Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interview With Mitch Davies

Check out what Mitch had to say about his novel; The Inn of Fallen Leaves and so much more

Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm originally from Canada. I lived in Calgary for 40 years before moving to Arizona. My father was in the distribution side of the movie industry and had contacts in all the theaters in town. We very seldom had to pay to see a movie so we went to a lot of them. I spent 30 years working in the computer industry in various positions for large computer companies. I ended my career in Arizona after a long period working as the Information Systems Manager for a building materials company. I started writing seriously about 10 years ago when the content of my first novel began to build in my head. All it took was writing the first chapter and I realized I could fufill my dream of becoming a writer by sticking to the process. I enjoyed it and now I'm releasing my third novel.
Is this your first book?
No, The Inn of Fallen Leaves is my third novel. My first, A Wind In Montana, is a young adult novel about the high school years of two people in Great Falls, Montana. It was awarded the 2011 eLit Awards Bronze Medal for juvenile fiction. My second novel, Better Than Ever, Again, is a sailing/crime adventure based on something that happened to a fellow I used to work with.
Were you always a writer?
No, I did however began thinking of myself as a writer when I started to read for pleasure in my teens. I developed some of the scenes included in my first novel while I was in high school and 25 years later they made it to the page. In my late 20s I wrote six chapters of a novel and had an agent interested at the time. Nothing developed and then career and family activities took over. I wrote the first chapter of my first novel for a writing class and after the class's feedback I decided to keep on writing.
Tell us about the story of the Samurai in your own words
When I learned that the samurai system of government was still in place in the 1860s I was shocked to find out that their society hadn't changed much in over 250 years. For Japan to have developed into such a modern country and to become the second largest economy in the world by the 1970s from its feudal roots is extraordinary. But, how did the samurai system of government last so long? This is what I wanted to know and my studies displayed three levels of samurai, the upper echelon that ruled the clans, the clan samurai and the unattached samurai. There were farmer samurai as well but they were attached to the clan that ruled the land that they worked. Only about 10% of the Japanese population was samurai and yet they ruled a strong well organized and one would say unified society. In the mid to late 1860s Japan was essentially forced to come out of its self imposed isolation to join the rest of the moderizing world. The clans who led the way to throw off the samurai ways were clans that had lost control of Japan over 250 years earlier.
Why this story? Was it something you've always had an interest in?
I first became interested in samurai history in the late 70s when I read James Clavell's novel, Shogun. The samurai society was so interesting and Clavell did an amazing job of presenting the political struggles of Japan at the time when it was unifying under one leader. I wrote the story of The Inn of Fallen leaves because the majority of the samurai stories are about the major clan leaders or samurai heroes within the clan ranks. I wanted to write a story about the low level samurai and how they were dealing with the changes taking place in Japan. I wanted to contrast the confused non-commitment of the unattached or ronin samurai with the always loyal clan samurai who would do anything for their leaders during the time period just before the Meiji Restoration, when the leadership on both sides of the issues facing Japan were giving off mixed messages.
How long did it take you to write this novel from concept to 'The End.'
From concept to the completion of the first draft it took 14 months. I defined the characters and the plot outline to a certain degree and then wrote the first four chapters fairly quickly. I then went to live in Japan for three months to write and reasearch then I came back and finished the story in Arizona. It took another year of editing before I considered it finished.

What advice would you give other writers?
Have an idea where your story is going to go and then write the first chapter. You will make many changes so get started and come back to fix it later. Don't stay married to your original plot lines, allow yourself to change them up to make the story more interesting. Make it tough on your protagonist, if he or she isn't working hard to acheive what they're after then you aren't working hard enough either. If you're excited about what you're writing you'll finish the story. Once you've finished and done all the editing and polishing you can do on your own, hire a professional editor to go over your book checking for connectivity, story logic and time lines. Make the corrections then get the editor to do a pass for spelling and grammar.

 Do you have any other projects in the works?
I'm plotting out my next novel and I'm about to hit the keyboard with it. I'm excited about it because the act and process of writing is extremely satisfying for me. Letting your mind create characters and story lines is a lot of fun. This book will be about commitment. The protaganists are an art student and a volleyball player. First during their years at university and then after as they begin to apply what they have trained to do. How do two people in a relationship follow their vocations and become the best people they believe they can be while maintaining a commitment to the person they think is their partner for life?
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm a reader and I consider myself lucky and smart to be one. The readers who read your blog and also read books fall into the same category, they know how sensual it is to drop into another world and enjoy a different experience for a few hundred pages. That feeling is what makes them want to keep reading. As an author I'm trying to provide the feeling that makes them want to read again.

Thank Mitch! 

We're giving away 1 copy of Mitch's exciting book, The Inn of Fallen Leaves!  Just leave a comment in this blog post (and some contact info) and I will choose 1 winner by random draw.

Good luck!


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