Milton Davis is a research and development chemist living in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two children. Describing himself as ‘a big country boy’, originally from Columbus, Georgia, Milton loves fishing and used to hunt. The publisher and author of African-inspired science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction, in the ‘Sword and Soul’ tradition of Charles R. Saunders, Milton aims to provide a form of entertainment that fills a cultural void in literature, and creates opportunities for people, around the world, to experience exciting stories and characters from African perspectives.
- Tell us about ‘Meji’.
Meji is the story of twin brothers, Ndoro and Obaseki, born to a royal family in my fictional world of Uhuru. They are separated at birth, each growing up to become men with special abilities and a special purpose.
- Why did you write this book, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I’d played at writing ever since college; but I decided to get serious on my 45th birthday - Meji was the result. I call it my celebration of pre-colonial African culture, tradition and mythology. I hope that Meji and other books I write will spark serious interest in African history, especially among people of African descent.
- Is there an underlying message in ‘Meji’?
I think Meji deals with the concepts of purpose and fate. The twins are born for a purpose. It was meant to be an origin story of a people, so it’s written with the result never in doubt.
- You are a chemist. Has this helped you with any of your creative work, and if so, how?
I think being a chemist helps. I’m a research chemist so I’m trained to find stuff. I think this helped me discover the historical references I needed to create Meji. I’m also trained to take exisiting components and create something different or new, which also applies to fiction writing.
- Of the characters you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular character?
Inaamdura, Dingane’s second Great Wife and Ndoro’s nemesis, is my favourite character. She claims the title because I think she experiences the most growth and change of any of the characters besides the twins. She began as a minor character but her actions drive much of the plot. As I studied her, to give motive behind her decisions, she evolved into a complex character.
- How is writing science fiction or fantasy different from writing other genres?
Science Fiction and fantasy give you greater freedom to create a story. It also allows you to build worlds the way you would like them to be.
- What did you find most rewarding in the writing process?
The creation of the story itself; I love world building.
- What do you find most challenging, and how did you overcome it?
Editing. I hate it with a passion because I’m not that good at it. I get caught up in the story and details slip by. So I hire editors.
- What have you done to promote and market your books, and what advice would you give to other authors?
I currently spend most of my marketing time either online with social networking or attending local book conventions. I would tell other authors to find those sites and events focused on their niche or genre and jump in. If you’re not the social type, find someone to do it for you. Do something every day to promote your work and avoid those marketing packages that cost tons of money. My best source of sales has been the things I do above and showing up for local book events. If you’re an independent writer, you don’t have the marketing dollars to become a national sensation so focus close to home.
- Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal reader?
My idea reader would be a person who loves action and adventure, loves seeing the good guys win and has a keen interest in African culture, history and traditions.
- What advice would you give to help others build the confidence required to write their first book?
That’s a tough one. The best advice I received was simply to get my story on paper. Don’t worry about anything but getting it out of your head and onto the paper. Also, take a writing class, two if possible. Some folks are natural writers but all of us can use some advice. You may discover that you have the talent or you may discover you need some work. Either way it’s progress toward what you want to do.
- Would you like to see your book adapted for the screen? If so, do you have any aspirations, or reservations, regarding this?
I would love to see Meji as a movie. If it happened, I think it would have to be an independent production to retain its message. I’m not holding my breath, though. If it never happens, I’ll be fine.
- Tell us a little about a good science fiction or fantasy book you’ve read recently.
I just recently completed Immortal III by Valjeanne Jeffers. It’s a great story, filled with shape shifters in a future world.
- What are you doing now?
I’m working on the finishing touches of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology. It’s a collection of new stories and images by writers and artists, giving their interpretation of Sword and Soul. Charles R. Saunders and I are the editors.
- Describe ‘Meji’ in one sentence.
Meji is the tale of twin brothers, born to fulfil a destiny that will change their world forever.
- Where can we find you and your books?
You can find my books at my site: www.mvmediaatl.com. They are also available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and various online bookstores around the world.