Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Author Interview – David VanDyke


How did you develop your plot and characters? I write The Eden Plague pretty organically – in fact, my first draft and first edition was in first person, before I rewrote it into third person I could expand the character threads and plot. First person is very easy to do, but hard to do well – powerful but tricky to get right. This method did have the benefit of getting 80% of everything down on paper pretty fast – I think I wrote the book in about five weeks – and then all I had to do was tinker.

Who designed the cover? The cover is by James at He’s a great designer and he has a lot of premade covers at, or he will do custom work.

Who is your publisher? I’m self-published through Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, BestIndieBookStore, and maybe a few more. I’m always looking for legitimate places to sell my ebooks. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be happy to get picked up by a traditional publisher but I’m not actively seeking. I’m intending to go the route of Hugh Howey or EL James, which is to say, self-pub first, then let them seek me out. If they don’t, I’m doing all right so far as an indie, and perhaps that’s what I’ll always be.

How do you promote this book? Since I’m fortunate enough to still have a good day job to put food on the table, I have tried just about everything and every book site, bought sponsorships, books of the day listings, paid ads, features, and so on. I estimate I have made no money at all this year as I plowed every penny back into promoting and advertising.

Along with that my wife and publicist (one and the same) has set up very professional website at, and she manages my Facebook, Twitter and some other author networking things. I also blog at I guess you say I try just about everything, and I have slowly built sales up to fair level – almost 1000 copies a month and climbing slowly.

Will you write others in this same genre? I already have three more books in the series, and I am working on another one to cap off the pentalogy. I also have two spin-off novellas in the works, one of which will start a new series set 100 years in the future of world of The Eden Plague.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I’d say there are a lot of little messages – things like the value and fragility of free will, of faith, of morality, of the consequences of choices, of the difficulty of the human condition, and of how every choice and action causes dominoes to fall that change the world. I also write about individual rights and responsibilities and how they interrelate, and the excellence of traditional military values – integrity, courage, self-sacrifice, the comradeship of arms. I can get a little preachy but I try not to overdo it. Who doesn’t like a good story where the brave knight rescues the princess?

How much of the book is realistic? I’d say a lot of it is very, very realistic. yes there is the sci-fi element of The Eden Plague, but the weapons, combat scenes and basic physics I try to make ultra-realistic. I also really don’t like logical fallacies and plot holes so I do my best to eliminate those.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Absolutely, though not in pure form. Lots of characters are amalgams of people I know, with certain characteristics combined or emphasized. Some scenes are drawn from my experiences, if only a little bit. For example, in the opening scene of The Eden Plague, the description of the house is pretty much that of the house I live in now.

How important do you think villains are in a story? One of my weaknesses right now, that I am trying to work on, is developing effective villains. I have a tough time identifying with them, though I do have a few where I scare myself for identifying with them too much. I actually have a couple of antiheroes that, though not villains, fill something of that role, and they have become some of my most popular characters. Both are former military men who took different routes – one to be an insurgent, almost a terrorist against the fascist government of what the United States has become, and another who is instrumental in launching nuclear missiles in order to accomplish what he believes to be goals for the greater good.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Not yet. I have already traveled a lot in my military service, spending twelve years overseas, and I hope that becoming a writer full time will free me to travel more.


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Genre – SciFi /Adventure

Rating – PG13

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