Today I talk with David Kouri from Texas. He is a thrill seeker and loves sports. In his past life he acted in theater and for TV before switched to behind the camera and writing.
His first book, Elyria, is a YA fantasy. When the main character discovers he is a 99 year old vampire and he’s meant to save the galaxy, his life changes.
Visit his website: https://www.davidkouri.com/
This link is on his website as well but it is a direct link to read free chapters from the book: https://451a74f0-3559-4533-8004-71cc838e1292.filesusr.com/ugd/361fd0_1a19f92a5e7e4287b9d87014bb6e5a48.pdf
One of his favorite bookstores is Book People:
And Edgar Alan Poe is a favorite author
[00:00:42] Stephen: All right. David, thank you for joining me today. I’m glad you could take some time to talk to me about you and your book. Let’s get started a little bit before we talk author and book. Let’s talk a little bit about where you’re from, who you are. You’re a bit about your background, things you like to do that are outside of [00:01:00] writing.
[00:01:00] David: you got it. I was born in Houston, Texas. Birthday is June 20th, 1975. I just turned 40. Wow. Yeah, that’s crazy. Crazy cause for a while there, we didn’t, I didn’t know if I was going to make it to this age. I’m just kidding. Slightly born and raised out there raised pretty much.
I’m a water kid. I love the beach. I love the ocean. I love the lake. Anything that and clips, anything that I can jump off of that, that’s at least 50 feet off of the ground into water or something. I’m a thrill seeker. I love to bungee jump. I love to skydive.
Like I said, I love to cliff. I I’m a huge, I’m a huge fan of sports. This probably isn’t gonna be the best thing in the world, but I’m a big Houston Astros fans. Okay. That’s fair. I I love my [00:02:00] Astros. I’m not a fan of the Houston Texans right now. Not until they fire bill O’Brien.
Will I ever give that team another. And the Houston rockets I can I can take them or leave them. I’m not a bandwagon or, but I like the team, but they’re just not as good as they once were. I I’m a huge film fan. I actually originally got started in film theater and I was a professional actor for quite some time.
I probably gave it up I don’t know, probably around my my senior year of high school when I really got interested in behind the camera stuff, writing screenplays and teleplays and novels and poetry.
[00:02:48] Stephen: Wow. You’re like a
[00:02:49] David: Renaissance man. I try to do a little bit of everything, honestly.
Yeah, good at everything I do, but I try to do it all.
[00:02:59] Stephen: [00:03:00] So with all that background, all the things you’d like to do why did you decide to start writing?
[00:03:06] David: It’s funny. Actually I got to go back a little bit. I started riding probably around the age of 12. I started writing really dark poetry.
I, I. I, I did some silly things as a kid. I had some addictions as a kid and at a really pretty much young age and not because of like abuse or anything, but just because I was wild and I wanted to try everything. And when I tried a few things unfortunately bad things really happened.
But I, the writing, it just came out of a need to be able to. Talk about my feelings but if I didn’t want to have to talk to somebody about it, I had a way to get those issues out and writing is a beautiful way to cleanse the soul if you will.
[00:03:59] Stephen: Nice.
[00:04:00] Yeah. Started writing. You have a book that isn’t out
[00:04:03] David: yet. It’s out, it’s available. It’s it’s not well, Syria is boy Elyria is a fantasy driven young adult to adult fictional novel. It is a novel about a young man by the name of. Who at the start of the book believes he is 17 years old.
And just to your normal run of the mill senior in high school, getting ready for college, maybe a little bit awkward and there’s things that he knows about himself that are different than other guys, his age that he’s got the ability to do these really. Intricate crazy things.
But he doesn’t know where it comes from. And basically what he comes to [00:05:00] find out is that actually he is a 99 year old vampire who has basically been cast to save the world if you will. Oh, wow. That’s an obvious the world, but then, but the galaxy,
[00:05:18] Stephen: oh, that’s a bigger twist.
[00:05:21] David: And that one really gets going in the second book.
In the first book, basically he finds out everything finds out start, starts to starts to regain memories. He had been closed off to certain memories of his life. The only memories that he has going into this book are those of a 17 year old high school. So like the whole book is absolute discovery for him.
And it’s also about race. It’s also about coming together as a whole. It is about working together as one unit, black, white, Asian, green, brown, blue. Purple. It [00:06:00] doesn’t matter what color we are because we are all human beings. We all bleed the same. We all our hearts all beat the same. Racism separation.
It’s not right. We need to get beyond that. We need to understand that we are all fighting for one thing, that we are fighting for ourselves, that we are fighting for our lives, that we were fighting for our way of life to continue. And in order for it to continue, we have to be able to.
Except one another for what we are. So
[00:06:32] Stephen: was that the type of themes you were trying to bring out using?
[00:06:38] David: Yeah, it’s really funny because I started writing the book a little over two years ago. I started writing it in 2018 so long before we were having these issues. But I also know I’ve got a lot of friends university professors friends who are Asian, who are black, who are Hispanic, that.
I see it on a day-to-day basis. [00:07:00] I see it. It’s not something that that if you see it on a normal basis, you can’t turn a blind eye to it. And when you see it on a normal basis, that means something is really wrong. And that means that we, as a people have to do something in order to remedy this situation.
[00:07:18] Stephen: So is that when you were getting the idea. Seeing all this around you, is that what gave you the idea or did you start writing and realize that without even thinking about it, you were writing about this type of
[00:07:32] David: theme? When I originally started writing about it, what I was trying to do was I wanted to create something that could compete with Stephanie Meyer, Twilight, and I wanted to make my vampires a little more rough around the edges, a little more If you will, I’m a little more bloody.
And not as now, mind you I’ve seen the movies. The movies are pretty cool. Actually. I didn’t think I’d [00:08:00] ever like them.
What was that last question that we had you were talking about the Stephanie Meyer Twilight.
I, she is, I have not read the books. My wife loves them and my wife has read my book and has had me read my book to her as well. And she considers it right up there with her and I take that as a full on compliment.
Stephenie Meyer has obviously been successful probably beyond her wildest imagination. And I would like to have. A 10th of the successes that she is. And I, like I said, there are a lot of people out there that love her stuff. My wife has made me sit down and watch the movies and I accepted them for what they are and they’re very good.
And my book has some similarities, but my book is also completely. A different story from what she was telling. This starts off with the [00:09:00] supernatural, it’s just all supernatural from beginning to end. It’s violent. It is brutally violent. But I still believe it is for ages 14 and up a freshmen in high school on up to 80 if you like vampire books, you’re gonna love this.
Okay. That’s the way I would describe this is that if I had one thing to say about it, if you love vampire novels, if you like fantasy and you like crazy vampire kills and witches and giants and angels and demons this book is full.
[00:09:41] Stephen: Okay, just has a little bit of thing. It made me think when you were talking about that, have you heard or read of American vampire?
[00:09:50] David: I have not who
[00:09:53] Stephen: it’s. It’s not a book. It’s actually a was a comic, but I think they put them out in like trade paperback format, [00:10:00] but the first it’s in collaboration with Stephen King and he wrote the first story. And it’s this redneck vampire and it just sounds like something that might be up your alley if you get a chance.
Yeah, it was a whole series. I got them out of the library. Yeah, I will have to look into that.
You might enjoy it. So is your book traditionally published or do you do self publish it or something? Now it’s self published where we’ve been sending out query after query. And we’re going to keep sending out query after query to agents until we land somebody.
[00:10:37] David: But yeah, we we I published it myself independently.
[00:10:44] Stephen: Yeah. Okay. Doing this route writing a book, publishing it, and now you’ve worked with a PR firm. What are some things that you’ve learned doing this
[00:10:56] David: process? I’ll be honest with you. The editing [00:11:00] process of the book is that make sure you fully vet the person or persons that you are bringing on board to edit your book because the editing process is not.
I believe that we spent maybe close to about $10,000 editing. Alaria and the first time around with all of that money there were still thousands of mistakes and we went through another, probably 1, 2, 3 editors in that amount of time. To get the book to a point where we felt that it was as close to perfect as it was going to get.
And that would be the one thing I would say that I have learned the most is that And that patience is a virtue and I’m definitely not the most patient person in the world. And that making sure everything is set and ready and that your book is [00:12:00] perfect. 110% before you put that book out.
Don’t make the mistake of jumping the gun too soon, make sure that everything is as close to perfect as you can get it before you go to print. And before you put that book on Amazon or Barnes and noble.com or whatever whatever site you’re going to put it on, just make sure that that you’re as perfect off as you’re going, as you can possibly.
[00:12:33] Stephen: Yeah, I agree. And I think that’s something that’s starting to get out known more. So it’s good to hear from somebody that’s gone through it.
[00:12:42] David: It’s a painful process. It’s it’s not it’s a it’s painful emotionally. It’s painful on the pocket book. And if you bang your head against the.
Then it can be painful physically, too. So it’s [00:13:00] like I said, it’s a being a writer, being a novelist, being a screenwriter, being a teleplay writer, unless you are as we’ve talked about Stephen King or somebody in the film or television industry unless you are known.
It is hard to make a living at this.
[00:13:18] Stephen: And so one of the things obviously getting it published, but then. Getting people to read it. That’s the part that comes with the, make the living part. So you said your wife had you read it to, and she liked it. Have you gotten any feedback from other readers?
[00:13:34] David: We did a good reads competition and we have, we sent out a, I think we did 15 books that we sent out.
We have had people talk about the book on good reads. You can go there. There’s one, one review. But there are like five or six, I think, four to five star checklist on the book. Basically people that read it liked it. And liked it enough that they didn’t leave a review. [00:14:00] I guess most of the time when people leave reviews for books, what I’ve noticed in the past is that they’re usually not the best reviews, but sometimes you’ll get some really killer reviews because people will want to talk about it.
I think we’ve sold a, of Elyria. I believe we’ve sold maybe 10 to 12 copies of the book. And right now with the fact that you can’t go into the bookstores really and do book signings at the, at this time because of the Corona virus and all that stuff, can’t go to the libraries and try to get your four or five copies of your book into the library so that people can check them out and and do a reading at the library.
It’s just really hard right now for authors in general, unless you. My my I guess my online presence is not too strong. I have two webs two emails that I use as my stuff. And I’m getting ready to set up a Facebook page again because the [00:15:00] last one just isn’t doing anything sadly.
I will I will have a couple of new pages up probably by the end of next week. But like I said, it’s been tough. It’s been a learning experience, but it’s also something that I’m never going to give up because it, this is what I am. I am a writer. And I would say a pretty prolific writer.
I I’ve written 1, 2, 3, 4 novels. I’ve got probably 12 screenplays and a three television series. I have. The better portion of my life, sitting in front of a computer, just writing and
[00:15:42] Stephen: are all of these out or just things you’ve written
[00:15:44] David: your Texas, he does out there. But Texas heat is getting ready to probably be pulled off the market because it’s getting a full rewrite.
The book is actually quite good but it just it needs some work and it [00:16:00] needs to be redone rewritten in a way that, that shows me. Or clash or conflict more more despair than than what I’ve got. And when it comes out again soon, hopefully my hope is by the spring, it’s going to be called the curve.
It is a fictional baseball book. It is a about a fictional version of the early 2000 Houston Astros. And they’re a star pitcher, Avery Harris which I would love to do another interview with this book. And when it is when it is ready to go, because it is going to be wild. I have fixed my outline for it, and I have been diving into it.
I’m at about 3500 3500 words, on the rewrite and I’m probably looking at about a hundred and twenty five, two hundred thirty 5,000 words for the book. [00:17:00] Probably around basically around what Alaria is, Alaria sits at about, I think 400 something pages. And well, one of the things I want to do at the podcast and I’m still growing, it is go back and visit authors that I’ve talked to before, like a year later or so, and find out how are things going?
[00:17:21] Stephen: What new things have you done or you learned or what’s going on with the whole author career? So that’d be perfect to talk to you eight months from now or something. Yeah,
[00:17:31] David: that’d be
[00:17:31] Stephen: great. So other than what you did with good reads which I loved and you’re working with a PR firm. What other ways are you marketing it or trying to, especially now, like you said, it’s
[00:17:44] David: hard.
I just sent the book. I just entered a Lyria into a competition with writers. It is a it’s the independent independent book of the year deal that they do. And basically what happens with [00:18:00] that is that if the book places, or if it wins the full-on entire competition, then there is a big article written up about the author and the book in a writer’s digest.
A writer’s digest has the largest writers conference in the country. Which I want to say it’s like in July, but and it was canceled this year. They did a a virtual conference this year that I did not attend because even that was quite expensive. But yeah I do a lot of stuff with with writer’s digest.
They do a lot of stuff with with independent writers and do a lot of write-ups on independent writers. Book reviews and stuff like that. And they also can get your work and to the hands of the right agents, the right publishers and stuff like that. They are a phenomenal group.
[00:18:55] Stephen: Nice. Okay. Let me shift gears just a little bit, get a little more [00:19:00] techie.
When you’re writing, what do you use to write? What software, what services are
[00:19:05] David: you using? I use, I basically right now I use Microsoft word. I also use I’m trying to think of all the stuff that I use at the moment. Microsoft word basically because it just does everything that I need for my, not for my novels.
And then when I’m writing screenplays or teleplays I use final draft.
[00:19:27] Stephen: Okay. W have you found. Word cause I, I go, I hear things back and forth. Some people really like words. Some people say they can’t stand it. I personally use Scribner cause it really clicked with me and it seems to do everything I need in a way that made sense to me.
And I found word actually difficult to use once I got past a certain point. So have you tried other things. Do you find word difficult that you had to get used to it or anything like
[00:19:54] David: that? With on the Mac, which is, I I’ve been using the Mac, gosh, [00:20:00] since grade school, I’ve never worked better computer besides an apple in my life.
But when word came over, when they started to do the the Mac version for that, it was easy as. For me and my wife fortunately knows how to work it pretty well. So she helped me learn it as well too. It it’s great because it has it just Microsoft, excuse me, but Mac just makes everything pretty much simplified.
My wife. Doesn’t like Mac, she’s a PC user. Yeah, I, Microsoft word couldn’t be easier. A final draft for me is really simplistic as well. And then I also have an editing software, final cut pro, which is I think a ten-year-old could probably use that and look look like a 35 year old professional edited edited a video.
So it’s I, like I said, using Mac, if I had to use a PC [00:21:00] I would be lost. I would be. I would be done. I cannot, I do not work well with with PC at all. But yeah, Mac, I would say that’s I would tell any writer to use a Mac that, but that’s just my opinion.
I would always recommend ma apple for writing and for actually editing as well, too. Okay. Yeah, I actually am a PC guy, but I also come from a world of software development and programming. So I’ve pretty much, I started way back when, on a Commodore and I actually had a word processor.
[00:21:42] Stephen: I did reports on yeah,
[00:21:45] David: the Commodore 64. Yeah.
[00:21:47] Stephen: Do you ever have a speed script? Yes, actually. Yeah.
Yeah. Okay. Let me ask you a question, David growing up or now what’s like a favorite [00:22:00] book, a favorite author of yours. Oh man.
[00:22:03] David: My sister when I was gosh, about 12 years. He handed me a copy of fear and loathing in Las Vegas by the good Dr.
Hunter S Thompson. And I obviously did not understand it at the age of 12, but by the time I was a sophomore in high school, that book meant more than you could play a batch into me. And as far as I’m concerned, hunter S Thompson is probably not only the greatest political journalist this country will ever see or has ever seen.
We’ll ever have the the guts to to, to speak his true voice, but he’s also probably one of the greatest impairing skins that may have ever lived. And a lot of people may not agree with me if they only know one side of hunter S Thompson the crazy doctor Gonzo drug fueled acid fueled, alcohol fueled [00:23:00] Crazy bastard who basically turned every world.
He went into upside down. He made me want to do what I do him and Jr token Lord of the rings and the Hobbit are our are my are just it’s unbelievable that book, that those books were written. All those years ago because they still hold up today. And it is I don’t know if I don’t think I could ever do what he did or our J K a is another person JK, Rowling.
She might not be too popular right now with the world, but she is a. I just, it just blows my mind quite honestly. The ability that, that that token and her and people like see us Louis just [00:24:00] I it’s Stephen King I, the Clive Barker the list just go. On and on Shel Silverstein.
[00:24:10] Stephen: That’s a great, that’s a great one. There’s a lot of people won’t think of that, but his poetry, I read those so many times to my kids and loved them myself. Yeah.
[00:24:22] David: Yeah. He wow. Yeah, I stuffed it my, my mom and my dad read that stuff to me as a kid. The it’s those things, the Bible Shakespeare Shakespeare is probably my all time favorite actually.
I’ve done Shakespeare in the park. I did it three years. In Houston I at school I did taming of the Shrew Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. And that was in high school. Yeah. Reading to me is [00:25:00] is as important, if not more important than music to me.
The written word is gold. And it. Reading a book, it can transport you more into another world than watching it on a big screen. If you have that type of imagination, if you have. If you have that that, that mindset to look into what that author is writing to what to look into, what that woman or that man is saying on those pages, then you can be drifted off to another place.
You might be stuck in, even after you put the book down. And that’s like the job of the authors too, is to do something like that is to make sure that their book speaks those the, that speaks to that level to the people that read it. And that’s what I try to do. Stephen King I’ve never been more [00:26:00] terrified in my life after reading Terry when I was 10 years old.
So it was he has scared me more than a probably a gremlin. But Poe has has a lot of a lot of my heart with him too, because I love PO
[00:26:17] Stephen: the his short stories or just
[00:26:22] David: Way ahead of his time, unbelievably ahead of his time, obviously. So it was Shakespeare all of them.
Just it just really seems Aye hunter S Thompson was writing about what’s going on with this country right now in the late fifties when he was in the military. He it’s crazy that th that he saw the writing on the wall, like he did I’m not too happy that he took his own life in oh five.
But. What he did what a lot of authors do, I found him more. Revelent more irrelevant, more, more relevant. Excuse me then. Then then does [00:27:00] Hemingway, I quite honestly I find Hemingway. A little bit boring. But that’s just me. I know that there probably people are going to stop me for saying that stuff, but that’s
[00:27:14] Stephen: interesting.
You say that because you talked about token earlier and I chuckled a little bit because when I was in high school, our English teacher we had to do a book report every nine weeks. We get a list of books that we can choose from. And they had the token books on there and the teacher goes, but I wouldn’t recommend anybody reading those because I did my master’s thesis on those.
So I know everything there is about them. And I went, oh, that’s the challenge. So I read fellowship and turned in a report on fellowship and she marked off a couple things. And I said, no, she’s not right. And I brought the book and showed her. I said, look right here. It says exactly what I said and you’re wrong.
She refused to even look at the book and said, I know what I’m talking about. Okay. Then.[00:28:00] But honestly, for me, I’ve read those books three times and I really can’t. I like Hobbit. I like fellowship, but as we get into the next two and then return to the king, especially, I just can’t keep focused and concentrated on it to this day.
I’ve read the darn book three times. I couldn’t tell you exactly what happens in it. It
[00:28:24] David: just, the third one is tough. I will admit that the two are great, but the third one is tough. T to keep your attention all the way throughout. It’s unlike the movie a king, the movie was freaking phenomenal, man, but apparently Peter Jackson knew exactly what it felt like.
He knew exactly what Tolkien was trying to say with that final book. And he was able to put it in in terms that we that we all could just absolutely 110% agree with it. I didn’t like the ending of the movie, but. Beggars can’t be choosers, arrested, [00:29:00] phenomenal right.
[00:29:01] Stephen: I agree. Those are great movies. So let me ask you another question down there where you live. Do you have a favorite bookstore? Do you go to any bookstores?
[00:29:10] David: Yeah, we we normally check out, usually go to a half price books in a town called San Marcus. And. There’s one in San Marcus.
There’s one actually in Austin, Texas, proper couple in Austin, Texas proper. And there’s another bookstore in downtown Austin called a book people, which is a massive bookstore, but it is specifically owned by Texans. So it is a Texas staple and has been here for, oh gosh, I want to say maybe 10, 15, 20 years.
And is one of the most awesome bookstores that I’ve ever been in. There’s a chance the wife and I will be coming down to Houston next year. I’ll have to look you up. We’ll have to go visit these.
Yeah, I would love to. That’d be cool to get together, man. Yeah.
[00:29:57] Stephen: Yeah. Something else I’d like to do is [00:30:00] get together with authors that I’ve talked to and visit their favorite bookstore and put that up on YouTube, working
[00:30:07] David: on that.
You will love. Sick. It’s awesome. Stephen King did a book signing there several years ago when Dr. Sleep first came out and yeah, we, my wife and I actually heard on the radio and we wanted to go, but we just didn’t go because we probably didn’t want to get in line with 5,000 people.
[00:30:27] Stephen: Crazy king
[00:30:28] David: fans.
Yeah. Oh, we he is. Yeah we are massive Stephen King fans.
[00:30:36] Stephen: Let me tell you this. So a couple of weeks ago, we went to a local flea market that over the holiday weekends labor day, 4th of July, it’s a really big, and I was walking around and there was a guy that had 30, some Stephen King hardbacks, and he was selling them.
They weren’t mint condition. They were pristine and he was selling them for five bucks.
[00:30:58] David: Oh, my God, I would’ve bought
[00:30:59] Stephen: [00:31:00] every one of them. Yeah. I was going to say, guess how many, how much money I dropped? How much
[00:31:04] David: money did you drop?
[00:31:05] Stephen: That, okay. So here is even better. So I picked up all the ones I knew I didn’t have.
And the next day we went back and I went to visit him again and he just wanted out of there. So he sold me 11 books hardbacks for 10 bucks.
[00:31:19] David: Oh my God. And they’re probably first additions to. I was checking and none of them really were, they might’ve been but they did have the shining.
[00:31:32] Stephen: It wasn’t a first edition, but it did have the original slip cover. So I settled for that.
[00:31:39] David: I’ve been looking. Back in oh seven, two years after hunter S Thompson died, my dad and I were looking for a signed copy of fear and loathing in Las Vegas first edition. I don’t know if you know this, but those books have Quintiles.
And value. If you can [00:32:00] find a first edition of that book with his signature, where he signs it, Dr. Thompson or Dr. Gonzo, they are worth upwards of I think 10 to $15,000. Johnny Depp is one of the the actor, Johnny Depp, him and William Kennedy are the caretakers of hunters. Collection of books and Johnny Depp has every single first edition that hunter ever did because hunter gave him one.
And Johnny has one of the most expensive book collections, I believe in the world. Yeah, his collection is to dive. And I’d really like to have some of the books that he has in his collection. Cause
[00:32:49] Stephen: so now my little brain is twisting and now I’m trying to figure out how to interview Johnny Depp.
So I can talk to him about his book.
[00:32:58] David: He a man [00:33:00] he’s I feel bad for him with everything that’s going on he really is a very interesting dude and somebody that that you ought to try to get on your show. That’d be fun.
[00:33:11] Stephen: Yeah, it goes against what I maybe a special episode,
[00:33:18] David: but I, there, there are so many, there are so many authors, so many musicians, so many actors that inspired.
The way I write in so many different films and stuff like that, that inspire the way I write specifically, just because they made such an impact on my life and I, but probably none more. Like I said, than the written word the written word has played a. Probably the biggest role in, in the way that I, in the way that I write that first and then the rest of the entertainment world second.
But yeah I’m very influenced [00:34:00] by king by by the grades, just by the greatest that I’ve ever written a line of dialogue or a line of story it’s. It’s unbelievable. Just how incredibly awesome books truly are.
[00:34:18] Stephen: Yeah, I totally agree. All right. David, before we get going do you have any last advice for new authors?
[00:34:25] David: As hard as it can be sometimes when we set up our our outlines for our books and what we’re trying to do Things change ideas change. You can take a story that, that you might think stinks, fix it and make a great, as long as you don’t give up on the project that you’re working on.
And I’m working on eight different projects right now, and I don’t get up on any of them. So that is why I’m working on eight at a time, but don’t give [00:35:00] it. No I still haven’t made it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to. And that doesn’t mean that, that everybody else out there isn’t going to be successful too.
So if you are a writer, if that is what is, if that is what you feel, your gift in life is then make sure that you continue to write. Don’t give up, don’t throw it on.
[00:35:20] Stephen: Nice. Thanks. And so tell us one more time name of your book and where we can find it and you
[00:35:26] David: online. Yeah, it is called Illyria. You can find it on on Amazon prime, and you can also find it on Barnes and noble.com.
You can find firstname.lastname@example.org and David Matthews writer at GML dot.
[00:35:48] Stephen: Okay. Great. Dave, it was great. Taking the time to talk to you. It was a blast. Yeah, I appreciate it. And like I said, I’d love to follow up with you in a while and hear about the next books and things that are going
[00:35:59] David: on. [00:36:00] I would love to, man.
That sounds awesome. Great.
Some links make be affiliate links