"A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…I simply couldn’t put this book down." Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND
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Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free. Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world. Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco. As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer. If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.
About the author
David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he's not writing, you'll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.
Thanks so much for interviewing me as part of the release tour for my new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, STRINGS!
Great first question! Honestly, I think I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer, but I never had the courage to take the first step. For some reason, I didn’t think my ideas were good enough, or that I’d have the talent to be able to put my ideas into words. Then my awesome wife, Adele, came along. She told me to quit talking about writing and just do it! At the time I was an accountant (yawn!), so I started writing on the commute to work and during lunch. A month later I’d finished my first novel, and I haven’t looked back since! After 18 months of writing and publishing, I was fortunate enough to be able to quit my day job to be a fulltime author, a dream come true! And it’s all thanks to my wife J
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
Generally, between 3 and 6 weeks depending on my current writing schedule, which has varied over the last five years. At one point I was writing 6,000 words a day, six days a week, which would allow me to complete the first draft of a manuscript in around three weeks. But that’s a pretty crazy and intense writing schedule, so I was forced to slow down a bit. Now I usually write 3,000 words a day, six days a week, which allows me to finish a novel in 4-6 weeks. Then comes another 3-4 weeks of hardcore editing before I have a polished manuscript ready to either be pitched to publishers or self-published.
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Well, it used to be pretty consistent that I’d wake up around 7am and be writing by 7:30am. Then I would usually write until 11:30am. From there I would take a lunch break and then dive into the “business” side of the job, focusing on reader interactions and promotional activities.
HOWEVER, things have changed somewhat with the birth of our first child, our beautiful baby boy, Beau Avery Kai Estes! I’m getting a lot less sleep so sometimes I wake up super early and start writing at 6am, while other times I’m so exhausted I don’t start writing until 10am! I’m learning to be flexible with my schedule, and not to get too stressed if it takes me a little longer to hit my daily word count goal.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Ha! I have so many! I like writing on the beach or at the pool, for example (under an umbrella, of course). I also refuse to write at a desk (because it feels too much like work), so usually I’m in bed or on the couch J I also must have a coffee before starting, or I might as well not start!
5. How do books get published?
These days, there are a lot of ways! There is still the traditional route where an author can query literary agents to find someone to represent their book (which is highly competitive), and then have their agent pitch their book to publishers (even more competitive) to try to land a book deal. My agent and I are currently working hard to land my first digital/print publishing deal in the traditional space (although I have already signed an audiobook deal in the past).
But now there is also the opportunity for writers to self-publish their work on Amazon and other awesome sites without having a publisher’s help. Over the last five years I’ve managed to publish 24 books on my own, resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads of my work worldwide. If not for being able to self-publish, I’d still be an accountant and not a fulltime writer! YAY for Kindle J
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Who knows? Honestly, most of the time the ideas just pop in my head and I write them down as fast as I can before they disappear. I’m a major believer that creativity breeds creativity. Like I said, when I first started out I didn’t think I had any really good ideas. But once I STARTED writing, and using my creativity, more and more ideas came to me. Some were for the book I was working on, and others were for new books/series.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was 29 years old working as an accountant in Sydney, Australia. I wrote most of my first book on the Manly Ferry to work, or on my lunch break at a little café J
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Be outside! Living in Hawaii means we get AWESOME weather, probably the best in the world. So I like to get out of the house, go to the beach, go swimming, play tennis, that sort of thing. I also love reading (my Kindle is like another appendage), and watching TV and movies.
9. What does your family think of your writing?
Ha! Well, my wife takes credit (rightly so) for getting me started, so she’s a huge supporter. My parents are still a little bit shocked by my career change and always worry about the future. My mom likes to constantly remind me that “You can always go back to accounting if this writing thing doesn’t work out.” To which I reply “NEVER.” But my parents are also very supportive, and they think my books are really good and deserve an even bigger audience. So that’s always nice to hear J
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I had a talent for storytelling and that I’m a really fast typist. I honestly had no clue until I started that storytelling and writing would come so easy to me. Also I didn’t realize I’d become so prolific that I’d be able to write and publish 24 books in 5 years. Looking back, I still don’t know how I did it!
11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
24 novels are published, and I’ve completed another 2 manuscripts that my agent and I are still deciding what to do with. And, of course, I’m always working on my NEXT novel J My favorite is definitely SLIP, which I think would make an awesome movie. It’s about a world of population control, where someone must die before another can be born, in order to keep the population from growing. But one illegal child slips through the cracks!
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Write every day, and do your best to stick to a schedule. You can’t become a better writer if you don’t write. You’ll have some really good writing days, which will inspire you to write more, and you’ll have some really bad writing days, which you’ll learn from.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
All the time! My readers are AWESOME and they keep in touch on all my major social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Instagram. But I get the most reader interaction on Goodreads, mostly through my official fan group, David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite. We talk about YA books, get to know each other, and just have fun. Mostly my readers just tell me that they’re glad I’m a down-to-earth guy who likes to read as much as they do! Sometimes they also tell me which of my books they love the most, which always makes me smile J
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
Although my books have been tagged as “YA” due to my teenaged protagonists, I am really creating stories that anyone can read and enjoy. As an adult, I love reading “YA” novels as much as teenagers do. It’s all about telling a good story that makes people of all ages want to keep turning the pages.
15. What do you think makes a good story?
It depends on the genre, but generally having interesting and complex characters with compelling storylines is what keeps a reader reading. It also helps to have some cool twists and suspenseful situations. For some genres, like dystopian and high fantasy (both of which I write), the setting and worldbuilding are equally important.
16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
To be honest, I had no clue! I wanted to be an athlete (hockey player) for a while, but then reality set in and I became an accountant just because it was a “safe” job. I always loved the idea of writing books, but never thought it was realistic. Boy was I wrong!
17. What Would you like my readers to know?
That writing isn’t just a hobby to me. It’s my career, and how I support my family. I live and breathe words, day in and day out, and take each and every novel I write extremely seriously. My goal is to make you the reader laugh, cry, gasp, and feel a rainbow of emotions as you read my stories. I love what I do and love hearing from my readers! I don’t take for granted any of my book sales, and appreciate every time someone takes a few of their hard-earned dollars and spends them on my books. Thank YOU all for everything you’ve done to change my life!