Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my formative years living in California, Michigan, and Idaho respectively; because of my frequent moving I was exposed to vastly different environments and cultures which absolutely helped me create more believable characters and settings. Because I never stayed in any one place for more than a few years at a time I was never able to make lasting relationships during my childhood, instead I immersed myself in books; I knew from a young age that I wanted to write so I devoured everything from Star Wars to John Grisham, learning along the way about what it took to be a good author.
When did you first start writing?
I had my first nonfiction short story published in a local news paper in California when I was 11, but I didn't write my first fiction work until I was 15. I have been writing steadily since then; writing, for me, was always a release and a way to unwind. I've always had an overactive imagination and when I first realized I could put what I saw in my head onto paper, I was hooked.
What's the story behind your latest book?
That's a tough one... my latest book is also my very first full novel and the story revolves around my character, Mikael, who is a member of a race known as the 'Breathborn'; he has spent the last few centuries of his immortal life avoiding his own kind and any major confrontation, but during the course of my story he is pulled back into a major struggle. There is an old prophesy that speaks of a Nephilim being born who will once again bring balance back to what I call the 'Spiritual' races--those born of the Elohim. Mikael is thrust into the middle of a storm that is brewing in the shadows and must act as a teacher and protector for this young Nephilim. He finds out that if he fails, the Nephilim's power will be used not to bring balance and peace, but rather for more nefarious intentions.
Who is your favorite author?
My all time favorite author has to be Robert Jordan; the Wheel of Time series has influence me in so many ways I can't even count. His books are the main reason I decided to try my hand at fantasy/fiction in the first place when I was younger; the impossibly complex and beautiful story of tWoT allowed me an escape during some of the toughest times in my life. I was incredibly sad when he passed; the world truly lost a great author that day.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There is one thing I am passionate about above all other things and that is the pursuit of knowledge; I have been fortunate to have been able to work in many different industries--all of which helped shaped my writing's voice--and work with some incredible people who have taught me many different things ranging from the academic to the sharpening of my worldview; I am still in school and I constantly read and research things that are related to my field to help me become better at what I will be doing once I graduate. My desire to be a better person, to influence to world through my words, and to learn all that I can inspires me to get out of bed every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am an avid musician; when I'm not writing, working, or in school you'll find me writing and recording songs for one of my two projects, The Poet's Lament or Ishamael. I've been playing music for about 11 years now and I love it. Aside from that I love playing video games, watching movies, and just play out being lazy with my friends. As a hospital employee I work a lot so at least one day out of my off days you'll find me with a case of beer kicking back with a few of my close friends just enjoying life.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes. I was always a huge Zelda fan as a kid so naturally the first short story I wrote was Zelda fan fiction. I've actually recently reread it... it's horrible!! But it was a ton of fun to write and I can still remember the freedom I felt with being able to write the story how I wanted it to be.
What is your writing process?
After years of trial and error I think I've finally found a process that works well for me: I will write for 7 days for at least 2 hours each day, roughly 1000-2000 words, then I will leave it for 7 days--during the week off I will write periodic notes about the plot and story progression, but nothing intensive. After my 7 day break I will revisit everything I wrote the previous week with fresh eyes in order to make sure everything flows well. I've found that if I write every other day or a few days on/off I make more grammatical and flow errors; for me a 7 day on, 7 day off writing schedule works best.
Do you remember the first novel you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I picked up my first novel when I was 9 years old--Star Wars Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson. I remember the librarian telling me it was too advanced for someone my age, but I didn't care! I had found the Holy Grail for a Star Wars fanatic--books! I devoured it in three days; it opened up a whole new world for me. Up until then I had been limited to the reading found in my elementary school library, but none of it really satisfied me. I loved reading Encyclopedia Brown, but those short novellas weren't doing the trick. Those first Star Wars novels introduced me to a world that John Grisham, Michael Crichton, JRR Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and many, many others would populate.
Describe your desk
Chaos. *laughs* But seriously; I'm a college student so my desk doubles and triples for many things: a homework station, writing desk, music workshop, and anything else I need it for so it's constantly cluttered with science papers, music notes, writing notes, and other various projects. That's not counting my printer and music recording equipment...
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