Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been writing since grade school. I have written countless books; they’re in every stage of production. As of May 2019, I’ve published three: Dread, Finding Nowhere, and Drawer #7.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Drawer #7. The idea of the ending is what inspired me, so I can’t talk much about it. But I can tell you what inspired the inciting event. I looked into a mirror, only to find myself staring into a face that wasn’t mine. Talk about your major freak out. As it turned out, the mirror was in fact an indoor window. The face on the other side was my brother Chuck’s. He looks enough like me that it really threw me for a loop there for a second. So I was off an running.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a southern boy. I hope this doesn’t gross everyone out, but I dip Copenhagen longcut while I write. I know, disgusting. What can I say? In Arkansas, men chew or dip while they work. It’s a long time habit (and a bad one) with which I grew up. I’ve recently kicked tobacco, and so now I find it difficult to get my vibe right. Either I’ll work my way through it, or I’ll head to 7-11 for another tin. Keep your fingers crossed.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Dean Koontz is hands down my #1 hero—but Fire Starter by Stephen King remains my all-time favorite novel. I’ve read it countless times but still cry at the end. I also love Chuck Palahniuk, and of course Dickens and Poe and anything that shocks even as it moves me.
What are you working on now?
Actually, I’m stuck. I’ve started a novel but can’t seem to get it off the ground. With Drawer #7, I deleted more than I ended up publishing. And that story clocks in at 142,00 words! Maybe I’m dreading all the deleting, or maybe my Copenhagen jones is holding me back. Whatever the case, I fully intend to break down the wall and get back to it!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Promotion is another snag. The past several months, I’ve immersed myself in Facebook and AMS ads. I’ve had a lot of success (DN7 just passed 2,000 copies sold), but it’s soured me on writing. So I’ve taken a break from business for a while, at least until I find my groove again. My plan is to take a much more calculated, limited approach to promotion and keep my focus on creating story worlds. I’ve discovered that, although I’ve sold tons of books, I’ve made very little.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Make sure you understand your motivation. Is it to make money or write great stories? Often, those are mutually exclusive concepts. If you want to write great stories, allow yourself to be happy with that—and not resent the fact that they’re hard to sell. If you want to make money, then write to a profitable audience and don’t resent the fact that you have to write what you need to write rather than what you WANT to write. To me, making money is all but a far-fetched goal. So I’m taking the “Write Great Stories” approach. As far as profits, I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
To flick the little naked “Word Muse” off my shoulder and replace him with a drill sergeant who says, “Don’t feel like writing today? Oh poor baby. WELL SIT YOUR ASS DOWN AND WRITE ANYWAY!” This was Stephen King, although not in those exact words.
What are you reading now?
As is my habit, I am re-reading a Dean Koontz novel, “The Taking.” While I know that reading many authors helps develop a diversity of style, my approach is to master a more narrow style. Thus, I have practically memorized everything Koontz, King, and Palahniuk have ever written. I prefer to read material I can depend on being top quality rather than risking wasting my time trying to discover something new. Not that I never venture out. I just don’t do it often.
What’s next for you as a writer?
What’s next is the same as what I’ve been doing: Keep writing.
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?
Fire Starter by Stephen King, Velocity by Koontz, and Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.
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