Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Scott Davis Howard

Scott Davis Howard

Tell me about yourself, Scott.

I hold an MA in British literature from the University of Montana, a BS in communications from Norwich University, am an Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year nominee, and was a semifinalist in the 2014 Norman Mailer Writing Contest for Educators. I'm at 12th grade English teacher at Patriot High School in Nokesville, VA and thus spend my days regaling my students with thrilling tales about Beowulf, Sir Gawain, Macbeth, and Dorian Gray. I'm married and have two sons. My wife coaches Field Hockey at Kettle Run High School. When I'm not grading papers, I'm generally ferrying my offspring between the soccer field and Cub Scout meetings. In my rare moments of quiet (when the children are eating snacks in the van, sprinkling crumbs all over the carpet), I often wonder when and how I became a soccer mom. I wrote the original draft of my debut novel, "Three Days and Two Knights," on an outdated laptop, standing in my kitchen with an infant strapped to my chest.

What else? I'm a Vermont native and I've lived in Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Montana, and Virginia. I'm a history buff and really enjoy medieval history and literature, the civil war, WWII (especially naval and aviation), and classical Greek, Roman, and Egyptian history. My favorite classic authors are JRR Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Beowulf Poet, Shakespeare (duh), and Robert Frost. The modern authors that I most admire are Steven Pressfield, Colleen McCullough, Neil Gaimen, Ken Follett, and Bernard Cornwell.

Tell me about your current book?

Three Days and Two Knights is published by The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, a local Virginia press. My editor thoughout the whole process has been Robert Scott, Prince William County's poet laureate. He's an author, teacher, and a bit of a local celebrity. I couldn't have done this without his help, so I wanted to give him a shout out, too.

Three Days and Two Knights is a is a genre crossover that blends fantasy-adventure, comedy, and romance in a historical literary setting.

“Few tales tell of heroes and dragons, knights and giants, magic, miracles, love, a banshee, and the undead . . .” So begins Aelfric the Entertainer, this tale’s invasive, witty, and often philosophical narrator. Set on the moors of Scotland in the waning months of Arthur’s rule, "Three Days and Two Knights" tells how Sir Alanbart, an impoverished and spineless knight; Heather, an indomitable and irresistible serving maid; Scot, a pagan swordsman of questionable intelligence and sexuality, and Sir Gawain, the legendary romantic hero, form an unlikely alliance to free King Arthur from prison. The catch? They have just three days before the blue moon rises, at which time the red wizard Rabordath will use Arthur’s blood to conjure a dragon that will end a kingdom and set all of Britain aflame.

"Three Days and Two Knights" features characters, settings, artifacts, and events drawn from medieval myth and history, and will appeal to anyone who loves the middle ages, knights, monsters, magic, or King Arthur, especially those who grew up with "The Hobbit," Percy Jackson, and Cressida Cowell’s "How to Train Your Dragon" series.

That's the official blurb, anyway. Basically, the book is a 100,000 word medieval adventure that incorporates a whole lot of action, some romance and comedy, alongside history and philosophy. When King Arthur is captured, the three primary heroes must band together to save him, facing increasingly dangerous (and often humorous) situations. I don't want to give anything away, but there *cough, cough* may be a dragon toward the end.

What are you working on now?

Right now I've got a number of projects on the stove. I'm working on a children's story (in ballad stanza) about toys that come to life and engage in an epic war with a house-cat. I've got an idea for a middle-grade fantasy story set in essentially a mythologized medieval world with geography resembling the American west. I'm also considering writing a followup to Three Days and Two Knights.

Where do you write?

I wrote most of the book standing in the kitchen with an infant strapped to my chest, asleep. I had the laptop up on the stove-top, and I rocked back and forth while I wrote. Occasionally, I sipped tea (usually green tea with jasmine). I wouldn't say that is my favorite place to write, but the truth is that it doesn't matter where one writes, but rather that one does write. The book never gets finished otherwise.

What are your favorite websites?

My favorite website would probably be Wikipedia, because the answers to literally everything are just hanging there in cyberspace, waiting to be found, but since that is a bit obvious and bland, I'm going to go with . I don't have a whole lot of time to play video games, but when I find a few minutes, their site has an online (free) emulator that can play just about any 80's or 90's game for the NES, SuperNintento, Sega, GameBoy, or Arcade. It's free nostalgia.


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