Today I’m fortunate to present Genese Davis author of The Holder’s Dominion.
I had the pleasure of meeting Genese through Wizard World Chicago in 2015. We instantly connected as friends and fellow authors. She is definitely an inspiration and a kindred spirit, and if you don’t know anything about her or her book, you are in for a treat! If you like what you read, subscribe to be notified of other posts like this!
Please assist me by giving her a warm welcome!
Hi, Genese! Thank you for agreeing to this interview!
Genese: Thank you for having me!
Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?
Genese: What a fantastic opening question! Thanks so much for having me. I’m thrilled to e-meet all of you! I was born and raised in the city of Santa Fe in the sunshiny state of New Mexico. What’s interesting too is that as young girl, I couldn’t wait to move away and go to an out-of-state college, but now, looking back, I miss Santa Fe’s crisp mountain air, the views, and the history and culture that’s revered and so well-preserved. A lot of people don’t realize that Santa Fe sits at 10,000 feet elevation so it gets super cold there in the winter and the summers are very mild.
Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?
Genese: If a storyteller can pull me in to the characters’ viewpoint, where I feel the strain, the heartbreak, and their conundrum’s instantaneously, it’s a good story for me. Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series is a great example. In one of the opening chapters of the first in the series, Way of Kings, I wonder why this intriguing soldier character is caught in a slave trade wagon. I’m drawn in by how the soldier interacts with the other enslaved, too. That shows the reader so much (these interactions between characters). Brandon then weaves a breathtaking, interesting, and innovative world around this soldier and several other main characters that I got completely absorbed in. It’s beautiful.
Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?
Genese: The Holder’s Dominion began as a tiny seed of an idea back in 2009. I wanted to write a story that infused both hackers and gaming, plus some scifi, fantasy and modern-day tech themes to boot! And all of those things combined with a twist: a female hero.
Unlike, young adult, where the characters in a story are in high school, I love that Holder’s Dominion allows the reader to immerse themselves in that pivotal time in our lives when we’re plunging outside the proverbial “lifeboat” that is our childhood home. College, a new career, or a new relationship are great examples. Holder’s Dominion falls into the new adult genre because all the characters are college age. But, you don’t have to be in college to enjoy the story. Every age group has sent me feedback that the human frailty elements in the novel struck a chord in their own lives, because I weave real life challenges that we all face day-to-day into the novel.
Here’s a sneak peak of the synopsis of the novel:
The Holder’s Dominion is a speculative thriller with a fantasy twist. It’s a story about a young woman who discovers gaming and hackers while facing some serious problems online and off. Guided by her friends, college sophomore Kaylie Ames signs on to the massively popular online game Edannair. There she discovers a world of beautiful vistas and magical creatures. But a real-world evil threatens the players: the mysterious Holder, leader of the elite team known as Sarkmarr, is coercing his followers into traumatic offline dares known as “morphis assignments.” To save her friends, Kaylie must infiltrate Sarkmarr and survive the Holder’s tests. But will she find the courage there to keep her own family from falling apart?
Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Genese: Recently, I got a book deal with the movie company Benaroya Pictures. I’m writing a new scifi novel for them and it is going tremendously well. It’s an incredibly alluring intellectual property that will be tied in to a TV series, graphic novel, and a movie. I schedule time almost every day dedicated for this work only. In between that, I juggle traveling every month for Holder’s Dominion book signings plus conventions where I am asked to speak on writing topics such as plot, publishing, villains/protagonists and more.
Two years ago, I gave birth to our amazing little girl, Cora. This of course impacted my daily routine and sadly I’ve neglected myself in a hundred different ways, forgetting to eat or drink or just simple things like brushing my hair or taking a walk accidentally get put on the back burner. This is pretty normal for a new parent (at least that what the research has said, hehe) and I know it won’t last forever. My writing time was affected but I’ve found a really great routine now where I have designated writing time every week.
Question 5) You have hosted several panels at Wizard World and San Diego Comic Con. How did that come about?
Genese: Years ago, I survived multiple accounts of violence and manipulation. This broke a part of me that to this day has not healed. I lost trust in the world and could not speak in public or have a normal conversation with more than two or three people at a time, and even that was a stretch. So, when I was asked to speak on my first panel, I remember being filled with ever-present butterflies and my hands were shaking with anxiety. I told myself to have courage and that someone out there in the audience also felt my pain and had probably survived similar accounts in their lives. In order to help them I would need to share my story. I would have to be brave and get up on stage. I had to believe that I could do it. So I did. I was open and vulnerable and shared real, tangible gems that I’ve collected over the years for writing and for personal growth.
Panelists and moderators continued to ask me to participate because they appreciated that I did not get up on stage and pontificate about awards, superficial topics, or ego centric-subjects. This garnered the attention of companies who then asked me to be full-time speakers for their events.
Today, I travel twelve to seventeen times a year across the country, speaking on panels and hosting panels. That’s pretty unbelievable considering I was so shell shocked from life that the day-to-day terror ruled my actions and getting up in front of people was the last thing I thought I could do.
Question 6) You have also helped to inspire writers and gamers through Assembly of Geeks and Gamer’s Dominion. Can you tell us a little bit about both of them and how we can follow you there?
Genese: Scott Murray is the producer for Assembly of Geeks which is a wonderful company that umbrellas all kinds of great content. Scott asked me to host a gaming themed podcast that he named The Gamer’s Dominion, as a sort of homage to the title of my tech/gaming book The Holder’s Dominion. It was such an honor to be asked and I have been hosting Gamer’s Dominion ever since. It is a bi-weekly podcast that is fun-filled and informative not only on gaming topics but also on tech and development themes as well.
You can listen to the show via iTunes, the Assembly of Geeks website and other podcast outlets, too. You can find podcasts like Comic Book Noob and The Geek Directive which are both fantastic shows.
Question 7) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Genese: I work with a writing producer! Which is the best thing ever! I’d love to discuss in-depth sometime how beneficial a writing producer can be. This is a position Eric Kieron Davis invented where he works closely with a writer just like he does on a day-to-day basis as a senior producer for artists, leads, and designers. Working with the right producer is so unique because the producer acts as a mentor and project manager in a way, where he helps the writer with logistics, mini-goals, stretch goals, creative input, and even writing blocks when they come up.
It’s natural and normal to feel like you’re in a rut sometimes with your writing and creative blocks exist in all kinds of artistry. One of the best ways to help with blocks is to talk to a trusted mentor, producer, or confidant and to also take a break from your work. The brain needs time away from complicated projects to rejuvenate and get ready for the next stretch session. Putting your writing away for a day or two and coming back to it really helps refresh your perspective. Also, taking time to peruse other artwork, read other books, watch movies, or play video games can help get you out of a creative rut.
Question 8) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.
Genese: The novel I’m writing for Benaroya Pictures is still under wraps but I will be able to release the title and release date soon. I’m also in the middle of contract details for another book deal for a fantasy novel. Plus, my reading fans want a sequel to Holder’s, so there’s that too, hehe. Phew!
Question 9) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Genese: That I could do it. I’ve struggled with so much self doubt not only in personal scenarios of my life but in professional areas as well. It took year after year to build my brand, my platform and hone my craft. That’s years of every weekend and practically every night stuffed to the brim with writing, research or countless other work-tasks. No free time, no days off. So, after Holder’s was published and garnered attention I had to allow my perception of myself and my talents to evolve. I had to make a decision to believe that all that past hard work was worth it and I had to trust in my abilities and commit to a creative career full time.
Question 10) What can we expect from you in the future?
Genese: Be on the lookout for my next three novels plus my 2017 book tour is underway. I would love to meet fellow book lovers, creators, readers, and people of all fandoms and passions. My goal is to springboard everyone I meet in an effort to help them also achieve their dreams. Coming up, I will be speaking on panels and signing books in Portland, Cleveland, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Chicago, Albuquerque, Tulsa, Austin, and more! If you are near any of those cities, please stop by and say hi.
Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Genese: My website is a good place to start: www.GeneseDavis.com and you can see all my live updates on Twitter and Instagram @GeneseDavis and on my author Facebook page: Facebook.com/GeneseDavisOfficial. Or send me an email. More contact info is located on my website! Cheers! And thanks so much again for having me.