Interview with fantasy author David Meredith

Today’s guest is indy fantasy author David Meredith to talk a little bit about his newest novel, The Reflections of Queen Snow
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.
Welcome, David. Please tell us about
your current release.
This is a
story that moves you 30+ years into the future after the conclusion of the
Brothers Grimm original tale. Charming has died and Snow White just doesn’t
know how to cope. It’s really about dealing with grief and finding purpose
after someone so important to you is no longer in your life.
Now, the
question was posed to me: “Why did you choose Snow White – why not Cinderella,
Sleeping Beauty, Rose Red or any of a host of other faerie tale princesses you
might have chosen to write about? Why kill the prince? Well, First, let me note
that 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
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.
All of us
must deal with death and grief to varying degrees throughout our lives. Half of
us at least will have to cope with the passing of a partner. Who better to
demonstrate the idea that loss and the redefining of a life that necessarily
must occur as a result happens to everyone – Even faerie tale princesses?
In addition
to that, I also felt like Snow White had a particularly and mostly untapped
potential (at least by Disney) for some really interesting darkness. After all,
she had a pretty horrible upbringing – the tragic death of both parents, left
in the care of an abusive woman who despised her, disassociation from her
peers, isolation, loneliness, depression… I think these are all elements that
really work to elevate the level of drama and move the story forward in a way
that is especially gripping and impactful.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I think
to properly answer this question, you should really know something about where
I was emotionally 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 where 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 had both
had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60
years). 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, what do you do when they are no longer a part of your
life? 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
What exciting story are you working on
As a matter
of fact, I have a HUGE project I started WAY back in 2004 that is nearly
complete. It is a fantasy series based upon Japanese myth, legend and folklore,
rather than the European model that is so prevalent in fantasy literature
today. Originally it was a 406,000 word behemoth, but I’ve edited it down to
three volumes that are between 95,000 and 120,000 words each. Here’s a
On the
happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are
slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial
forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones
can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of
the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own
survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on
the allies of the Emperor in the neighboring barony.
At the same
time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is
blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her.
She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of
being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits
her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must
learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips
with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of
saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.
In the
process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious,
arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and
Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge
or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with
wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only
thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they
are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.
I’m hoping
to release the first volume, Shirobara
, sometime next year.
When did you first consider yourself a
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 claim 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.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I’d love
too, but no. I am an English teacher in my “real job,” but at least there’s
some cross over.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I don’t
know about quirks, but I try to listen to music that is in the mood of whatever
piece I happen to be writing at the time. It helps get me in the right mindset.
I also carry a little black journal-type book around with me everywhere I go.
Whenever I get hit by an idea, I immediately write it down. Some of those ideas
turn into characters or stories.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
When I was
very young I think I went through the usual progression of policeman, fireman,
soldier, cowboy, astronaut… By high school I had notions of being a writer,
but was really bad about self-doubt. My undergraduate degree was actually in
economics – about as far removed from fiction writing as you can get, but I was
never really happy doing that kind of work. I like teaching, but I love writing
things that can make people FEEL something.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Just that I
hope you’ll all go out and buy a Kindle copy of The Reflections of Queen Snow White right away AND send it as a
gift to all the book lovers on your Christmas list. So far the reviews have all
been great and I really think you’ll love it. Thanks very much for having me
and I hope you all read and enjoy The
Reflections of Queen Snow White

Happy to have you here today, David!

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