King. The guy is obviously great at what he does, but he had some earlier struggles that I also dealt with. People think that he can publish anything now and it will become a best-seller, and that may be the case, but he didn’t start out with that kind of fame. Just like us, he started from the very bottom and worked his way up.
You As A Writer
7. When did you first know you were a writer?
This is a very good question as I suffer from severe social anxiety. I knew pretty early on that I was a writer. Deep down, writing provided a way to unwind and much like reading, it just felt right to me. The problem that I faced was avoiding the conversation. Whenever we ran into people we knew out in public (people we hadn’t seen for a while) the question always popped up. The last thing you want to do when you have social anxiety is to talk about writing. They want to know where you’re working and you want to avoid the conversation entirely, so “stay at home dad” was my escape hatch for a very long time. Eventually my wife called me out on it and that’s that. For most authors, I’m sure this sounds like a very strange problem. I’ve actually turned down potential book signings in my area because I’m horrified by the idea of sitting at a table and talking about myself all day.
8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?
Absolutely, and it was terrible. I didn’t get far enough to name it, but it was planned as a fantasy book. I quickly realized that writing fantasy is much harder than writing science fiction. The story involved a lot of snow and vampires, if I remember correctly.
9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?
The best part of my journey has been the day I received my first check ($26). I still haven’t cashed it and it’s framed. I couldn’t get over the fact that someone out there was paying to read stories that began in my head. When it comes to the most difficult, some days you wake up and you just don’t want to write. I try to write for five or six hours each day, and just like any other job it has its days. I love writing, don’t get me wrong, but some days you just want to lay around and watch television all day. Learning to push through that mental attitude has been the toughest part, but I also believe that it’s what separates successful writers from aspiring writers.
10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?
Hang around a barber shop long enough and you’ll eventually get a haircut. I know, it sounds silly, but this is a gem when it comes to advice. Surround yourself with people that you respect in the world of writing. Hang around long enough and you’ll begin to pick up their good habits. I came in with zero knowledge of how the publishing industry works and I’ve written two #1 best-sellers (albeit briefly) on the Amazon Kindle. One of the two lasted for a whopping three hours, but that’s three hours that I outsold every Star Wars book on the planet. Hanging around with the right crowd had a lot to do with it.
11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.
I just wrote a short story called Hollow Earth that’s currently available across most eBook platforms. I also recently finished up a novel-length story called Wicked Dead, and it’s currently being butchered by my editor. As for this week, I’m world-building for a brand new science fiction series called Reach. Notebooks and sketches, all of that cool stuff.
Fun Stuff About You
12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?
I actually attended college to become a fitness trainer and lift weights regularly. That seems to be my other anxiety relief outside of reading/writing. I’m also a big family man. I hang out with my daughter (who also loves to read) or play Nintendo with my son. I’m a die-hard fan of the show Survivor.
13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?
Minimalism. Those who know me know that I’m not a technology guy. I used to be, but then I discovered minimalism and it has made my life more enjoyable. Minimalism is the art of simplifying your life and it truly does work. Outside of clothes, I’m currently in the process of streamlining my possessions down to a dozen or so. Minimalism involves a lot of prayer, meditation and a great understanding of how the world really works. I was first turned onto minimalism through reading up on transcendentalism. What is life really about – that’s the mystery, right? I don’t have the answers, of course, but I can guarantee you it doesn’t involve owning the next iPhone.
14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
I’m the hermit and my wife’s the traveller, so I would probably let her decide. She’s very supportive, so it’s the least I could do. I know she’s always wanted to vacation in Hawaii.
15. How can people connect with you?
16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Never give up. Never ever give up. Writing is a very hard industry to work in and you will always work harder than you’re paid. If you are writing for the right reasons, hanging around the right folks and working hard, you will eventually find success. I’ve also put a lot of faith and trust in God’s will and He has yet to lead me astray.
Thanks for letting us get to know you a little. I know I’ve come away from this interview inspired to work even harder.
Are you interested to learn more about John Davis’s books? You can find them all on Amazon.