Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I graduated high school in 2014, started following Jesus when I was 16, and wrote my first novel when I was 18. Since then, I have written six novels, but only one has been published. I am in the process of publishing my second book now, which I like to think of as my first book, since the previous one was published with no plan prior to publishing and had no advertising campaign(it is also unavailable for purchase). I like to inspire people with my work, despite it being fiction.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is “A Light to the Ruined”, due out June 5, 2018. I just felt inspired by the Lord to write this story and went from there. I want the messages in it to speak to both believers and nonbelievers alike, as the messages of “who am I and what is my purpose?”, “how do I let the past go to move forward into the future?”, and “can I be more than what people expect of me?” are messages that I feel pretty much everyone can relate to.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Hmmm….I don’t know if any of my habits would be considered unusual or not. I suppose always being able to write without getting writer’s block could be one, considering how much it plagues other authors.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The Bible inspires many of my stories, but as far as fictional influences go, none really pop into my head at the moment. Authors that inspired me down the path of writing when I was in elementary though are Bill Wallace, John R. Erickson, Betsy Byars, and co-authors Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey. Before I had my own voice as an author (you know, because I was just a kid) I loved their books and tried to imitate them. Since then, I’ve come into my own style and own genres, but I’ll also remember that I started out with them as my influences.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on advertising “A Light to the Ruined” while getting mentally prepared for my next project, which is yet to be determined. There are so many ideas in my head and noted to chose from! Whichever one the Lord wants me to write next, that’s what everyone will see.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m still new to promoting, but so far Goodreads and Amazon have been really helpful. And hopefully I can add Awesome Gang to that list!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I would say not to force yourself to write something that you don’t like just because you think you have to or because you think it will sell better. If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, then it’s empty, no matter how much money you receive from it, because you don’t really believe in it. I would also say that if you blog about your books, post as if thousands of people are reading them and invested in them, even if there’s only a dozen or less. It will help you feel more enthused about posting things, rather that depressed from focusing on the low numbers. And of course, pray! You may want to go in one direction, but the Lord would have you go in another. Don’t be afraid to follow His guidance, since He’ll undoubtedly be working it all for your good and delivering you the best possible outcome.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
John R. Erickson had an interview in the back of one of his Hank the Cowdog books in my library at Dixie Elementary. He ended that interview by saying write what you know. That sounds so simple, yet it is so powerful. Even if you write fantasy, you can spin it in a way that’s familiar to you, and that makes it all the more real and heartfelt because its coming from a place of experience.
What are you reading now?
I am always reading the Bible and in-between fantasy books at the moment. I just finished reading “The Fates Divide” and am waiting for “War Storm”, the final book in the Red Queen series, to be published.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Growing into my role as my own author, agent, publicist, and funder, while also trying to keep up with my church and day job. Its quite the balancing act, but one that I am growing into.
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 Bible, of course(but you probably guessed that), “The Looking Glass Wars Book Three: Archenemy”, “War Storm”, if I bought it before being stranded, Catching Fire, and…is it vain to say “A Light to the Ruined”? I hope not. I mean, honestly, if I were to be stuck on an island for an unknown period of time, I’d want to have my own book with me. I hope most authors are proud enough of their works to want at least one with them on an island. Our books are like our children, and I wouldn’t want to be stranded without mine.
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