Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a story-lover (books, movies, music, comics, visual novels, what have you). I was locally notorious for being able to read at 18 months, and wrote my first story about a tap-dancing elephant at age three, and haven’t stopped since then. I also love animals. I have enough pets to make vacations difficult. I play the piano and have a serious me obsession. Also, I’m currently in pre-production for my first feature film.
I’ve written about 60 novels, not including “Elf.” I estimate seven of those currently have a shot at one day being fit for publication. I’m working with an editor on each, and writing a couple of new books in the meantime.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The book is called “Elf.” It’s the first in a fantasy series. Inspiration mainly came from Stephen Donaldson books and various world mythologies, with the obligatory dash of Tolkien in there. I wanted to write a fantasy novel with a genuinely bad person at the center – someone who wants very badly to be worthwhile and fit in, someone who punishes himself badly for his awfulness, but is ultimately unwilling to go quite far enough to change. I love high fantasy and always have, but have rarely come across a hero who isn’t really a hero. In general, even the antiheroes are fundamentally good in some way. I wanted a character who fundamentally isn’t, and struggles constantly with it. “Elf” been through so many iterations that it really isn’t the same book. Ultimately, however, that theme of being ultimately unwilling to create or even accept redemption has remained the same. Not to say there isn’t a good-hearted, earnest, honest hero in “Elf”; it just isn’t the main character.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure if this even counts as “unusual” anymore, but I’m well-known for waking up in the middle of the night, grabbing my laptop, and typing out ideas for hours. I also tend to listen to immerse myself in music for the hour leading up to a solid writing session. Finally, I take the scrap paper at my day job, cut the pages in half, staple them together, and covertly write for hours on slow days (I’m a receptionist, so no one notices).
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many! This is by no means a comprehensive list, but Clive Barker, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen Donaldson, Peter Straub, Michael Crichton, Natalie Babbitt, Shakespeare, Joe Hill, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman, Ray Bradbury, Andrzej Sapkowski, Robert Jackson Bennett, Margo Lanagan, Daniel P. Mannix, Lane Robins, C.S. Lewis, and many many many more.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few projects. The ones with the best chance of being readable in the near future include a thriller about a young human trafficking victim who is inexplicably saved by a mysterious and not necessarily good person, and a dark modern fantasy about two sisters with traumatic pasts who develop extraordinary powers. Basically, the book explores what would happen if real people – in this case, victims who never had the chance to come to terms with their trauma – had superpowers.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
This is my first novel, and I honestly have no experience with marketing or promotion. I’m utilizing a few suggestions, so I’ll revisit this question when I get results (or a lack thereof).
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read and write as often as you can. Get advice, but only from people you trust (this doesn’t necessarily equate with people who will tell you nice things.) Invest in an editor. Rewrite, but don’t obsess; it’s too easy to fall into a trap where you’re constantly trying to perfect a project. It takes a while to finish something properly, but when it’s done, it needs to be done.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do not hide.
What are you reading now?
I’m a fairly prolific reviewer, so I’m reading a lot! Currently I’m splitting my reading hours between “Daughters of the Storm” by Kim Wilkins, “The City Where We Once Lived” by Eric Barnes, and “Master Assassins” by Robert V.S. Redick.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m planning to have a catalog of at least 10 books out this year. I’m also very exciting because I’ve gotten a few script requests this month (I’m an aspiring screenwriter, as well) and even if that fails, I’m getting ready to shoot an indie film this summer.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
“The Talisman” by Stephen King and Peter Straub; “Imajica” by Clive Barker; “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien; and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.