February 2018 Interview: Bruce Davis (Part 1 of 2)
Bruce Davis just released Platinum Magic, his latest novel, first fantasy novel, and first novel with Brick Cave Media. Bruce takes aome time to answer some questions in this two-part interview with Brick Cave Media publisher Bob Nelson.
Q: For the uninitiated, tell us a little about Bruce Davis, the writer.
Bruce: I have always been a storyteller, even before I began writing seriously. I have written stories all my life, but didn’t begin to think in terms of writing for an audience until after I finished my medical training. As many people know, I am a General and Trauma surgeon and that gives me the privilege of observing people under extraordinary circumstances. Much of what I write tries to deal with some of those circumstances and how people respond to them. If there is an overall theme to my writing it’s the big question of what makes us human. How do we demonstrate our humanity in response to adversity? Are we most human when we are being ‘noble’, or is self-preservation the truth that underlies our behavior? I personally believe in the former and many of my characters are profoundly flawed or damaged people trying to do the right thing.
As to my preference in writing, I tend to gravitate to action oriented ‘hard’ science fiction. My Profit series is science fiction crossed with a hard-boiled detective story, very noir in atmosphere. That Which is Human is straight up military science fiction, but is really about PTSD and the cost of war. Even Platinum Magic is in some ways science fiction with fantasy elements.
I’m an amateur historian (I minored in history in college) and will bore anyone to tears with Civil War trivia. I’m a wanna-be swordsman, I collect edged weapons, I love sailing and kayaking and will talk to anyone about almost anything.
Bruce: Platinum Magic is fantasy in the sense that magic and the racial tropes of high fantasy – Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Humans and various mixes of those races – all are integral to the story. But I approached the story the same way I approach my ‘hard’ science fiction writing. That is, I developed what I like to think of as an alternate physics and then speculated on how that would play out. The setting is very modern, but different in the sense that laws of magic govern the mass production, consumer based society that has evolved, rather than the laws of Newtonian and quantum physics that govern our own modern world.
Q: Who is Simon Buckley? What’s his deal?
Bruce: Simon is a fairly simple character – he’s just a cop trying to follow his ideals of justice and the rule of law in a corrupt world. His personal life is haunted by the loss of his first real love, a loss complicated by the nature of relationships between Humans and Elves. He compensates for it by throwing himself into his work. A major inspiration for Simon was Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly’s police procedural novels (and the recent Amazon TV series). Simon is a boy scout in a cesspool. It’s why his team follows him and why Sylvie Graystorm is attracted to him.
Q: There is some heavy allegory threading through the book- intentional, happenstance?
Bruce: A little of both. Obviously the themes of racial prejudice and power relationships are a big part of the story. I didn’t set out to write a book about those things. I wanted to write a good story using fantasy tropes in a modern setting. But any complex modern society has all of the same issues that we face today, including racism, political corruption and abuse of power.
Q: This is your first Fantasy novel, but far from your first book- how did it feel to bring your experience to a new genre, and did you have to catch yourself at any point “wandering genres”?
Bruce: I don’t know that I pay much attention to what people call ‘genres’. The entire book is ‘wandering genres’ in that I am writing a crime novel of the police procedural subgenre involving characters from the high fantasy genre using magic in a very mundane way to power all the conveniences of our own modern world, just based on a different type of physics. Wow, what a run-on sentence that was! I think my previous novels were similar in that they deal with serious issues of addiction, personal loss and deciding what is right (if not always legal) in a technologically complex society. It seems no different here other than the technology happens to be based in magic as opposed to conventional physics. I purposely tried to avoid the standard sword and sorcery low tech world of much of the fantasy genre in favor of a thoroughly modern setting.
That's part 1 of the interview- Part 2 will be released February 15th, 2018... Stay tuned, and get your copy of Platinum Magic today.