David Snell talks about his new book, “Demon Days”, and his colorful storytelling history
By Kassidy Scheppler
In the third grade, David Snell told his mom he had been kidnapped. It got as far as him pointing out a suspect, and even the police were involved.
Luckily the suspect had an alibi.
Twenty years later, Snell confesses it was all a hoax. It is this same overactive imagination that has enabled Snell to become the writer he is today.
Snell, a graduate of Rogue Community College and current employee at RCC’s Redwood campus, has a new novel, Demon Days, hitting the shelves on Dec. 1.
Demon Days is about a journalist fighting to save her fiance from an otherworldly cabal attempting to trigger the Armageddon. The novel is a supernatural thriller combining prophecy, possession and exotic locales to create what Andrew Neiderman (author of The Devil’s Advocate) calls “a gripping, visual, pulse-racing read.”
Snell started writing in the third grade. His first stories usually involved people dying horrible, pointless deaths.
“Even before I learned to write, I had a big imagination and a love for telling stories,” Snell said.
When Snell enrolled at RCC, he pursued an Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree, planning to just take a few classes.
“That’s student code for ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’,” Snell said. “Eventually, though, I figured it out. I transferred to Pacific University and earned my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing.”
Snell was eventually published in anthologies such as Permuted Press’s Headshot Quartet and Blood Lite, from Pocket Books.
“A degree helps land better jobs,” Snell said, echoing the sentiments of many current enrollees. “But for the most part I wanted to excell at what I love to do. If love is not our main driving force, I think our endeavors end in mediocrity, our lives in discontent.”
After college, Snell became less interested in Stephen King and Dean Koontz and became a disciple of Kurt Vonnegut and T.S. Eliot.
“The stories I write have to be entertaining. Genre audiences demand it. But writers like Vonnegut taught me that ‘genre’ doesn’t have to mean ‘shallow’. Just look at what he did for science fiction.”
“I’ve wanted to write novels, though I didn’t really attempt one until highschool,” Snell said. He scrapped the book once he had 200,000 words and no end in sight. The idea behind Demon Days came from the mind of Richard Finney.
“Demon Days is my first co-authored project, and I really enjoyed collaborating with Richard Finney,” Snell said. “He’s worked in the film industry for years, and he’s provided some great insights into the business.”
Richard Finney is a Los Angeles-based producer and screenwriter who has worked with major Hollywood studios like Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. Finney also worked as a journalist, just like Sandy Travis, the main character of Demon Days. Finney even took a helicopter tour similar to the one in the book — sans the crash.
“For the rest of the story concept, Richard took a fresh look at prophecy and found an interesting twist, then enlisted me to help write the novel. I found it extremely rewarding because I got to handle most of the character development — such as backstory, internal conflict, and motivation.”
Snell’s inspiration does not just come from books.
“Inspiration is everywhere,” Snell said. “Writers, and people in general, process and store sensory information in great pillars of creation, which our imaginations then bond in stars, galaxies, planets and life — our own little universes. If you’ve ever seen a photo comparison of a brain cell and the simulated vision of our universe, you’ll have a clearer picture of what I’m describing. A writer’s job, then, is to give the reader enough sensory detail to re-imagine the universe.”
Snell will hold two book signings this December to promote Demon Days: Oregon BOoks in Grants Pass on Dec. 12, 11AM to 2PM and at Walden Books in the Rogue Valley Mall on either Dec. 5 or 19, from 2-4PM. The final date will be announced on the book’s website, www.exit66.net, where you can also view a trailer for the book, and play a game where you defend yourself from a zombified Snell.