Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Vaguely. I began reading too early to remember much, and at first, all I read was more educational. It was not until my 3rd grade year when I discovered Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series. Since then, I have consumed as much as I could, and created twice that.
So, in answer to the question: No, I do not remember the first story I ever read. I do, however, remember the first story that truly impacted me, and how important it has been in my own creative process.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Impossible to answer. Actually, any "favorite" list is impossible for me. I can only give the top five at the exact time of answering this question.
1. "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien Tolkien is my favorite author. I never grow tired of reading about the history of Middle Earth, and this book just holds everything that I love in it.
2. "The Eye of the World" ~ Robert Jordan Oddly enough, I finished this book the night before answering this question. Since college began, I have been in a slump, of sorts, yet this novel saved me from it.
3. "Dune" ~ Frank Herbert Going in, I never expected myself to enjoy a book about a desert planet(insert obligatory sand joke from the Star Wars prequels), and I was very pleasantly surprised. The politics were intriguing, the characters all have depth, and the planet itself is a fantastic character.
4. "Heir to the Empire" ~ Timothy Zahn Star Wars is one of my largest loves. I can never get enough of it; movies, cartoons, novels, and comics. Zahn perfectly captured the spirit of the series in this novel, and created my favorite character in any medium: Grand Admiral Thrawn.
5. "The Count of Monte Cristo" ~ Alexander Dumas I say Thrawn is my favorite character, but that may not be entirely accurate. Even though it sits at number five, it is actually the only book I can say with absolute certainty is my favorite of all time. One thousand or so pages, following the Count of Monte Cristo in his quest for revenge...and it is well worth the read. It took me only three days to complete, and is, at this point in my life, the only book to draw tears to my eyes. The emotional impact of the entire narrative is astounding, and something I hope to emulate in my own works.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything Star Wars...and more recently, anything high fantasy or just sci-fi fantasy.
When did you first start writing?
Difficult to answer this question. Writing has always been a part of my life, even if not on paper/on a device. When I was younger, I owned thousands of dollars worth of LEGO's, and created hundreds of stories around them. In fact, the stories I created then have served as the basis for my writing now. So, if I had to put a time...around my 2nd grade year was when I began my initial writing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The story. As I mention in my bio, stories are the most important item to me. Without a story, nothing matters. Thus, the sharing of said story is my greatest joy. Being able to tell people my thoughts, my ideas, means everything to me. No matter if they absolutely love it, or despise it with the whole of their soul, allowing others to see my world as I shape it brings me happiness.
Who are your favorite authors?
This can actually, for the most part, be answered with my "favorite books" list.
1. J.R.R. Tolkien My all-time favorite author. The man who inspires me every day to work, and bring my own world to life.
2. Timothy Zahn As a huge Star Wars fan, it should not come as a surprise that I love one of the most prolific authors of the series. Something about his use of language appeals to me, though I do not know exactly how to describe it.
3. Brian Jacques The Redwall series meant so much to me throughout the latter half of my elementary schooling, and gave me the basis for who I am today. For this reason, Mr. Jacques is one of my favorite authors.
4. Unknown Whoever first told/wrote "Beowulf" has my eternal thanks. When we read the epic poem junior year of high school, I had been having a rough time. Something about the Old English lecture, and the opening lines of the story, made me open up, and truly appreciate all works of writing.
5. The Author of 1000 Faces (A play on the book title) All authors are fantastic. No matter if I love or hate their work, they have my respect, and admiration. It is difficult to put a book out for people to purchase. I find it wonderful that so many people do so, just to share their own visions with the rest of the world.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The knowledge that one day, I shall stand at the top of a hill, looking down, and be able to say to myself: "Well, I have done it. At last, I am here, I have arrived...and the sunset is beautiful."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I watch much in the way of movies and shows (cartoons, TV, anime, etc.), to better understand my own styles. Also, I practice my trumpet. Music means almost as much to me as a story (though not quite: a story is necessary for music to work), so I enjoy every minute spent playing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. This was in 4th grade, actually. I had read some silly book in the dentist's office, waiting to have my teeth cleaned, and was struck with a brilliant idea: copy the entire story, but name the characters different things. Looking back, I understand the error in my ways: plagiarism is bad, original ideas are good. Glad to be done with that period in life, haha!
What is your writing process?
As in, how do I formulate my story? Well...hm...
Establish a beginning and end. If I am writing a sci-fi novel, I need to know where the characters start. For example, if we have one Jason (random male protagonist), and one Sara (random female counterpart), what are they doing at the opening? "Jason and Sara are space pirates, looking to make a good dollar after a string of failed hijackings." And what is the end game? "Jason is dead, and Sara is the new Guardian of Such-and-Such Moon"
Okay, so I have the before and after...now how do they get there? I must create a string of events that move the characters, logically, across the board.
1. Jason and Sara attack a small vessel outside the Andromeda galaxy 2. They accidentally kill the three crew members inside, and are knocked out when life support systems crash 3. The pair wake, finding themselves aboard some large ship 4. Enslaved, they work their way up through the ranks over two years, eventually earning favor in the eyes of the commander 5. They become officers, some battle stuff happens, more ships and such 6. Rise higher: Command own ships, separated 7. Large battle against Random Empire III 8. Random Empire III attempts to destroy the Such-and-Such Moon 9. Jason does some suicide run on the RE:III, Sara backs him up 10. Sara is chosen as the protector of the Moon, and the God powers side with the "good guys" (Sara/the empire or whatever) 11. The RE:III is wiped out, Sara remains on the Moon as Protector, watching for eternity until some other group comes and does the same thing in a few millennia.
Of course, this is just a random example. The actual process would take much more than just two minutes. From there, each item is expanded more. So, item "One" of the previous list would have numerous subpoints before reaching item "two."
1. Jason and Sara attack a small vessel a. Searching for a good haul, the pair spots a small vessel drifting outside the Andromeda Galaxy with no power b. Approaching with stealth, they blow a hole in the side of the hull c. Three bodies fly out of the drifting vessel d. Jason and Sara board the craft, shoring up the hole e. Something topples, causing life support systems to go down, and knocking the two out with a small explosion
Something like that. Around this point, it is easy to begin the actual writing. I prefer this method to just writing, at least for storytelling, as it allows the narrative more cohesion, and reduces the risk of plot holes.
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