Q: Why did you decide to write a book?
A: I loved reading fantasy when I was much younger so just out of high school I started writing. I write because I love to read.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I started writing at about 18 or 19, so over 30 years though there have been several prolonged breaks over the years.
Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: The story for The Bow of Destiny was started over thirty years ago. I actually finished it in the mid-90’s and was offered a contract from a small publisher at the time. However, that contract was not best for me so I ended up shelving the series project and tried to reboot it several times since. The final book under this title took shape over the last five years with The Bow of Destiny being published in late 2015.
Q: What do you use to write your books?
A: When I started out, I use pen and paper. But now I write on my computer. I plan to shift to dictation software during this year in hopes of turning rough drafts out faster.
Q: What problems did you encounter?
A: Writer’s block is a curious question for me. I think it is caused by several different things and I run into problems when I have a lack of sleep since I have sleep apnea. Also, with a bad neck, I can have problems with pain so that can be a challenge at times. Mostly, when I’m ready to write, I able to write as much as I am able.
Q: How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you’ve started?
A: What I’ve learned is too much to share with one question. However, I’ve learned to keep a dream or idea alive even if it seems like the book won’t get there. I’ve learned better writing techniques, most recently deep point-of-view. Since I started working with an editor several years ago, I’ve learned more about developing a book and a series.
Q: Is there anything you wished you’d known when you started writing?
A: Again, too much for just a few sentences but I wish I had known things like what agents and editors are looking for – in detail. Also, I wish I had known more about plotting and characterization.
Q: Do you structure your plots or just go with the flow?
A: I do a little of both. With fantasy, you need to build a world so that takes some development. I like for the actual plot to be a little fluid rather than rigid like a non-fiction outline requires.
Q: Do you work on a set amount of words per day or does it change?
A: I might set a minimum depending on other demands but if I have lots of free time I try to write as much as I am able each day.
Q: Do you do a lot of research when writing a book?
A: I do a lot of development for fantasy which is called world-building. As such, that might require some research into related topics which is anything from language to culture to how something is made. For fantasy, anything you need to include can be researched and adapted for use in your writing.
Q: How would you describe your writing process?
A: Writing process can vary based on what is going on with a book. Mainly, I like to get a rough draft done and get it off to my editor who responds with reaction to structure, characterization – the bigger issues. From there, I make changes and the book then undergoes a more detailed edit by my editor. After that, I make changes based on the editor’s further suggestions and that of a few trusted beta readers. Then, I format it and re-read it on my e-reader, make notes for further formatting and typo corrections and then make those final changes (being careful to check them well). At that point, I’m ready to release the book.
Q: What time of the day do you find is best to write?
A: Most any time of day is good for me as long as I’m alert and I can filter out noise or it’s quiet. I don’t always do well at public places like the library or a café because there are too many people around.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Inspiration for me comes from anything I observe that brings up a concept to explore into a full plot. That can be most anything I see or read that captures my interest. I once saw a car trunk with no lock and that led to a short story idea. History is a good starting point for source material in fantasy.
Q: What draws you to this genre?
A: Fantasy is extremely flexible as a genre. It allows you to explore ideas in a setting where belief is suspended and all the aspects can be included. I can approach characters through the lens of culture, history, geography and much more while throwing in twists that are altogether magical, adventurous and fantastic.
Q: Have you ever tried to write other genres?
A: I’m actually developing several projects now which are hybrids of several different genres. I don’t want to say much about these but these are rather fun and challenging to develop.
Q: Which author/book would compare yours too?
A: As an author, I’ve been compared to Piers Anthony though I’m not so sure of that myself. The current book/series is epic so it falls into similar veins of fantasy that have been widely written for years though I’ve worked to come at it all in different ways.
Q: Can you relate to any of your own stories?
A: I’m not sure I’d want to given that fantasy worlds can be quite dangerous with all the monsters, magic, despotic villains and authoritarian governments to name a few. However, I hope that readers will identify with the genuine personal struggle of my characters to persevere in difficulty and somehow find strength when needed.
Q: How many books have you written?
A: I have one novel and three novella-length e-books. My second novel, An Arrow Against the Wind is due out at the end of April 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, is due out (hopefully) sometime in September of 2017.
Q: Have you ever written in collaboration with another author?
A: No, I haven’t. However, I would be interested in writing with someone else at some point.
Q: Who designed your front cover?
A: My cover artist is Christopher Rawlins from the UK. I found him through an original piece of art he did called, Robin of Loxely. I emailed him and he agreed to develop a cover for me and pretty much nailed it on the first try. He’s an excellent artist and I’m very pleased to work with him. Christopher has also done the cover of my next book and a mock-up of The Bow of Destiny for a possible print version. I hope to work with him again very soon on The White Arrow.
Q: Who was the first person you showed your novel too?
A: My wife who has been very patient with me over the years.
Q: Have you ever dedicated a book to someone?
A: Same answer as above. She’s been with me on this project for a long time and helped me with reading numerous times over the years as well as input on short stories.
Q: Do you use an agent?
A: I’ve recently begun working with an agent about a variety of projects and rights some of which is in the works right now so I’m not quite at liberty to discuss the details.
Q: How much time do you devote to marketing your books?
A: I spend quite a bit of time marketing – it is something of which I’ve had a lot to learn over the last year or so.
Q: How do you get your book reviews/reviewed?
A: This is mostly an organic process of sales. However, I do approach people who invite submissions for their fantasy review blog.
Q: Do you do all your own proofreading and editing?
A: No, I do have a professional editor who has worked for a Big-5 publisher in the past. She has experience in several genres so I get very good input. I’ve learned to do a final copy edit using my e-reader more for quality control. I prefer to see what the reader experience is so I can get everything as good as possible for my readers. A clean final product is very hard, even for Big-5 publishers, of whom I do see e-books with typos and formatting issues. Now, I try to go the extra mile before release because readers do expect it.
Q: How and where are you publishing this book?
A: The Bow of Destiny and the rest of the series are available via all the main digital retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords and Overdrive (and many more). At this time, the series is only out in e-book though I hope to get into print this year and possibly other formats as well.
Q: What are the main benefits of being an independent author?
A: I can do what I want with my writing and work on my own schedule. But it’s a two-edged sword since everything is on me to get done – and get it done well too. I have control of all the aspects of writing, editing, artwork and marketing which takes a great deal of energy, time and expense. But there are rewards as well such as a gracious review from a reader, excited compliments and even an award (which The Bow of Destiny was fortunate enough to earn).
Q: What are you reading at the moment? Which book do you have by your bed?
A: I’ve most recently read The Wilds by James Derry and The Cock of the South by C. S. Boyack, the former being a Science Fiction and the latter a Greco-Roman fantasy. Before those, I read a paranormal suspense by Mae Clair entitled, A Cold Tomorrow. I keep my e-reader by the bed and several books loaded at all times.
Q: What was the first book you ever read?
A: Probably the first full novel I ever read was The Hobbit when I was in about the 5th grade.
Q: Who is your favourite author/book?
A: Tolkien is definitely my favourite author along with most everything he wrote. Additionally, I like Patricia McKillip and The Riddle-master of Hed series, Ursula K. LeGuin and her Wizard of Earthsea series and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. There are many more but those suffice at the moment.
Q: What is your favourite book to film adaptation?
A: The Lord of the Rings – hands down best.
Q: Where are your favourite places to read?
A: Anywhere at home that’s comfortable, sometimes in the car.
Q: What books do you read to your children?
A: I read The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia and Watership Down to my daughter when she was much younger. She’s a complete book-worm now.
Q: When you read do you prefer a book or a Kindle/tablet?
A: I read mostly on an e-reader now but I still love a book in my hands too. Generally, I buy non-fiction books and digital for fiction.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
A: Write what you know and love. Take lots of notes or read about writing techniques. Use a professional editor if at all possible as well as good cover artwork. Find out what agent and editors are looking for when you approach them – there is a good bit of information that they look for in your pitches. Be flexible and willing to learn. Again, too much to put into a few sentences.
Q: What’s coming next?
A: An Arrow Against the Wind arrives in late-April, 2017. This is will be closely followed by the last edition of The Bow of Hart Saga, The White Arrow mostly likely in September of 2017. I’m trying to get The Bow of Hart Saga into print this year. Any other projects and plans will be announced on my website