An interview I conducted with talented
prolific author and resident podcaster Jamie Davis
FF:Jamie, Can you talk a little about your relationship and experience with EMS and nursing as well as non-fiction writing, and how it led to writing your first fictional series Extreme Medical Services?
JD: I fell in love with helping people as a health care professional, first as a paramedic and later as a nurse. This later developed into a passion for educating the next generation of healthcare professionals so I started teaching new EMTs and paramedics, then developed a whole channel of podcasts dedicated to news and education for healthcare pros. Eventually, someone dared me to write a book and I decided to take the way I learned and taught medication dosing to my students and write a short book teaching that method. It is a best-selling book and used by several paramedic and nursing programs to help students learn medication dosing math.
I enjoyed writing that book and self-publishing it. I also discovered the world of indie fiction authors. The following year, I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to take on the task of writing a novel first draft in one month. That November for NaNoWriMo, I wrote the first draft of Extreme Medical Services where I combined my love for quality healthcare with my love for all things fantasy.
FF: I actually began my journey through your work with Broken Throne, and I found Winnie to be an exceptionally strong and likeable character. I always enjoy when a male author takes on female MCs and writes them with strength and confidence. Unfortunately there are not as many examples of this in the genre as readers would like, and most that do exist are not written by male authors. Was there any thought or inspiration behind your focus on strong women in so many of your novels?
JD: I have three kids, the younger two are daughters. I was a stay at home dad for most of their lives so I understand young women in a way most men don’t I think. I also think it’s important to write strong female characters and break away from the common tropes about women in fantasy (i.e. they always need rescuing).
In the second trilogy of Accidental Traveler, Hal’s daughter visits the game world after she grows up. I did this on purpose because there aren’t many female main characters in litRPG fantasy stories so I created a rich vibrant world (or tried to) and got people caring about the characters and world. Then I left a plot hole referring to the daughter as a child grown up. I’m getting huge positive response from reviews and emails from male gamers who can’t wait for the next trilogy and guessing correctly who will be the focus. That’s what I hoped for
FF: I confess to not having played a video game since Street Fighter 2 and having never gotten involved in tabletop gaming, yet I am finding myself immersed in your Accidental Traveller series. How would you describe this series to those unfamiliar with litRPG as a genre?
JD: When an everyday guy with a boring life decides to play a bootleg copy of the world’s hottest game, he unknowingly gets sucked into the game world where he must become the hero of prophecy and legend, whether he wants to or not. It’s an epic fantasy tale with elements of roleplaying and computer games everyone will recognize.
FF: Who would you say are the biggest influences on your writing?
JD: Growing up, I read a lot of Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Andre Norton, and Anne McCaffrey. They shaped my love for sci-fi and fantasy books and taught me the importance of having characters you cared about and believed in, that you could root for. Later influences include (as I mentioned before) Joel Rosenberg, plus Robert Jordan, and David Webe
FF: I hear you’ve been involved in NaNoWriMo again this year. What have you been working on and how’s it going?
JD: NaNoWriMo was the most ambitious month I ever planned. I set a goal to write the first drafts of two books in that month. I came in a just over 120,000 words on two projects. The first was the fifth book in the Delivery Mage saga “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” which will be released in the middle of January. The second was the first book in a new sci fi cyberpunk trilogy. That book is titled Cyber’s Change.
FF: Can you talk a bit about The Delivery Mage, and how it all came together..I understand it’s part of a shared universe?
JD:I was invited to join a group of super-talented authors from a variety of genres (all fantasy and sci-fi). The universe is called Newton’s Gate and takes place in the near future where a space travel experiment gone awry caused thousands of inter-dimensional and inter-planetary portals to open both on earth and in space around the earth. My stories surround the exploits of a magic-using ex-special ops soldier who now works as a smuggler and black-marketeer. He specializes in delivering packages, no questions asked, to other worlds via the portals on earth.
FF: I loved the first book. A lot of fun. How did you manage to get 5 books out in 2 months? Do you sleep?
JD: I dictate my first drafts which is sort of like telling myself a story out loud. Once the words are down in a document it’s not that hard to clean it up, re-write the parts that need it, and edit the final story. This is my full time gig for the most part so you have to put full-time hours in even if you don’t feel like it at that moment.
FF: So this new Cyberpunk series that’s starting, what’s it all about?
JD: It follows a young woman to college from a family of social conservatives. In this version of the future, people are getting cybernetic enhancements the way people today get tattoos. Cass’ family belong to a political movement called Sapiens who believe people with enhancements are no longer pure humans. She comes face to face with her own preconceived notions when she discovers her college roommate has several “attachments” on her body as well as “V-Tats” which are cybernetically enhanced video tattoos implanted in the skin. Cass then has an accident while on a trip with friends and the doctors install a series of implants to save her life. The first story is mostly about her coming to grips with her own humanity, her family’s prejudices, and how to deal with the bigotry of her past. Books two and three will deal with her family’s discovery of her upgrades, and her escape from her father’s desire to have her “fixed” even if it will leave her a vegetable.
FF: You got your start as a writer with a series that echoes your life’s career path. For those not in the know can you talk a little about that series?
JD:Sure.I have always loved fantasy and most recently enjoyed contemporary fantasy and urban fantasy stories. I was drawn to the concept of a secret world living among us. The idea that creatures of myth and legend aren’t just hiding in the shadows, they live next door unbeknownst to everyone around them. Who would these citizens call when they needed medical treatment during an emergency? I created a special group of paramedics who treat these “Unusual” patients. It inspired me to write seven books in the main series and prequel short novel. I’m planning on continuing with at least one more story in the next year.
FF: So in other exciting news, you’re breaking in to Fantasy Podcasting. How do you feel about that?
JD: I’ve been working as a medical journalist and podcaster for going on thirteen years. The Fantasy Focus Podcast project has me excited in a way I haven’t felt since I first started the MedicCast in 2005. I’m looking forward to talking with fellow fantasy authors about their books, their writing method and process, and get a chance to build a whole new audience of devoted fantasy podcast fans, too.