Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Sara Douglas, David Eddings, Jeremy Robinson, Piers Anthony, Don Pendleton, Laura Hand (aka R. A. Spyder), Peter David, David Drake and of course...myself :P
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My writing. I literally work eight to seventeen hours per day, six to seven days per week.Why do I push myself like this? Because writing is what I love to do. In my younger years, when asked what I would do when I retired, my answer was that I would write. That's what I do.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend time with my wife and sons, go to church and watch television. Occasionally, I go out to dinner with family and friends, have cookouts and such. My wife complains that I spend too much time writing. I consider that a great thing, lol.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse retail sites and look at books on store shelves, and I locate good authors on Facebook or twitter. I read a lot. I consider it part of the growing process.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was seven years old. The story was called "The Birds and the Bees." It had nothing to do with sex, of course.
What is your writing process?
Whew...now that's a loaded question. First, inspiration can come at any point, so I use Evernote on my tablets or phone to jot down any ideas I have, along with a very brief synopsis. And then I leave it there for later, because I can't allow it to distract me from a current project (would never finish anything if that happened!).
Once I start a story, I make a quick, rough list of chapters, each containing a couple sentences describing what I wish to include in them. I find this helps me with pacing and keeps me heading toward a goal. This "outline" is extremely flexible, and once I start writing, I only occasionally refer to it. Then? I simply sit down and start writing. I don't worry about corrections or such. I just write from beginning to end. Along the way, I keep a separate document open for characters, descriptions, locations and such so I don't loose track in the writing process (writing fantasy leads to the creation of some names that are tough to spell).
Once that ugly, rough, completely wrongly written story is done, I start the rewrite process...this is where I improve the structure, editing, characters and pacing.
When that second draft is done, I export as an ebook and read it in the Google Playbook app because it lets me make notes that are uploaded to the server so I can access them on my laptop later. My notes are edit/changes that will improve the story.
Next, I edit the book and put in those changes, and then I send it off to my wonderful editor, who is not only very skilled, but extremely uplifting. We get along great. She lives in the Netherlands, so we do video conferences often during the edit process. I can see her edits in real time...and this allows me to work on them as she goes.
Finally...the dreaded part. Cover design. I currently design my own covers, although I dream of one day having my favorite artist make covers for me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not specifically. I learned to read by the age of 5 with comic books, so the first story would have been from them. I vaguely remember "Super Goof", a Disney comic where Goofy ate peanuts that gave him powers.
How do you approach cover design?
Reluctantly. This is the thing I hate most about self publishing on a tight budget. Normally, I browse the web for inspiration on current trends on covers, look at what my favorite authors are doing, and then try to come up with good cover concepts. In the end, and about ten failed attempts later, I end up with a good cover (I hope).
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The entire Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks. He is my single, greatest inspiration when it comes to writing. The Project Nemesis series by Jeremy Robinson because...well...who doesn't like 300 foot monsters? Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien. The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. The Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass because it launched a series in which she created multiple original races and a great story.
What do you read for pleasure?
Epic Fantasy mostly, but a bit of everything, including comic books. I even read medical mysteries and action (like Executioner) and Westerns (love the Sackett series).
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Tablet. I get migraines and being able to turn on night reading is essential. I love the feel of a real book...until I realize I have nowhere left to store it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. Facebook. Twitter.
Describe your desk
Don't have one. I have a board that was once a shelf about two feet long that I put my laptop and mouse on. Then I sit wherever is quiet in the house and write. Favorite spot is my recliner. No room for my own office since we got bikes for the entire family.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Although I spent time in several states and towns, I mostly grew up in Tampa, Florida, USA. After my father died, life became rough, and the emotions from that period show through in my writing.
When did you first start writing?
Seven years old.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, entitled A STORM OF DRAGONS, features an entirely new world with new fantasy races. A massive army of dragons threatens all life, and only a lost magic can stop them. The story is fast paced and has romance, magic, action, mystery and more.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The grind of sending out query letters and then waiting for a response. The waiting was the worse. My query letter writing isn't nearly as good as my storytelling, so I was rejected a lot. Finally, I decided to take my destiny in my own hands.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I decide to read one of my previously written stories and think "Dang...this is really good!"
What do your fans mean to you?
What are you working on next?
Currently, I am working to complete THE WILES OF DEVILS, which is sort of a prequel to A STORM OF DRAGONS. It introduces an entirely new world with new characters, and will lead into a merging of the two worlds later.
After the current project, I hope to work on either a giant monster story or a superhuman story (I have outlines for both).
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