“The fastest way to describe them would be if you put a Universal monster movie and a John Ford western together,” New Mexico based author Jonathan Davis said when asked to describe his Weird West novels The Wendigo and the Werewolf and Sister Cassidy. Set in the wild west, the two novels follow Harriet Cassidy through her journey of fighting monsters and evil men. A third novel in the series is currently in the research and drafting phase.
Paranormal westerns aren’t the only genre in which Davis writes. In 2015, he released Child of the Moons, a novel he describes as a “kind of love letter to all things fantasy”. Which makes sense, considering he primarily wrote campaigns for Dungeons and Dragons or White Wolf games before launching his indie author career.
Writing novels wasn’t necessarily a career Davis considered in his youth. Though he was a voracious reader and dreamer, he focused on paths others thought he should follow, instead of following his own dreams.
“It wasn’t until one night, the first book I told was burning in my mind and I had to write it down, just so it would stop bugging me,” said Davis.
While his original intent wasn’t to publish a book, once it was finished, he felt the strong urge to share it with others. He did try the traditional route first, sending query letters to agents, but grew impatient and ultimately decided to publish independently.
“It may have been due to inexperience or youth,” said Davis. “At the time, I just wanted my book out there to share with the world.”
That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be interested in traditional publishing in the future, if for no other reason than to see his books on bookstore shelves. That, and having a publishing house market his works, which he finds to be the most daunting aspect of indie publishing.
“The writing, the editing, the formatting, all of the creative process, I love,” he said. “When it comes to putting books in readers’ hands though, that’s the toughest part.”
But when he is able to put his books in front of readers, their positive reactions have been the most rewarding aspect of the process, especially during author fairs at a local bookstore, when he has the opportunity to talk to readers about the characters he creates.
“There’s a rush associated with that, that’s really hard to describe,” Davis said.
Meeting other authors and being a part of the author community also had a positive and inspiring impact on Davis.
“Even if you don’t know each other, it’s like you’re a part of a community already. No one is trying to outdo the other,” he said. “Everyone wants you to succeed. It’s really refreshing.”
The author community isn’t the only place Davis has found support. His entire family has his back in his new-found career path, especially his wife, whom he describes as his “best cheerleader.” While he still works a day job managing inventory at a warehouse, he hopes to one day be a full-time writer.
“She saw early on how into it I was and gave me her full support,” said Davis. “All of my family has done the same.”
That family, which includes his parents and siblings, along with his extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents, randomly show up at events, no matter the size to support him. At those events, his 10-year-old daughter actively encourages people to buy her father’s books.
Now with three completed books published, one in production and several short stories in varied genres being polished to be sent to magazines, Davis encourages other aspiring authors to not give up.
“Nothing is going to happen overnight. You’re going to fail non-stop but you need to keep going,” he said. “Anything worth doing takes a lot of time and effort. Even when you do get those small victories, keep working because it won’t last.”
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