Below is our exclusive interview with Genese Davis, a pioneer in the Gamer Lit genre and author of The Holder’s Dominion.
What made you decide to become an author?
There is a quote from Bluesky’s movie Robots that has stayed with me since the film’s release: “See a need, fill a need.” This little statement explains exactly why I became an author. Almost ten years ago, I started noticing a gap between my two social circles—gamers and non-gamers. I saw the need to connect families and friends together on a planetary scale. So, I decided to write a novel 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 in and around them.
Describe The Holder’s Dominion, and the inspiration behind writing it.
The Holder’s Dominion is a speculative thriller with a fantasy twist. It’s a story about a young woman who discovers gaming while facing some serious problems online and off. Guided by her friends, college sophomore Kaylie Ames signs on to the massively popular online game Edannair. There she discovers a world of beautiful vistas and magical creatures. 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. But will she find the courage there to keep her own family from falling apart?
The inspiration behind writing Holder’s came from wanting to describe how impactful MMOs can be, and wanting to create a basis for family and friends of gamers to understand them and their world. The Holder’s Dominion reveals the secret side to online games, and offers an avenue for different generations to understand one another. Even if a reader has never touched an MMO, he or she can read The Holder’s Dominion and find out why gamers game. Seeing this book come to life and witnessing its story shape video game perceptions is truly exciting.
Why is Holder’s Dominion intriguing to both gamers and non-gamers?
I think The Holder’s Dominion intrigues readers from both backgrounds because it highlights the often-underestimated degree of connection between the online world and real life; it treats the internet—and online gaming—as an extension of human society, not an alternative to it. Gamers and non-gamers can connect to Holder’s because it doesn’t avoid real issues; it weaves them in to its suspenseful story.
In addition, 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 way, the book brings avid MMO gamers a new and exciting experience while also accurately portraying what it’s like to raid or explore in an online game for anyone who has never played.
Do you in any way relate to Kaylie?
I do relate to this character in a few different ways. Like Kaylie, I came to gaming pretty late in life. In 2002, I remember asking my college roommates questions about Final Fantasy XI and I am remember being really intrigued by the game play. The scenes in Holder’s are inspired by my own gaming experiences and from other guild and raid leaders experiences as well. Through Kaylie, we see how gaming can impact our lives in the most unexpected ways.
What made you decide to go into the gamer lit genre?
There are a lot of nuances surrounding video games and video game players that often get overlooked. Anyone unfamiliar with video games often do not realize that it is not simply a set of pixels gamers are staring at when they play games. It’s actually a whole spectrum of invention and discovery. Players are discovering artwork and storylines, while also developing skill sets and tackling challenges. I wrote Holder’s Dominion with the mission to debunk stereotypes, and offer an avenue for readers to be able to distinguish how much talent and ingenuity exist in gaming. This book reveals the artistry and positive impact video games have, and it also recognizes the gamers who have been founding contributors to today’s gaming culture.
Do you plan on writing any other books or perhaps a sequel to The Holder’s Dominion?
Yes, and yes! There have been so many requests for a sequel that I don’t think I have much choice in the matter, hehe.
How has your life changed since writing The Holder’s Dominion?
An array of new projects have opened for me since Holder’s. In addition to writing novels and hosting multiple transmedia projects, my book tour has included appearances at the San Diego Comic-Con, where I spoke alongside video game icons such as Patrick Scott Patterson, David Eddings, and Warren Davis, as well as appearances on video game web-shows like The Jace Hall Show’s 1337 Lounge Live. I’ll be speaking at book festivals and literary conventions, too, and I’m also a video game columnist for MMORPG.com.
Also, it’s been a blast hosting video game discussions like the web series, Pixel Vision by Pixel Legends. Their crew and I aim to provide a unique, insightful, and creative look into video games and the video game industry. The first episode, The Gamer In You, is an extrapolation from my website’s (TheGamerInYou.com) movement, and we discuss the importance of understanding what “gamer” really means and why we need to redefine this term. Episode 2, Interactive Storytelling, dives into how video games are the only form of entertainment that allows the player to influence the story and why that’s so important for the evolution of entertainment. Check them out here: Episode 1: The Gamer In You | Episode 2: Interactive Storytelling