Cluttered with recipes, my daughter's toys and revisions for my next book.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in suburban Chicago, where creative nerds were at the bottom of the social food chain. Being short and skinny did not help with sports, so reading became a passion and one of my only creative outlets. I read many different fantasy fiction authors and when I finished a book, I always wondered what would have happened next. My story tells what happens after the Dark Lord is defeated, how Men, Elves and Dwarves deal with the aftermath of a great war and how they get along (or don't) and try to manage their world.
When did you first start writing?
About 10 years ago.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Every epic fantasy book or series that I read concluded the same way, ultimate evil defeated by unlikely hero with mighty talisman. I always wondered what would have happened in those fantasy worlds after a unifying evil was defeated. I tell this story in my book. Essentially I take today's real world politics and geo-political situations and place them into a fantasy world. While the world is magical and has many fantastical elements, the characters are real, genuine people who interact with one another.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I grew very frustrated trying to break into the conventional publishing world. Lots of letters to agents without a response, which was time consuming and a bit depressing. I entered book contests and found that the contests were run by English teachers, and very stolid people, who wanted my book to follow a simplistic contrived format. By this I mean 1 Protagonist, 1 Antagonist, 1 theme for the story, and one main character. My book has multiple main/important characters and was written in third person omniscience rather than first person, so its a complex format, that is not easily pigeonholed by editors and agents.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am brand new on Smashwords, but I hope that it will help promote my book and get the word out.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are wonderful, they ask questions about the book and point out very helpful suggestions. They don't miss a thing!
What are you working on next?
I am working on the sequel to Shadow Wars, which will be called Dark Shaman. Dark Shaman will continue with all of the individual threads of the sub-plots and important characters, of Shadow Wars, while introducing new characters and additional sub plots, which will hopefully be as engaging for readers as Shadow Wars is.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.R.R. Tolkien of course, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, Glenn Cook, Anne McCaffrey, and various other fiction and fantasy fiction authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Honestly, my 4 year old daughter. Having a late in life child allowed me to be emotionally mature enough to be a good parent, but I am too old to be a parent (lol). Otherwise, writing, and cooking are my two main reasons for scraping myself off of my Tempurpedic mattress and putting on the silly lawyer suit. Hopefully as sales improve I can quit my day job and write full time.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Lots of cooking, usually making French food if I have time, Asian food if I do not. cooking is very soothing, there is something really rewarding about making even a simple dish and feeding the family. Otherwise, I am playing with my daughter and trying to find time to be an engaged husband rather than one who is working all the time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am a bit of a dinosaur, I have only discovered ebooks in the past 5 years or so, and sadly have little time to read, as I am usually writing instead.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, ironically, it was a science fiction story about a family of children to go off in a spaceship. I was 9.
What is your writing process?
Pour out some red wine, preferably French Burgundy, light some candles and put on the Ipod after the wife and daughter go off to bed. Then I sit and review what I have written recently, and dive right into new material. I average about 3-6 pages per day of material when I can find the time. I type rather than write, as typing is legible and faster.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I was 6. It had a tremendous impact as my childhood was rather miserable. It gave me hope that there might be a better world out there somewhere
How do you approach cover design?
I did a search for Fantasy themed covers and found one that I really liked. I contacted the artist and purchased the rights to it. I then had a Graphics designer tweak it into the right format for me.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Lord of the Rings, the grandfather of all fantasy fiction and a constant source of inspiration. Glenn Cook's Black Company series as it puts me in touch with a darker grittier side of life. Any book by Asimov, Clarke or Bradbury, especially the older material as their imagination was truly gifted Icon by Frederick Forsythe, the ultimate spy novel Larousse Gastronomique---the bible for all aspiring chefs
What do you read for pleasure?
mostly brain candy, varies with time.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting into the spirit of the moment, mentally participating in the scene and being that character right then. Then saving the material and re-reading it the next day. I am usually surprised how good the stuff was, (hopefully thats not too arrogant) as I was never a creative writer before this project.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
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