David Wilson, founder of Crossroads Press, is not only a nice guy and a great publisher to work with, he’s also a writer himself. Here’s a Q&A on his processes and recent work:
What influenced the book?
Heart of a Dragon was influenced by a number of things. It was actually the second book I wrote about Donovan DeChance, the first being Vintage Soul. This fell farther in the past and so became a prequel and the new #1 in the series. The basic concept of the story grew from my short story of the same title that was published years back in Deathrealm Magazine. I always loved the story but felt there was a lot more too it. I also got the opportunity with this one to write about motorcycle clubs… a thing I’m familiar with having ridden with Tiburon MC when I was stationed with the US Navy in Rota, Spain, and ever since (though I don’t have a bike these days). The chance to express the things I learned during that time and tie them in with the art of the young Latino, Salvatore Domingo Sanchez, was the perfect blend. The city, San Valencez, CA, is a setting I created based on San Diego, where I lived for many years. Having an alternate city gives me more freedom and prevents those readers who like to say – “yeah, but that’s on Eight St… not 28th…” when they read a story set in a real place.
Are you a pantser or outliner?
The pantser, outliner thing… I’m both. I’ve written books without any real idea how they would end, and the last part of doing so bothered me to the point of distraction, until it suddenly happened. My novels Deep Blue and Ancient Eyes are like that. Over time, I developed a hybrid method where I outline the basic chapter structure beginning to end, and about halfway through, though I still know how it ends, I usually veer off wildly. I think calling yourself one, or the other, is a disservice to your creativity. No two projects are the same, and whatever method works for you, that is the one you should use… The outline, though, can prevent you from writing yourself into holes and forgetting to close loops, so… more often than not I have at least a working version.
Did you learn anything new while writing this?
I learn something every time I write something new… for Heart of a Dragon I had to do some research on paints, and also to brush up on Voodoo symbols and ceremonies, though I’ve always been fascinated by them. They play an integral part in the “bad guy” bike club in this book, “Los Escorpiones,” who are under the thrall of a Voodoo priestess…
What is the series about?
The series, at it’s base, is about Donovan DeChance. He is a wizard, a collector of books, and has been alive since the mid 1800s. His first encounter with magic, (which you can read in the origin story – “My Soul to Keep & Others” – book 3 – gifted him with longevity – and Cleo. From that moment forth, he set out on a quest to collect, and to protect record any and all magic, spells, enchantments, or objects he came into contact with. He is a self-proclaimed keeper of “the balance” and steps in when someone goes too far, uses something too powerful, or hurts others. Along the way, he fell in love with Amethyst, a Geomancer and master of crystals who has some serious backstory and adventures of her own, and got a reputation as a private investigator for paranormal folks – other magicians, the undead, etc… so he has his hands in a lot of different things, including being a friend and companion of Edgar Allan Poe more than once.
What are your favorite fantasy books or series?
I don’t read as much fantasy as I used to, but my favorites currently would be Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Jim Butcher, and C. T. Phipps. (His Supervillainy series is one of my favorite things ever, particularly when I need something to make me smile).
DECHANCE CHRONICLES OMNIBUS
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2Vqjxyd
A MIDNIGHT DREARY
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2Vtu8su
(1) Ten dollar Starbucks Card and a David N. Wilson Book Collection, and (5) Books from the author, winners’ choice
About the books:
Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator. This Omnibus Collection includes books I, II, III, and IV of the series. Included are Heart of a Dragon, Vintage Soul, My Soul to Keep (The Origin story of Donovan DeChance) and Kali’s Tale – book IV of the series. Also included are the bonus novellas The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature, and The Preacher’s Marsh, both of which provide background on settings and characters that appear in Kali’s Tale. If you enjoy this book, you should read Nevermore, A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe, which follows on Kali’s Tale, has a cameo from Donovan DeChance, and leads into Book V – A Midnight Dreary,
Heart of a Dragon, When a local houngan begins meddling with powers she may not be able to control, a turf war breaks out between the Dragons motorcycle club and the Los Escorpiones street gang—a war that threatens to open portals between worlds and destroy the city in the process. With his lover, Amethyst, his familiar, Cleo – an Egyptian Mau the size of a small bobcat –the dubious aid of a Mexican sorcerer named Martinez and the budding gifts of a young artist named Salvatore, DeChance begins a race against time, magic, and almost certain death.
Vintage Soul, When, despite the finest in natural and supernatural security, a sexy and well-loved, three hundred year old lady vampire is kidnapped right out from under her lover’s nose, Donovan is called in to investigate. There will be no ransom for the kidnap victim, and if Donovan doesn’t prevent an ancient, forbidden ritual from reaching its culmination, far more than a single vampire’s undead existence will be at stake.
My Soul to Keep, Donovan DeChance is a very private man, and he is in love. When he invites his partner and lover, Amethyst, for a quiet dinner, she has no idea of his true intention. Donovan has planned a sharing – a vision that will give her the keys to his early life – the origins of his power – and a lot more than she bargained for. Join young Donovan as he fights to keep his soul, save a town, and learn the roots of his teacher and guardian – and meet his familiar, Cleo.
Kali’s Tale, When Donovan is asked to follow in secret as a hot-headed group of young vampires set out on a ‘blood quest’ to kill the ancient who created the young vampire Kali against her will, he learns that – as usual – there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. Through the juke joints of Beale Street in Memphis, to the depths of The Great Dismal Swamp, Donovan and his lover and partner, Amethyst, find themselves drawn along on one of the strangest quests in their long, enigmatic lives as they delve into the world of the undead, the magic of The Blues, and the very heart of alchemy both to protect their young, vampiric charges – and to prevent an ancient evil from destroying the balance of power in the universe.
A Midnight Dreary, the long-awaited fifth volume in The DeChance Chronicles, picks up outside Old Mill, NC, when Donovan, reminded that he has promised his lover, Amethyst, and Geoffrey Bullfinch of the O.C.L.T. a story, draws them back in time to a vision of the final chapter of the novel Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. At vision’s end, they realize that they have to act, to free Eleanor MacReady from the trap that holds her on the banks of Lake Drummond, in the Great Dismal Swamp,
These novels directly crosses over to the original series O.C.L.T. – where Donovan is a sometimes consultant. It features appearances by Geoffrey Bullfinch and Rebecca York, O.C.L.T. agents, as well as Old Mill, North Carolina’s own Cletus J. Diggs.