I've always felt very influenced by Louis L'Amour. The man taught as he wrote and he worked hard at it. Following his characters through their struggles did a lot to shape my young mind. Concepts like bravery, respect for women, and true manhood are concepts I think this world could use a lot more of, especially now.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a card carrying mad scientist and I spend my time building lasers to burn stuff, throwing thermite parties with my brothers, and dreaming of the day that I can afford a Fresian stallion and a field to ride him through. (There may be a cape and a large dog involved as well)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes, and it is a sad memory. I have always loved the history of the Ukrainian Cossacks. The first book I ever started was a historical fiction, based in a Cossack war. A computer glitch wiped the whole thing out beyond retrieval. The experience was so traumatizing and my young mind so scarred that I didn't write another thing for almost three years after that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest finished book was The Price of Nobility. In it, two brothers live in a kingdom run by a young, spoiled king. Heavy taxes have run the people down and even the army is fractured and weak while the king hides in his castle. The two brothers, Simeon and Joseph, come up with a desperate plan to save the kingdom, before it's too late. They join forces with a demon of a man named Asher. They steal the king from his castle and force him to live in the country by the sweat of his brow, teaching him survival and courage, even as he threatens them with torture and death. What none of them know is that it is already too late to save the kingdom, and everyone involved will have to face hard choices before they can turn things around.
What are you working on next?
I actually just finished the next book in the Historian Tales, The Price of Nobility, and you'll be seeing it hit shelves and reader screens in 2014. I just barely got started on The Price of Loyalty and it is bloody exciting for me. The Price of Loyalty goes deeper into the true nature of the Historian than any other book. It also might be the saddest book I've written so far.
So the books you've got now are all Historian Tales, do you have plans for other books?
Oh yes, as soon as I can get my mind clear of these Historian Tales, I already have a five book long series planned called The Soulless King. It will be more of an epic fantasy kind of book.
Describe your desk
It's a hassock at my local library. I have tried writing at a regular desk before, but my back starts to hurt and before long I'm on the internet researching exciting careers in scuba diving. Besides, I grew up in libraries, and there is a comfort I get being surrounded by books. They're like old friends.
How do you approach cover design?
I am looking to convey an emotion. I pick symbols that have meaning to the minds of my readers and blend them together. Hopefully, they suggest to the mind the struggle my characters will have to endure on the other side of that cover.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My family moved a lot and I kept moving a lot after I moved out. I have lived all over, but the place I keep closest to my heart is a lonely wind-whipped plateau up by Fish Lake, Utah. I roamed all over those mountains in the most ridiculous weather you can imagine. I even milked a cow twice a day for a year, and 30 below zero wasn't all that uncommon. It taught me that life is about a lot more than just avoiding discomfort. It's ok to hurt, it's even ok to bleed. What's not ok is to sit in front of a screen all day watching other people live life.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is what I would have described if someone had asked me to create the perfect eBook distribution for authors. The ease of eBook conversion, along with the distribution to other retailers makes a world of difference.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's when someone tells me they got caught up in my book. When I manage to make a character that people can relate to so much that they truly feel like part of the story, all the hard work is worth it.
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