In episode 6 of my KC Creator series, I’d like to introduce you to fantasy author David J. Pedersen. If you’re thinking that last name sounds familiar, you’d be right. He’s my husband. But I’m not the least bit biased when I say his work is highly imaginative and entertaining. Read on to find out why one reader called his books “fantasy comfort food.”
Please introduce yourself.
I’m David J. Pedersen, author of fantasy series Angst and Middle-Grade fantasy Clod Makes A Friend. My wife is Angie Pedersen, founder of the incredible website KCGeeks!
When did you first become interested in writing?
I’ve loved writing since I discovered my mother’s old mechanical typewriter as a kid. I always enjoyed sharing my stories and wrote an ongoing fantasy for several issues of my junion high school newspaper. I started my first fantasy novel in high school (and still intend on finishing it one day.)
How would you describe your writing style?
A reviewer on Goodreads posted, “Pedersen seems to have taken a page from Kurt Vonnegut’s rule book in working hard to make the reading easy.” That’s my goal: to provide fun, entertaining escapism. Several readers have described Angst as “Fantasy comfort food.”
While there is plenty of danger and dark situations, I don’t necessarily write dark stories. I want readers to be drawn in with relatable characters they will miss when the story is over – those were always my favorite books.
What do you love about writing?
“I hate writing, I love having written.” ― Dorothy Parker
This is only partially true for me. I often find writing hard. On the good days, it’s a fun challenge. On the bad days I drink, write a paragraph, and then play video games. While I enjoy creating characters and putting them through the unexpected, my favorite is when someone gets my writing and enjoys it. When someone says my writing made them laugh or cry, I feel it was worth the effort.
Tell us about your Angst fantasy novel series, and its inspiration.
Growing up, I read a lot of fantasy books. Most were coming-of-age hero stories about young people with great power and potential. They meet an old wise person who sends them on a quest to become a hero. Angst is the guy who got passed up for all of that. He’s in his 40s, going through a midlife crisis, and knows the only way he can be happy is to be a hero – like a knight in shining armor. It’s a “be careful what you wish for” story as he drags his reluctant friends on an adventure and it all goes wrong.
My lovely, and patient wife often says the Angst series is autobiographical. While I would never admit this on my wife’s website, I have always felt that the Angst books are a reflection of me. There is some of David in all of my characters. After reading the first book, a dear friend from high school said that reading Angst was like spending an evening talking to me. Other friends have said that they hear my voice when reading my books. (Sorry about that.)
I think the core of the story is for people who believe they were meant for something else, something greater. There are a lot of people who feel this way, and I’ve been told by many readers that they relate to the characters and books because of this. (I think everyone also gets that life rarely goes as planned.)
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in your writing life.
This is a tough one. I have some incredibly supportive readers. I once received a handwritten letter thanking me for Angst. I’ve had the pleasure of readers visiting me at cons and telling me, “You’re the reason I’m here, to get the most recent book.”
In 2018, Randall Elementary School in Independence made my Middle Grade book “Clod Makes A Friend” a part of their 5th grade reading curriculum and end-of-year project. I was invited for a Q&A, and was greeted with applause. As if that wasn’t everything I had dreamed of, I was then surprised with their project. The kids had made movie previews of my book!
After my visit to Randall, the teacher who made it happen, Schyler, shared this message from one of her students. “You know when Mr. Pedersen answered my question and he was listening to me and agreed with me about some things I was saying? I really felt like I mattered. He made me feel important.” This still makes my heart melt.
This year the teachers at Randall voted and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes are all reading Clod Makes A Friend. It’s flattering and humbling, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of it.
What are you working on now, and what future plans lay ahead for you?
I’m working on a brand new fantasy series separate from Angst. I’ve written some chapters but am diving deeper into outlining than I have in the past. After that, I’ll be writing a stand-alone science fiction story and more stories in the Clod universe.
How long have you lived in Kansas City, and what’s something you love about living here?
I’ve been in Kansas City since 2nd grade and love it! We’ve got something for everyone. Great sports teams, solid venues for live entertainment, and a great geek community. With amazing cons like Planet Comicon, ConQuesT, and organizations like Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society – our nerd roots are true! (And a great place to learn more is on kcgeeks.com)
Where can someone find more information about your work?
- Website: https://www.gotangst.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gotangst/
- Twitter: @got_angst
- Instagram: @got_angst
- Amazon author page: David J. Pedersen
- Goodreads author page: David J. Pedersen
- Subscribe to my newsletter
Get your copies of Angst!
David’s first three books are available in a boxed set – here’s your opportunity to fall in love with his stories for less than $10 on Kindle! Angst Box Set on Amazon