Interview with Dave Cravens

Q: How did you come up with the idea of mixing fantasy, science fiction and the real world in the way that you have?

A: I had a steady diet of comic books and super heroes as a kid–that probably had a lot to do with it. Comics are notorious for mixing every kind of genre together. And why not? I love the freedom that offers me both as a story teller, and as an artist. When I sat down to write Crusaders, I had a real “anything goes” attitude. I think that’s pretty obvious when you read it, but also what makes it so much fun to read. No matter how far fetched the ideas got, though, everything had to relate back to the real world we all know and live in. Earth is the battleground for the war between science and magic, and told through the eyes of everyday teenagers we can all identify with.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Will there be a sequel, or something totally different?

A: Crusaders is a trilogy, so there will definitely be two more books. I’m excited to finish it, since I’ve had these ideas stirring in my head for a few years now. In book two, Jack returns to herald the coming of the evil hinted to in book one. I don’t want to give too much away, but the majority of action will take place on Earth as opposed to Gaea. It’s going to be pretty cool–I’m grinning just thinking about it.

As for other projects, I’m always juggling a bunch at a time. I spend my days creating promotional videos for a computer game company in Southern California. I also write a monthly series for a website called Thistledown Hall (www.thistledownhall.com) under their label of Fireside Stories. A new story arc for Fireside will be starting this winter entitled A Song, a Dance, and a Sword. You can check out the previous arcs, Marital Blitz and Forever Summer in the Thistledown Hall library.

Q: Tell us about the experience of writing your first novel.

A: Actually, Crusaders isn’t my first novel. I’ve written several over the years, but usually became so disenchanted with my work that I’d quit on them without finishing. Its something I struggled with for a long time. Finally, in college, I buckled down and returned to my roots. I rediscovered the Crusaders storyline I had created while in high school, and hammered away at the keyboard for a year and a half with renewed fervor. Writing became fun again. As extra insurance to finish the book, I started with the ending chapter and wrote the entire thing backwards. That sounds a little weird, but it worked.

Now, the challenge lies in spreading the word. I’m pretty new to the game so there’s been quite a learning curve. But Crusaders is gradually picking up momentum. Those who have read it, love it. Its just getting people to take that chance on a new writer.

Q: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events?

A: I had my very first book signing this past summer. It was a blast. I love meeting with people, whether its because they enjoyed my book, they’re a writer themselves, or they just want to chat. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do events like that too often. My work as a Media Producer keeps me pretty busy and is what pays the bills for the moment. However, anyone can email me at CrusaderMail@aol.com. I respond personally to everyone who writes, and would love to know what people think of the book, website and art.

Q: Do you have any favorite SF or mainstream writers? 

A: This always shocks people, but as far as novelists go–not really. I read a lot of technical manuals to keep abreast with computers, editing and special effects. I also indulge in a fair amount of what I call “junk science”– theories for unexplained events, etc. Material like that really gets my imagination going. But I would have to say my favorite all time writers have been from the comic book genre. I’m almost ashamed to admit that, but its true. Guys like Peter David, when he wrote for the Incredible Hulk and X-Factor, and Chris Claremont’s earlier years on the X-Men and Excalibur. These guys are brilliant. They have this incredible ability to make the most absurd situations believable. They have you laughing one minute and on the verge of your seat the next. That really made an impact on me as a teenager.

Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author? 

A: Right now, the Internet is my pipeline to the world. The majority of sales are over the net, and it’s the only place I advertise. Beyond that, it allows me a lot of control over the image and perception of my work. Check out the Crusaders website at www.thistledownhall.com/crusaders and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find original artwork, music and even a movie trailer for Crusaders of a Dying Breed. (Be warned, you’ll need Flash 4.0 or higher.) And there’s much more to come! The Internet is an invaluable tool for any author.

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