Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written a lot of books, but have four published. The rest I might publish in the future. Some will never see the light of day.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Subject 624 is my latest. It actually grew out of a writing exercise. An often repeated piece of writing advice is to “start in the middle.” I had this scene in my head of a teenager fighting a group of thugs while carrying on this inner monologue, trying to figure out his superhero name. I wrote the scene and was intrigued by this kid. Who was he? How did he get these abilities? It became the first chapter in Subject 624 and Conor Furgeson and the world he lives in sprang to life.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a combination outliner/discovery writer. Most of my stories come from flashes of scenes I get in my head. I sit and write down those scenes. I fill in bits and pieces around those scenes and once I start to build the story, I switch gears and outline it…mostly because I don’t want to forget the ideas I have. My outlines are pretty vague, though, leaving room for discovering who the characters are as I write. What are their motivations? What are their relationships with other characters? I like for the characters to have some say in their stories.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve been writing for years, but only in the past few years did I think I could do something with it. All those voices in my head demanded to be heard! I can trace it back to Tracy Hickman and Margeret Weiss and the Dragonland Chronicles. Those books are what got me reading and influenced me to write casually. That lead to taking it up as a serious career choice.
What are you working on now?
In between books, I usually juggle a few projects before I settle on one to move forward with. I’m working on a series of middle-grade books about a group of kids who have superpowers but still have to deal with everyday things like bullying, living up to siblings, and the feeling of not belonging. The first is written, and I’m working on the second here and there. While Subject 624 can stand alone as a story, I’m working on building a story for its sequel. I’m also developing an idea for a new adult contemporary fantasy. I’ll eventually settle on one of these.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The one thing that has really spurred sales for me is giving away my very first book, The Gatekeeper, on instafreebie. It’s really hard to give away my babies that I worked really hard on, but for independent authors, getting our books in people’s hands is priority #1. That’s true for any author, really. This also helps build newsletter subscribers!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Take every bit of writing advice you get with a grain of salt, whether it came from established authors making millions per book or somebody you’ve never heard of. It might not work for you. Every author’s journey is different. Collect these pieces of advice and apply the ones you think make sense. If they don’t work, don’t keep banging your head against that wall. Try something different. Just keep writing, reading, and trying. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. I’ve made plenty of them along the way (and I still am!), but I learn from them and adjust.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You may only get two people to read your story, but that’s two more than if you never write it.
What are you reading now?
I met a great guy a couple months ago and we became friends. An author named Jeffrey Stagg. I’m reading his book Modern Titan. It’s a very cool story about a guy who takes it upon himself to take out superheroes that go bad.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’d like to just continue telling fun stories and stretch my comfort zone. To date, I’ve written mostly young adult and middle-grade. I have plans to stretch a bit into the adult territory with an epic fantasy. That’s a few years down the pipeline, though.
I’m also working on building my social media footprint…something I’ve severely neglected. Follow me on Twitter! If for no other reason than I post adorable pictures of my dog from time to time.
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 Dragonlance Chronicles, of course. I’ve read them about 10 times over the years and I could easily read them 10 more.