That's a great question. Simply put, I love this. My motivation stems from a deep desire to create a story that will give you impactful feelings, blow your mind, worry you, melt your heart, and make you braver - in diverse ways. You know? Like when I was kid sitting on the front row at the theater watching those words trailing away into space and that Star Destroyer comes flying over my head. When Indiana Jones shoots the guy who thought he was so awesome with his sword skills. Jones just wipes his forehead and seems bored with it and I was rolling on the floor. When William Wallace gives his speech, "They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom!" When Maximus stares down the emperor of Rome and says, "I will have my vengeance in this life or the next." When Aragorn lift's his sword and says, "By all you hold dear on this good earth. I bid you stand, Men of the West!" With that said, these moments must be framed skillfully by the storyteller or the mere words risk coming off as campy. I strive to craft these types of moments into my stories because I believe in the depth of my being that's what the reader wants from the type of books I write.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I give the reader those feelings in those scenes in the last question. I'm an entertainer and I love to take the reader through a powerful experience. My greatest joy in writing is when I've done that. Even though Blood & Soul is my first published book, I've had people tell me that something I wrote emotionally moved them. Those were the early sparks that kept feeding the flame to give readers more powerful stories. And, I've given everything I have to Blood & Soul to reach that goal. My ongoing desire is to do that multiple times and to improve as a writer and storyteller.
When did you first start writing?
Writing or telling stories? I think I was 12 when I first tried to express an original thought on paper. It was a smattering of lyrics inspired by a Styx song [Laughing]. Most things I wrote were horrible attempts at poetry. It was just simple teenage angst. I wrote a fragment of story that was about some guys who had just landed on a distant planet. They were desperately running through a forest as a huge monster chased them. The creature was bigger than a T-Rex and smaller than Godzilla. One guy got snatch up. I remembering thinking I described his death screams fairly well. But I started telling stories way back in the 1960s with my army men in the sandbox under the willow tree in the back yard. I was 4 or 5. Of course, it was all in my mind and mostly based on the Rat Patrol. I attempted to write journals when I was around 20. I wrote a short story for a humanities class in 1991. As I read it in front of the class the Gulf War was beginning. The professor told me I should publish it. I never did. I'm too picky. I didn't write again until 1999 when web message boards exploded. It inspired some halfhearted attempts. Lord of the Rings came out after 2001; it was just after 9/11. When I walked out of the theater, I knew I could not put off serious writing any longer. I would write an epic fantasy fiction one day. In 2007, I finally got to place in life where I could devote hours of time to it. I floundered for 5 years writing massive sections of what is now the fourth book in the Creed of Kings Saga - it needs a lot of work. Then WHAMMO! I lifted Blood & Soul's story and theme out of that treasure chest of writing. The core conflict of Blood & Soul was fully realized and in two years, as I held down a full time job, I wrote it. It took EIGHT revisions.
How do you approach cover design?
I have true professionals do it. I've worked too hard not get the best cover my limited resources could buy. I had a graphics guy, Mike Griswald and an art director, Mark Skinner, do it. Same with the book trailer. I put it in their capable hands. And, I commissioned composer Patrick Rundblad to do an original score for the trailer. The trailer and music to the trailer are truly works of art and, to me, a book trailer should not be merely informative, but also, and mostly, entertaining. The book trailer is definitely worthy of a goose bump or two.
What do your fans mean to you?
If, or when, I have fans I will have a great deal of respect for them. They trusted me, an unknown author, enough to give up some of their precious time and hard-earned money to allow me to take them in a journey while the bills waited or the dishes were still in the sink. I feel honored that they believed I loved the craft of storytelling enough to deliver an interesting and entertaining yarn that is not a waste of their time. I feel like they are pioneers and I'm the trail boss showing them the scenic route to landscapes of the imagination and soul. I respect them for giving me the sacred honor to paint a picture in their mind's eye.
Who are your favorite authors?
David Gemmell, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, Michael Curtis Ford, Steven Pressfield, Terry Goodkind,
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was in 1991. It was as short story called "Garden of the Soul." It was a trip through the theater of the protagonist's mind. He goes there to, as we used to say in those days, "find himself." It's an okay story I guess. If I ever publish it, it will need some serious rewrites. Or, it might be fun to just fling it out there.
What is your writing process?
Brainstorm, outline, write, edit, brainstorm, outline, write, edit...and bleeding through the forehead. I brainstorm when I walk or drive. I always have a notebook with me and I jot down ideas. I whittle or expand these notes into an outline and from that, I write. Then I edit. Edit, such a small word with huge ramifications and effects on the process.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Time? What's that? I don't have spare time. I have a full time job and a long commute. When I do have time I enjoy walking, running, listening to audio books and epic music such as Two Steps From Hell (google it), brainstorming the next book, reading, platforming, facebooking, blogging.
What are you working on next?
After Blood & Soul is published I will return to mainly working on "Out of Oblivion." That's the working title of the next book in the Creed of Kings Saga. I'm also brainstorming a compelling side-story in the same world called, "The Defender." It will be a novella probably less than 40,000 words.
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