12 February 2012

AOTW- Aric Davis

Aric Davis

About the Author:

Aric Davis is married with one daughter and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he has worked for the past fourteen years as a body piercer. A punk rock aficionado, Davis does anything he can to increase awareness of a good band. He likes weather cold enough to need a sweatshirt but not a coat, and friends who wear their hearts on their sleeves. In addition to reading and writing, he also enjoy roller coasters and hockey.


Interview with Aric Davis

Aric Davis is author of, From Ashes Rise, Nickel Plated and A Good and Useful Hurt.

Holly: Hi Aric! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Aric Davis: I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and live with my wife and daughter. I have worked for the last sixteen years a body piercer, and I'm covered in tattoos and have huge ear piercings. Also, I'm obsessed with roller coasters, and my family spends a great deal of our summers riding them.

Holly: Why Mystery & Thrillers?

Aric Davis: The old saying is, "write what you know." What should be an old saying is, "write about what you like to read." I love mysteries, thrillers, and horror novels. I won't say that I always have, but I will say that I spent a fair amount of time perusing Encyclopedia Brown novels at the library, and things took a dark turn soon afterwards.

Holly: You published your first work in 2008 called From Ashes Rise. From what I understand it is set in 2012. I have to ask—now that it is 2012, do you find it, weird, that you wrote the book years ago, set now?

Aric Davis: It's a little weird, but at the same time we're three years from 2015, and I still don't have a hoverboard, not to mention the non-existent Jaws sequels. I was right on a few of the story elements in From Ashes Rise, and wrong on a few as well. The U.S. did elect a Democrat for the presidency, and little changed in the way the US government operated, despite promises to the contrary. Aside from that, I imagined a war that was still ongoing, and a country that was a train wreck financially as well as domestically. What got my story going was a government draft. I'm happy to be wrong on that count.

All that said, Ashes was not meant to be a political novel, it was a book about a man forced to walk through a secessionist Michigan, and the many adventures that find him on his journey.

Holly: Can you tell us a little about your novel Nickel Plated?

Aric Davis: "Nickel Plated" is about a twelve year old boy who works as a private detective, but he's not one of the Hardy Boys. Nickel, the protagonist, is a deeply damaged sexual abuse survivor who will do anything to help a child at risk, even putting his own life on the line. Nickel is fun, scary, and a little bit ridiculous. I'm incredibly proud of being a part of publishing it.

Holly: What was your inspiration for this novel?

Aric Davis: There are two answers for this question. The first is that "Nickel Plated" was written as a YA novel heavily influenced by the work of Andrew Vachss, one of our greatest living authors, and his wonderful "Burke" series.

The second is that in July of 2009, three of my extended family members were killed by a drunk driver. I poured my guts into the laptop, not as a means of creation, but escape. When the dust cleared, my damaged imaginary friend had walked into hell, and came out still breathing.

Holly: You have a new novel called, A Good and Useful Hurt that is expected February 21st this year. Can you tell us a little bit about this novel and its characters?

Aric Davis: "A Good and Useful Hurt" has a protagonist in tattooist Mike, who meets and hires sarcastic body piercer Deb, and the two of them slowly fall for one another, never realizing that tragedy awaits them. Along with this central tale, readers will get an inside look at the real workings of a tattoo shop, and be made to endure some pretty horrific situations.  It has a supernatural element to it as well, but I feel the reader would do best to experience that on their own.

Holly: Do you have any plans for more works in 2012?

Aric Davis: My most recently completed manuscript, "Blood Caked Bones" was finished last October, and has been submitted to my publisher. It is a very different manuscript than any of my recent work, and is about an alternate history United States, and a second civil war that begins at the start of the 20th century. I very much doubt that even if it were accepted it would see publication in 2012, but I do have high hopes for it in the future.

Holly: Are you perhaps working on anything at the moment?

Aric Davis: I am focused currently on short fiction and promotional work for "A Good and Useful Hurt." For me, it is much easier to begin work on a new piece of long fiction after I know the status of my last completed work, so until "Blood Caked Bones" is either given a go ahead or set aside, I will remain dormant. New short fiction can be found at The Five Hundred, a flash fiction collective that I belong to.

Holly: Where can we purchase your works?

Aric Davis: Amazon.com will likely be the easiest place for readers to find them, and both "A Good and Useful Hurt" and "Nickel Plated" are available in both print and ebook editions. Additionally, "A Good and Useful Hurt" is available in audio book format, and is read by super-awesome Luke Daniels.

"From Ashes Rise" will be a harder proposition. Before the release of  "Nickel Plated" I decided to take "Ashes" out of print, mostly because it was not edited professionally. As proud as I am of the story, the editing and even the writing is quite embarrassing in places. Perhaps it will see an edit someday, but it is currently not one of my priorities.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to readers?

Aric Davis: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I could type that a thousand times and it still wouldn't cover it. I came to writing from a deep love of reading, and am extremely grateful to be able to be published, and have my work read by so many people. I still feel the need to pinch myself occasionally, and have long ago given up on the idea that this will ever feel all the way real.

Holly: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Aric Davis: That I could write a book at all was far and away the most surprising thing for me. I always loved reading, but I hated high school, and dropped out of college after just a few months. Teaching myself to write was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but there wasn't a single moment of work or drop of sweat that wasn't 100% worth it. I took the long way to get to the dance, but they still let me in, eventually.


Books by Aric Davis
From Ashes Rise: A Novel of Michigan
Nickel Plated
A Good and Useful Hurt


Awards/Recognitions:
- NICKEL PLATED received a starred review from Booklist:

Nickel is a 12-year-old abuse survivor living all alone in suburban Michigan. He sells marijuana and blackmails Internet  pedophiles in order to fund his real profession: clandestine detective, complete with night-vision goggles, camouflage jumpsuits, a getaway bicycle, and some not-bad jujitsu skills. Most pressing among his current caseload is the pro bono mystery of an abducted little girl. She’s probably dead, but Nickel is determined to find out who did it anyway—and it doesn’t hurt that his client, the girl’s older sister, is one heck of a dame (“It was awful to see her go but nice to watch her leave”). Writing with a deaf ear to what’s fashionable in YA, Davis’ terseness initially comes off like hardboiled spoof and risks alienating readers with its steadfastly unemotional tone. Almost slyly, though, Nickel’s one-note voice becomes affecting; read between the lines and you’ll find a damaged kid whose defense mechanism is to be a crime-fighting robot. As dark as they get, Nickel’s travails are often laugh-out-loud funny: he’s got his plan, and he’s sticking to it. Readers will, too, right through the pulse-pounding climax and the crushingly offhand sadness of the denouement. Davis hits hard—but with a surprisingly light touch. — Daniel Kraus

-Amazon Exclusive, Gillian Flynn gave NICKEL PLATED a fabulous review:
Every so often you come across a book with a voice like a blast of pure oxygen. Aric Davis has that kind of voice: crackling, assured, energized. With Nickel Plated, he introduces an utterly unique character, 12-year-old Nickel, a former abused foster child, current runaway, and future force to be reckoned with (not that he isn’t already) with a keen brain, sharp sense of humor and hard-boiled self-awareness. Sworn never to return to foster care, Nickel supports himself by dealing pot, blackmailing online pedophiles, and taking on PI jobs, particularly anything involving a child in need. When pretty Arrow asks him to find her missing little sister, Nickel’s investigation uncovers a nasty corner of the suburbs involved in child trafficking. This is a dark but humane, chilling and sometimes heart-breaking work of noir, a reminder that children are vulnerable but also resilient, tough and resourceful. Davis takes on some very mature themes but never loses sight of the damaged but determined heart in his young narrator. Here is a character who demands a series, from a writer who will shake you wide awake. --Gillian Flynn

Find Aric at: His Website | Goodreads

Buy A Good and Useful Hurt at: Amazon



Aric Davis has offered to giveaway one (1) copy of his book, A Good and Useful Hurt!

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