Author Spotlight – Jamie Davis
Jamie Davis is a nurse, retired paramedic, author, and nationally recognized medical educator who began teaching new emergency responders as a training officer for his local EMS program. He loves everything fantasy and sci-fi and especially the places where stories intersect with his love of medicine or gaming.
Jamie lives in a home in the woods in Maryland with his wife, three children, and dog. He is an avid gamer, preferring historical and fantasy miniature gaming, as well as tabletop games. He writes LitRPG, GameLit, urban, and contemporary paranormal fantasy stories, among other things (like miniature gaming rules).
He loves hearing from readers and going to cons and events where he meets up with fans. Reach out and say “hi.” Visit JamieDavisBooks.com for more books, free offers and more!
Thanks for joining us today, Jamie. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I just stepped back into the world of Michael Anderle’s Kurtherian Gambit and the started the series over again. There’s something about Bethany Anne, the main character, that just makes it a bunch of fun to (re)read.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Ooo, good question. I’ve always been partial to Ranger/Archer characters. I’d be armed with a badass magic bow and a nice Hawkeye-ish collection of various types of magic arrows.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Why?
Actually, I dictate the first drafts of all my books. I’ve found it has several benefits for me. Besides the health benefits of avoiding repetitive stress injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I find it has connected me with my favorite type of storytelling. I first started telling stories with my voice, gravitating towards acting in numerous dramatic productions over the years. So, I tell myself the story while I dictate them, then I go back and do my re-writes on my laptop after transcribing the audio files.
And how do you like to work – in silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps?
I have to dictate in a quiet room. After that, though, I like having some background noise on. Often I dial up a music channel on my Alexa. I find it varies depending on the type of scenes I’m working on that day. My action music of choice is 70s and 80s funk. Dramatic scenes call for 70s southern rock and singer-songwriters.
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit? Tell us something unusual about your writing method!
While I plot out my stories to give myself a road map of sorts to follow, I rarely take the route I planned to get to the ending. I always find out something about my characters I didn’t know when I started and they often surprise me by doing things I didn’t want them to do. I guess that makes me a “plantser?”
What are your most significant non-book fantasy influences?
Star Wars had a huge influence on me growing up. I was in that sweet spot age-wise when the first movie was release in 1977 and I’ve seen its influences in many of my projects. While most consider it Sci-fi – it’s really a fantasy story set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
Other influences are any of the old MGM swashbucklers like Robin Hood, Captain Blood, and numerous westerns of the 60s and 70s all of which taught me about pacing for action sequences and how our classic heroes are “supposed” to act.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
I am currently watching Outlander with my wife. I watch it primarily because of the time travel and fantasy elements, as well as some pretty awesome action sequences and historical references. Don’t tell my wife, though. She thinks I tolerate it on her behalf.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write or otherwise do any work. How do you choose to spend the day?
Wow, I really need that. As a person who works from home it’s really hard to separate work from family time. I mean, my laptop is always there calling me to edit this or write a few new words on that. I guess I would use that time to spend more family time, do more reading, and play some video games on my Xbox.
If you could choose one punctuation mark to be made illegal, which would it be and why?
Exclamation points. I probably only use one per book (or none at all). I think it can be a cop out by a writer who isn’t using words and sentence pacing to convey urgency in a scene. If you do that, it’s superfluous.
In no more than three sentences, tell us a little something about your current work in progress!
A young woman from a family against cybernetic enhancement in any human, finds herself injured and requiring implants to save her life. The story (a trilogy) follows her struggle with her human identity while hiding what happened from her oppressive family.
If you could co-write or co-create a series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen), who would you choose to work with and why?
I would most like to work with Craig Martelle, a prolific writer in his own right, who is killing it with collaboration projects right now. I want to create a new fantasy project with him that reflects both our diverse backgrounds in a way that wows all of our readers.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
The most helpful writing advice I’ve ever received was write every day. Creating a steady writing habit has been the one thing most responsible for my prolific writing schedule.
The worst advice probably comes from any author who tells me I can’t do things a certain way or have to write using a certain process to be successful. There are as many successful writing techniques and styles as there are successful writers. The truth is each of us has to find the system or collection of system parts that works for us and use that to pave the way for our stories to be written.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Wow, another great question. There are so many options and it probably changes based on what my current or upcoming projects are. That said, as I answer this question, I think I’d want to visit 1860s America and hang out with President Lincoln.
He governed during an incredibly divisive time in U.S. history and he did it with a collection of advisors who were all adversaries and rivals. He somehow managed to use each person’s disparate positions and abilities to deal with a divided nation, a civil war, and to bring the nation back together again. I think it’s a fascinating story and has lessons useful not only in my writing to create complex character interactions, but also in today’s divided world.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I call the solutions to those moments in my writing, “Time to make a sandwich.” If I can’t figure out what to do or where to go next, I usually take the main character in the scene and have them do something ordinary or mundane (like make a sandwich). Usually, by the time the “sandwich” is made, something has happened to draw the character back into the action and the story continues. When I edit my draft, the sandwich often disappears, though not always. Sometimes the character just wants a sandwich.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I really like Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame series, written in the 1980s. It’s a great read with some memorable characters and is an early example of GameLit or LitRPG fantasy before most people ever created the name of that genre.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with what we like to call a ‘shark elevator pitch’? (It’s exactly the same as an elevator pitch, but with sharks.) (Well, one shark. Which, by the way, is currently picking between its rows of teeth to try and dislodge the remains of the last author who stepped onto its elevator.)
Ahem. So: why should readers check out your work? A shark elevator pitch of your own book(s) in no more than three sentences – go!
If you like stories with ordinary people and relationships in extraordinary circumstances, read my books. Whether it’s paramedics who take care of supernatural creatures or a work-a-day loser stuck inside his fantasy game, all my characters have to rise above who they think they are to become something great.
Thanks again for joining us today, Jamie!
Jamie Davis is the author of numerous fantasy, sci-fi and LitRPG series, including ACCIDENTAL CHAMPION, THE BROKEN THRONE, EXTREME MEDICAL SERVICES, THE ELDARA SISTER, and THE DELIVERY MAGE.