This week it’s my pleasure to have as a guest blogger before his Crime Cafe interview the highly-acclaimed crime fiction author, Dave White.
Dave is the award-winning author of the Jackson Donne series, one of which you can see pictured to the left!
You can enter the giveaway to win a copy of BLIND TO SIN by emailing Dave at dave[at]davewhitebooks[dot]com with “Blind to Sin Entry” in the subject line. Don’t pass up the chance. Enter now! 🙂
You can learn more about Dave White at his website. When checking it out, I was most intrigued to see that he’s ventured into the world of comic book writing! This we will need to discuss during the interview.
So … without further ado, here’s Dave White!
I used to loathe revision.
The idea of it made my skin crawl, my eyes hurt and my heart pound like I was running a marathon at top speed. Every time I started to dig into a text, my fingers hestitated just above the home row. That first change was the most dangerous one. What if I wasn’t making the book better, but actually making it an unfixable disaster?
Oh man, I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it. The first two books in the Jackson Donne series required a lot of painful revision before the world saw them.
My third novel, a standalone called Witness to Death, was one of the worst revising experiences of my life. I just couldn’t get the novel right. Every keystroke, deletion or addition complicated the path of the novel even more. My agent at the time was extremely patient and guided me through each draft, and the book became one of my best. It was there where I really learned the value of combining character, deleting entire chunks that were extraneous and even changing the entire conceit of the novel could payoff big time. The book was eventually named one of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s best books of the year.
That was cool.
So, I went and wrote another book. It was a standalone, as I drafted, I knew something wasn’t working. That’s okay, I thought, I can fix it in post. I can revise. I had done it once, I could do it again. But once I finished the first draft and started to revise, all my fears started to manifest themselves into truth. I combined characters, I cut scenes and when I was done all that was left was 40,000 words out of an original 80,000. The manuscript was a mess and I couldn’t fix it. That book still sits somewhere on one of my hard drives never to be seen again.
I didn’t write books for nearly two years after that, but when an opportunity presented itself, I was able to continue the Jackson Donne series. The next three books flew from my fingers with ease. The revision process was painless. I made huge changes, but I had a plan in advance. I don’t know what happened during those two years off, but somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain something clicked. I understood structure more and how the pieces fit. And, I think, the books are very good.
Now comes a new challenge. I recently finished three drafts of a book and submitted it to my new and wonderful agent. After much deliberation, she and I realized that the book needs some major changes.
But my hands don’t shake anymore.
The book is fixable and deleting, added and combining will only make it better. I’m still thinking over what changes need to be made, but they’re coming and I’m not sweating things. I don’t loathe the process.
In fact, I can’t wait. I just have to do some research first, and then I can dig in.
What’s that? Research.
Oh, don’t get me started on research…
Dave White is the Derringer Award–winning author of six novels: When One Man Dies, The Evil That Men Do, Not Even Past, An Empty Hell and Blind to Sin in his Jackson Donne series, and the acclaimed thriller Witness to Death. His short story “Closure,” won the Derringer Award for Best Short Mystery Story. Publishers Weekly gave the first two novels in his Jackson Donne series starred reviews, calling When One Man Dies an “engrossing, evocative debut novel” and writing that The Evil That Men Do “fulfills the promise of his debut.”
He received praise from crime fiction luminaries such as bestselling, Edgar Award–winning Laura Lippman and the legendary James Crumley. His standalone thriller, Witness to Death, was an ebook bestseller upon release and named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He lives in Nutley, NJ. Follow him at @dave_white. He lives in Nutley, NJ.