- I'm from North Carolina, but my job has brought my wife and I to Hawaii. We have an incredible little girl who inspires us every day, and although we'll eventually head back to the mainland, we're enjoying island life.
1.) What made you want to be a writer?
- I don’t think there has been any one event or person. The first time I can remember wanting to be a writer was in 4th grade and we wrote stories to share with the class. From that time forward, I’ve always jumped at the opportunity to put on paper whatever my crazy brain comes up with.
2.) How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?
- That depends on what you mean by “seriously pursuing.” I’ve been writing novels for the past few years, but 2011 was when I really began researching agents and looking into writers’ conferences. I sent out my first batch of query letters in August and am continuing to do so.
3.) If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?
- Functional – I’ve got a comfortable office chair and nice big screen to see what I’m writing.
- Cluttered – There are papers and scraps laying out on the desk and stuffed inside every crevice.
- Open – There’s a large window that let’s in sunlight, as well as an opening to my left that lets me see the family room.
4.) Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
- As hokey as it may sound, I draw it from my friends and family. Their support helps keep me going when every fiber of my being yells at me to stop.
5.) Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.
- A brilliant scientist who feels wronged by life’s circumstances sets out to kill God but discovers that vengeance doesn’t produce the satisfaction he imagined. Visit here for more info.
6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?
- Enjoying horror novels as I do, I’ve always wondered about the motivation of the ghosts/monsters, so I decided to write from the ghost’s point of view. I’m 10,000 words into a novel that follows a young man killed in a car crash who is told he must avenge himself on the person responsible for his death. That’s the only way his spirit can achieve balance and move into the next world. However, he soon discovers he is haunting the wrong person and needs to find out why. I expect the final product to come in around 65,000 words and should be done by June. Visit here for more info.
7.) What are some of your recent publications?
- I placed Honorable Mention in the Writers' Journal Write to Win! Contest for October/November 2011. I also just placed in the Writer’s Digest’s Horror Short Story Contest, and the issue with the story should be out in May.
8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?
- I’d say I go about 70/30 to both outline and seat of the pants. I’ll sit down and think through the story I want to tell, and then I’ll bang it into a rough outline. Part of it is very detailed – like when there’s something very specific I want to capture – but most is pretty general. That allows me to keep it a little spontaneous and enjoy getting it out. I’m as anxious as anyone else to find out what’s going to happen. Also, I rarely outline more than 30 pages in advance of where my writing currently stands since the story can evolve and grow, so getting too attached to your outline can be detrimental to the final product.
9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?
- Whew, that's hard. As much as I'd like to say something inspiring like War and Peace, the honest part of me says The Shining by Stephen King. It's a fun read and one of the best things out there that taught me how to build suspense into a novel. I could read the scene with the hedge animals over and over and still get a chill up my spine.
10.) Favorite childhood book/books?
- I enjoyed a wide variety as a kid, but the ones I most remember are: Bridge to Terabithia, How to Eat Fried Worms, A Wrinkle in Time, and anything about Encyclopedia Brown. I’m sure there are more that I’m not remembering. Maybe a stroll through my old elementary school library would jog my memory.
11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
- Only one? Wow, that’s tough to narrow down. I guess if I had to pick, it’d be Stephen King. I listed the top four literary influences to my work on my website, and King was one of them. I’d like to pick his brain and find out how he comes up with such off-the-wall ideas. He’d be fascinating to just sit and shoot the breeze with because you probably wouldn’t walk away with the same perspective on life.
12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?
- Without question, Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Heir to the Empire trilogy. Tim Zahn did such a masterful job in bringing out the warrior and leader for the Empire that you almost root for him. Yes, he’s brutal, but he is also brilliant and subtle, with a knack for knowing how to lead, as well as understanding that your approach to anything needs to be tailored to the people you will encounter.
13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?
- I’d like to be published, with my novels on a shelf somewhere for folks to pick up. I’d also like to have finished another three novels, with more bubbling out. And of course, if I could write for a living, that’d be great too.
14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:
- From Batman Begins: “Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”
15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?
- Just write. A lot of us slip into the trap of saying, “I wish I had time to finish that book,” or “It’s so frustrating that I can’t get any attention from (an agent/publisher/the public).” I write because I enjoy it, and if nobody read what I wrote, I’d still write because I feel compelled to do so. Sit down and immerse yourself in your passion, and force yourself to write at least a little every day.