When it comes to David Salvi only good things come to mind. First, he agreed to be a featured guest on my blog a few months ago and offered to send me a paperback version of his book Canaan for me to read, which I absolutely enjoyed. Afterward, I wrote a review, and now he is back for an interview. He is the first one who sent me his book and it will always be special because it was the first time that I was reading the book of an author that I knew. Now, here are ten questions that I thought about when I was reading his book.
1. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Chicago, I have spent my childhood years watching movies, playing with action figures, and wearing out the Nintendo 64 that I got from “Santa” in 1998. What always stuck out to me were the stories behind these larger-than-life creations. I consider this the rock-solid foundation that would remain a part of me through adulthood. In other words, I never TRULY grew up. So, now I love to create stories and come up with ideas that excite me — put me in faraway lands, cast myself as a hero on my own adventures (narcissistic, I know), and cook up scenarios and scenes that I think are exciting and full of pazazz.
Works that have inspired me over the years are those with fundamental human themes and carry their stories with our God-given desire for adventure and exploring and seeking. Think Steven Spielberg, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, Mel Gibson, Led Zeppelin (yes, their songs are adventures). Those are some of my heavyweight influences.
So, I write and create stuff. Three (self-published) novels, not to mention a bevy of malnourished ideas, under my belt and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. Plenty to go, however.
That’s me in a nutshell, if I were stuck in a nutshell and had to explain myself out.
2. How did you get interested in writing a science fiction novel?
Reading sci-fi books and watching sci-fi movies. Like most folks, I’m a enormous Star Wars fan. A whimsical, space opera adventure about traveling at light speed with laser swords and blasters? Yes, please. But as I aged, I absorbed “hard science fiction” material, such as The Martian (the book; movie is good too) and Interstellar (the movie; there is no book). I like to think that propelled me to think up my own plot. On top of that, I took a very hard look at the condition of our world right now — a population of billions, climate change, instant connectivity via the interwebs, and faster-than-the-speed-of-light technology innovation — and wanted put on my Nostradomus hat. What could actually happen? That’s what Canaan is about.
3. Canaan is the name of an ancient civilization that existed more than four thousand years ago. Did you get inspired by this civilization in writing your book?
I view the Bible as a massive piece of human literature written and passed down over a few millennia that each person can use on their own. I use it as a way to extract easter eggs, derive names, lay foundation, etc. There are too many uses to count, really. Is the text divinely written? Maybe. Maybe not. Who am I to really know? I read it with my own reader lenses and interpret stories in my way, as I believe all people should.
So, take Canaan, the land promised to the Jewish people as a sort of paradise after much hardship. My novel is rooted in the idea that we have an Earth-like planet four light years away, almost divinely promised to us as a “reset button” on the human race. Canaan is a well-enough known reference to bridge the reality to the “fiction.”
4. Which author would you say has been your greatest influence in becoming an author yourself?
Two writers come to mind. For style, Ernest Hemingway. I’m bone-crushingly jealous of his prose. For vision, Michael Crighton. He has offered a vast imagination derived from real life themes, topics, and subjects that the world offers.
If I could steal their powers, I would.
5. Would you picture yourself in the protagonist of your book Canaan?
I always put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. Perhaps he’s a version of me not yet realized. I aspire for many, many things while on my one spin on this floating rock. I hope to live up to what I want in some way. Maybe writing is my way of living out those fantasies. My protagonist, Chris, is forced to make several hard choices. I like to think if I were presented those choices that I would choose as he did — doing the right thing and focusing on the bigger picture.
6. If you would have the chance to go to a new planet tomorrow and there were no way back, would you embark on this odyssey?
Not a chance. I’d miss my family too much. Are they coming with? Oh. Yes? Okay, let’s rock(et).
7. For those who can’t wait to know what happens next, is there a sequel on the way for Canaan?
I’m currently outlining a sequel, yes. But the development has been slow and indecisive. Many ways to take the plot! I wish I had a better answer for this question…
8. What would be the best advice you could give to someone who wants to write his first book?
Write and read as much as possible. And be yourself. Don’t try to emulate anyone too much (while stealing shamelessly). Be your best writing self and find your voice. The process is far more enjoyable that way. Oh, and your first book will probably be crap. That’s okay.
P.S. Always use the Oxford comma. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, AND THANK YOU.
9. You have published a few other books. Can you tell us what they are about?
Ah, The Revelation series. I have written two books as part of a trilogy (third is in development) — The Revelation and The Revelation: Rise of the Fallen. To put it simply: What if the Bible’s Book of Revelation happened today? Like, actuallyhappened.
Centered around Christianity’s eschatology (Doomsday studies and theories), The Revelation series follows the Archangel Michael and his fellow warrior Archangels (Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael) as they fly around the world and try to stop complete destruction of the human race at the hands of Lucifer and Evan, the Antichrist. Fight scenes, dark churches, mystical forces, miracles, endearing characters, and more. I promise it’s not as heavy as it sounds — it’s a fun, adventurous read. And it’ll always be my first love.
10. I understand that you have a YouTube channel about movies, am I correct?
Yes! And thank you for mentioning that. The channel is called Beyond the Backlot (www.youtube.com/beyondthebacklot). Movies of the past come to life as our crew of superfan friends go on adventures to iconic filming locations. Included are interviews with actors, filmmakers, and folks that were there during filming.
The films we’ve covered so far — Jurassic Park, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Top Gun, That Thing You Do!. More to come, for sure! If you love movies, I encourage readers to subscribe and watch some of our content.
A few exciting moments have come from this experience, such as being featured in Google’s “Find Your Scene” commercial that premiered during the 2020 Academy Awards broadcast! And — We have been to the Goonies House, the T-Rex Paddock, the original Cobra Kai dojo, rode in a DeLorean at Lone Pine Mall, and played the piano where Maverick and Goose sang “Great Balls of Fire!” What a ride it has been!
I’m blessed to be a part of this show and part of an amazing crew that is led by our producer and one of my best friends — Chris Sattel.
Thank you for the questions. If anyone is interested in any of this material, feel free to visit www.davidsalvi.com — I have everything there. Happy reading and watching, folks!