Hailing from the Great Lakes region of the United States, I started writing to kill the boredom of my daily lunch hour. Fascinated by Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror since an early age, I use early influences such as Zelazny, Feist, Eddings, Goodkind, Star Wars and Star Trek to fashion my stories. I believe in Bigfoot, Space Men and I am a proud Christian, so that should tell you where I’m coming from.
I find humor in many parts of life, both dark and not, and try to sprinkle these elements into my writing. Although I take my writing very serious, I try not to be too serious about what I write. My readers should be engaged, remain interested and have fun all at the same time. Currently, I live in Indiana with my wife of 21+ years and our 3 children. I have worked in the exciting world of regulated industry, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers for the last 18+ years, and although it can be boring at times, I enjoy what I do.
How would you describe your story in one sentence?
Since I have more than one story, it would be hard to encompass them all in one sentence, but if I were to try it would be something like this… My stories are a collection of twisted tales including science fiction, fantasy and horror, with a splash of terribly punny humor, unless it’s not. And yes, I mean punny, not funny…I love a good or bad pun.
What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?
Most of my stories are based on some sort of dream I’ve had and remembered enough to develop it into a story. In some instances, my stories have started out as a challenge or a suggestion from a friend or family member. My first story The Ancients, started out as a challenge from my sister to write a Haiku about a wombat. A story in my upcoming release, Twisted Tales Volume 2, is about zombie chickens. That idea was suggested by a coworker. When inspiration hits, I chase after it until it’s captured.
Which authors have influenced you?
Influenced is such a strong word…I’d like to say my writing style is my own, so in that instance, I don’t feel like I’ve been influenced by anyone. Having said that, the first book I ‘loved’ was Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. I read that when I was 13 and have been reading Fantasy and Science Fiction ever since. I don’t read much horror, but I love ‘old school’ horror from the 80s and I’m a big fan of some of the harshest Heavy Metal out there. So that probably influences my horror writing.
Which are your favorite literary genres?
Fantasy is, by far, my favorite genre. I do read Science Fiction and I’ve been reading a lot more Urban Fantasy and some Horror lately, but Fantasy is the best in my opinion.
What makes a book/story special for you?
Characters and plot. I love a character I can relate to in some way. It helps if they are developed just enough for me to become attached. I like a story where I care about the character enough to read more. And plot is a major component for me. Yeah, who wouldn’t want the plot to be good, right? What I’m saying is that I need to actually be interested in the plot. There are a lot of great books out there that I’ve never read because the plot doesn’t draw me in.
Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influence your story?
I spent the first 37 years of my life in Michigan. I’ve spent the last 8 years in Indiana. I miss Michigan daily. For me, Michigan is part of me. If you feel that way about your home state/country, then you know what I mean. And it has influenced my stories greatly. Many of my stories take place in Michigan, or Michigan-like settings.
How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve never really kept track, because I only write over my lunch hour. I rarely touch my computer when I’m at home. I have occasionally written while waiting in airports or in hotel rooms while I’ve been on business trips, but most of my writing is on my lunch hour. That being said, I can create a short story in a single day, or a full-length story in a year or more.
Edits take a bit longer, because that is also done on my lunch hour. Reading and re-reading my own stories takes some time. There are always things I’d like to change, but at some point I need to stop and move on in the process. So editing a story can take a week or a month…maybe two.
Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?
I’m a one-man operation. Unfortunately, the sales haven’t increased sufficiently to hire a professional, so I do it all myself. I have a friend that is a wizard with graphic design, so he helps me when I get stuck on my covers and I have a few friends that I use as beta-readers, but the rest is me.
What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happen?
What I learned is that while the process can be frustrating at times, I love every minute of it. I’ve also realized that the actual writing is the easy part. Over the last 2 years, I have released 4 books, both in ebook and paperback formats. I have learned ways to make the process smoother and less time consuming, but each book has been a challenge of its own. Getting that cover design to be the exact pixel size was difficult, until I got one done and then just reused it as a template. The same holds for the formatting of the ebook. Once one is done, just cut and paste; much less work that way. What I’m basically saying is enjoy the process, including all aspects of it. You’re writing and publishing a book. That’s awesome in and of itself.
What helps you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?
I read a lot. If I find that I’m stuck on my own projects, I put them aside and I read. Seeing what others have accomplished gets me motivated to do the same.
What would you do differently on a next project?
I would do more editing and involve more beta-readers if possible. Since I do all my own editing, I don’t catch everything. With the assistance of a good group of beta-readers, you can flush out more inconsistencies and grammatical errors.
Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?
Simply write. Don’t just think about it, do it. First and foremost, write to make yourself happy. Do it if you enjoy it. If you are writing to ‘make money’ you may need to re-think why you are writing. Sure, you can make money at it, but if that is the reason you are going into writing, you may be disappointed. But, if you write to make yourself happy, you will have the satisfaction of that, and you may just find an audience for your stories. But you’ll never find that audience if you don’t write.
Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?
I have a writer’s blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon page. I do my best to keep everyone up to date on what I’m doing in my writings, but I use it mostly as a Reviewers blog…and I do a few interviews too.
What are you planning to write/publish next?
Currently I am editing Twisted Tales Volume 2. This is my second collection of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror short stories. I really like this collection. There are definitely some stories that are different than anything I’ve written before. I’m looking forward to seeing it published. Additionally, I’ve started writing another fantasy novel. It’s titled Brotherhood of the Locust: Rise to Power. It’s based on a dream I had a few years ago and I’m just now sitting down to develop it. No puns, no mythical creatures or animals as main characters…sort of my first true fantasy novel. It should be fun.