This week, I’m posting the second publication which I received from Seventh Star Press to review. The Brotherhood of Dwarves by D.A. Adams is another young adult fantasy. My review will go live on Saturday.
Now let’s get to the info I found online about author D.A. Adams. Once upon a time, children grew up playing outdoors. Such was the life of Adams. Born in Florida, but raised in the foothills of the Smokies in Tennessee, pretty much everyone he knew was either a farmer or a laborer. In an interview with Bookishly Me, Adams shared that this upbringing gave him an appreciation for the nobility of labor. That’s why he writes about dwarves, the blue-collar class of fantasy fiction. But, now I’m getting ahead of my information.
On his blog, Adams writes that his fondest memories from childhood involve reading books. Much of who he is today came from books. Writing stories was also part of his childhood. In the third grade, he wrote a picture book about how a cat, a dog, and a bird invented the game of hide-and-seek. After that, he spent most of his childhood making up stories.
EDUCATION AND JOBS
Creative writing filled so much of his life that he ever pursued a Masters in the field. While some authors applaud such programs and credit them for their success, D.A. Adams told Judy Black Cloud that he ended up feeling stifled by the program. At the end of his studies, he gave up on his writing passion. Sadly, this can be the negative effect of studying what one loves. After pursuing an English degree in college, I found myself temporarily turned off reading fiction. Fortunately, one rebounds. Now I blog about books. As for Adams, one night after watching The Two Towers, he realized he really wanted to write a fantasy adventure like it. He started jotting down notes, but lacked the confidence to turn them into a story.
This changed in 1989. Adams had a traumatic head injury from an accident during track practice. Until that point, most of his focus had been on athletics, and his goal had been to become an officer in the Marine Corps. While he didn’t suffer any serious long-term effects from the injury, through the process of working through his grief, he discovered writing as an outlet for his emotions. At this point, according to an interview at Reading Away the Days, he realized that he’d always enjoyed creating stories. Adams made the decision to become a writer.
After receiving his first rejection letter in 1993 for a short story he’d submitted to a literary journal, Adams felt like he’d overcome a huge hurdle by simply having the courage to submit the piece. It took 35 more rejections to get his first publication. Adams told Soliloquy that not quitting after his first rejection helped him believe he could stick with writing for the long-haul.
Lots of information can be found online about Adam’s writing process. For example, he works five to six days per week, with daily and weekly page goals. He doesn’t consciously use formulas, but starts each book with a tentative outline and then allows the characters to build the plot through their actions. To write about happy moments he draws on experiences with his children and to write about battle scenes he incorporates memories of playing football and studying martial arts.
The most interesting interview answers I stumbled across from Adams was about writing influences. The highlights are below, but you can also check out the full details at the Me and Reading blog.
- His father had the biggest impact on his writing. Throughout his childhood, his father played a variety of games with him. These games helped spark his creative spirit and taught him some fundamental notions of strategy, critical thinking, logic, patience, and persistence.
- His grandfathers were also big influences. One was a plumber, electrician, and handyman, and before he passed away when Adams was ten, he taught Adams about ingenuity, hard work, and decency. The other was simply a good man with a thirst for knowledge and a love for reading. He continually amazed Adams with his knowledge of subjects like geology, botany, horticulture, and agriculture.
- A third major influence was the late Chris Whitley. Adams considers Whitley’s music to be the soundtrack of his life.
- Last, like with everyone, life itself teaches Adams. Experiences have taught him important lessons, some of which he imparts into his books.
Adams has been an author now for over twenty years. His first novel The Brotherhood of Dwarves was released in 2005, followed by the sequel Red Sky at Dawn in 2008. Currently, Adams is working on the third installment of the five-book series and posting to his blog Ramblings.
One thing readers might appreciate about Adams’ dwarf series is how much effort went into ensuring the accuracy of the details. Adams will sometimes stop mid-sentence and spend an hour investigating a particular species of plant to make sure it grows in the climate of that scene.
Even his characters are based on real people. That said, Adams points out if he does base a character off of an actual person, it ends up being a conglomeration of many different people. Except for when it comes to the scoundrels and villains! I used to tease friends that if anything they said or did could be used in a book I wrote. Apparently, Adams does that with individuals he doesn’t like.
As for those characters, none were easiest or harder to write than others. Each one presented its own unique set of challenges, with their own personalities and ambitions that drive them.
Incidentally, Adams identified most with his characters of Crushaw and Leinjar. The former appears first in The Brotherhood of the Dwarves and is a character whom I liked. About these characters, Adams tells Bookishly Me, “I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, so those two characters are very dear to me, and I’ve drawn on many of my own experiences when writing scenes for them.”
To find out more about the process of writing The Brotherhood of the Dwarves, check out the aforementioned chat. Also, on Friday, I’ll have my own interview with D.A. Adams.