My stories! I know that sounds cliched, but it's still true. I look forward to a fresh mind and a new day to tackle my next bit of novel, whether it's plotting, writing, editing, or final formats. There's nothing that makes me happier than bringing a story to life!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'm going to stick to books within the fantasy genre, because otherwise it's too hard to narrow down.
1. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. (We're gonna count this as one book, okay? Okay.) Fun, imaginative, quirky, thought-provoking, and groundbreaking in its era - what's NOT to love? 2. Covenants by Lorna Freeman. Rabbit (MC) is adorable, sarcastic, talented, flawed, and all-around the perfect catch. Eh, Rabbit? Plus, Freeman's world-building is fantastic and divine. 3. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Less RPG-esque than his later titles, I found this one more compelling and the characters more relatable than some. I enjoyed his world-building and magic system as well. 4. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams. Classic, intricate, and compelling. 5. Lord of the Rings. My first love in fantasy and second to none. NONE. (I saved the best for last, but the others are in no particular order of preference.)
How do you approach cover design?
I let the pros handle it! Seriously, rarely have I seen an author design decent covers - excepting those excellent graphic designers blessed with both visual *and* literary talents. I start with a concept and search out the right cover designer to bring it to life...and it always looks sooo much better than what I imagined. My province is decidedly words.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
All over! Which has definitely influenced my writing. My dad was a Marine, and afterward we kept moving for jobs and such. Seeing so many cultures and environments really stirred my imagination. My favorite places to live have been in the countryside and on the mountainside - where God's hand is most visible.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Kindle Fire!
Describe your desk
Wrapped in ivy, covered in plants, and featuring LOTR merchandise (Frodo plush, Frodo rubber duck, the sheath of Sting) - I find it exceptionally inspirational! :)
When did you first start writing?
When I was nine or ten, I think. Guess that means I've been at this for at least 22 years!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I always wanted to publish traditionally. ALWAYS. But after meeting with an agent who liked my writing and saw great potential in my story, but passed on it because it didn't meet his criteria (he said high fantasy is dead - I say he's mistaken), and then having requests from others who turned it down because it didn't fit their private agendas, I decided it was time to focus on MY dream and not rely on anyone else to fulfill it. This way I have complete control and complete blame if I should fail. Plus, after realizing how little the traditional publishers do - especially in marketing books - I didn't see any advantage in taking that avenue anymore. Indie publishing is whatever I make of it! Look out world!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing my characters come to life! Discovering along with them where they'll go, who they'll love or hate, how they'll meet the challenges I throw their way. It's magical to see these souls draw breath and chart their own course. I love when I become but an observer as the story writes itself.
What is your writing process?
Write, edit, repeat. I write at least 1,000 words every day, six days a week, nearly every week. I always take Sundays off to rest and recover my creative juices, then I return to my project on Monday. Once the book is written, I set it aside and edit a different manuscript. Then I return to what I finished writing and start a new draft. I usually have between 3-6 manuscripts in some level of drafting/editing. Which is great for publishing, as I've got several completed books just waiting for their turns!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Crow King is about to come out, so I'm going with that one. Actually, it's a strange story. The Wintervale duology is inspired by Swan Lake, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the life of General George Washington. Yeah, it's true. Swan Lake is my favorite fairytale/ballet and I've always wanted to do something with it, so my imagination turned that into the backstory for my fae characters in Wintervale. As a Revolutionary War enthusiast, I've also always wanted to tackle George Washington's life story in a fantasy setting - while still making it its own. That's when I created the main character (Gwyn) and slapped him in my Swan Lake-esque world. But something was still missing, until I realized that my Renfield-inspired character from having read Dracula years before would meld the two other sources together, and everything fell into place. In that regard, and if I'm honest, while Gwyn might be the duology's hero and its heart, Kive is definitely its soul. It's really his story.
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