There are plenty of fantasy novels out there. Why should a reader pick up books from the Solypse series?
Ooh, good question. Actually, the answer is easy enough, I think. I grew up loving fantasy worlds and characters. As I transitioned into being a writer, I realized that having an open world for my mind to wander in was as important as having characters I could cherish. I grew up loving the worlds that I read about because they transported me somewhere else. The Solypse books now and in the future are a complex web of characters and environments. I want readers to feel emotion alongside the characters, and I want readers to daydream about the world.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Whereas the first book was an introduction into some of the key figures and the character of the town, "City of Secrets" concerns itself with the complex web of deceit and intrigue that is omnipresent in Solypse. Without giving too much away... Secret police, underground societies, and some old familiar characters in new lights.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love writing. I've loved writing my entire life. I read quite a few books where I thought "Wow, I could write better than this, and this has sold hundreds of thousands of copies." On the flipside, a new author getting picked up by a publishing house is like a college kid getting picked up by the NBA--except with more waiting. I would love to get picked up by a big publishing house (I'm sorry, am I allowed to admit that?) and have them help me promote my way to hundreds of thousands of books sold... But for now, I'm actually just thrilled that people have read my work and genuinely enjoy it. There's really no better feeling.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything; well, in the writing world, at least. When someone tells you that they really enjoyed your work, or that you really reached them on a personal level, it's fantastic. I love the idea that I can create something which emotionally connects with someone whom I've never met.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Every writer has a different process, and some involve fairly detailed outlines. When I write, I just sit down and write, and see where the words take me. I have met characters for the first time this way: they were necessary, and somehow they practically breathed life into themselves. In some cases, I'm genuinely surprised at how characters and/or events turn out.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut, R.A. Salvatore, Neal Stephenson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. There some other fantastic writers out there, but these are my go-to writers when I'm looking to re-enjoy something again and again.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, actually, or at least the outline of it; the second one too, both in elementary school. I remember whipping them off quickly so that I could play at recess. I won contests for both, as I recall...I remember being embarrassed by that, because I had put so little effort into the writing.
What is your writing process?
I write for an hour a day, minimum. No outlining, no researching--just hands-on-keyboard for an hour. By the time I'm done, I usually have two or three pages done. Also, I drive over an hour to work. I try to leave the radio off on my way in, and try to daydream about plot progression. Sometimes I end up with voice notes; sometimes I end up pulling over at a rest area and thumbing notes into my phone. These notes end up serving as the flow and general outline / progression for the overall story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Great Gatsby: It defines the term "The Great American Novel." Snow Crash: It approaches technical and psychologically complex with a very easy-to-access style. Excellence in immersion. The Diamond Age: I think the description for Snow Crash fits well here also. Streams of Silver: My favorite R.A. Salvatore work. It moves and it speaks well. It was also my first Forgotten Realms book. The Depths: Because it was my first novel, and I love it like a family member.
How do you approach cover design?
Cal at caligraphics design does a great job of taking my thoughts and putting them into pictures. I try to leave it up to him as much as possible --I'm a writer, he's a cover designer-- but I do have some visions of what I would like to see.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Let's see, a full time job, a part time job, three kids, a wife... I spend my time busy! When I have downtime, I usually write; but when I'm not writing, you can usually find me reading or playing video games.
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