In this week’s conversation, Dave Sivers and I are chatting about all things character, backstories and senses. Dave first joined me on the Thursday Throng back 2013 with his first book in the Archer and Baines series The Scars Beneath the Soul.
Dave started out writing hybrid crime fantasy novels which he describes as rather like Raymond Chandler meets JRR Tolkein, before moving onto contemporary crime with th Archer and Baines series. Although the first book The Scars Beneath the Soul was modestly successful, it was the sequel to the first book, Dead in Deep Water that really took off in the genre Serial Killers when it was published, staying at number 2 for several weeks. He says at one day in 2014 he logged on to see that The Scars Beneath the Soul had also started to take off, as had his original hybrid crime fantasy novels. And it was at that point he received one of the Amazon All Star awards for being one of the most read authors. Archer and Baines now have five books to their name, and Dave has just published the first of a new DI Quarrel series.
I was intrigued by the name he’s chosen for his latest protaganist as in his first interview he mentioned that he felt characters wear their names and I wondered how DI Quarrel had come about. He explained that the name came to him during a writing workshop where he had the letters N & Q to play around with for the name of a character. But he’s developed as a character during that workshop, who although he isn’t particularly quarrelsome is introverted and finds it hard to make friends.
We chatted about the importance of backstory and knowing at least a part of it at the beginning of any new novel. Dave recognises that we all have lived through experiences which impact on us as we travel through life, and that’s no different for a fictional character. It turns out this is very important to Dave because he feels it defines the novels he writes especially as the backstory is a developing theme, as in life we tend to find out things about the people we meet over time, rather than all at once. And of course some events from the past won’t trigger a memory or other event until something happens in the present either, revealing another nuance about the characters and their relationship to the situation they find themselves in. Backstory, it turns out, is what makes fiction believable.
Dave’s mum taught him to read when he was a small child and as soon as he discovered that stories were written by people he decided to have a go himself, and his first attempt at the age of 6 was a crime story. And although he loves reading and will happily read everything from romance to fantasy and science fiction he always comes back to crime because everyone loves to solve a mystery.
I was curious about how much Dave bases his writing on real events, he is probably rather like most of us, influenced to some extent by the events and landscape around us without it really being about something specific. I got the impression his favourite phrase is ‘what if ..’ in response to some sort of stimuli.
Dave is currently working on his 6th Archer and Baines book, and you can find the previous five on Amazon. if you would like to get into the series before the next one comes out. And if you would like to catch up with Dave, you can do so on his website: http://www.davesivers.co.uk/
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