Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I currently have two books available and one more that is complete, but still in the submission phase.
My wife and I recently—within the last year—moved to Arkansas. This is seriously the first move that wasn’t prompted by outside forces. Jobs, in particular. We came out here for a friend’s wedding and loved it. Put an offer in on a house, sold our current one in Arizona, and moved. I followed the advice of a friend and quit my job to pursue writing.
Once my daughter got into high school, she got me into the books she was reading. Young adult writing drew me in. I love the intensity of that time of life. Everything is new and the inability to imagine life continuing after a bad grade, or that boy said he doesn’t like you anymore. The hopefulness of childhood is gone, while you’re not ready for adulthood. There’s no way you’re parents could ever understand, when really it wasn’t that long ago they were just like you. Anyway, they’re stupid and I’ll never be like them. Navigating life as a teen is tramatic with intense emotions. I know it was for me.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest work is titled Inspiration. The setting of the town of Inspiration is based on a combination of small towns near my current residence in Northwest Arkansas. This book is inspired by a picture I saw. It had this guy with intense eyes that made me think there’s something more to him. Something about him made me think an evil entity was thriving inside of him. From there the demons of Inspiration were born.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
With so many distractions around the house, I find it more productive to take up a seat at the local public library. If there’s a guitar or a drum set anywhere my days will be used up before I know it. My wife gets up early, which gets me out of bed. Once the house is quiet I realize I have to leave. I wait until 9am and head to the library. Sometimes I stare at the blank page until the scene begins to form. Then maybe stare it some more as it develops behind my closed eyes. Once the words start pouring out the character’s breathe life into it. Sometimes they do and say things I expect, but other times I’m shocked. My characters do surprise me. Extra elements and subplots spring up without permission.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love the voice of Chelsea Fine. There’s something amazing about the way she lets us get inside the character’s heads. Rick Riordan’s books speak directly to me. I like the colorful language of the Last Year Books by Trisha Leigh. Unwind from Neil Shusterman made me stop and shudder. Scott Westerfield and Tedd Dekker will find their way into my head. I have so many influences. Kiera Cass, Stephanie Meyer, Veronica Roth, Ally Condie, and lately Rick Yancey have influenced my writing.
What are you working on now?
I tend to have more than one project in the works. Right now I’m working on the third book in the series that’s out. Shifters and Ordinaries will be followed by Revolutionaries, which is coming along. I’ve still got my first work, that I’ve come back to, titled Legend of the Creator. An adult science fiction that mixes art and science. I also have a young adult work around two teens who have found each other through different dimensions.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m always up to try something new. My latest partner, believe it or not, is Amazon. The hardest thing to do is not always writing a compelling story. Sometimes it’s letting people know it’s available. The difference between a best seller and a non-seller is people knowing about it. That’s what groups like Awesomegang are all about.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t be afraid to write something terrible. Just write! Never, ever, think you can edit your own work. You can’t. It doesn’t matter how good you are with grammar and punctuation. Those are the last things you check during the editing process. Finish writing your story, then rewrite it. Then have a professional look at it, and take their advice. Rewrite it again. Read it out loud. Pretend you’re listening to it on audio and listen to how it sounds. Rewrite anything that doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t sound like anything the character, or narrator would actually say.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If you’re gonna do this, do it. Put all of yourself into it and get it done.
What are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Loving it.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a lot of dreams. That’s not intended to be philosophical. Many of my stories are based on dreams. The kind you have when you’re sleeping. I woke up a few days ago with a conversation in my head.
“It was her.”
He looked deep into my eyes, like he was calculating the ratio of rods and cones on my retinas, and said flatly, “She’s ice. It’s illegal.”
“I’m just telling you what I saw.”
Not only did the entire scene play out in my head, I knew exactly what being “ice” meant. Will it become a book? I don’t know, maybe.
As long as I keep having dreams—the litteral kind—I’ll keep writing them down. We’ll see how many actually make to the book shelves.
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?
This is a difficult question for me. I’m not one to watch and re-watch movies. It’s the same for books. I’m all about the new experience. My favorite book tends to be the one I’m reading right now. Otherwise, I would have stopped reading. And yes, I do stop reading when something’s not holding my attention. There are so many great stories out there. Why should I spend my time on one that’s not right for me?
I would love to say something about the classics here, but they just don’t speak to me. I know… I’m a writer. I’m supposed to love classic literature. Honestly, I’d love to hear characters say, “My name’s Tally Youngblood. Make me pretty.” So… maybe the Uglies series? Or maybe Unwind. I love that. I definitely need the whole series. You can’t leave me hanging.