Author Interview with Tommy Davey&Contest
This week I’m participating in the Cora Flash tour run by novel publicity. I’m pleased to introduce Tommy Davey, author of middle-grade novel Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar, the first in a planned series of Cora Flash novels. It’s a nice change of pace as I rarely interview middle-grade authors. There’s also a contest with all sorts of prizes, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Cora and the Diamond of Madagascar?
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is the first book in a new middle grade mystery series. In this book, Cora is travelling cross-country on a train to visit her Uncle in the mountains. Once on board, Cora discovers a very valuable diamond is being transported to the mountains – but it vanishes soon after the train departs. There is an inspector on board, but Cora starts an investigation of her own to discover who stole the diamond – she even picks up a sidekick along the way who will be a large presence in future books.
2. When did you know you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
I have always known this, but it takes some serious discipline to get down to business and put in the time and effort that it takes to devote to writing and promoting. I still have a full-time job outside of my writing, but now find my ‘downtime’ is far more enjoyable when I pursue my passion.
3. What made you decide to write middle grade fiction?
There was no one thing that made me decide to write middle grade. I started with a plot and developed it in my head and by the time I was ready to start writing, it had become a middle grade story. I had been rediscovering middle grade fiction recently, so I’m sure that greatly influenced my decision.
4. Did you find it difficult writing first person narrative in the voice of Cora, a young girl?
Interestingly, my first draft was written in third person. When I was in the review/editing stage, there was something that just was not working. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but eventually realized the story needed to be told from Cora’s point of view. I rewrote the entire story from her perspective and it made all the difference in the world. I hope that readers will think I have accurately captured the voice of a young girl, but the more I write in her voice, the clearer her voice becomes.
5. What does the editing process look like for you?
I made a rule to not stop writing the first draft until I was all the way to the end of the story. At that point, I usually read the entire manuscript and start making notes on the pages, everything from grammatical errors, structural flaws or things I have forgotten altogether. After a full pass, I print it off and give it to someone else to review. Luckily, I have someone who is a very sharp-eyed editor and I get great notes and suggestions from him. Having a second set of eyes makes a tremendous difference.
6. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you, and how do you make it easier for yourself?
The hardest part is discipline, no doubt about it. Once I get going, I am very productive, I can go a few solid hours of writing and knock out a few thousand words. I just have to put my blinders on and ignore the phone, tv and especially internet. It can be tricky, but once I get going, I stay on the course. When I was very close to the end of Cora, I actually booked a train ticket for a city about 2 hours away and wrote on the train to put me in the right frame of mind. I checked into a hotel and wrote well into the night. The next morning, I finished the book on the train ride home. It was a bit of an expensive exercise, but I wrote the final third of the book in that space of only about twelve hours.
7. Who are three authors you admire and why?
In the middle grade world, I love Enid Blyton who is not as well known in the US as she is in the UK and Canada. Her books always had a lot of adventure and excitement, which I think are key to capturing the middle-grade audience.
Second on my list is Nancy Springer, who writes a terrific series featuring a character called Enola Holmes, Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. I think it was a risky move to write a young adult mystery series that is set in Victorian England. I am sure the publishers worried that it wouldn’t find an audience, but they have a very loyal following and are beautifully written. They’re great stories and should be on every parents gift list.
The other name I will give is Daniel H. Wilson. He wrote Robopocalypse and most recently Amped. Normally, I don’t read science fiction, and would not typically give a science fiction author as an example of one I admire. However, Daniel has made his books accessible for people who would not normally read his genre, and that is a tremendous achievement. Any author who can write a story that is so compelling in of itself that you transcend the genre is a gifted writer. To turn readers on their head and make them look at something that they would typically ignore is an amazing accomplishment.
8. What’s the scariest thing about releasing your debut novel?
My biggest fear, of course, is that no one will buy it! Or worse, people DO buy it and give it bad reviews! Luckily, I am building my audience and the reviews I have received have all been very positive. I’m sure there will be some negative reviews to come, particularly as I build out the series, but it’s nice to know that so far everyone seems to really enjoy Cora.
9. What do you think is the most important piece of advice for aspiring writers to remember?
The most important piece of advice is also the simplest: Write! It’s so easy to get distracted with other things, particularly for those who are self-published. There are so many social media platforms that seem to be begging for updates and writers boards and sites that scream to be read, but all of these things take away from the actual process of creating. Setting a schedule of writing, and just writing, is tremendously helpful. Blocking out all of that other stuff will get you back to the task of actually writing.
10. What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?
I have just released the second book in the series, Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel, and I think it is a great follow-up to the first book. It picks up right where the first book leaves off, you can go right from one to the next. The adventure level has been brought up a notch and there are some pretty interesting characters kicking around in that story, I’m very proud of it. I have just started to plot the third book, and plan to release it in November, just in time for the Holidays!
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar? Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Cora Flash tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author:
Tommy Davey spent his youth writing mystery stories and plays, and watching reruns of Three’s Company until every line of dialogue was permanently burned into his memory. When not writing, he enjoys traveling to favorite destinations including New York City and Paris, which he plans to feature in future stories. He lives in Toronto, where he was born and raised, with a Norfolk Terrier named Calvin. “Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar” is his first novel. Connect with Tommy on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
EMBED CODE can be found at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YzE3YzI0YTkzYTJkODQ0ODQxZDUwNTUwMTQ3OTkxOjIw/