Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in northwest NJ. It was the kind of place where the kids in the neighborhood would run around playing from morning to night during the summer. It's the kind of place I wish my son could grow up, but I haven't found it again, and they're right when they say you can't go back.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story when I was in high school. It was an awful "Red Dawn" knockoff that starred someone who was a lot like me. Ok, it was Red Dawn starring me in my hometown. It was awful and I didn't write again until I was in my early 20s. When I finally did start writing again, it was poetry. Fairly awful, moody poetry. I guess we all start out writing something we later consider awful. Eventually you get over yourself and realize that even a little talent in writing can be ten times more than the average person. ;)
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, which releases September 2013, is the second in my Trilogy of the Six. Divisible by Six continues the story of James Masterson and his "brothers".
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There's a quote by E.M. Forster, "“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Joan Didion also put it aptly, "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." For me, the joy is in discovering something I never knew I knew. Finding that little insight into life that I've somehow translated into the written word and saying, "Hey, I learned something!"
What do your fans mean to you?
I know a few. I'm sure I don't know a few too. It's great, no matter the form of art, to have someone that appreciates what you've created. There's nothing better and knowing that there are some out there, no matter how few, drives me to do my best work.
What are you working on next?
I have a couple of projects for the future. The final book in my trilogy is a must, but I'm also working on some YA fiction that I'll be publishing under my real name. One is a YA fantasy that's based on the Arthurian legend. The other is a dystopian paranormal series.
Who are your favorite authors?
I appreciate a lot of authors. Some are easier to read than others. I grew up devouring Stephen King and Clive Cussler. But I also read Tolkien. Chuck Palahniuk and Cormac McCarthy are brilliant. Orson Scott Card's Ender series was fantastic. Enjoyed The Hunger Games (though book 3 was disappointing to me). I can't say I really have a favorite. Everyone is good in their own right.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My son. My wife. A sense of obligation to be a member of society in whatever way I can. We're all caught up in the machine. It's easy to let it grind you down and I always try and put a smile into my work and get those around me to do the same. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play softball and probably too much PS3. I try and read as much as I can, but having a day job that involves reading (and editing), reading for pleasure is tough. I also try and spend quality time with my wife and son. Easier said than done sometimes.
What is your writing process?
My stories are, inevitably, about how people interact with one another. Dialogue will always drive my stories. So, when I'm at the beginning of an idea, I'm putting my main character into various conversations, whether they are confrontational or benign. I'm looking for that emotional response. I want to know and feel what's motivating my characters. That being said, the process all depends on what spurred the original idea. My first novel, Multiples of Six, evolved from a daydream I was having as I was going to sleep one night. The scenario I had imagined gave me the chills and I thought how awesome that scene would be in a book. I essentially had to write a story around a single scene. That took me 5 years. It wasn't easy. The second novel I wrote (which has yet been published) based on a name I woke up with one morning. I woke up and said, "That name deserves a story." By the end of that day, I'd written the outline. Six months later, I'd finished the 65k word novel. A more recent idea came from seeing a picture that I thought would make a great book cover. I'm liking where that one is headed, but I need to outline a bit, as I've just been jotting down plot points and minor moments of dialogue so far.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle 3 with the leather case that has the light. It's perfect for me. You can read it outdoors with no problem and the light allows me to read in bed at night if I want. It also doesn't have the ability to play games (at least none that would distract me).
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