Interview with Genese Davis

Author Genese Davis talks about the importance of community in the writing and publishing processes, why we need a new definition of the word ‘gamer,’ and her novel, The Holder’s Dominion.

Online gaming is incorporated into The Holder’s Dominion. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I’d love to! Like Kaylie, (the protagonist in The Holder’s Dominion) I came to gaming pretty late in life. In fact, as a young girl all my free time was spent at a horse barn where I learned the art of dressage and show jumping. I never expected to become an avid video game enthusiast. I ventured into the world of MMO gaming as an adult and discovered a passion for in-game community, especially in raiding teams. Working with industry professionals, I gained a deep understanding of video games and their artists, lore, culture, and development, and that’s how the story for The Holder’s Dominion was born. I wanted to write for gamers and non-gamers alike about the unpredictable and influential ways that video games change us, and to share with others the amazing experience of collaborative video games and the communities that grow up in and around them. This fast-paced story aims to bridge the gap between families and friends of gamers who wonder about the allure behind their loved ones’ fascination with video games.

This book’s overarching concept and details within the story were composed to relate to the experience of a large and well-defined gaming community. The Holder’s Dominion is an epic journey that will bring validation to gamers while intriguing them with speculative technology and a new world to adventure. This book is also a message of hope and support for anyone going through grief or who have been separated from their family. It’s a story about a girl who discovers the world of gaming, and how to get through the tough times between friends and loved ones. The Holder’s Dominion reveals the secret side to online games, and offers an avenue for different generations to understand one another.

What’s also unique about The Holder’s Dominion is that the story takes place on a college campus and therefore falls into the genre called “new adult.” The foundation of this story revolves around that “shove” we all go through into adulthood. When we leave the nest, we’re forced to grow up quickly. Beyond our high school days are powerful new adult stories that begin and blossom in our late teens and early 20s. Publishers Weekly recognizes the huge amount of heartfelt stories set beyond high school, and featured a full-length article about The Holder’s Dominion and its new adult classification.

What would you choose as the novel’s theme song?

That’s a great question! When I started writing novels I noticed that little things kept distracting and yanking me out of the character’s world. At first, the thought of writing to music was not an option, because just like other things, music can be very distracting and could hinder my creative process. But I found a loophole. As long as the music playing was a soundtrack, I could write! Writing can become even more of an inspirational journey with the right “lyric-less” soundtrack. I think The Holder’s Dominion would have a mix of George Fenton’s Dangerous Beauty, along with some Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings, Hans Zimmer’s Inception, Clint Mansell’s The Fountain, and then of course some Epic Score and Steve Jablonsky’s Transformers for the really intense scenes!

Is there an underlying message in The Holder’s Dominion that you want readers to grasp?

Beyond a family struggling to cope with loss, The Holder’s Dominion blends hope and rebirth, combined with the humility to admit one does not always see everything around them perfectly the first time. We can all get swept up in stereotypes, especially when they’re perpetuated enough times. And The Holder’s Dominion delicately reveals how reality and truth are hidden in the strangest places, like within judgment, close-mindedness, manipulation, and power.

Did you do anything to celebrate having your book published?

Oh yes! On March 1st, Howie’s Game Shack hosted the official launch event for my book. The event included some amazing highlights including an exclusive artwork signing by world famous, Fabio Barretta Zungone, the Senior Matte Painter who designed and painted the artwork for The Holder’s Dominion! Check out the pictures and videos on and

When did you consider yourself a writer?

My mother actually just reminded me that I’ve been writing since I was a child. She mailed me chapters of books I’d started at eight years old. I had forgotten about that! This question reminds me of a writing quote I came up with while writing Holder’s: “When is an author considered successful? The moment the inner story becomes ink on the page.” I think the same holds true for this question. For me personally, the realization that my career was going to be in writing happened as soon as I held the complete draft for The Holder’s Dominion. My whole goal is to connect families and friends together. And I think this book has the chance to do just that!

 What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. using a publishing house?

Before I ever thought about publishing, I worked with a creative producer through the entire development of The Holder’s Dominion, and after that I hired freelance editors and proofreaders to peruse my manuscript. And only after all those years of preparatory work did my team and I pursue publishing! The reason I did not choose self-publishing is because I thrive on collaborative artwork. I love people, love working with them, and love hearing their ideas! That’s why I chose a mentoring publisher that follows the core values of traditional publishing where the publisher assigns a project manager, several editors, proofreaders, and provides book design and a cover artist. This crossover approach of independent publishing and traditional publishing goes hand in hand with my message about how helpful communities can be in personal endeavors. Communities impact our personal lives each and every day. And when we open ourselves up to learn from one another, magic happens! Also, it’s my belief that a great story is a great story no matter where it comes from. They key is focusing on quality, goals, and entertaining your specific audience.

Having a creative producer is the number one advice I would offer any writer looking for a breakthrough approach to writing. Project management doesn’t have to be solely for corporate environments anymore. Use these Waterfall and Scrum methods to develop your artistic projects, too! In fact, I’ll be talking more in depth about how to use project management tools for writing novels at a number of upcoming conventions this year. Come join in on the fun! To find a city near you, visit the “News & Appearances” section at

Tell us about The Gamer in You initiative.

The Gamer In You was created to offer new meaning to the word ‘gamer.’ I did not venture into the world of gaming until my adult life, and I’m proof that you do not have to grow up around video games to find the gamer within. The Gamer In You advocates for changing the term gamer to represent all people who like any kind of game, and for the word to be a universally positive term for everyone.

No matter our passions: family, career, sports, meeting new people, traveling, puzzles, artistry… We all like to relax and play a game once in a while. Between card games, video games, board games, mobile games, and edutainment games, all of us can call ourselves gamers. No one should ever be ribbed for playing video games, as gaming encourages ingenuity, fun, togetherness, personal growth, and healthy social connections!

Now, it’s important to note that I didn’t grow up in or around the video game industry, or around video game players. I know how it feels to wonder why our friends, family, and loved ones seem “glued” to their electronics. And that’s part of the reason I’m so passionate to share all that I’ve discovered in the video game industry. It is not simply a set of pixels your children, spouses, or friends are staring at when they play games. It’s actually a whole spectrum of invention, discovery and ingenuity. Players are discovering artwork, storylines, history, skill sets, challenges, and collaboration of individuals on a planetary scale.

What is your favorite video game?

Final Fantasy XI is my favorite video game because of how much it changed my life and my perspective on video games. It was the first online video game I ever played and it showed me how interactive and social gaming can be. In Final Fantasy XI there is a translator function where the player can tab through phrases in different languages and select the appropriate questions/responses. So, even though you’re playing from one country, you can still meet and forge friendships with players from all over the world.

Do you have any pet peeves?

Hehehe, this is strangely funny. I don’t like stacking dirty dishes on top of one another. It bothers me when food from one plate gets stuck to the bottom of another plate. Ewww, gross. 😉

If you had 24 hours alone, how would you spend it?

Oooooo. 24 hours of vacation? I’d definitely have to divide the day between super-fun activities like running my puppy-dog, swimming, reading novels, and playing video games!

About The Holder’s Dominion

After her father’s death on a mountain rescue mission, Kaylie Ames watched her family shatter. She fled Tacoma for college in faraway Austin, figuring that even the worst campus drama would be a relief. But when her old friend Elliott turns up on his knees in the grocery store aisle, raving about something called a morphis, Kaylie feels compelled to enter Elliott’s unfamiliar world.

Guided by Elliott and his friends, Kaylie signs on to the massively popular online game Edannair. There she discovers a world of beautiful vistas and magical creatures, where people from all over the globe step into the roles of warriors on fantastical quests. But a real-world evil threatens the players: the mysterious Holder, leader of the elite team known as Sarkmarr, is coercing his followers into traumatic offline dares known as “morphis assignments.” To save her friends, Kaylie must infiltrate Sarkmarr and survive the Holder’s tests.

Will she find the courage there to hold her real-world family together?

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy


“Genese Davis is astonishingly deft at creating believable characters with a few sentences. You fall at once into Kaylie’s world, thinking you’re in for one story, and Davis sneakily takes you on another ride altogether. It will keep you turning the pages.” —Christie Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi—Ascension and World of Warcraft: Arthas—Rise of the Lich King

About the Author

Genese Davis grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At age twelve she got her first job at a dressage equestrian center, where she cleaned stalls and water tanks and exercised clients’ horses. She soon fell in love with the art of dressage and show jumping. Davis saved up five hundred dollars and purchased a rambunctious Norwegian Fjord that no one dared ride but her. After months of training she began competing throughout the state and, against all odds, the pair won many first-place ribbons and trophies in the horse trials competition called Eventing. Davis used her knowledge and experience to teach others and became a riding instructor at seventeen.

In addition to horses, piloting aircraft became another of her early passions. Davis says that flying is in her blood (her father and grandfather flew aircraft), and she studied voraciously at a summer aircraft program, learning aeronautics at a rapid rate. She won the highest honor attainable in the program by being the first to solo and obtained her student pilot’s license at fourteen.

Davis has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, with minors in theatre and Spanish. Her favorite college highlights include studying abroad in Costa Rica for university business credit, performing in plays, and studying playwriting. After graduating, Davis worked as a financial institution manager before becoming an author and video game promoter. She never expected to become an avid video game enthusiast. She ventured into the world of MMO gaming as an adult and discovered a passion for in-game community, especially in raiding teams. Working with industry professionals, she gained a deep understanding of video games and their artists, lore, culture, and development. She experienced more serious gaming while playing with competitive guilds in Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft and cracked the top 100 in the world for her class in the latter. Davis received the Server-first Legendary Achievement in September 2011—an extremely prestigious gaming award. She has experience co-founding new raids, leading raids as an officer who organized and developed strategies for fights, and working as a liaison between new players and raid leaders. This experience naturally led her to create the Dark Iron Raiding Alumni, a group that gives players from all over the world an exciting way to stay connected whether they are past, present, or future gamers. That gaming experience laid the foundation for her first novel, The Holder’s Dominion, which hits bookstore shelves in Spring 2013.

Davis is also the owner of The Gamer in You, an online movement offering new meaning to the word ‘gamer.’ As an avid supporter of artists and their craft, Davis has a keen affection for all types of artistry, especially theatre, filmmaking, music, photography, and art-gallery openings. She lives in Irvine, California, where she advocates for her other passion, animal rescue, and writes for independent film. Her motto is Lark your life!

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