I’m delighted to be welcoming David Meredith to Jera’s Jamboree today.
David Meredith is an emerging Indy Author and veteran educator based in the Nashville area. Before returning to the US two years ago he spent nearly a decade on and off between 1999 and 2010 teaching English in Northern Japan.
Rising Shadow Reviews:
Please summarise The Reflections of Queen Snow White in 20 words or less.
About self-reflection, grief, and learning to pick up the pieces and move on when the “happily ever after” ends.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
Back in 2006 when I originally wrote the source short story, in the space of about three or four months, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. During the same period, my wife also lost a grandmother and a grandfather, so there were a lot of funerals going on over a very short amount of time. Now funerals, by their very nature lead to a certain introspection about one’s own mortality, but particularly with the sudden passing of both grandfathers and, as a consequence, how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… What now?”
They both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). In the case of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, they had never loved anyone else, having married straight out of high school. There was no question in my mind, nor indeed anyone who knew them, that theirs had most certainly been a real-life “happily ever after”. 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, how do you pick up the pieces and move on?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book which would you be? Why?
For this particular work, it’s a bit of a difficult question, since at its base it is really sort of a character study of an elderly and grieving Snow White. The story is almost exclusively from her perspective. Having said that, I suppose the member of the supporting cast that stands out to me most is really The Mirror, which is the vehicle Snow White employs to sort through her get her through her emotional journey. I’m not sure I’d want to be The Mirror though. He spent an awful lot of long boring years just hanging on the wall of a storage room! 🙂
What inspired you to write?
I’ve always had a little bit of the “writing bug” I guess. As far back as elementary school I was writing little stories on notebook paper and binding them with marker-illustrated shirt-boards. I wrote a lot of crappy fan-fic in High School. I think I have always considered myself a writer, but an author… Now that’s a different story. I actually did not feel comfortable characterizing myself an author until very recently – shortly after the release of this book actually. There was so much weight to the term.
When I think of the word “author” I have visions of Poe and Emerson or even Steven King or Tom Clancy. It frankly felt a little pompous to insinuate that I belonged among their mighty literary company, which is what I felt like the word “author” implied. However, once I really began promoting my work in earnest, once I had the ISBN number and the web site and reviews coming in and requests going out on a daily basis, I really started to feel like my writing had suddenly ceased to be a hobby and instead was now a vocation and priority of mine. That’s when I really began to feel like an author.
Who designed your book cover?
My only common expectation is that I want them to look good. After all, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but most people do. For The Reflections of Queen Snow White, the artwork was done by Matt Hughs, an artist operating out of the Atlanta Area and the cover design by Sean Marmon, working out of Takasaki, Japan.
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
In general, yes my characters have a bio or back story that I use as a reference, although I rarely write it into the actual text. I might reveal bits here and there, but I tend to think that throwing in a two page back story every time you introduce a new character REALLY slows down the pacing of the story.
As far as The Reflections of Queen Snow White is concerned though, I think most people already know her bio and that is honestly a big reason I chose her as the main character in the first place. I understand upon initial examination, she might seem a little bit vanilla as a choice. After all, she is probably the first faerie tale princess that comes to our minds when we think of the faerie tale genre. She’s been nearly exploited and merchandised to death by the Disney Company. There have already been almost innumerable retellings and riffs on her story in modern media – TV, movies, other novels, short stories, and even an old Rammstein music video. Who doesn’t know Snow White?
However, I also felt like this intimate familiarity we all have with her actually works perfectly in helping the reader connect with her older self in The Reflections of Queen Snow White. To me, it felt rather like catching up with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in years and years. Just like those friends from grade school or university, I still care about her.
Are there any self-publishing tips you could share with new writers that have worked well for you or was there something difficult you overcame?
The biggest hurdle for any self-published author is getting noticed. Technology is such today that anyone CAN self-publish although not everyone should. It is very easy for your work to get lost in the flood or for people to still be skeptical of your work’s quality, independent of the work itself but rather just because it was self-published. I think the single best thing I have done is requesting reviews from book blogs. It has been a lot of work. I’ve literally sent hundreds of review request e-mail with about an 8-10% positive response rate, but the positive reviews I’ve gotten so far have really helped with sales, exposure, and building an author platform that I can tap into with other, future works as well.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Having other people read and enjoy my work. I’m not making a lot of money doing this yet. Maybe I never will, but when a new Five-Star Review on Amazon or Goodreads pops up, it feels really, REALLY good! I was probably the most pleased with the Five-Star Review Medal that The Reflections of Snow White won from Reader’s Favorites and the 5-Star review it got from the Seattle PI newspaper. Small successes like those make all of the effort worthwhile.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
I must admit to enjoying the process by and large, but doing all of this promotion myself is VERY time consuming. It is seriously cutting into my actual writing time. That part is frustrating. It’s a bit of a catch 22. If you don’t spend a lot of time promoting your work, no one will ever see it, but if you don’t write you stagnate as an author and can’t get anything new produced to promote. Then once you include work and family in the picture as well, it is extremley hard to juggle everything.
What tips do you have for new writers?
First, middle and last, mind your craft. Always seek to improve. If your work isn’t good. If it’s loaded with typos, grammar errors and plot holes, if your story is convoluted and characters shallow, nothing else you do will matter. Share your writing with people you trust not to just stroke your ego. Accept criticism graciously and be doubly critical of yourself. Sadly, being a competent writer does not guarantee success. However, it IS a mandatory first step.
Thank you for sharing with us today David. Congratulations on the awards and the five star review in the newspaper. Wishing you success with this and all your writing projects.
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Queen-Snow-White-ebook/dp/B00FLF4JAG/
Would you like to review The Reflections of Queen Snow White?
Complete the form below and JJ will share with David Meredith