When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Love to watch movies and some tv shows, mostly movies--science fiction, all shades of fantasy and horror. When I'm not watching movies, I'm either doing art, running or playing with my two precocious and tenacious Siamese kittens.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was a poem about a fellow named Joet who who wrote poems while sitting in the sea foems.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of the ebooks I've been reading lately have been stories written by fellow indie writers I've been meeting at local conventions in Ontario, Canada. Occasionally, a book cover in advertising will catch my eye too.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
While I can't remember any specific stories I read in my youth, I do remember reading a book by Roald Dahl and being deeply affected by his playful prose. I was about seven when I just couldn't sit still. After every paragraph, I was overcome with so much joy that I leaped around my room before settling down to read the next paragraph. After several rounds of this behaviour, I stood before the edge of my bed, where the book lay open, pointed at it and declared, "I want to do that!" I've been a writer ever since.
How do you approach cover design?
Ideas for cover designs tend to approach me. While I'm working on a story, I keep track of the images the story inspires. Often what I have in mind at the beginning of a project changes by the end of the project. I document everything that comes to mind, whether its an object, a mood, textures, colours, or even a title treatment. While I'm fairly new to cover design, I do have experience with designing newsletters, ads, zines, and a few websites, so I pull from that experience. When it comes to doing a book cover, I tend to experiment a lot. If it calls for artwork that is beyond my ability, I make sure to have reference images for just about everything, whether it be atmosphere or the gesture for a figure, before approaching an artist.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Just five? Yikes! Perfume by Peter Suskind, for affecting my olfactory senses and perception of smell afterward. Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, for using the senses to access and transcend human suffering. Biting the Sun, by Tanith Lee (which is actually two novellas published together), for its vividness, originality, styling, lack of boundaries, and mythic themes. Alice Through the Looking Glass, by C.S. Lewis, for being being a constant source of mystery while I moved around a lot as a child. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury, just because its such a wondrous, fabulous, imaginative collection of stories.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far, cold pitches, one on one with interested people at conventions. There's more of an experience for potential readers to interact with me and my book in this setting, which is something I'd like to bring to the Internet in some way.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my formative years as a child in Petawawa, ON. It was the kind of place that wasn't built up as much as it is now. There were woods, open fields, a swimming hole, and little graveyards tucked away. There were places where I could wonder off and explore, letting my imagination run wild. It was also a place where bullies of all ages targeted you just because and boundaries were very blurred. My memories of Petawawa are always sunny ones, filled with tremendous illumination about the darker side to human nature and much joy. My experiences growing up there reflects in my themes, where no one person is either good or bad, rather a combination of both qualities.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing about the age of seven. My first book was a revision of The Life Cycle of a Frog. My second book was a re-telling of The Legend of Sleeping Hollow. I illustrated both books as well.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My current book, which is also my debut novel, The Forgotten Gemstone, was inspired by a conversation I had with my best friend many years ago. We had discussed how later in life we had both seemed to have gotten away from ourselves, no longer doing activities or pursuing interests that satisfied our spirit and how necessary it was to our health to get back to those kind of activities. It made me start thinking about the parts of our personality and spirit that are temporary and what parts are permanent and unchanging--that core or center that both anchors us and sets us apart from others. I knew I wanted to tell a story about a character who re-discovers their essence. When I came across a random piece of writing about a child god whose memory had been erased as punishment for going against her creative nature, ideas began to gel with one another. I had a theme and a main character, and began writing the first draft.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Having worked in book distribution for almost a decade when I was younger, and having submitted short stories to magazines and literary magazines, I've watched the acceptance rate for manuscripts decline drastically over the years. The odds of being selected from a mountain of manuscripts has become akin to winning a lottery. With indie publishing, I can at least get started now instead of waiting many years for a publisher or editor to take notice. Ultimately, the bottom line is storytellers need listeners, writers need readers. Indie publishing allows for that one-on-one relationship to exist. It shouldn't matter if a writer publishes their own work or with a traditional publisher or both, as long as their stories are reaching readers.
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