1. Tell us about yourself, your background, and/or your credentials and degrees.
I was fortunate to grow up in a house where reading, playing outside, and traveling ranked far higher than watching TV. As such I have always harbored a love for reading, with fantasy and science fiction holding the top places in my list of favorite genres. Reading and reenacting such tales as The Hobbit and The Odyssey when I was perhaps four or five inspired me from a young age, and the landscapes of North and South America influenced the fictitious worlds of my imagination. The summer before my senior year of college I finally finished my debut novel, the first in a trilogy and one I had originally conceived and begun when I was fourteen. I first viewed writing as a hobby that might eventually eclipse my day job—a day job related to my sustainability bachelor’s degree—but an unexpected cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2014 changed all that. A year of grueling treatment gave me time to finish my trilogy and to realize that writing was my true passion. I have been pursuing a career as a writer and author full-time since then.
2. Tell us about the process of writing and publishing a novel. What inspired you?
I never sit down to brainstorm. Instead, I keep a little notebook and pencil nearby whenever possible. I never know when some conversation or daydream will turn into an idea for a writing project. When I write, I find it impossible not to edit as I go. I know many, many people say to just write and not worry about editing until later, and I see the merits of this, but I continually find myself revisiting sentences from a previous paragraph before going back to where I was. I have, so far, been completely unable to find a way to stop, and as far as I can tell it only helps the editing process go a little quicker; it’s one less change I need to make later. Unless of course, as is too often the case, I change the wording on a subsequent read through. Any way you cut it, editing takes far longer than writing. I chose to self-publish for several reasons. It has become a viable alternative to traditional publishing and continues to lose the stigma it once held. For me, the process of getting an agent and going the traditional route seemed too daunting. I wanted to get my work out there sooner than later. Writing was, at the time I was ready to publish my debut novel, just a hobby for me. I will certainly consider traditional publishing in the future, but for now self-publishing has suited me well and I am very happy to have gone that route with my first trilogy.
3.Tell us a little about your first and latest book.
Since my first and latest books are the first and last in the same trilogy, I will just cover the whole trilogy in this response without giving away too much. I wanted to start with the classic hero narrative and then depart from the conventions of a fantasy in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. So, I have an orphaned boy in a small agrarian town—who lives with his aunt and uncle—on the cusp of adulthood. He wants more than anything to avenge the deaths of his family, and leaves town following an old mentor, gets a new weapon, new name, and proves himself in combat. But before long things start to stray from this familiar path—indeed the very path we and our hero expected to follow. Friends and foes realign, and it becomes increasingly difficult to know who can be trusted.
4. What insight would you give to aspiring writers who are interested in publishing?
Consider your options. Whether self-publishing or traditional publishing, you cannot afford to rush the process. DO NOT self-publish because it is fast and easy. It is neither. It takes a long, long time to edit and prepare a manuscript for publishing, if you do it properly. Whether you self-publish or publish traditionally, you will have to do a lot of marketing yourself. You can never start marketing too soon, or do too much to make people aware of your work.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’d rather say something profound in an average way than something average in a profound way.