Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I'm going to step past the great works of Dr. Suess or the brilliant cases of Encyclopedia Brown and skip to a book that has stood the test of time. It really set me on my present course, both as a reader and as a writer. That would be 'A Princess of Mars' by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Now that I have read more widely, I can say that it is a simple book, pure adventure with little depth. That was perfect for a young kid getting started reading genre fiction. And it wasn't just the racy Michael Whelan cover that caught my attention. This book was swashbuckling, romantic, heroic. I loved it. Still do.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robin Hobb for her ability to create characters you can't get enough of. Edward Rutherford, James Michener and Bernard Cornwell, because they have a talent for bringing the past to vivid life. Stephen King. It doesn't seem to matter what story that man chooses to tell, he can make it shine.
When did you first start writing?
When I was thirteen I got my first typewriter. That's an ancient tool, kind of a cross between a keyboard and a printer. I got mine from a thrift store. It was so old that it actually made that rat-a-tat sound and you hurt your pinky if you jammed it between the 'a' and the 's'. It wasn't until the age of computers that I did anything meaningful. Then I spent ten years writing my first manuscript. It still hasn't seen the light of day but it taught me some valuable lessons about turning off your inner editor when you are trying to throw down words.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was an assignment I had in fifth grade on irony. I wrote about a dystopian society where attending the annual freak show was the highlight of the year. I told it from the point of view of a normal boy, looking in horror at all of the deformities around him. The irony came when it was revealed that the boy was the one in the cage. He was the freak.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A very loud alarm clock.
What's the story behind your book?
I have listened to a lot of writing advice. One of the best nuggets is to combine ides in order to come up with something truly original. I had an idea about a society of priests who travel the land as vagabonds even while they secretly control the strings of power. I combined this idea with something I saw in a documentary about a bread of vulture that lives around canyons and fissures. They spend their days floating around on the updrafts that run along these canyons. Once I put these two ideas together, 'Wind Rider' began to take shape.
What are you working on next?
I am currently publishing a novel called 'Charlatan' in serial form at Jukepop Serials. I really like this because it allows me to put a polish on it one chapter at a time. With this book, I really wanted to create an environment where I could eventually tell a whole lot of different stories. I modeled the city of Rathlera after the great port cities of the ancient world. An eclectic blend of people and cultures creates a rich clay to work with.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing the daydreams.
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