Tell us about yourself and your books.:
After working for years as a personal trainer, it occurred to me that something was missing from my life, so one day I picked up a pad of paper and started writing the first draft of my first novel. Three months later, I wrote "the end" on the last page of my manuscript and put it away happier and more complete than I could remember feeling in a very long time. I didn't start submitting my work until the beginning of last year. Since then, I've signed multiple book deals through different publishers. My best-selling post apocalyptic novel, After the Change, (published by MKM Bridge Press) has been introduced into the curriculum at the University of Washington. I've also authored Bronte's Ride (also published by MKM Bridge Press), and the young adult series, Ninja Girl (which is being published this year by Rainier Publishing House. Book One has been adapted into a play and will be performed in Seattle this summer by Earthseed Seattle.)
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Writing is such a personal and intimate thing, that it's hard to say where my process differed from others'. I do most of my first draft work in longhand, which I imagine is becoming less frequent these days. I don't work from an outline. I know some authors do, but it has a negative effect on my creativity. I find the story's able to play out more organically and less predictable if I don't plot it too heavily.
What authors have influenced you?
As soon as I learned to read, I tore through the Goosebumps series. Then, in the third grade, I found a box of dusty Stephen King and V.C. Andrew novels in a closet in my Mom's bedroom. I read The Shining in three days when I was eight. I think I chose that one first because I liked the reflective cover. I used to read every Christopher Pike book I could get my hands on. The entire young adult and horror genres have been major influences on me from early on, and they're what I still prefer to read. Mixing them in my own writing comes so natural that I tend to do it without meaning to sometimes.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Publish wherever you can. Focus more on getting your work out, than making money. Building a resume is so important in the beginning.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
"Instead of trying to be better than everybody around you, just strive everyday to be better than the guy in the mirror." This advice was actually given to me by the guy in the mirror.
What are you reading now?
How to be Human, by Paula Cocozza.
What’s your biggest weakness?
I'm addicted to chocolate. Fortunately I'm also addicted to working out, but someday I'll be too old to exercise, and I might just get fat!
What is your favorite book of all time?
I’m a huge fan of Stephen King. So my favorite book of all time is one of his called “Joyland”.
What has inspired you and your writing style?
Moods. Emotions. Internal experiences. Childhood fears. I try to write in a way that reflects these things in such a way that I can share them with you.
What are you working on now?
I'm actually working on Book Two of After the Change, a post apocalyptic YA series about three teens who set out to rebuild society inside of a prison.
What is your method for promoting your work?
I like Facebook. It works well for me.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I'd like to see some of my short pieces appear in magazines. I have enough to fill a book, and I haven't done much with them yet, so I plan to start shopping them around very soon.
Do you write graphic novels or comic books?
No I don't at this stage. I have two children so never say never.
How well do you work under pressure?
Not well at all. I attend a group in which we draw topics out of a cup and do three minute writing prompts on them. Mine come out terrible. They in no way reflect my work, and I hate reading them out loud. Though I do, do grant writing, which is pretty high-pressure, I need my quiet place and inspiration to write stories.
How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
I don't. I think the mood of the story decides. I don't have much control over that. A story finds its way into some strange emptiness inside of me, and begins to stir because it wants out. I just have the privilege of being the messenger.
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