Saturday, 5 October 2013

Java Davis, author of Depression Carpenter

Depression Carpenter by Java Davis is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Depression Carpenter by Java Davis
UK: Depression Carpenter by Java Davis

Depression Carpenter by Java Davis
Depression Carpenter by Java Davis

Jackson Ferry is born into a privileged New York family, losing them in a car accident at the start of The Great Depression. Young and wealthy, he needs to justify his good fortune that contrasts so starkly from most of America.  Skilled in carpentry, he drives to the Gulf of Mexico, working on building projects all around the gulf with Chin, his peculiar friend and partner from Florida.  Where Chin is happy-go-lucky, Jake is thoughtful, always searching for more, using carpentry to strengthen his self-esteem.  But together, they are a powerful team.

In Alabama, after camping in a local cemetery, they find themselves among some fresh recruits for FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Further up the road, the pair is adopted by a Negro community, giving Jake his first real lessons in race relations.  Jake veers off to Baton Rouge and reminds himself what it’s like to be wealthy.  But he leaves Louisiana after ten weeks to continue his Gulf coast journey.

When Jake lands in Galveston, Texas, he stays for several years to help rebuild the island as it recovers from massive floods, sponsoring an inter-racial school for the island's orphans.

Ultimately, Jake learns to accept himself and makes peace with his circumstances.

This book took nine months to write.  The research to learn about the Gulf coast states during The Great Depression was fascinating, especially the horrendous history of Galveston, Texas.  The years of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl continue to interest me, and I would love to write more historical fiction about this era.  I’m also a classic car enthusiast and researched an appropriate station wagon for the trip, a Ford “Woodie,” a photo of which is on the book’s cover.

. . . . . . . .

Author Quiz interviews Java Davis...

Do you ever feel yourself becoming quite emotional when writing a particularly intense scene and is there a specific passage in particular where this was the case?
This is a strange question, but yes.  In my book, Depression Carpenter, I always cry when I reread Chapter 4, or listen to it from the audiobook version.  Never fails.  The main character and his road trip sidekick drive by a church on a Sunday in Alabama, and the music draws them in.  The sermon seems to be speaking directly to Jake, the carpenter.  He confronts himself and realizes he has to find what’s missing in his life.

If you were to write a novel outside your usual genre, which genre would you like to experiment with and why?

I would love someday to write an expose (ex-po-SAY – can’t get an accented e to show up here) of an industry, like Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker, which detailed the real story of a brokerage house and how unaware investors can be about wild or shady business practices.  Still one of my favorite books.

What would you say is your biggest strength as a writer?
My biggest strength is my directness. I say what I say, and I don’t try to embellish for the sake of using more words, or try reworking hackneyed cliches. I like to think that my style is softened by humor.

Would your book, Depression Carpenter, work best as a movie adaptation or as a TV series?
When I wrote it, I could see the movie happening at the same time.  Since it’s the story of a road trip with episodes along the way, there is a flow to it that could be captured on film, but would be too choppy as a TV series.  Also, the Gulf Coast scenery would be so beautiful on the wide screen.  I gave it to a screenwriter that I know, just for her opinion, not to try and get her to shop it out.  She agreed with me that it’s a movie in book form.

Cowgirl by Java Davis
If you could invite one character from your novels to a dinner party who would it be and why?
Without a doubt it would be Risa, the heroine from my book Cowgirl.  She would be able to tell amazing stories about breaking horses for a living, and going bear hunting.  She was also a savvy businesswoman, and she might give me some good investment tips.

Are there any good book blogs or websites you would recommend, both for discovering new books and authors, and also for promoting your own work?
My favorite site is  It’s a great author and book site, and they have a presence on Twitter, too.  Twitter is the best promotional vehicle that I’ve found to date.

How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next few years?
One of my titles is On Becoming a Dinosaur, a short memoir of my years as a typesetter.  Over the years, I’ve seen huge upheavals in the publishing industries, both book and periodicals.  Even packaging.  I think everyone can see the trajectory of everything becoming more and more digitized.  The people I know who want to hold “real” books are basically snobs.  Sorry to all the snobs out there!

Do you have a favourite review or has anyone expressed a particularly nice compliment about your writing which stands out as your most memorable piece of praise?
Someone compared my book Depression Carpenter to John Steinbeck and Pat Conroy.  That is beyond doubt the best compliment I’ve received to date!  I thanked her profusely!

What is your opinion on Amazon's KDP program?  Have the free book promotions helped overall sales?
When I first decided to self-publish, I used the site  Thousands of copies went out for free.  When I eventually seriously self-published on and used the KDP program, I tried the free book promotions.  In a word: Phooey.  I’ve given more copies away that will never translate into sales.  There are 6,000 copies of my books floating around out there that no one has paid for.  I’m determined that I won’t use the free book promos anymore, but will do 99 cent sales, which worked well when I tried that.

Which book more than any other have you read and thought, 'I wish I'd written this book'?

I wish I had enough poetry in my soul to write something close to the brilliant Cirkus, by Patti Frazee.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

. . . . . . . .

Thanks for your comments, Java, and good luck with your writing.

. . . . . . . .

A brief sample of Java Davis' writing:

A story that I’m very proud of is my typesetting memoir, On Becoming a Dinosaur, which chronicles my years of “feast” as a well-paid, self-employed sub-contractor, and “famine” when typesetting as a profession was overtaken by desktop publishing.  Here is the opening:

On Becoming A Dinosaur by Java Davis
In the 1970s, when I graduated from both high school and college, my future loomed before me.  I was destined for the pink collar jungle.  Feminists were telling us that we could do anything, we could achieve everything, but real life still wasn’t like that.  Best to learn to type.

With a part-time job history of clerical and library jobs, it was obvious that those were the only jobs I was qualified to do, and indeed, those were the jobs I got.  Fresh out of college, and already my future was decided; I would never rise above office work.

And then, several years down the road, a miracle happened.  I was fired.  I had taken over the job from a man.  I was doing everything the man had done, but I was fired for overstepping my authority.  I was choked with outrage until it finally dawned on me.  I would collect unemployment checks for months.  I sat down and examined my options.  I’m not sure when the idea came to me, but the course of my life altered.  I went to several type houses and asked to work for free in exchange for learning to be a typesetter.

Two type houses bit, and I worked for weeks learning the basic and the finer points of setting type.  I was learning a typesetting specialty: photocomposition.  This was typesetting that was done on special typesetting computers which produced type on black and white photo paper.  I would then develop the photo paper the same way that black and white photos were produced, only the product was type instead of photos.  I was a natural photocompositor, a prodigy.  Soon, one of the two jobs began to pay me.  I left the other and looked for more free-lance work, finding it easily.  I’d gone from cheesy pink collar paychecks to a journeyman’s blue collar pay.  Within a year, I was working two to four jobs at a time, earning top dollars.  $10-$12 an hour for a woman back then could raise eyebrows.

. . . . . . . .

Check out Java Davis' website:
Java Davis, Independent Author

. . . . . . . .

Follow Java Davis on twitter:

Java Davis doesn't have a fan page on facebook, but is on facebook as a 'person'.  Come say Hello!
Java Davis

. . . . . . . .

Java Davis' books are available for Kindle from Amazon.
Depression Carpenter
On Becoming a Dinosaur
Depression Carpenter
On Becoming a Dinosaur

Java Davis' books are also available in audio format from
Java Davis' books on

No comments:

Post a Comment