Some Thoughts with ... David T. List

4 Mar 2024

The Author/s

David T. List

David T. List

David hails from the humid subtropics of the southeastern US, where he writes fantasy fiction, plays bass, explores the wilderness, rents kayaks, builds worlds, and kicks it with his family.

He's adept at trouble-shooting, thanks largely to his proficiency at trouble-making, and puts both to use creatively to bring to life unlikely creatures, unique settings and situations, and villainous heroes, all in the fantasy world of Silexare.

The Interview

1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
I pitched my first book to agents way back in 2013. It wasn't a great book and surely deserved little attention but that process felt like standing in an unnecessary line, waiting for results that aren't promised, at the mercy of individuals who've deemed my greatest efforts slush. It feels irresponsible to place my trust and time in a system like that when alternatives are available.

2.- When appeared the first ideas to write Turesia Untamed? What inspired you to create this world?
This story, as a lot of mine do, came from a handful of ideas that stuck to each other and grew. 
For Fohrvylda, there's a lot of UFC, Gladiator, Spartacus: Grudge matches, beast fights, crowd favorites, politics behind the scenes. 
For Ausgan, their song magic was inspired by polyphonic singing, not limited to Tuvan throat singing and the Hu. Also sympathetic resonance, which I discovered as a kid singing in my kitchen. If I hit a certain note, the hanging pots would sing back at me. That's surely where the idea of consonance came from and therefore, as the Ausgan monks say, "Resonations".
"An island of wizards versus an island of warriors" is a plan that had been lingering in my head since forever. I'm not sure where it originated but I'm definitely not the first to think of it. 
Turesia is only one archipelago-nation in the wider world - Silexare, which is mentioned here and there in the story. I've been building it for almost 30 years, ever since I first opened the Silmarillion and had my mind blown.

3.- From all the writing process attached to Violence and Vigilance, which part would you say it was the most challenging?
I think if you take as long as I did to finish this book (years) you'll face unnecessary challenges. But aside from those, I'd say the biggest challenge came as feedback John Jarrold (V&V's developmental editor) gave on the character Basalt Kale. He hated him. By the time Kale's heroic arc hits, John had written him off. It was too late for Kale. That feedback crushed me because I knew he was right. Kale was a bloody tosser. A sodding wanker. I had to rebuild him from the ground up. 40,000 words rewritten. It took almost a year. Frankly, that's where Kale's suicidal tendencies originated.

4.- Would you say it was complicated to keep both storylines, Kale’s and Irdessa’s one, consistent, and advancing in parallel?
At first I wanted to make their stories separate books. Each would be book 1 or 2 and you could read them in either order. In the end I decided not to. I didn't like the idea of a person finishing book "1", then going to the "next book" only to find different characters on a different island. I decided if Brando and Georgey can release huge books that stray from character to character in huge swaths of nearly unrelated events, then why can't I? 
I understand that from an indie author’s standpoint releasing a ginormous epic as an unknown author is as smart a business decision as lighting my pants on fire while I'm standing in them. Oh well. I never claimed to be smart.
Once I made the decision to merge the books, it was just a matter of finding what I'd call functioning pauses in the pace then layer the stories like a big delicious cake.

5.- Which authors would you say are your biggest influences?
For this book? Joe Abercrombie - for achieving intimacy through third-person but also hopping points of view in the midst of high action, like a drone flying through a warzone. Nick Eames - for making me laugh out loud while reading Kings of the Wyld. I had no idea you could make jokes constantly in epic fantasy until I read his debut. Pat Rothfuss - for teaching me you can release only a fraction of a story and still make it big despite breaking promises to your biggest supporters. Just kidding. I love his prose. His and Josiah Bancroft's.

6.- I know this is a complicated question, but if you could only keep a character from your books, who would you choose and why?
Funny question. By the time the story's told, there will be only one character left alive. Ha! #Jokes. 
But seriously, probably Torvald the Tactician. He's inspired by Jhuge Liang, aka Kongming, of the Han Dynasty era in China. I've always liked the idea of intuition bordering on supernatural clairvoyance, particularly in a composed, nonplussed, war strategist with an umbrella instead of a sword. Yes, I know Torvald has a sword. And he... Well, if you know, you know.
Second place: Kraus the Carcass. Because he talks, punches, and drinks as if consequences don’t exist. It seems really fun.

7.- From all the self-publishing process, which parts would you say are the most enjoyable ones?
This right here. Meeting folks and making friends with people of similar tastes and interests all over the world. That and entertaining people. My book has around ten reviews at this moment (on the US 'Zon site anyway) and each one is ridiculously special to me. Getting emotional thinking about it. I realize trad pub may offer the chance to reach even further and meet more people. But I did this and at last, after a very long time, Silexare matters.

8.- Could you tell us more about the Four Beardmen of the Bookpocalypse podcast, which you are part of?
Yes! We're just four folks who happened to meet at a proverbial intersection late 2023 and hit it off. We get together to discuss book stuff, nerd stuff, beard stuff, fantasy stuff, and whatever else crosses our mind. We've had one guest so far - Alex Valdiers - and plan to have more. (No beard required)
At our bearded hub is Matt Sorenson, aka Beard of Darkness Book Reviews, an Ohian (US) who is a shining beacon of hope and unification in the reader/writer/reviewer world. He's passionate about books and people and not at all ashamed to ask questions and constantly broaden his horizons. He has the second-longest beard. 
DB Rooks, Daryl, is a UK-based metal drummer and author of stories in the Wayward World, namely Callus & Crow - a dark fantasy weird-western vampire tale. He has the most unique beard - a sort of chop-heavy inverse goatee. 
Tom Bookbeard, also UK based, is a reader & reviewer, a writer with a fascination for sky pirates and airships (an interest I totally share), and a rich-voiced DM. He has the longest beard of us all. 
I could have left this unsaid, but my beard is easily the least impressive. So I have to make up for it in wit and humor. If only I had any.

9.- What does David T. List likes to do in his free time?
I like to slap the bass, and tear up earth on a four-wheeler, and build tiny worlds in aquariums, and attempt to build digital ecosystem simulations (that one's tricky), and play Bloodborne and Binding of Isaac, and explore the forest, and kick it with my wife and the fruits of my loins.

10.- What can we expect from David T. List in the future?
The Heathen Tide, Turesia Untamed book 2, is my current priority and I am not naive enough to even estimate a due-date for it. Soon I hope. There's a larger story to tell after that. It takes place in Halandor and includes train heists, chariot races, airships, goblin hive-minds, apocalyptic werehogs, fantasy mafia, etc, etc. Good times, for sure.

Thank you so much for having me, Jamedi!