Where Readers & Writers Connect
• It’s been said that writers must first be readers. Do you enjoy reading?
I love to read! Growing up I would devour three to five books a week; in fact, I knew my local bookstore better than the clerks did! However, time is now a factor. With a family, work, and my own writing, I am lucky to get two a month in now.
• What genres do you read most?
I like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and some Horror. To be honest I like books that use a mixture of the three. Recently I have developed a taste for steampunk. I used to love a good vampire tale, but the change in the genre has left me flat. I like vampires as blood sucking monsters. The trend toward the supermodel pedophile… well, it sucks. Pun intended.
• Who are your favorite authors, and what makes them special to you?
The first science fiction novel I read, I did so under protest. I hated the cover, the description, the smell… you name it. At that time, I liked spy novels. Anyway, the book was “Llana of Gathol” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Two pages in and I was hopelessly hooked by his sweeping imagination. That was 35 years ago and I still have the book. My favorite authors are Edgar Rice Burroughs for introducing me to a new love. Philip K Dick for his unique vision. Frederic Brown for the best, most twisted short stories ever penned. Lastly, the late, great Ray Bradbury for his optimism.
• When did you decide you wanted to write?
I know this sounds very strange, but it is true. I asked God to give me something I could enjoy; something that would revitalize my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful wife and family, but I felt a little burned out by the repetitive nature of my work. Two weeks after having a talk with the Lord, my imagination, for lack of a better word, “exploded.” I felt as if my imagination had been pumped full of steroids! Anyway, I started jotting all these wild ideas down in a notebook and decided to turn them into stories. I had to learn how to write, but the entire process has been pure joy. God is truly good!
• How many books have you written, and how many of them have been published?
I have written around eight novels and about five partials. Everything from sci-fi and fantasy to romance. “The Paladin” and “The Ark” have been published by Sunbury Press. At this time, I have a finished manuscript called “The Last Daughter of the Nephillim” and I am looking for a publisher. The story is an action adventure/ urban fantasy that deal with the search for The Tree of Life. I am also putting the finishing touches on “Layla.” It is about a man, who in exchange for surviving a case of 9mm lead poisoning, makes a deal with a fallen angel and acquires a living tattoo.
• How do you prepare to write a book? Did you do any special research?
Usually a book starts with a stray thought. Sort of like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, it talks on a life of its own… until it takes out a ski lodge. As far a research goes, I want my stories, regardless of how fantastic the premise, as grounded in reality as much as possible. For example, in my book, The Ark, which is about the biblical account of Noah set in a modernistic world similar to our own, I gathered all the pertinent information I could find on flood stories, the Nephillim, military technology, weather and space anomalies, shipbuilding… you name it. While my story and is definitely fiction and improbable, it is nonetheless plausible.
• What genre do you usually write?
I enjoy writing a mix of action adventure, urban fantasy, and sci-fi, however, I write from a decidedly Christian worldview. While there may be witches, goblins, or a demon or two, God is firmly in control.
• What made you choose that genre?
I enjoy the “great what if?” What if the world isn’t quite what science tells us it is? What if God is real and there is an entire unseen spiritual world of darkness and light that battles around us? Oh wait a minute, that is what is going on as we speak! Seriously, anyone who is a student of scripture understands that that the world is far more wonderful and fantastic than science can imagine. The Bible is knee deep in fantastic events. Talking snakes, witches that raise the dead, parting of seas, pillars of fire, walking on water, angels of death, fire from the sky… just to name a few. I think that to a Christian fiction writer, urban fantasy and sci-fi would be the obvious choice, however the bookstore shelves say otherwise. I hope to change that.
• Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book is called, “The Ark.” “The Ark” is a retelling of the Biblical account of Noah. It is set in a modernistic, steampunk world very similar to our own. I created a world in which Mankind is fighting and losing a savage war with the Nephillim. Sick of the mess his creation has become, the Lord tasks Noah, patriarch of the affluent House of Seth, with building the Ark to preserve the bloodline of the Messiah. Lucifer in a bid to stop the future advent of Christ, has warned the Nephillim of the coming disaster. The Nephillim plan that when the waters recede, it will be they and not Mankind who inherit the earth.
“The Ark” came about because of those who believe that aliens came to earth in our prehistory and that accounts for the odd, unexplained monument or bit of ancient technology. What if pre-flood man’s knowledge, because of an enormous life span, skyrocketed? Imagine James Watt, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, all living to a thousand years of age. Pre-flood man could have easily achieved our level of technology. After all, from Kitty Hawk to the moon only took sixty years! While I don’t think this happened, it’s more plausible to me than “Chariots of the Gods.” Besides, it takes literally the verse, “as in the days of Noah so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
• What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning writer?
Rejection slips are lacerations of the soul and you will be rejected far more often than not. However, if you stop writing, the dream will die. My philosophy to writing is the same as Wile E Coyote’s approach to Road Runner hunting. Regardless of how many times the rocket-powered roller skates explode, or you get slammed into a cliff by your trusty Acme catapult, you dust yourself off and head back to the drawing board.
• What is your writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?
The inspiration is always there. I write from 9:00 to 11:00 at night and 4:00 to 6:00 every morning.
• Do you like the promotional aspect of being a writer? What are your best promotional tools?
No, I don’t much care for the promotional aspect, but it is a necessary evil and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the word out. The internet is by far the best marking tool.
• Are you a plotter or a panster? Explain your writing process.
Without a doubt, a panster. I usually fall in love with an idea and sketch out a rough outline. Then I try to flesh out the story, however, that is when my plan takes on a life of its own. So far, no detailed plan of mine has ever survived contact with my keyboard.
For example, the heroine makes contact with a nerdy professor to acquire his research. The professor was only to appear in a single chapter. Nevertheless, he took over the entire book and went from a nerd who was afraid of his own shadow, to a tough-as-nails, adventurer. Sometimes I feel like I have no control whatsoever!
• What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to draw and I am constantly doodling. When I get time I also sculpt clay and stone. Since I love classic monsters movies, I made ceramic life-sized bust cookie jars of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein. Each will hold about a year’s supply of Oreos! Of course, this was before I started writing.
I also enjoy building medieval weapons of mass destruction. For a church carnival, several years ago, I built a sixty-foot trebuchet and let the kids hurl rubber kick balls about an eighth of a mile.
• How did you get your first book published? How long did it take? Was this the first book you had written?
My first story didn’t fly, but it was an excellent training exercise. My second story, “The Paladin,” underwent several versions until a small publisher, Sunbury Press blessed me with a contract. All in all, it took three years of experimentation until I hit on the right formula. I have learned that you have to cater to the needs of the publisher, after all, they know the market they are going after, not to mention they are the ones putting up their own resources for the endeavor.
• Why do you write?
Why do you breath? I just have to.
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I am married to a woman, Christian, who is much too good for me. Together we have three beautiful daughters who keep me on my toes. Trained as an architectural and mechanical draftsman, I have for the past twenty two years worked in the flexographic printing plate industry.
I have two books published through Sunbury Press. An urban fantasy, The Paladin, and my latest effort, a Christian speculative fiction novel, The Ark. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ark-ebook/dp/B008BTYF62