I was born on July 4, 1964 in Birmingham AL. My desire to tell stories predates my earliest memories. My mother has often related how as a very young child (about 2-4 years old) I created a rather large collection of imaginary friends; with imaginative names like Big John, Little John, He-he-he-he, and He-he-he-he-he; and would proceed to regale her with stories about their lives. Not simple childish stories, but ones where my imaginary friends were getting married and divorced and moving to far-off places.
As I grew older, say 5 years old, I became obsessed with writing my stories down. This was greatly hampered by my lack of ability to read or spell. I would follow my sister, who was 13 years older than me, around asking her how to spell each word in whatever story I was creating, until she became frustrated and told me to wait until I started school before trying to write a book.
As I grew I kept trying to write stories, but I lacked skill and was too young to realize that I needed both patience and practice.
In my teenage years I became enamored of Advance Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) and quickly learned to be a Dungeon Master. For many years this game satisfied both my desire to create characters and tell stories. It also fed an interest in the mythology of various cultures that would become one of my many life-long passions.
My interest in mythologies caused me to become fascinated with classic literature, which led me to take so many literature classes in college I almost graduated with a minor in English Literature to go along with my two bachelor degrees (one in Mathematics, the other in Computer and Informational Science).
While in college I also became a founding member of the Honors Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A fantastic opportunity that resulted in me being exposed to team-taught courses that studied broad topics from a wide perspective that included physics, psychology, literature, art, sociology, cosmology, history, mathematics, and a host of other perspectives. The few years I spent in the Honors Program, resulting in my being one of the first three people to graduate from UAB with Honors, counts as perhaps the greatest experience of my life; one spent interacting deeply on a daily basis with the most diverse and intellectually gifted people I have ever known.
It was during this time that one day I had a daydream that would have fit well within a AD&D adventure. A wizard was in a battle with a group of monsters, probably orcs, and became cornered. In a fit of humor, my daydream added an O. Henry style twist where the wizard reached into his satchel, pulled out a large handgun that Dirty Harry might have used, and shot his attackers.
I laughed at the image of a medieval style wizard wielding a handgun, and then wondered, “Where did he get the gun?”
Answering that question led me to create a mythology that became ever more complicated over time. And from the seeds of that mythology grew the story I fell in love with: Gods Among Men.
I spent over 20 years piecing together tidbits of ideas and filling in details that satisfied parts of my writing urge. I crafted a broad and detailed outline of the plot that forms the backbone of my epic literary fantasy. I fleshed out all the ideas and characters until I felt I knew the major ones quite well.
I wrote many scenes during this period, hundreds of pages of material, but the truth was my writing was quite awful. Then in 2008 I decided to dedicate myself to developing the skills required to fully tell the story that still dominates my imagination.
I founded the Magic City Writers Group, a small writers group dedicated to helping science fiction and fantasy writers improve their skills. I devoted my nights and weekends to practicing the craft of writing. I wrote and rewrote scenes and whole chapters from Gods Among Men until a solid story began to emerge. I slowly learned to edit my work, transforming my original dreck into solid prose.
I finished the first draft of the first novel in my series, At the Lady’s Behest Comes…, and then edited it, and edited it again, and again, and again. Every chapter was read and critiqued by the Magic City Writers Group until I felt the manuscript was ready to submit to a publisher or an agent.
And then I started learning about the business of publishing and discovered the intricacies of the profession I wanted to work in as a professional author. I learned what I could expect from a publisher and what they in turn would expect of me, and I learned the severe limitations that the traditional publishing route places on new authors.
Along the way I decided my epic fantasy series, the story that I love, might be better served if I self-published rather than went though a traditional large or small publisher.
I also realized that while my writing was good for an amateur, I needed professional help if my story was to reach professional quality. To that end I interviewed many professional editors and began the editing process that any respectable publishing house would require before publishing my manuscript. Before I could start selling At the Lady’s Behest Comes… it would need at a minimum a professional manuscript assessment, line edit, copyedit, and proofread. Not to mention a professionally designed book cover and related incidentals.
All of this isn’t cheap, and the odds are I won’t sell enough copies of At the Lady’s Behest Comes… to make back the costs in producing it, but I would rather spend that money on something I love than hoard what cash I have as old age creeps up on me. My primary goal is to see the story I am passionate about told to the best of my ability. My hope is that Gods Among Men will find an audience, however small, that loves this story as much as I do.
— R.B. Davidson, October 16, 2012