1. Why do you write?
I started writing when I was fourteen to see if I could come up with a good story or two. That’s how I approached it at first. But now the motivation comes not from my own desire to write but from the stories that are begging to be written.
The ideas, the characters, they emerge on their own in the back of my mind and they become like an itch. I write to scratch that itch of an idea that is forming back there on its own. Where at first I used writing for my own benefit, now it is as if the writing uses me. The worlds and characters take over and lead me through the story on their own. And I find it so much more enjoyable and thrilling this way.
2. How many books have you written?
My novel Dragon Fire is the first book-length piece that I have completed. It was a long time coming and now there are two others in the works.
3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
I first started writing Dragon Fire to tell the story of how my wife and I met. I wanted to capture how two people from very different backgrounds come together using a fantasy, fairy-tale, setting and plot. As the story and characters took shape it evolved into a story of its own with a tyrant King, a warrior princess, and, of course, a dragon.
4. What is your favorite genre to read?
I am mostly a fan of thrillers, stories of suspense, but I read just about everything. I’m really just a fan of a good story. If the story grabs hold of me, the genre doesn’t matter.
5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
I read a lot of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I became a voracious reader because of them, and then expanded to others. So, some of Koontz shows through in my prose but I don’t think there’s a clear-cut influence apparent in Dragon Fire. Or at least none that is transparently noticeable to me.
6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
Dragon Fire is the first, and will always be a favorite because of that. But I am really excited about the other two that are on their way. The itch to let those characters loose gets stronger every day.
7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
Writing is a combination of art and disciplined craftsmanship. These two go hand-in-hand. A story begins with artistic inspiration; the craft of writing is what gives it shape.
8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
Write it. Just write it. Don’t hold on to it and just let it all come out onto the page. Loosen the reins and let it happen. Let that “artistic inspiration” flow freely. Then apply the skills of the craft to shape it so that each sentence is the best in communicating what it is meant to communicate. I highly recommend Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” There is a lot good, simple advice in that book that stayed with me as I revised Dragon Fire.
9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with plots or characters?
I’ve always struggled with coming up with names for characters. Writing a fantasy novel gave me some freedom to just come up with unusual names. On the page, the names look fine – very fantasy-appropriate. Until someone asked me how some of the names were pronounced. I just looked at him and said, “Hmm. I don’t know.” Well, how could I not know? I came up with them. So, I sat there and taught myself how to pronounce the character names I myself created.
10. Coke or Pepsi?
Pepsi. Always has been Pepsi. It helped me stay awake many nights when studying for exams in college.