Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Biggest Influences Are Not Writers - guest post by the author D.A. Adams

Happy Wednesday!

I am very glad to welcome D.A. Adams in Me and Reading. D.A. Adams is author of books: The Brotherhood of Dwarves and Red Sky  at Dawn, which both were released in 2012.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to D.A. Adams!

My Biggest Influences Are Not Writers

by D.A. Adams

One question I often get asked is who are your biggest influences as a writer. It’s a logical question most readers want to know because if they like my literary influences there’s a decent probability they’ll like my writing style. Usually, I list off the four or five writers who did the most to shape my style as I’ve studied my craft, but that answer is slightly disingenuous because my truest influences have little to do with reading. Please, don’t misinterpret that as me saying reading isn’t important because it is. As a writer, an educator, and a father, I believe reading is one of the best and healthiest activities a person can pursue, and I stress the importance of it almost daily.

However, for me as a novelist and creative person, my biggest influences are not writers.

First and foremost, my father has had the biggest impact on my writing. Throughout my childhood, he played a variety of games with me, from Paydirt and Bowl Bound to France 1940 and Boot Hill. These games helped spark my creative spirit and taught me some fundamental notions of strategy, critical thinking, logic, patience, and persistence. The time spent with him provided some of the fondest memories from my childhood, and I’m grateful for that foundation.

My grandfathers were also big influences. One was a plumber, electrician, and handyman, and before he passed away when I was 10, he taught me a great deal about ingenuity, hard work, and decency. The other was simply a good man with a thirst for knowledge and a love for reading. Despite merely having a high school education, he continually amazed me with his knowledge of subjects like geology, botany, horticulture, and agriculture. His curiosity about the world was infectious.

Another major influence would have to be the late Chris Whitley, one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the fortune to hear live. From Living with the Law to Dirt Floor toDislocation Blues to Hotel Vast Horizon, his music is the soundtrack of my life, and the poetry of his lyrics has moved me as deeply and profoundly as anyone. I know my writing would not be as good without his influence.

Finally, life itself is my greatest teacher. I strive to learn something knew from the world every day, and my life experiences have taught me the most important lessons. Each book I’ve written, while researched thoroughly and diligently, has been shaped more by my own experiences than anything else. When writing about feelings of joy, I draw heavily on moments with my children. Likewise, when writing battle scenes, I incorporate memories from playing football, studying martial arts, and training. Personally, I find that using real life for a foundation adds a layer of believability to the scene.

Again, I don’t want to dismiss the importance of reading or the necessity of research, for those are both fundamental aspects of writing. However, for me personally, my greatest influences have come away from books, and I am grateful each day for them and the stamp they have left on me. Life in all its complexity, the good, the bad, the sublime, and the evil, is a beautiful orchestra that offers infinite opportunities for growth and learning, and in my writing, I hope that belief shines through.

About the author:

D. A. Adams was born in Florida but was raised in East Tennessee. He received a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Memphis in 1999 and has taught college English for over a decade. His first novel, "The Brotherhood of Dwarves," was released in 2005 and has been described as "a solid, honest work about camaraderie, bravery, and sacrifice" and "a very personal journey, more interested in the ways that a person is changed by life's events than in epic battles and high magic." In 2008, the sequel, "Red Sky at Dawn," was released to the exaltation that "this novel thunders along, at times with dizzying speed. The action is visceral and imaginative without being gratuitous." Currently, Adams is working on the third installment of the five book series.

In terms of writing style, Adams exhibits an effortless narrative voice and a masterful balance between richly detailed descriptions and tightly worded minimalism. The pacing of his stories is breathtaking, with relentless action and captivating plot twists that keep readers riveted page after page. But his true talent as a writer lies in character development. Readers find themselves empathizing with, fearing for, and cheering on the characters as they overcome their personal shortcomings and grow as fully rendered individuals.

Adams is also the father of two wonderful sons and, despite his professional accomplishments, maintains that they are his greatest achievement in life. He resides in East Tennessee.

Thanks for coming by and writing a guest post, D.A. Adams!
Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Always impressed with DA and his insights on life, writing, the universe and all that jazz (his books are damn good too!)