Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve lived most of my life in the little village of Killbuck, Ohio. From an early age, I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and so that’s what I did. I’ve been writing stories since before I could actually write by myself- my first story had to be written down by my father as I told it!
I love books. My house is full of them. I’ve spent more time with Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Robert E. Howard, H. Rider Haggard, and company than I’ve spent with anyone I might know in my day-to-day life. But above all else, I love fantasy. It’s always been my dream to write a great fantasy novel, one that could live at least in the shadows of the greats. So far I have written one fantasy novel, Winter’s Heart. I just released it last month, and have heard some positive feedback about it. It’s a very exciting time in my life!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My fantasy novel, Winter’s Heart, was inspired by many things. One thought that started the ball rolling was the fact that in most role-playing games, especially video games, the heroes get their money by killing enemy monsters. And so I thought to myself, “What if you had a man who really WAS a monster hunter? Someone who made their actual living that way, like that was their job?” And that first idea led to the creation of Steven Boughmount, the main character of the novel, and the Hunter’s Guild, of which he is a member. Of course, the book is about much more than monster hunting, and several ideas came together to make the stew that is the book. I also wanted to create real cultures and personalities for the races that are usually just “the bad guys” in fantasy- the goblins and the trolls. In my world, each of the mortal races is intelligent- they have gods, and laws, and their own ways of life. And there are deep, old conflicts between them- I spent many years building the world of Turr, where all of my stories will take place.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
What constitutes “unusual”? I think every writer is different. I have no set schedule. I don’t make outlines. There might be days when I don’t write at all, and then days when I write an entire chapter. But I’m always thinking about it. It’s my personal belief that, no matter how long the actual writing takes, as long as the story and the characters are still alive in your mind and your heart, the project is still viable.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My biggest influence, of course, is The Lord of the Rings. I always knew that I wanted to write, but after I read Tolkien I knew that I wanted to write fantasy. Other influences were the adventure tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard, the sword-and-sorcery yarns of Robert E. Howard, the fantastic tales of Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft. But above everyone else, except maybe Tolkien, is Stephen King. King is without a doubt our greatest living storyteller, and from the moment I started reading his work, I knew that what set him apart was his voice. No matter what the subject matter of his story, his voice draws you in. He welcomes you; makes you comfortable in a cozy chair; and then he proceeds to fill your head with the gruesome, the horrifying, the fantastic. And you love it. You love him for it. There’s an old quote that says, “It is the tale, not he who tells it.” And while that may be partially true, to me there’s no denying the importance of voice in the telling of a good tale.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on the first book of a long fantasy series. The series overall will be called Nine Weapons They Forged- the first book is titled Trollbreaker. It takes place in the same world as Winter’s Heart, but in a different Age.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
So far, the best thing I’ve been able to do is just make friends on Facebook and talk about my work every day. I also have an author’s page over at Amazon, and do a blog on Goodreads. I just keep putting the message out there that I have written a book, it’s available, and that it’s good stuff. It’s an everyday kind of endeavor, but word is spreading!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My best advice for anyone who wants to write is this: just write. Don’t think about money, don’t think about whether or not anyone will like what you’ve made- just write. Writing is, at the core, a selfish act. You do it because it is what you want to do. You do it for yourself, because there’s a story inside you that needs to come out. And really, that’s all that matters. If you’re a writer, you’ll write. Anything else is just icing on the cake.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Basically, it’s in the answer to the above question.
What are you reading now?
Every fall, I start reading The Lord of the Rings in September, on Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday. It’s a tradition that takes me in to the Halloween season, when I’ll pick a horror classic to read. Lately I’ve been really into Alex Bledsoe and Richard Kadrey- and Stephen King, of course. Oh, and Neil Gaiman, and Clive Barker, and old pulp fiction mysteries, and……
What’s next for you as a writer?
Hopefully, modest success and the ability to write full time.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That’s an impossible question. I suppose, if I had to choose, like if I was trapped on a desert island and I could have one book with me, it would be The Lord of the Rings. But there are so many books that I love. How does one say which is his favorite of all time? How does one rank Frankenstein, and Dracula, and The Time Machine, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? Really, the best I could do would be to make a top ten favorite list (in NO particular order!): Frankenstein; Dracula; The Island of Dr. Moreau; She; The Lord of the Rings; Something Wicked This Way Comes; IT; American Gods; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass; Watchmen. But really, that’s only a list of ten that I love.