It is my pleasure to welcome David Sakmyster to my blog. I've been after this guy for a while now trying to get him to give us some wisdom. He did not let me down. In fact, he well exceeded my expectations. Thank you for joining us, David.
Thanks so much for having me on the blog. It’s an honor!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Well, when I was 9 and we went on a long family car trip, I wrote some zombie-haunted-house thriller in a notebook. Thought I was a writer then, but… well, maybe not. But it wasn’t until about 20 years, and a lot of bad writing later, that I first made a ‘pro’ sale. A short story win at the prestigious Writers of the Future Contest got me into the 22nd annual anthology and I found myself invited to a week-long convention leading to the awards ceremony in San Diego. Accepting an award and seeing my story in a slick paperback book was cool. And I got to hang out with SF legends like Larry Niven and Anne McCaffery and Tim Powers! So that felt like I had arrived. But still, it was another few years before I got an agent, and then a novel deal. And honestly, even when that book (The Pharos Objective) came out, I still didn’t feel like a writer because it wasn’t selling well out of the gate. However, a few months later, after promotions and some blog tours and some great reviews and word of mouth, I was able to see it climb the charts on Amazon and get into the top 10 in several categories – and stay there. That, and then the attention and praise from other authors, some even asking me for blurbs – that did it. Oh, and selling foreign rights. So pretty soon people in Europe will be reading my stuff!
Tell us your latest news?
A lot going on now, actually. I’ve just finished the edits on the sequel to The Pharos Objective. This one finds my team of psychic archaeologists out seeking another of history’s enigmas – the lost tomb of Genghis Khan. The Mongol Objective should be out at the end of the month, from Variance Publishing. And I just sold what may be my favorite novel, the chilling thriller Blindspots, due out from 7Realms Publishing in 2012. And then, the really, really cool news is that I just got an option for a screenplay. It’s moving forward into development, and we hope to film it next year. Called Nightwatchers, it’s a creepy supernatural horror story set in a trailer park.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh, I’ve suffered all right. Usually I don’t get it because I don’t start a project unless I can see it all played out in my head like a movie. When that’s there and it clicks, then it’s just a matter of describing what I see and hear up there. Writer’s block happens when I can’t see out beyond a few more scenes. For me, that’s usually a result of not outlining properly – and it happened recently when I was writing book 3 in my psychic archaeologist series. I actually hit something more like a brick wall, and just couldn’t go on. It took six months before I finally cleared out a dozen other projects I was working on and sat myself down to plow through the blockage; finally I saw a neat twist, and the rest fell into place.
What are your current projects?
I’ve got a couple collaborations going right now. I’m working with the brilliant writer, Steven Savile, on what we hope to be a 10-part series of novellas offered exclusively as ebooks, priced at $.99 each. Called The Lazarus Initiative, it’s about an eccentric billionaire transformed by Near Death Experience, who then recruits a team of other such survivors to study the phenomena. Then I’m working with the very skilled screenwriter, Brian M. Logan on several high concept screenplays that we hope will be appearing on the silver screen very soon.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I’m close – not quite there yet – to realizing my dream of not having to work a day job. I still do consulting and part time work for my old company to help keep a stable income, but I hope to soon be lucky enough to focus on writing full time. Apart from that, my dream of seeing my ideas unfold on the written page – and then be enjoyed by others – has started to come true. I’m so humbled and thrilled when I get an email or letter saying someone’s enjoyed my work! Next, I can’t wait to have one of my screenplays take life in an actual movie. Hopefully next year it will happen!
Thanks again for your time,
David Sakmyster is an award-winning author and screenwriter who makes his home in upstate NY. He has over two dozen short stories and five novels published, including The Pharos Objective and The Mongol Objective, the first two novels in a series about psychic archaeologists tackling the greatest historical mysteries; the horror novel Crescent Lake, and the historical fiction epic, Silver and Gold. His screenplay, Nightwatchers, has just been optioned and will begin filming in the spring of 2012. You can step into his mind at www.sakmyster.com.