While I write different things for different reasons, I do try and tell a good story and hopefully other people will enjoy it. Fans make the journey of finishing a story well worth it.
What are you working on next?
I am currently converting a screenplay that I co-wrote with my wife into an eBook, and then will start on the screenplay for the second film - we have a three-film arc mapped out with the same characters and while we wrote the first one as a team, I will be writing the second (with her input of course - she writes women exceptionally well and I am trying to learn from her any way I can).
Who are your favorite authors?
I lean towards Sci-Fi/Fantasy but also enjoy the technothrillers; I've always enjoyed Tom Clancy, I have read all but the last book in the Jack Ryan series. I know my father read him and after watching "The Hunt for Red October" on the big screen, I read the book, and then every subsequent book written by Clancy. I also enjoy Michael Crichton, Thomas Harris, and the multiple authors that have written the Star Wars Canon books (Timothy Zahn, Roger MacBride Allen and Kevin J. Anderson in particular). A very astute English teacher in tenth grade recommended that I read Kurt Vonnegut, who I enjoyed very much.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Each day is an opportunity, a blank canvas. You can choose to fill it with anything you would like. At times, life can get repetitious and mundane, which is why writing is a great opportunity to create any reality you choose. The challenge is not when you are writing, but in everyday situations - how will you make the world a better place? By helping someone in need? By doing a little something extra for someone to make their day? The choice is yours.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing is the last part of the process, I talk a lot of storylines with my wife. She has some high-concept stories that I always enjoy hearing. We are always very positive with each other, ask pertinent questions and try and help each other along.
When we're trying to relax, I play adult baseball on Sundays, work out when I can, walk and spend time with my dog Blue. There are so many things to do up in Flagstaff, AZ; hiking, sightseeing, going to any of the great small restaurants up here, and playing in the snow (we get around a hundred inches of snow in an average year - yes, it does snow in Arizona). I enjoy deep sea fishing with my Dad (the best fishing buddy I could ever ask for), and going back to visit my friends back in San Diego (where I grew up and spent the majority of my first 41 years).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I use personal recommendations from friends, they usually know what I like and if I will like something.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember writing a short story in eighth grade about a man with two dogs whose truck broke down in the desert while quail hunting. I remember using the song "Roll on Eighteen Wheeler" by Alabama to help me structure the story. My teacher thought it was good and submitted it for a contest and I won an honorable mention for it. Seven years later, without the two dogs I ended up having a clutch plate break while quail hunting and had to drive in reverse until I got to the paved roads, then used second gear to get back to town. Nice lesson in foreshadowing.
What is your writing process?
I have so many ideas, I have started probably fifty screenplays and have finished only four (at the moment). I remember starting writing what would have been a novel back when I was in high school, but it really didn't have much of a story and no ending. Normally I will come up with a concept and try and think it all the way through, and if it has an ending and seems like a story people might enjoy, I start writing. At times, the story will take a turn and a better ending presents itself. I am trying to refine my process to make it easier to pick a story and stick with it, I have a bit of an ADD problem and can work on something for a week, then get sidetracked by a new idea for something I worked on six months ago. The most difficult thing for me is to focus on a story until it is finished.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember was Where the Red Fern Grows, because it was the first time I cried while reading a book. I know I read stories before that, but when the dogs died it tore me up inside. I remember not really wanting to finish it once Old Dan got hurt, but it was for a class and I knew I had to. After I finished it, I marveled at how the written word could elicit such emotions, and how I could see the events happening in my imagination.
How do you approach cover design?
My sister has done visual effects for several major motion pictures and has taught Photoshop, so I have that resource to call upon. Most of what I write has action, but the cover I always think should show the main character or characters at rest, not running or aiming a weapon, just standing as they would. In the background, a place from the story - if I'm writing about a Dungeons and Dragons-type Ranger who has an adventure in a city, it would be the Ranger in the foreground, maybe a second and third character behind them, and the city in the background.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order: 1) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - I had seen the movie and went back to read the book afterwards, and while the movie was very good, it reinforced the 'book-is-better-than-the-movie' stereotype. It went into greater detail, and things weren't changed for the Hollywood audience. 2) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut - I read this as part of a three book project in English for my teacher, Ms. Peterson. Of the three Vonnegut books, this one was the one that stuck with me. 3) The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway - I love to deep sea fish and this story resonates with me. 4) Without Remorse by Tom Clancy - this was my favorite Clancy book because it focused on John Clark (John Kelly in this story), how he became Clark and how sometimes good men do things that put them at odds with the law. 5) Aegis Warlord by Carla Kipp - this is my wife's first eBook and I have helped her along with the process, whether it be editor, cheerleader, bringer of the snacks or doing chores so that she has time to write. I am her biggest fan and am so proud of her.
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