Tuesday, 17 June 2014


The ongoing series of Voight-Kampff interviews with authors from the YA Dystopian Boxed Set WHAT TOMORROW MAY BRING.

DAVID ESTES, author of MOONDWELLERS
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START AS AN AUTHOR?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out myself! I’m a normal guy, who was working in a normal, boring job as an accountant, and then four years later I’m a fulltime author. My parents think I’m crazy and keep asking “whether I’ll go back to my accounting job.” They don’t say “real job” although I suspect that’s what they mean.
It all started when my lovely Aussie wife, Adele, got tired of hearing me talk about how I wanted to write a book someday. She said, “Then just write one and quit talking about it!” So I did, and I’m so glad I took her wise advice. I’m since written another 17 books, 14 of which I’ve published. The Moon Dwellers, which was my 4th book, is the one that eventually started reaching significant sales so that I could become a fulltime author, a dream come true!

IS THERE AN AUTHOR THAT YOU WOULD REALLY LIKE TO MEET?
Dean Koontz! Although there are many authors who I love, Koontz is my all-time idol. He’s a magician with words and I love how he can be so funny (who doesn’t love Odd Thomas?) during some of the scariest parts of his books.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU CALL HOME? WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
I was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Work brought me to Australia where I met my wife. However, after I started writing full time, we decided to travel the world for two years!! It was the trip of a lifetime, but it eventually had to come to an end. We decided to settle in our dream location, Hawaii. My advice to anyone who dreams about living somewhere: live there! This life is too short to not chase after our dreams J

DO YOU EVER WRITE IN YOUR PJ’S?
I think the better question is: Do you ever NOT write in your PJs? The answer to that would be “No.”

WHERE AND WHEN DO YOU PREFER TO DO YOUR WRITING?
In the morning…in bed. I basically wake up, blink a few times, eat a bowl of cereal, drink a cup of coffee, and then write for three to four hours. I do that pretty much every day, which allows me to hit my 3,000 words-a-day goal and write and publish a book every 2-3 months.

DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
For my first two years as an author, I worked as an operational risk manager *yawn* for an investment manager. Before that, I was an accountant *bigger yawn*. But now, thanks to my incredible readers that are supporting me (18,000 books sold in the last year!) I’m just an author *cheers*.

COFFEE OR TEA?
Coffee—coffee—did someone say coffee? (said with eyes wide open and unable to blink)

SLEEP IN OR GET UP EARLY?
In between. I like the best of both worlds. I don’t have to get up before 7am like I used to when I worked in an office, but I still like to wake up slowly from 8-8:30am and then start writing by 9am.

ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?
Stealing implies they’re in the process of taking our souls. I think “have stolen” would be a better way of putting it, as mine is long gone to my iPhone. But I also do daily ritualistic sacrifices in the form of frozen strawberries, frozen kale, and bananas to my NutriBullet. They’re the tastiest ritualistic sacrifices I’ve ever heard of.

IF YOU COULD BE ANY FAMOUS PERSON FOR A DAY, HOW MANY PAPPARAZZI WOULD YOU KILL?
None! I would, however, nicely ask them to only take shots of my left side—it’s my good side.

WHY DIDN'T HURLEY LOSE ANY WEIGHT WHILE ON THE ISLAND?
Finally, an important question! I’m a huge Lost fan, so this question is near and dear to me heart. The most logical explanation is that the giant magnet caused a whirling vortex of metabolism-neutrality which led to zero changes in his exceptional body weight. It’s either that or he was sneaking all the bananas at night when everyone was sleeping.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE NAMES TO YOU IN THE MOON DWELLERS. DID YOU CHOOSE THEM BASED ON SOUND OR MEANING?
Very important! Well sort, of. They’re just names and don’t carry any more weight than that; however, I’m a firm believer that names aren’t random labels and they need to be right for each and every character. My main character is named Adele, after my wife, not because she’s anything like my wife, but because it’s just the right name for her. Another supporting character is named Roc, which seemed perfect when we were in a store and I saw the Roc beauty products.

WHERE DID THE MOON DWELLERS SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?
I really wanted to write a dystopian series, but I wanted it to be very different than all the other ones. Setting is always a key ingredient in a dystopian book, so I asked the question “What would happen if everyone had to liver underground?” And then I asked the question “But what if not everyone was able to fit underground?” So essentially The Dwellers Saga follows what happens underground while the Country Saga tracks the adventures of the people still living aboveground. In the 7th book in the combined series, The Earth Dwellers, the two worlds collide.

JUST HOW FAR IN THE FUTURE IS THE MOON DWELLERS?
Almost 500 years.

IS THERE ANY SUPER-COOL FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY/WEAPONRY IN YOUR TOMORROW?

Not really weapons so much, but definitely some cool technology. A lot of it is required for survival as the people living underground have no sunlight. So they’ve created an artificial sun that can be used to grow food.

GIVE US THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE MOON DWELLERS.
No sunlight, no rain, a chance of bats flying overhead, and watch out for falling stalactites.

WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?
In the first book it’s somewhere in the fifty to one hundred range, with only one hero and one villain dying spectacular deaths. However, as the 7-book series goes on, there are thousands of deaths, and many main characters. No one is safe!

THE MOON DWELLERS GETS MADE INTO A MOVIE. WHO DO YOU TAKE TO THE PREMIERE AND WHO DO YOU SIT BY?
My wife and my wife. Although I’d likely invite my agent to come, too, as she’d be the one making the movie deal!

DO YOU WANT THE MOON DWELLERS TO MAKE IT BIG, AS IN JK ROWLINGS-BIG? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Umm….yes! It’s my dream to have my books read all over the world, and for them to be in bookstores and libraries worldwide. Why? Because I love sharing my stories with as many people as possible!

YOUR MAIN CHARACTER VS BATMAN, WHO WOULD WIN?
Adele is pretty kickass, but Batman’s got mad skills and he’s used to the dark. So I’d say Batman.

IF THERE IS TEOTWAWKI IN YOUR TOMORROW, WHAT CAUSED IT?
DISEASE
ALIENS
MONSTERS&ZOMBIES
WAR/GNH (GLOBAL NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST)
THE SUN
IMPACT EVENT It was a giant meteor. Sometimes it sucks to be human.
ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE
SUPERNATURAL/RELIGIOUS
HUMAN DECLINE/MODERN DARK AGE
TECHNOLOGY/CYBERNETIC REVOLT
OTHER
ALL OF THE ABOVE

ON A SCALE OF 1-5 WHAT WOULD YOUR BOOK GET FOR THESE ACTUAL MPAA RATING DESCRIPTIONS?
VIOLENCE 5
LANGUAGE 2
DRUG USE 1
SEXUAL CONTENT 1
NON-STOP NINJA ACTION 5
MILD PERIL 5
SALTY LANGUAGE AND INNUENDOS 1
JUNGLE ADVENTURE TERROR 1
BRUTAL AND BLOODY VIKING COMBAT 2
COMIC HORROR, VIOLENCE AND GROSSNESS 2
SWASHBUCKLING ACTION 3
ABUNDANCE OF OUTRAGEOUS GORE 1
SEXY DANCING 1
INTENSE SEQUENCES OF BAT ATTACKS 3
DEMENTED MAYHEM 3
SCENES OF DENTAL TORTURE 1