Thursday, April 19, 2012

❤author: Dave Becker Interview and Giveaway!

❤ I'm thrilled to welcome author, Dave Becker, to the blog today. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Dave! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Dave Becker has spent the past 20 years lying to people for a living. Fiction seemed like the next logical step. The Faustian Host is his first novel.

Congrats on the release! Tell us little bit about your debut.

Plymouth Rock is bleeding. Day has turned to night. Hundred-pound hailstones level buildings. The small town of Clement seems cursed, and the residents know who's to blame: the new kid, Tony Marino.

After losing his family and his home, 14-year-old Tony is forced to move from Florida to Massachusetts to attend Kalos Academy, an unconventional school for gifted children. Strange things begin to happen the day he arrives, and soon stories of plagues, monsters, and mystical objects surround him. Refusing to believe superstitions, Tony struggles to explain the occurrences logically, until he comes face to face with a satanic cult determined to bring about the end of the world.

What inspired you to write it and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

The Faustian Host is actually my third novel, but the first to be published. I've spent the past ten years trying to pitch several novels, screenplays, short stories, dirty jokes, etc. with no success. After several failed attempts, I decided to try my hand at a young adult novel - something my kids might want to read.

I first pitched The Faustian Host to literary agents, and immediately there was a different reaction to this book. Within a few days, I received more requests for the manuscript than all my previous attempts combined. Unfortunately, none offered representation.

At the encouragement of an author friend of mine, I decided to query major publishers directly. Despite strict policies not to accept any materials directly from authors, within 24 hours, three of the top six publishers in the world asked for the manuscript. That's when I knew I had a story that was definitely marketable. But like the agents, none of the editors offered a contract (technically, Random House and Scholastic are still considering it, but it's been months since I last heard from them).

Finally, my wife suggested something I'd toyed with for years: self-publishing. I'm a graphic designer, web programmer, copywriter, and marketing consultant by trade, so I just happened to possess all the skills and experience necessary to pull it off. I published The Faustian Host in March 2012 for Kindle and Nook, and it should be available for iBooks as well.

So I received some incredible validation from major publishers (Little Brown actually stated that they never accept unagented submissions, but they really wanted to read The Faustian Host but I never got "the call." I'll settle for the novel gaining in popularity and selling well. At least I got the exact cover and design for the book I always envisioned.

 How did you arrive at writing your particular genre? Is there any other genre you'd like to tackle in the future?

I've been a youth leader at my church for over 20 years, so I've developed a genuine love and admiration for teens. Since I communicate regularly with them, I felt I had a knack for writing young adult fiction, and figured it was worth a shot. I've also written adult novels, and have a psychological thriller entitled Mindfront that will be available in November.

❤ Looking forward to that. How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories?

Quite a bit in this one. I was part of the gifted program as a child, which shaped the entire structure of the fictional school, Kalos Academy, in the novel. The kids in The Faustian Host adopt an Ethiopian village, which is exactly what my church did several years ago, and I've been to the village twice to teach English, provide AIDS medication, and distribute food and vitamins. There's also a fight scene where the protagonist battles a school bully with "swords" which are simply PVC pipes wrapped in electrical tape. Sounds strange, but I engaged in the very same activity with a group of slightly brain-damaged guys one very late and painful night.

❤ What are your biggest motivations for writing?

I'm a visual artist as well as a writer, so I'm constantly plagued by dreams, visions, and ideas. If my work seems good, then that makes me creative. If not, I'm just insane. Either way, that's the way I am, and it's not going to change.

❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

I love to learn, so whatever I write ends up being infused with odd facts and trivia. In The Faustian Host, I created a school for gifted kids for that very purpose. The cool thing is that while much of the information seems irrelevant, some of it ends up saving the kids' lives.

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Writing isn't easy and won't make you rich. Even if you land a major publishing deal, you will have to work tirelessly to promote your book to try to get it to sell until you surrender to working tirelessly on writing your next book which you will have to work tirelessly at promoting. That's ultimately another reason why I published The Faustian Host myself. I have friends who are mid-list writers and I knew I'd have to do a ton of work anyway, so I figured I might as well try it on my own terms.

❤ What about you would surprise your readers?

I have memorized all the countries, capitals, and flags of the world. So, if I'm ever kidnapped, blindfolded, and taken anywhere in the world, all I have to do is get a glimpse of a flag, and I'll immediately know what city I need to get to to find the US embassy to get home. Maybe there's a book in there somewhere. Or maybe I'm insane. See what I mean?

❤ Puahaha! All the best people are ;] Who are some authors you idolize?

I'm a voracious and eclectic reader, so I admire way too many writers to list. The first author I remember knowing by name was Dr. Seuss, and I probably still have a few of his books memorized from reading them so many times to my kids. The first author that made me want to be a writer was Judy Blume. The first author that made me want to be a better writer was Edgar Allen Poe. The first author that made me realize I'll never be a great writer was John Milton.

❤ Seems like all those authors constituted you to become the writer you are today! What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?
Very strong writing and a fascinating concept that avoids all the usual contemporary paranormal tropes.
This message was voiced by two different editors at two different major publishers, both explaining that they just couldn't justify taking a risk on an unknown author. That was enlightening.

 What's next for you?

Next, I'm going to paint a new mural in my house. Then I'm going to finish editing Mindfront, and then continue writing the sequel to The Faustian Host, hopefully finishing it by next summer.

Where can you be found on the web?

Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

I'm holding a giveaway. If you become a fan of my author page on Facebook, one lucky winner will receive a signed, paperback copy of The Faustian Host. The novel is only available for purchase as an eBook; only 1o promotional paperbacks exist, so this is a wonderfully rare opportunity!
You heard Dave right! One lucky winner will receive a rare paperback issue of The Faustian Host by 'liking' his Facebook page! If bychance you don't use Facebook, become a fan or add him as a friend on his Goodreads page instead. To enter, leave a comment on this interview with your Facebook or Goodreads name that you are following Dave with.

Giveaway runs through May 31st, 2012 at 11.59 pm (your time).
Open to US readers only!
Please include your email address in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!