I first started writing song lyrics for a band I was in during high school, and then everything sort of blossomed from there.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I can't remember the first story I ever wrote, I probably wasn't too pleased with it. However, I do remember the first poem I ever wrote. It is called "The Stranger" and was inspired by the uncomfortable feeling a person can get when he or she seems to be following someone for a long time when they are merely walking in the same direction. Before that it was song lyrics, lots and lots of song lyrics.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
While I don't remember the first story I ever read, I do remember the first story that ever had an impact on me. I largely credit, "The Destructors" by Graham Greene for turning me into a writer. It is a beautiful piece that captures adolescence wonderfully and Greene is masterful in his craft. Apart from Greene, J.K. Rowling and Jack Keroauc are my biggest influences.
What is your writing process?
First, I need the genesis.. that great idea. This can come from anywhere and can be inspired by anything in reality, but much of my inspiration comes from reading other people's works. Once I have the idea, I like to form a tentative road map for the story. Once I begin though, my writing becomes much like sticking a character into a forest and watching them find a way out. The writing is more organic that way. Once the first draft is written, I send it to my friendly, dutiful, and loyal readers who peruse the draft and offer me suggestions. Then I read the manuscript and edit, read and edit, and read and edit. Writing is a process that I'm not sure ever ends. Writers eventually just get distracted by the new big idea and put those old manuscripts to rest.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything I can get my hands on. Right now I am particularly fond of anything by Graham Greene, DC Comics, dystopian novels, books by the beat writers, poetry anthologies, books from the MLA Top 100 novels of all time, and fantasy in the vein of Patrick Rothfuss or George R.R. Martin. I also recently read and loved The Queen of the Tearling for its theme on the importance of literacy.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Great question... and one that is nearly impossible for any reader to ever truly answer.
1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, simply brilliant in its level of premonition and perfect for its stance on censorship. 2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, simply put... the greatest book series ever. For reasons infinite... 3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac, I lived this novel and love the way it speaks for a generation. It is poetic, musical, and beautiful. 4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a classic and undeniably wonderful. 5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien... he invented his own language for this... I mean... Come on.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own, use, and love a Kindle. Though I wouldn't be opposed to any other format.
Describe your desk
Any object upon which the laptop or desktop I am currently working on sits.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was indie musician, so it makes sense... but I didn't really think about it until I was inspired by a student and a colleague of mine when they talked about their own projects.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I don't like to reveal to much about a manuscript while I'm working on it, but I will say that my current project, tentatively titled Darwin's Folly, will be a giant metaphor for how important I think books are and how opposed I am to censorship.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is an invaluable resource that helps indie authors realize their dream.
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