How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
Usually I tell myself to shut up. But in all seriousness, every artist, whether you’re a painter, sculptor, illustrator, or writer has self-doubt and fear. We’re putting ourselves and emotions on display when we present our work to the public. As a life-long reader of science fiction and fantasy books, I know that I don’t love every author I come across so it’s unrealistic of me to expect everyone to love my writing and books. I just try to shrug it off because for every naysayer or harsh criticism, there’s always that one email I always go back to that a reader wrote me about how much my work means to her. That makes it all worth it.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
I started writing poetry when I was sixteen. Then song lyrics while I was learning to play the guitar. From there I progressed to short stories and finally, at 29 years old, novels.
What motivates you to write?
Belief in my story and my characters. Knowing that they have something to say.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Getting married to my awesome wife.
What books did you love growing up?
When I was in high school, I would stay up all night reading Terry Goodkind and the Sword of Truth series or John Sanford’s murder mysteries, the “Prey” novels.
What book genre of books do you adore?
Although I love fantasy and science-fiction for an escape as much as anybody, I read far more non-fiction historical work than I do fiction.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Bad YA romance about a girl who can’t decide between two guys, who, cliché as the genre can be, are dark and brooding characters but have sensitive soft spots for the damsel in distress.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I was born in Washington DC but moved to southern California when I was very young. Like most kids, I grew up with a huge helping of comic books, loving Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, just about any hero I could get my hands on. I collected their cards, played the fantasy games, Magic: The Gathering and Diablo. But at the same time, I also played sports, starting baseball when I was four and continuing up until my sophomore year of college. My grandfather was heavily into history, which influenced my father, who was also heavily influenced in history, who subsequently tucked me into bed at night recounting stories of Julius Ceaser or Augustus of the Roman Empire.
How did you develop your writing?
As uncomplicated as it sounds, I read a lot and I wrote a lot. That’s the only real way to do it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly historical events or myths.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
I kind of joke that if you can’t write a novel, then you shouldn’t be an author (assuming you want to write for a profession and not a hobby). To me, the writing is the easiest part – it only gets more difficult from there. Getting a publisher is ten times harder than writing your manuscript. Selling your book is ten times harder still. One only needs to go to a used bookstore to see how many authors got published but failed to sell. You don’t see the best books on used bookshelves.
What marketing works for you?
Facebook and conventions. I meet so many people at shows that the face-to-face interaction is invaluable.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I work in the legal services industry. A typical 9-5 desk job.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
My very first job was an umpire for little league baseball. I’ve worked at Subway, in-house sales, telemarketing, door-to-door sales, real estate investment firms, law firms, and accounting firms.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’d go back and get a degree in history or philosophy, even though they have little application to the job market (so says a Yahoo! Article I just read on the worst degrees for job opportunities).
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
In the mountains. It’s far enough from civilization where I’m not stressed about traffic or the day-to-day craziness of our lives, but close enough where I wouldn’t feel so disconnected that I’m fifty miles from the nearest grocery store (because I despise cooking).
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
Laptop mostly. I do have an audio recorder for ideas I get while I’m driving.
Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
I have a few friends in the industry, but the most support I get is from my wife as she has to deal with me talking to my characters in my head or locking myself in a room for 8 hours, refusing to come out because I’m working. It takes a special kind of someone to be married to an author.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
A full 8 hours, as the doctors recommend. Anything less and I’m a monster.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Wait, you mean not every author dreams of having their books made into movies and being shuttled around by private jet? Honestly, sometimes, as cliché as it sounds, I love being able to talk to my fans about our shared passion of this world I’ve created.
The ancient powers lost to Potara have returned. The Brotherhood of the Black Rose rises to bring Thoth into disorder. And, while the Brotherhood reclaims their power, chaos reigns among the survivors. Six individuals have emerged from the aftermath struggling for control over their lives and a divided land. Kem and Shirin, who abolished the five thousand year reign of the Amun Priests, rule from the golden throne of the Oracle’s Chair in the Hall of the Nine. Dio and Axios struggle to piece together a resistance worthy to challenge the ancient magic which resides in the Great Temple of Amun, and Leoros and Atlantia try to remain true to their hearts and their cause despite tragedy.
But when the Book of Breathings is discovered, the path to immortality is revealed. Leoros and Kem race to capture the Soul of the World unaware of the challenges awaiting them. This time, the gods themselves will intervene.
In a tale where boys become men and girls become women, where treachery and deception are around every corner, and where primeval mysticism finds its way back from the grave, victory is reserved for neither the good nor the evil, but the powerful.
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+