Book View Cafe Welcomes Dave Smeds

Dave Smeds and SonPlease join us in welcoming Dave Smeds to Book View Café.

Dave says:

If you’re browsing this particular page, chances are you’ve come here because you want to know if my work is the kind you’d want to read. Fair enough. Let me quickly take care of the obligatory bio and career description, then you can proceed through the paragraphs below that in order to make your judgment.

Basic biographical sketch: I live in Santa Rosa, CA, in the midst of the Sonoma/Napa wine country. Married, two kids, two cats. I am a long-time practitioner and instructor of goju-ryu karate-do. Past day-jobs have included graphic art, typesetting, and farming. Basic career description: I broke into the science fiction field in the 1980s. I write novels and short stories and have on occasion produced screenplays and comic book scripts. My books include The Sorcery Within, The Schemes of Dragons, X-Men: Law of the Jungle, Piper in the Night, and my collection Embracing the Starlight. The stories (well over a hundred of ’em) have been in magazines like Asimov’s SF, Realms of Fantasy, F&SF, and Pulphouse, and anthologies such as Full Spectrum 4, Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, Return to Avalon, In the Field of Fire, and over a dozen installments of the Sword & Sorceress series.

Raiding the Hoard of EnchantmentMy stuff runs the gamut of the f&sf sub-genres: imaginary-world fantasy, contemporary fantasy, hard sf, social sf, superhero/adventure, erotica, and a bit of horror. If you’re an eclectic reader, we’re good to go. If you prefer to devote yourself to a favorite sub-genre, it can be a challenge to know if a given piece of mine is a fit for your reading tastes. Suggestions: If you like the sword-and-sorcery high-fantasy sort of thing, see my War of the Dragons trilogy or my stories in anthologies edited by the likes of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross, Jennifer Roberson, or Elisabeth Waters. If you want purely sf, the short fiction collected in Embracing the Starlight is a great place to start. The one rule to keep in mind is, you might have to try a couple of examples of my work before you know what kind of author I am. Any single work may be quite different than anything else in my ouevre.

I’m male, heterosexual, and trained in martial arts, so it will not be surprising that when I write action scenes, they are visceral, fast-paced, and descriptive in a kinetic way. What readers might not suspect until they give my stuff a try is that my female characters are often at the forefront of the story and that story will often be replete with romance, emotion, and what I like to call “character context.” For whatever reason I find female viewpoint to be a powerful tool in setting a scene. One can usually guess from a male character’s actions what his motives and attitudes are; it helps to be inside the head of the female characters to best reveal them to the reader. To put it another way, men are what they do. Women are trickier to understand. So, heck, I spend more time on the women.

I like traditional plotting and story structure, believing that the covenant between an author and a reader is sacred: The author provides access to the struggles of a character or characters through an ordeal to a resolution. It’s not my job to “express myself” and/or be experimental as a storyteller. It’s my job to get out of the way and let you enjoy the world I’ve created as if it is a world you’ve discovered, rather than one I maneuvered you into. That said, “traditional” is not to be taken as a synonym for “simple.” I like a complex tale. I just want it to be clearly-told complexity — is that a fair way to put it?

My fiction will just have to say the rest. I hope you’re open to giving it a try.