I’m here with David VonAllmen, my fellow Writers of the Future writer-winner from St. Louis, Missouri. He very graciously volunteered to answer the following questions:
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?
I’m from St. Louis. I lived in Colorado for a bunch of years for college and post-college screwing around, but St. Louis is home and I’m glad I came back. My background is nothing interesting – just grew up in the suburbs, studied marketing and graphic design and then realized I wasn’t going to make any money in that (largely because I wasn’t really that good at it) so I went into private equity, which is a good gig.
What kinds of stories do you write? Why?
I first saw Star Wars at five years old, and I often say that’s all you need to know to understand me. I thought I wanted to write science fiction, but when I was younger I wasn’t really finding a SF niche that I was that into, nothing was clicking. At the same time, I thought all fantasy was sword and sorcery, and I wasn’t into that. But then I found fantasy that was different – particularly Neverwhere by Neal Gaiman, which I picked up just because I knew Gaiman’s name from comic books. When I realized you could set up a fantasy world to do anything you wanted, I was hooked, I wanted to see what kinds of worlds I could create that no one had thought of before.
What authors have had the greatest influence on your writing? Why?
Chris Claremont – who wrote all the X-Men comics in the 80’s and 90’s – he was great at making the story concepts double as personal drama for the characters.
Dean Koontz – he started every novel with surreal situations that you thought just couldn’t make sense, and you’d turn pages quickly, dying to know what was going on. Then by the end it would all make sense and it was this amazing revelation.
Brandon Sanderson – I don’t love epic fantasy, so it’s funny I’m picking Sanderson, but when I saw he was creating unique worlds with unique magic systems I was like “Yes, this is what I want to do and the market does like it – I can do the thing I want to do.”
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
In high school I was really into rock climbing and hiking and all things outdoorsy. Summer before senior year most of my friends were doing foreign exchange, and I saw there was an outdoor expedition option offered – hiking, kayaking, spelunking, mountain climbing – and you could choose to do it in either Australia or New Zealand. I literally had no idea where on the planet New Zealand was or what language they spoke there, so I signed up for that. It was only after I got accepted that I went to an atlas and found New Zealand to find out where I’d be living for the next three months. I was relieved to find out they spoke English. Well, it’s kind of like English.
Star Trek or Star Wars
Star Wars. I’m going to be honest, although this might get me kicked out of the nerd club… I’m not such a big fan of Trek. I can appreciate it on an intellectual level, but it was never a passion for me. Star Wars is in my bones.
To read David’s story, “The Magnificent Bhajan”, please buy your copy today of Writers of the Future: Volume 33. If you already have a copy and have read it, please take a few moments to click this link and place your review: http://amzn.to/2kNE5eh If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, then still click this link, get your book, read it, and review it!