Posted on 06/01/2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Author David Estes just might be living everyone’s dream: He quit a job he hated to pursue a passion full time, and now he lives in a tropical paradise.
Estes didn’t expect any of that to happen, of course. A lifelong reader, he’d nevertheless spent 10 years working as an accountant/operational risk officer.
When Estes’s wife began encouraging him to write, he decided he’d aim for one novel. Almost six years later, he’s written 28 books and published 23 of them ... and left the cubicle for good.
The author of several dystopian YA series found the time — probably while he was lounging on the beaches of Hawaii! — to tell Fussy about how writing has literally changed his life.
SADYE: You’re quite prolific! Any secrets besides being able to break free of the corporate job?
DAVID: Honestly, closing the metaphorical door on my cubicle “office” was a very small part of what allowed me to write so many books in such a short time.
While I was still working full-time, ... I was writing two solid hours every day. After my wife and I left our corporate jobs, I continued to write about two to three hours a day, so that didn't change much. More importantly, I was able to focus more on the marketing side of things, which is what really helped me to break through.
As far as my “secret,” it really just comes down to commitment — to my stories, to my characters, to a dream, and to my readers, both present and future. I have so many stories I want to tell, so many characters waiting for their chance to come alive in the pages of my books, and I don't want any of them to get lost in the netherworld of untold stories.
SADYE: Knowing what you know, what would you tell younger David to do differently, if anything?
DAVID: I HATE living in regret, but I do sometimes find myself wishing upon a star that I would've embraced my creative side earlier. That being said, my business/accounting background has been invaluable in running the business side of things, so I try to look at it that way.
Also, it was my job in accounting that took me to Australia, which is where I met my wife, Adele, who then encouraged me to write! So everything happened in the order it was meant to, and I'm happy that it did.
SADYE: Your work has been compared to The Hunger Games and Divergent; did either of those inspire you at all?
DAVID: I was a big fan of both of those series before I started writing my first dystopian novel, The Moon Dwellers, so I was honored when my books were compared to them, particularly by Buzzfeed, which was HUGE for my career. I wouldn't say that those stories in particular inspired me to write the stories I did, but definitely the genre as a whole was something I was very interested in. ...
I really became interested in dystopian literature when I read Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I was amazed at how he could take a current issue (abortion) and weave it into a futuristic story without taking sides on the issue. I've since tried to do the same thing with the issue of population growth, in my popular trilogy, Slip, which has been compared to Unwind by some reviewers (another honor!).
SADYE: Can you tell me a little bit about your Goodreads fan group — how it came about and how it took off?
DAVID: Despite my protests, a marketing company I was working with encouraged me to start a “fan group” on Goodreads. ... We managed to scrounge up 300 members in less than a week, but I still wasn't very comfortable with the idea. And it turns out, I was right. The fan group quickly ceased activity as everyone (myself included) grew bored of it.
I was considering shutting it down. Then I had an epiphany: Let's make it fun, and NOT all about me. ... So I changed the name to David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite and began creating programs for people who love to read books in general, rather than just MY books. It's grown to over 3,000 members and has some awesome programs that keep our active members coming back every day.
We talk about books, life, pop culture, and we even do Q&As with bestselling authors so our members get to interact with their favorites. I stop by my group every day and interact with the members, some of whom read my books, and some who don't. It doesn't really matter. We are all just readers, sharing our love of books.
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Categories: Author Interview