Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Introducing David Ferreira - Book Give Away
Shirley Corder saying hello from South Africa.
Today I'm delighted to introduce to you South African author,
David J. Ferreira.
David was born in Pretoria, the Jacaranda City of South Africa, in 1983.
He studied at the University of South Africa, and has been writing fiction for some years. His first historical novel, David: The Warrior King, was published last year by Bridge-Logos.
Shirl: Hi, David! Welcome to the International Christian Fiction Writers blog.
David: Hi Shirley, thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
Shirl: The first thing I noticed when I met you was how young you are to be a published novelist. So let me start right away by asking, “When did you start writing?”
David: Well, I can’t really recall when I first started writing fiction. The first recollection I have was in the third grade. I had written a short story of a wolf-man, and the teacher was so impressed she spent the entire morning reading it to the class. Since then, I’ve been hooked. I wrote several unfinished books throughout high school, but it was only after matric that I decided I wanted to become a published author.
David: Yes. I was blessed with a great agent/editor here in South Africa, the late Frances Bond. She worked with me on completing the book, and getting it ready for submission.
Shirl: Let’s get onto King David. What prompted you to write his story? Why him?
David: Well, I knew I had to start a new novel, though I didn’t know what about, so I kept praying for guidance. One day, I found this beautiful 1950’s study Bible which someone had thrown away (tisk, tisk).
As I flipped it open, I read a passage from Samuel, and it read like a novel. I don’t know why that time was different from previous readings, but I immediately knew I was going to write about David. His life was so contradictory, so inspiring and full of lessons, that I knew it would make for a great novel and would bring people closer to God. I’ve always prayed that my writing would bring people back to the Bible, to rediscover the wonderful history and teachings therein and seek the face of God.
Shirl: I always knew David to be a colourful character, but there are many gaps in his story in Scripture. You have filled these out admirably in your novel. You must have had to do a lot of research. How did you tackle this?
David: At the time, I was studying at UNISA, and they had the largest library in the Southern Hemisphere.
I read numerous text books, university theses, graduate papers, Jewish translations of the Talmud and other texts. I read other fiction based on King David, to see how the authors treated the characters.
Then I went into archeology, and learned everything I possibly could about ancient Israel, their wars, military strategies, cultures and people. Even the little details were important, such as the food, typography, fauna and flora, climates, music and clothes. And with all this in my head and well referenced notes, I began writing the book, being careful that I didn’t overwhelm the reader with too much info.
Shirl: Well all your work paid off. I've read and enjoyed your novel. I feel I know the character of King David much better. Have you always been interested in history as a subject?
David:Yes, I’ve always loved history—especially ancient times. I think I was hooked when I watched my first historical film, Braveheart, by Mel Gibson. I’ve considered writing in other genres and have written one or two short-stories and enjoyed it.
Shirl: One of the interesting things that struck me is that although women will enjoy this book, it is mainly a man’s book. Even the cover is one that will appeal to men. Was that your intention?
David: Honestly, I don’t think I had men or women in mind. I just wanted to get the story told. However, I think because I mostly read books written by men, and because of David’s life as a warrior king, the book does appear to be more of a men's book. Also, back then, I hadn’t realized that Christian Fiction has predominantly female readers.In hindsight, it might have served me well to have done some research into my market. (That is why my other books are more geared towards women).
Still, I hope I struck a balance so that both men and women will enjoy the book. I smile when I think back how often I prayed that God would send an angel who had been in David’s court 3,000 years ago, to whisper into my ear how things had really happened and what I needed to write that wasn’t in the Bible or yet discovered in archeology. Funny, huh?
Shirl: That certainly gives a different slant to the term, "an inside scoop".
David, getting a book accepted by a publisher is never easy. But when you live in South Africa and aim at being published in the States, it is a huge challenge. I know this only too well. Were you ever tempted to give up in your task of finding a U.S. publisher?
David: Oh yes! As dogged as I was in my efforts to get published, I’m reminded of a crucial time in my life. I was a waiter (which gave me enough time to write, and still pay the bills). I hated my job. I was tired. And the rejections were just too many. It felt as if I was being buried under it all.
One day, I poured out my heart to God. I said something along the lines of, “If all of the submissions I have made come back unaccepted, then I am quitting on my dream.” Then one night, I had this urge to get out of bed and make a bunch of submissions on the Internet, and I just went with it. A few days later, the acquisitions editor of Bridge-Logos responded to my proposal, saying they loved the book, and that it was just what they’ve been waiting for.
Shirl: You told me you'd sent out twenty proposals at the same time. Was Bridge-Logos the only positive response?
David: I received two offers for the book, and I was stuck with indecision. I really searched God for an answer. After a week of almost continuous prayer, I decided to go with BL.
Shirl: That must have been a tough decision. I understand it’s selling well here in South Africa? That’s exciting. Is it selling well in America too?
David: Yes, the S.A. publicist was surprised when she checked the sales numbers recently. She said the book is selling far beyond what was expected for a first-time author. I’ve received also messages about the book from people in Australia, Scotland, England, Israel, Russia, Canada and the U.S. That is probably one of the best things for a writer: to discover that your writing has contributed, if only a little, to the lives of people across the globe.
To answer your question, I’ve not enquired about sales in the US, and have not yet received up to date statistics. I suppose I’m too scared to find out, if that makes any sense.
Shirl: I can understand that. So where can readers buy this book?
David: As far as I know, it’s available at most book stores in the States. Here in SA, it’s available at CUM, Exclusive Books and Gospel Direct. You can also get it online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook.com, Berean and several others. I have a longer list of stores on my website.
Shirl: That's great. So what are you working on now?
David: Well, after finishing two other manuscripts, the Lord released a non-profit organization to me—the Readers Society of South Africa. The company teaches kids in rural areas to read. We've also been working on getting S.A. authors some exposure, writing and publishing education and more. We will soon be launching our free book review service, which will deliver reviews of the latest books via email every Friday. There will be author interviews, sample chapters, discounts on reviewed books, and giveaways.
Shirl: That's fantastic David. One last question. Do you have any words of encouragement for the many international writers who will be reading this post?
David: Oh my. Hold on to your calling! Believe in yourself, despite the rejections. Hold on to the fact that God has blessed you with the task of writing for His Kingdom. It isn't an easy road to walk, but then, I suppose it’s not something we choose to do. As writers, we must write!.It is something God has put in us. So all I can say is: Write—and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and open doors.
Shirl: Thank you David for an interesting conversation. May the Lord continue to bless you as you write for His Kingdom.
GIVEAWAY: Anyone who comments on today’s post will be entered for a drawing to win a signed copy of David the Warrior King. The winners will be announced in the Sunday Edition on 29th August and the book mailed to the winner. Please leave an email address where you can be reached.
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
SHIRLEY M. CORDER lives near the seaside in the beautiful "Windy City" of Port Elizabeth, in South Africa. She is an RN, a pastor’s wife, cancer survivor and freelance writer. Well over 200 of Shirley’s inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published around the world. You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her cancer inspirational website, or you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.