Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus. I was homeschooled all the way through high school, which enabled me to develop my creativity and instilled the self-motivation needed to be a novelist. As a kid, I created plot lines and characters out of anything I could get my hands on, especially LEGOs. Not much has changed on that front. I’ve also been designing custom board games for as long as I can remember. I enjoy playing disc golf and ping pong when I get the chance. I’m just breaking into the literary world. The Unknown Hero is my debut novel, nine years in the making.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Growing up, I wasn’t much of a reader. I couldn’t find the book that I really wanted to read. I knew what I was looking for, an adventure with an epic space setting. However, most science fiction novels focus on strange technologies or dystopian futures. They tend to be too weird for my tastes. So, I determined to write a science fiction story that was driven by adventure and interplanetary politics. That way I could have all the cool space ships and alien planets without the dark undercurrents or the silliness that people often associate with the genre.
The Unknown Hero is the book I had been searching for all those years ago. I crafted the plot around the planets, characters, and societies that I so desperately wanted to read about. Most of my original ideas didn’t survive to the final draft, but they inspired better ones.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m dyslexic. That’s another reason why I didn’t read much as a kid. So that I won’t get lost in the letters as much, I normally write in an oversized font.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Outriders by Kathryn Mackel was the first novel that really captivated me. It showed me what a good writer could do. I learned how to write gripping, suspenseful action scenes from that book.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart was another book that I studied. Stewart’s prose flows so smoothly that you forget you’re reading at all.
The Shifter by Janice Hardy introduced me to crafting a world through the first person, which I now employee for many of my short stories.
What are you working on now?
Books 2 and 3 of The Unknown Hero trilogy are, of course, my primary projects. I’m also working on a novella about an imaginary friend. The story is meant to be very enigmatic while having a quaint, homey feel. It’s a fascinating blend, and I’ve been enjoying the results so far. I have a notebook full of other story concepts that I will occasionally write random scenes for when I have a great idea.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m still exploring the marketing options available for books and indie authors. Every step of the way, from publishing to building a website and web presence to marketing, I have done myself. It has been a lot of trial and error, but that’s how you learn. I want to know how the industry operates, every facet of it. That way, when I do purchase the services of publishing or marketing companies, I will know exactly what I’m paying for.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Hold the reigns but let the horse walk on four legs. Let me explain what I mean by that. You have to keep your story on track with a detailed plot, but you have to let it follow its logical course at the same time.
Imagine a marble track. The marble is your story. The track represents the setting, characters, and circumstances. They control where your story will naturally go regardless of what your plot says. To force the story in any other direction would be to fight against the world you created, and that always creates annoying plot holes or a choppy storyline. You have to craft logical circumstances to guide the story to the next essential point of your plot naturally. It’s not easy, you might have to make major adjustments, but you’ll be glad you did. Your story will have more depth and will be more engaging when you’re done.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Take the time to paint a vivid picture. That advice was important for me because I write very concisely by nature. Expertly crafted descriptions are beautiful paragraphs. Seize the opportunities to add detail and depth to your world.
What are you reading now?
The Last Guardian by Shane Johnson. I can’t decide whether I like it or not. The plot line is almost hilariously strange. It has me bemused at any rate.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Other than marketing in the traditional sense, I’m also trying to get my name out through short stories. There are many avenues, from magazines to contests, by which to share your stories with potential readers and introduce them to your writing. Winning a writing contest is a nice way to prove the quality of your work.
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?
My best friend recently got me Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, an acclaimed fantasy novel, and Foundation by Isaac Asimov, a classic of science fiction. I would definitely bring both of those. Of course, I’d be sure to take my Bible. Lastly, I’d bring a copy of my own book. Who knows, maybe there’s someone else stranded on the island who’s looking for a good read!