Tuesday, November 6, 2012
An Interview with Dom Testa
A: I love this question, because authors are usually asked to name their favorite book. I think the best writing took place in The Galahad Legacy, so it's my favorite. But I'm most proud of the first one, The Comet's Curse. I wrote that book during a time of personal upheaval, including the death of my father. It's as if I escaped into the world of writing, and the book became a haven. After it was published it began to pick up some nice awards, and I remember on one hand being happy for the accomplishment, but also feeling sad that I hadn't been able to show it to my dad.
Q: Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster. What is your grain of sand? Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
A: All six of the Galahad series books were written to entertain my twelve-year-old self. For those books the grain of sand was a very strong desire to create a series that I would've loved in middle school. But the books I'm writing now have been spawned by the most unusual things. A friend of mine texted a photo to me that her daughter had taken, and I was so startled by this incredible image that I immediately sat down and drafted an outline for a story. And I love it! My germ was an eclectic photo taken by a 15-year-old girl. It was screaming to have a story built around it, and it shall.
Q: Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
A: Well, if it's a character I've read, then it's no contest: Atticus Finch. I know, that's so cliched, but can there even be an argument? Ms. Lee created the greatest fictional character ever. I'd award second place to Lisbeth Salander. Utterly fascinating, through all three books.
Of the characters I've created, my favorite is the talking/thinking computer named Roc. It was a blast bringing him to life, and he provided a nice element of humor to the Galahad series.
Q: In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
A: It's funny, because as I write this I'm getting ready to travel back to my high school (Cooper High School, in Abilene, Texas). They're inducting me into their Hall of Fame, which is such an honor. When I first walked through the doors of high school I was likely one of the most shy students on campus. But during my junior year I got a job as a rock n roll disc jockey on a radio station in town, and it was like throwing a switch, at least socially. You could probably lump me into a variety of categories, but of those you listed I'd have to say a combo of Book Nerd, Shy/Quiet Scholar, and a touch of class clown. Weird, eh? But it might explain why, after starting so shy and reserved, at the end of my senior year I was voted the runner-up Friendliest Boy. Ha ha, runner up! I guess if the actual Friendliest Boy had been unable to fulfill his duties...
Q: How often do you dream about the writing you are working on?
A: Most authors - including me - never dream about the story we're working on. No, we dream incessantly about the NEXT book we want to be working on! If you ask me, it's why so many writers have half-finished manuscripts. Our heads are turned by ideas, just like a guy's head is turned by a pretty woman. The key is finding the discipline to keep your head down and finish your current project before you leap into the next. It's almost like we need a mom to tell us that we can't have dessert until we finish our broccoli. And that next story is definitely the dessert.
Thanks for your time, Dom. We look forward to seeing you at the festival!
To read more about Dom Testa's book and his Big Brain Club, visit his website.