After a near death experience at age fifteen, Joseph Davida left his parents’ home and moved into Manhattan. Too young to get a “real” job, he started up what became one of the biggest weed delivery services in New York to support himself while he pursued his career as a musician and songwriter. For years he worked with some of the best musicians in the world, until a nervous breakdown brought his time in the music industry to an end. During this time he traveled the world before finally settling in Nashville, where he had two beautiful daughters and started a successful chain of retail stores. He now concentrates on being a good father, and actively plans for the coming revolution…while also working to get his many stories onto the page. He's here today to chat about his book TRAVELING HIGH AND TRIPPING HARD. Visit his website at www.josephdavida.com.
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Well, it was a combination of things. Probably the biggest inspiration came from the books I read as an early teenager, before I had a chance to get out and see the world on my own. For better or for worse, it started with “On the Road” when I was thirteen. That quickly led me to Burroughs, who immediately became a huge influence. After I had done some serious traveling, I decided I wanted to share some of my own my stories.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I had too little patience to try and take the traditional publishing route. After dealing with some music industry people when I was younger, I figured I’d be better off trying to do things on my own terms. The idea of sending out a manuscript to agents and publishers sounded like a nightmare.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?
I had bits and pieces of stories I had written down while traveling, so the title didn’t come until much later. I knew I had to have some reference to the words traveling and tripping, and I just played around with them until something sounded right, and seemed to capture the essence of the book. I’m not sure “trip” is technically a double entendre, but certain readers will definitely get the double meaning.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
Yes, I had a good idea of what I wanted the cover to look like. I worked as a tattoo artist for a few years ages ago, but never considered myself much of an “artist”. That being said, I have a decent eye…so I sketched out a few ideas of what I was looking for.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
I got online, and looked at ton of different artists’ work. Finally, I found a guy named Travis Gillan, and as soon as I saw what he was doing, I knew I had to hire him.
How was your experience working with the designer?
Amazing. At first I told him kinda what I was looking for, but I wanted to see what he came up with by himself. When he sent over his first sketch, it was almost EXACTLY what I had envisioned, except a million times better. I showed him the rough drawing I had done, just to show him how well he nailed it, and he got to work on the final cover.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
Everyone who has seen it so far has loved it. You can’t deny the talent of this guy. I loved what he came up with so much, that I decided I had to have him do a few illustrations for the inside of the book as well. His line work is incredible, and the way he uses colors is very specific. His style is so distinct, I’m just glad I found him and had a chance to work with him while I could still afford him. Expect to see his work all over the place in the future.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Spend some money, and don’t chince out. Your cover is the first thing people are going to see before they ever even decide if it’s worth reading a word of it. There are a ton of great artists out there, a lot of them desperate for work. Look around until you find someone who jumps out and grabs your attention…then hire them.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
Yes, go buy it. It is available on January 30th, at fine online retailers everywhere! I hear Jeff Bezos needs the money…