Anything Star Trek-related, especially Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Titan, Star Trek: Vanguard, Star Trek: Seekers and Star Trek (The Original Series). I also have some Star Trek anthologies that I really enjoy.
Aside from the Bible (King James Version), I only read Star Trek books, period.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Fire HD
Describe your desk
A couch with an end table next to it, so I can drink coffee as I write. I prefer to be comfortable as I write.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Austin, Texas. This influenced me in that Austin has a lot of cultural and music influences ranging from typical Southern to Latino to African-American, Asian and many, many others. Austin is also very mellow and more creatively-inclined, so I felt more free to express myself, whether as a writer, artist or musician/singer/songwriter. All of that helped me become who I am now.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing comic books in 1980 when I was 10 (webcomics starting in 1996) and have continued doing that until now. But I didn't start writing novels until 2013.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I originally wrote this as a comic book story in my first superhero team comic in 1986. Back then, Leia was simply called "Lee Hamilton" and the story was much simpler. I revised the story, again in comic book form, in 1996. In the first and second drafts of the story, "Lee" was a teen superheroine; her first superhero name was "Demon" and her second superhero name was "Mindfire," which relates to her powers.
Now, many years later, I decided to take elements from that story and blend it with origin stories for several of the other members of that superhero team (called The AR-MEN) and make a generational story. That's what led to this novel, which is also kind of an honorable farewell to that first comic I wrote and its characters who became such an important part of my life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Taking the story that's in my head and making it a reality.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a novel based on a set of comic strips I did back in 1991 to submit to the University of Texas at Austin student newspaper, The Daily Texan. Although the strips were not accepted back then, people loved them when I put them online and I even did a two strip sequel in 2015 which was also well-received. The story is about a young metalhead chick who wants to form a band and make music but she has a unique problem: every night, she transforms into a pop singer! A modern retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story with some twists!
Who are your favorite authors?
Star Trek authors David Mack, Dayton Ward, Keith DeCandido, Kirsten Beyer and Christopher Bennett.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My family, my wife and three kids (two sons and one daughter). They're my whole world!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work a day job in information technology, I spend time with my wife and kids, I go to church and also, my wife and I are musicians and singers at our church and we're in a Christian band together. I also draw comics that I write or collaborate on with others.
What is your writing process?
I crank out the rough draft as if I were writing the final version. Then I go back and edit the blazes out of the thing until I'm convinced it's ready to be seen by others; that can take quite a while and many, many revisions.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I'm going to tweak the question because things like "Old Yeller" and "The Outsiders" don't really count to me; they're fine books but they were assigned reading, not something I chose. The first book I read that really impacted me was Bran Stoker's Dracula. What captured my attention was the style of the writer, how I could envision the scenes I was reading and how powerful it was. It would be years before I became an avid reader of Star Trek novels (exclusively) but I believe it was Stoker's work that helped open me up to being a book reader in the first place.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a comic book artist as well as a writer, so I'm familiar with designing covers. The difference in a book cover vs, a comic cover is the less said, the better, in my opinion. The art should capture the potential reader's attention and convey the heart of what the book is about.
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