What inspired you to write your first book?
“I wrote my first middle-grade, fantasy chapter book at age 12, called ‘Trail Of Faith’. The inspiration came partially from a computer game called Braminar that I used to play on my father’s computer. But it wasn’t a video game, more like a ‘choose your own adventure’ fantasy game where you’d read a story and make a choice as the character. Then the story would change as your choices changed. Also, at the time, I was hooked on ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. My imagination was sparked with those experiences and I knew I wanted to write my own adventures.
My first book was a high fantasy about four friends who were separated by a “saprin wind” (similar to a tornado, but it sucked each of them through a portal into other realms). The story was about their journey back to find one another. I had intended to seek publication for it back then, but I had written it on my father’s old Tandy1000 computer, with a DOS operating system, and lost the entire work when the system crashed. It was 30,000 words and I was devastated because I had not backed it up on a floppy.”
What books have most influenced your life most?
Different phases of my life have influenced my reading habits. But honestly, the books that have influenced me the most have been works of scripture and other spiritual texts.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Again, that’s hard because my tastes and circumstances change, sometimes drastically. Different authors have influenced me in different ways. But just to name a few that have inspired my imagination over the years: Frank Herbert, Anne Rice, Tolkien… And I’m sure there are many more great authors that I will come to appreciate deeply.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
I’m a fantasy nut with a love for many sub genres within fantasy, but most of my writing falls into the following: urban fantasy, action/adventure, suspense, paranormal romance, thriller and even some steam punk.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading several independent novels by new authors. Undiscovered talent has been an interest of mine lately.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on book #2 in the Ethos series. It has twice the action and suspense of book #1 (Morning Star) and has more urban elements too. I’m actually excited about this one because I love action but had to hold back in book one to spend more time on character development. Now that the characters are developed, I can throw them into suspense. This one will be a real nail biter.
Yours truly. I have an art degree, might as well use it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
In a series with a complex plot, like Ethos (which was plotted for three lengthy novels), sometimes it can be a challenge keeping my fictional ‘facts’ straight. There have been times I had to rewrite entire chapters when I make a mistake in the plot or a character mistakenly reveals something too early in the story for it to be effective. Since the Ethos series is written in first person, I don’t have the luxury of simple narration. Every fact that comes to light has to be introduced to the reader through the characters. So my character development is vital for the story to come together.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I don’t think I’ve ever written an outline, but I have taken simple notes so I don’t forget ideas that come out of order. I will meditate and allow the basic plot to form in my mind, then work on becoming acquainted with characters… once I feel like I ‘sort of’ know where I’m going, I just start writing and let inspiration come to me on the fly.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
…avoid people who do not lift you up as an artist/writer. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, who will be happy when you have small victories. People who constantly criticize your attempts to become great, will never achieve anything, because they aren’t willing to strive for greatness themselves. Ignore them and keep writing!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m always glad to hear from you, especially if you have thoughts that you’d like to share about my writing. I’ve actually taken advice from my readers on what they’d like to see in my stories, so don’t be a stranger. Input is welcome and so is constructive criticism.