Joseph Davida

Author of Traveling High & Tripping Hard available January 30, 2018

Category: interviews

The Writers Life Interview

The Writing Life with Joseph Davida, author of ‘Traveling High and Tripping Hard’

9:37 AM



What got you into writing?

I’ve always been writing something. Whether it be music, lyrics, or poetry, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Maybe it’s something in my blood. My father was a writer, my grandfather was a writer… I’m even related to Stephen Crane. A bit of misery seems to be the common thread.

What do you like best about being an author?

Not much. Unless you are doing it for purely cathartic reasons, it’s a pretty terrible thing to try and pursue.

When do you hate it?

During the editing process. There are just a million ways to write the same sentence, and being a little obsessive, I usually try to explore them all. (Even though I usually just wind up back where I started anyway.) But sometimes, hating what you write pushes you to keep writing, and to try and write something even better.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

It depends. If it’s creative writing, they are not really regular, and usually contingent upon what substances I have ingested. If it’s an editing day, I’ll generally try to stay sharp. No matter what day it is, I usually like to start it with a bagel. With lots of butter. If my heart feels like it won’t give out, then I might even have some bacon. If the writing is going really bad, I deep fry the bagels in the bacon grease, and hope I have a heart attack to put me out of my misery so I won’t have to write anymore.

Do you think authors have big egos?

Of course. To think anyone should care about what you have to say, is about the most egotistical thing someone can do. But the truth is all writers are fragile beings, who just want to be loved. If your mother gave you attention as a child, it is doubtful you would want to bother with the whole writing thing in the first place.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I haven’t really had any yet, but I’ll probably be getting some soon. When it happens I’m sure I’ll pretend like it doesn’t bother me, and then will obsess over them until I question every aspect of my life and every decision I’ve ever made. My handlers have been instructed to remove all sharp objects from my vicinity once the book is released.

How do you handle positive reviews?

Haven’t had many of those either, but I’m sure I will receive them with suspicion. My doctor says I am a glutton for self-punishment.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

I don’t bother. I assume if they don’t know that on their own, there is probably a good reason for it. Where I live in Nashville, every person you meet is a writer or a musician. The only thing people generally care about is if you can get them a discount at the restaurant or store you work at.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

It depends where the vodka takes me. If I find a good Neil DeGrasse Tyson podcast on Youtube, you can assume I will not be doing any more writing that day.

Any writing quirks?

Em dashes—and ellipses…

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I’d sic my dog on them, and then ask if they feel like taking me more seriously now… Sadly, he’d probably just wind up licking their face, so it is unlikely they’d wind up taking me very seriously anyway.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

Sure. You can’t be passionate about anything unless you love and hate it. Most people don’t write because it makes them feel good. They write until the demons in their heads get so exhausted, they can only taunt you with whispers.

What’s on the horizon for you?  

Hopefully lots of free drugs, adoration, and writing groupies.

Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process or about being a writer.

I’m not sure if I’m very wise, or a good writer…but if there is anything that matters to me, it is honest writing. I’d always rather read something true and from the heart, then something technically perfect, flowery, or full of shit.

Article originally appearing at:

Book Publishing Secrets with Travel Memoirist Joseph Davida

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Publishing Secrets with Travel Memoirist Joseph Davida

Name: Joseph Davida

Book Title: “Traveling High and Tripping Hard”

Genre: Travel Memoir

Publisher: Dark Planet Press

Find out more on Amazon

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

Joseph: I had no choice. I was captured in an opium field in the Golden Triangle, and sent to a Burmese prison camp. The head prison guard found my work habits (digging holes) lacking, and beat me with a bamboo cane until three quarters of my body was covered in blood and bruises. I begged him to just leave my right hand alone, so I could still use it to comb my hair and write. Then we somehow wound up getting into a long conversation about Dostoyevsky, and he agreed to leave my hand alone—so long as I promised to write a book for him, and give him all of the profits. He is still holding my pet rat, “Ping”, hostage, so I really need to start selling a few copies ASAP.

Is this your first book?

Joseph: Yes. I attempted to write a cook book on French cuisine first, but my meager diet of crickets and half cooked rice left me so hungry, I wound up devouring all of the pages I had written one day during a fit of dehydration and delirium.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

Joseph: I chose to self-publish this book. A friend of mine told me it could be months, if not years before a big publishing house will even release a new title—and every few weeks I’ve been getting a small package sent to me, with what appears to be little tiny rat toes inside. I just can’t stand the thought of what will happen to my beloved Ping if he is left inside that prison camp a digit-less cripple.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

Joseph: Well, after I had finished the book, I was granted parole on the condition that I would get the book published immediately. I borrowed a rickshaw and pedaled it as quickly as I could to the first internet café I could find. Once I made it there, I got online, and set up an account with Amazon, and paid for the ISBN number with a golden Buddha amulet I stole off of a blind beggar. I felt really bad about taking it from him, but luckily, I still had enough credit to type up the entire manuscript, and find your blog.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

Joseph: I learned you should never get caught milking poppies in a Burmese warlords’ opium field. As far as the publishing industry goes, it generally seems like a racket to get terrible writers to spend money on editors, book shepherds, and publicists.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Joseph: Self-publishing? Definitely not.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Joseph: Stop spending so much time discussing the particulars of publishing, and start writing about some shit that people will actually want to read.



About the book:

Traveling High and Tripping Hard is the story of a young man’s quest to find the meaning of life through a series of altered states and high adventures…

After accidentally ingesting a large dose of PCP at eight years old, Joseph Davida had an apocalyptic vision that would change the course of his life forever. Charged with the monumental task of saving the world, he set out on a mission that led him through the jungles of Central America, the pyramids of Egypt, the temples of Kathmandu—and into the deepest recesses of his mind.

For anyone who has ever wanted a glimpse into those strange places that lie somewhere between the darkness and light, hope and despair, and spirituality and madness, Traveling High and Tripping Hard is guaranteed to deliver.

Interview originally appearing at:

Book Cover Junkie Interview


He’s here today to chat about his book TRAVELING HIGH AND TRIPPING HARD. Visit his website at


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…

Interview originally appearing at:

A Chat with Author Joseph Davida

A Chat with Author Joseph Davida
Posted on January 31st, 2018
by Mayra Calvani in Entertainment, Literary News


Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it.

Well, Traveling High and Tripping Hard started out as a random collection of travel stories. They were really not connected to each other, and they certainly were not written with any kind of cohesive narrative. Once I became serious about trying to create an actual book, I realized there was one theme that tied everything together…the fact that I was searching for something. I was looking for answers to the big stuff—like where do we come from, and where are we going—all of the things that give meaning to life. Of course, I never really found the answers to any of these things, but at least some of the experiences I had during that period helped shape who I am today. If someone can read it and become inspired to get out and see the world on their own, I would consider it all a success.

Who is your target audience?

Ideally, I’d like the people who hold very conservative views, the people who’ve never left the small towns where they grew up to read it—but that will probably never happen. So, if I can’t change any minds, I guess I gotta stick with my base—musicians, backpackers, college students, psychedelic enthusiasts…you know, free spirits and progressive types. Probably the people who don’t go to church too much, and like to smoke pot.

What will the reader learn after reading your book?

Probably not too much. I wasn’t looking to educate people on anything as much as I’d like to hopefully entertain them. If there is anything to learn, it is subtle things…like realizing that we live in a big world, and not everyone sees things from a typically Ameri-centric perspective. With that exposure to things that are unfamiliar, I believe we begin to understand our own place in the world better, and hopefully gain a broader point of view. I’d doesn’t mean we all have to become hippy-dippy dreamers, but we can at least realize that the particular strain of nationalism that is on the rise, is a dead-end street. We are all far too interconnected these days to realistically believe any form of isolationism is going to be productive.

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

I’m generally not too interested in fantasy. Every once in a while, you will come across a writer like George R.R. Martin who writes so well, you can’t help but be captivated by it…but usually there is enough interesting stuff happening in the real world, where if it’s captured and conveyed honestly, will generally beat out any work of fiction. So yeah, I am definitely the type of writer who likes to write about my experiences way more than my fantasies. My fantasies are probably better portrayed by pornography anyway…

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle with the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

The editing process. I hate editing. I can sit around for hours and just blather on about nearly anything, but when it comes time to read things back, I become obsessive, and start nitpicking everything. But ultimately, no one would be able to get through a manuscript with bad grammar, spelling, and punctuation…so it’s something that needs to get done. I generally just buckle down, tell myself it’s going to suck, and concentrate on the task at hand. When you finish it though, and can look at something that has really been polished, it is usually the most rewarding part of the process.

What is(are) your favorite book/author(s)? Why?

I like biographical works. And I find the dirtiest, and most hard-boiled stuff the best. As far as raw, honest writing goes, you are not going to find a book better than something like “Pimp” by Iceberg Slim/Robert Beck, or “Junky” by William Burroughs. Those guys weren’t just writing down stories, they lived the life. Anytime someone really lays it all down, the good and the bad, it is going to hit you in the gut a lot harder than someone who just writes beautiful, flowery prose, purely for the sake of putting words down on a page.

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I do, I am currently working on some of the stuff I was doing when I was home in New York during the 1990’s, and early 2000’s. Since Traveling High and Tripping Hard pretty much details the things that were going on in my head when I was essentially on vacation, the new book will be a lot darker, and will go a lot deeper. Mental illness, betrayals, drugs, death…all kinds of good stuff. And although I’m sure it won’t be as heavy as any of Icebergs’ stuff, I hope people might, at the very least, find it entertaining.

© 2023 Joseph Davida

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