Fear inspires me. I have to beat our two year old out of bed before he finds something in the pantry to make for breakfast :)
Waking up and starting my day early has always been easy for me (to my wife's chagrin) and being able to see my three little boys with all their energy first thing in the morning is a real pleasure.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a full time Army Officer, husband, and father. I typically get up at 5 and exercise for an hour and half before starting my day. When I get home, it's play time until 8pm and then bedtime for the boys and alone time with my wife. Between all the bustle, I can usually sneak an hour or two of writing on on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Soldiers read a lot - and I mean A LOT because we spend a lot of time traveling to training exercises and deployments. I typically can get five or six new recommendations from a buddy at work. If those always fail, we enjoy looking through books at B&N or through Apple's bookstore.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story was called "Fly Soup" and was about a poor house fly that found itself spending its final moments in the soup at our college dining facility. I enjoyed so many things about writing that one, but specifically I enjoyed being able to attribute human emotions and feelings to an animal while having a good time.
What is your writing process?
Writing for me is all about exploring the world that my characters live in. I typically don't use an outline to organize my ideas (although a rough beginning and end is often in my head) until I'm a few chapters into the story.
Typically, I prefer to write as much as I can building new characters as they are needed. Then I re-read what I've written and sometimes even reorganize my chapters. After I'm happy with the initial concept, I will produce a character outline that shows how they contribute to the main plot and their affiliation with the other characters.
How do you approach cover design?
This is one of the great chances I have to bring my wife into the mix. She's a graphic designer and really has an eye for what works. We typically go through a few concepts and then get to work creating the product. I always like to float a few designs past several friends before selecting the final piece.
The cover design for Trials actually is a photo Afghanistan from a helicopter. Cool huh?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Bible - this is the greatest book ever written. There is drama, romance, action, suspense, back stabbing, and deceit. How to Win Friends and Influence people - I'm a psychologist and a soldier - understanding people is important and this book was a great source of inspiration for the realities of how people think! Odd Thomas - What a great story. I love the seriousness of this character combined with the whimsical writing that Dean Koontz brings to the table. Lord of the Flies - I love reading how the civilized devolve. Fascinating! Ender's Game - I just couldn't put it down. Futuristic military training, simulations, manipulation, desperate desire to belong... to be loved. Great read!
What do you read for pleasure?
I try to stay grounded. The bible is an essential part of that for me. Reading the bible is like looking in a mirror and it exposes the core of my true motivations and what my motivations should be. After the bible I simply love Dean Koontz. The way he weaves his colorful descriptions jumps off the page for me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use an Ipad but most of my books are off the Kindle App.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I fold pages... but if I want to go back to a page, I fold the little triangle fold a second time.
Describe your desk
Messy. There is a Thomas the Train, a flower plant, a "Worlds Best Boss" mug from The Office, paint stains, Candy Land cards, and a drawer full of papers from 2005!
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