Interview with David Meredith

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve always written. Going all the
way back to when I was about nine writing stories on notebook paper and binding
them with old shirt-boards decorated with Crayola marker I wanted to create
stories, but it took quite a bit longer for me to feel confident what I wrote
was good enough to show other people. I don’t think that happened until well
into my adulthood – when I’d finally had enough literary experience as well as
life experience to make my writing feel authentic and real.
Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen?
 Well I’ve certainly always wanted to be a writer,
but I think the term “author” has a weightier connotation. I’m not sure it’s
the Webster’s definition, but I’ve always imagined that what “author” meant was
you were a good enough writer that you’d compose books and enough people would
like your work well enough that they’d be willing to pay money for it, so you
could make a living that way. I don’t think I’m quite to that point yet, but
I’d definitely like to be there one day – where I could get up in the morning
and just think about what I was going to write that day instead of having to
plan around everything else I’m responsible for in my daily life.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
It was a very bad mystery story
that was about nine pages long on notebook paper when I was nine that was in
sort of a pseudo Hardy Boys style (what I was reading at the time). Then
throughout middle school and high school I wrote a bunch of crappy fan-fic
based upon Forgotten Realms, Dragon Lance, and whatever movies or TV shows I
happened to be into. None of it was any good, I realize now, and I’d be really
embarrassed for anyone else to read it, but each of those early works were
important for helping me experiment with different literary styles and voices
until I finally found my own. I think was a necessary part of the process.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I think the easy answer, of course,
is fairy tales and fantasy. I’m really at heart a fantasy guy, and everything I
write has at least some fantastic element to it, but that isn’t the whole answer.
I think that what makes well-written fantasy work is a healthy dose of reality.
Good fantasy must be rooted in some sort of reality or it ceases to be
believable which can make it less engaging. I think the most successful fantasy
books and series are those that leave you with a sense on some level the story really
could have happened.
In the case of Snow White, I think
most people can relate to depression. Most people have either experienced it
themselves or know someone dear to them who has. However, I noticed that fairy
tale princesses, particularly of the Disney variety, in spite of horrible
trauma and tragedy just simply don’t appear to have the same weaknesses and
failings as regular people by suffering the long term effects of those
traumatic experiences. I felt like this actually served to distance the
character from the reader. I think my approach more accurately examines the
likely effects that a life of neglect and abuse (like the one Snow White was
forced to endure) would have in real life. It’s the sort of thing that really
has the potential to break a person and I wanted to explore that struggle more
thoroughly.
Now, the other part of the
inspiration, the real world part, was rather personal. In the space of about
three or four months back in 2006, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. As
I observed how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on
their behalf – “So… Now what?” 
They had both had wonderful, loving
relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has
been so closely tied up with and centered upon one other person for so long,
what do you do when they are no longer a part of your life? How do you pick up
the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
Who is your literary hero?
Author: Probably Tad Williams,
Character: I really relate to Fitz from Robin Hobbs’ Golden Fool trilogy.
How much of your characters are based on your traits or
someone you know personally?
I think all of my characters are
based in part on people or aspects of people I’ve known or met, or at the very
least know a whole lot about. I think that is necessary to do this when
breathing life into your characters to make them feel real as well as act and reactive
in believable ways.
Describe your main character in six words.
Abused,
needy, serious daddy issues, resilient.
Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Fairy tales meet the real world.
What scene was your favorite to write?
Probably the scene where Snow White
finally takes charge of her court and establishes herself as queen. I think it
shows that even though a person can spent most of their life being horribly
abused and neglected, that doesn’t mean it has to be a perpetual state. Human
beings still have the capacity within to find strength and affect positive
change in their lives. Being a victim once does not mean that you must always
be so in the future.
What scene was the hardest for you to write?
Actually, it was the wedding night
scene. That isn’t generally the sort of graphic content I employ in my writing,
but at the same time I did not see how (again keeping my goal of absolute
realism and authenticity in mind) that I could leave it out. Though some people
may question whether including such graphic content was necessary, I decided
that it was vital to telling the story.
This novel is about Snow White
exploring her innermost reflections and revisiting her most intimate, impactful,
and traumatic memories. Her marriage to Charming marked a turning point in her
life. It marked an end to fear and suffering at the hands of her step mother.
It was also her first and only experience with love apart from childhood
memories of her father. There was no question in my mind that she would
remember the experience fondly and more importantly, in every minute detail,
leaving nothing out as she recollected it. After all, who censors their own
head?  At the same time, I spent a very
great deal of worry and effort writing and revising it because I didn’t want it
to feel salacious, trite, or voyeuristic – like the obligatory love scene in
some bad erotic novel. I just wanted it to feel like a real memory. It was a
very difficult tightrope to walk.
What are you working on now?
I’ve got several things in the
pipe, but the work that is currently on my front burner is a YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Novel in its Beta Reading phase called Aaru.
Here’s the synopsis:
…Death and
the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this
future…
-Friedrich Nietzsche
Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and
skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only
hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to
bear. 
She is sixteen years old.
Rose has made peace with her fate, but her
younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren
convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious
man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and
experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive
super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the
righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and
death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can
afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.
Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces
are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor
immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea
of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy,
sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning
in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru
challenges all they ever knew about life, love, death and everything they
thought they really believed.
I’m going to try to go the
traditional publishing route this Summer, but if that doesn’t work out, I may
self-publish again since it has worked out so well for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
Goals?
Accomplishments? Improvements?
Of course, you are either improving or backsliding
so I’m always trying to get better. I’d still liked to be published by a
nationally or internationally distributing publishing house. I think that Aaru might have the sort of mass-market
appeal to let me do that, but I am also working on my Doctorate degree and hope
to finish that up by Summer of 2017. The
Reflections of Queen Snow White
is doing quite well. It has been added as
To-Be-Read well over 500 times on Goodreads and the reviews have mostly been
good to great.
Are
there any authors or books you recommend?
Probably my favorite series of all time is the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad
Williams. I have also really enjoyed the work of Robin Hobb. I’m not generally
a big fan of first person narrative, but she does it really well. Shogun, by James Clavell is another work
that I view as foundational to my own writing.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
An awful lot of my free time is
spent marketing my work or executing the duties of the job at which I am
gainfully employed, but I also coach swimming and have kids of my own, so doing
things with them is a pretty fun and relaxing part of my day.

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