I wrote my first short story, A Short Horror Story, when I was fifteen (the original version is posted here, on my website: http://chadmlorion.com/short-horror-story/). I started numerous other short stories through the years, but didn't really start writing until I was the lead writer for three of my church's Easter cantatas. Those three writing experiences proved invaluable to me in stirring my passion for writing, and also developing a thick skin to take constructive criticism.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Well, it's a long story. Four years ago, I was walking with one of my little boys along the busy street on which we live. Cars were whizzing by, and the horrible thought struck me: what would happen if a car swerved toward us, out of control, and in a moment of panic I jumped out of the way but lost the grip of my little boy's hand and he was struck and killed. (I know, I know, how horrible, right?) I wondered what kind of guilt I would experience if that happened.
That got me thinking about writing a novel in which a parent, due to circumstances beyond his control, must make a decision that will result in the death of one of his children. I started writing about that for a year, until it struck me that I was writing a book I might not buy! It had no supernatural or thriller or suspense elements in it, which is what I usually read. I kept the same characters, threw in supernatural as well as Native American elements, and viola, here we are.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The thrill of writing a novel, selling it directly to the public, and interacting directly with any fan base I could build. I still hope to land a publishing deal with a major publisher and get my books into traditional print format.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has allowed me to take direct control of my writing career, provided unparalleled support in launching my debut novel, and in those ways has kept the dream alive.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Discovering the story and the characters. I never know what I'm going to write from day to day, so when I sit in front of the screen and start typing, it's and adventure. I never have my characters fully developed before I start writing about them. I write what I know about them at the time, and the more I write the more I discover who they are, what scares them, what worries them, what brings them joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the lifeblood of my career! Without them, my writing would mean nothing. I could say I'm writing for myself, but that would be a lie. I am writing for myself, but also for everyone out there who wants to read my stories.
What are you working on next?
The next installment in the Totem trilogy, tentatively titled Totem (Book 2: Ashes).
Who are your favorite authors?
Let' see...Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Peter Straub, Michael Koryta, Christopher Golden, Dan Simmons, Eric Nylund, Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Vernor Vinge, Lawrence Watt-Evans, F. Paul Wilson, Charles L. Grant, Jack McDevitt, and I'll stop there.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Living life with my family. We homeschool our children, so I get to spend all day with them (when I'm not writing), so every day can be an adventure (and often times, it is).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Talking with my wife, being with my children, and reading. That's pretty much it, and I'm content with that (other than there's never enough time to do all the reading I'd like to do!).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Goodreads and Amazon mostly.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story, but I remember the first novel I ever bought--The Stand by Stephen King. I bought it when I was in either 7th or 8th grade, and it took me the entire school year to read it. I carried the doorstop with me to every single class, hoping for a few minutes of down time to read it. That book got me hooked on reading horror novels, which opened the door to my reading life.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Watchers by Dean Koontz--Cried at the end, never knew I could feel such empathy for a monstrous evil creation.
It by Stephen King--Uncle Stevie hit it out of the park with that one, nailing childhood friendships, growing older, and losing those friendships.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card--The dilemma that Ender finds himself in at the end of that book has stuck with me for more than ten years. It's truly thought-provoking.
Boy's Life by Robert McCammon--Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia, and I didn't even grow up in the same decade in which the story takes place. Did I mention nostalgia?