What inspires you to write?
Many things inspire me to write but mostly exploring the human condition and the many problems/challenges of life that must be dealt with in high-stress situations. I try to challenge my characters and readers with difficult situations that must be confronted with the correct application of personal ethics and wise principles in order to reduce life and survival to their essentials and, in so doing, get closer to the meaning and purpose of life.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have become a better writer by simply writing as much as I can and learning equally as much about life, human motivation, and society. Observing how life operates on all levels and putting pen to paper give me both. Practice makes perfect and there’s no substitute for experience. I still have a lot to learn and much room to grow as I’m always learning how to say and do things better. I’m constantly striving to become a better storyteller in order to surprise even myself. Writing isn’t stimulating to me unless I can stretch my own abilities and perspective constantly.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written two series: one is called The Superspecies and it’s a three-part series in the sci-fi/technothriller/genetics engineering genre. The other series I’ve written is called The Paul and Sandy Series and the first book in the series is Young Love, Old Lore. So, basically, I’m working on two novel series at the moment with the first book in each series completed and the others still in the editing/writing process.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. traditional publishing?
I feel like both have their advantages and disadvantages. Indie/alternative publishing gives you complete control over your work and the creative process (not to mention profits) but you’re stuck doing all the marketing tasks yourself. Traditional publishing allows you to focus more on writing alone but you are sometimes stuck in contracts with unfavorable terms, unwanted restrictions, or limitations on your creative control. I prefer indie/alternative publishing overall because I crave creative control above all else and the idea of marketing myself fascinates me. I need to run my own show since it’s better for my mental health and sense of freedom.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
I have two latest books.
The Superspecies is about a giant grizzly that kidnaps a little girl after forcing her family off the road in the forest, leading a group of rangers on a harrowing journey to find her. This spurs a chain of events that ultimately reveals a top-secret genetics engineering program government researchers must try to suppress before the “modified” animals kill any more people. The researchers are also stuck in the position of needing to rescue the animals from destruction by the agency they work for which seeks to rid the forests of every last one of them. At the same time, the researchers become targets of the animals’ wrath themselves because their increased intelligence allows them to recognize humans as destructive and dangerous creatures with too much power over them.
Young Love, Old Lore is about a young and irresponsible young man who is prone to making nothing but bad decisions in life. One morning while rushing to school, he crashes into the elderly Mrs. Halston and nearly kills her after not paying attention to his driving. All because he’s late for class. As a result, he faces a lengthy jail term if she either dies or becomes crippled for life. His relationship with his girlfriend Sandy is also on the rocks and everything in his life seems to be spiraling out of control when Mrs. Halston suddenly recovers and appears in court on his behalf, rescuing him from a lengthy jail term and a doomed perspective on life.
Tell us more about your main character. What inspired you to develop this character?
In The Superspecies my main character, Jack Falcon, is a forest ranger who is forced to watch as the job and living environment of his dreams is swept away in a whirlwind of trouble due to circumstances beyond his control. His life slowly crumbles under his feet and he has to rapidly adapt to radical changes over which he has no control. The character came about as a result of my desire to create a strong but natural personality-type who simply loved living and working in the forest but whose idyllic world would ultimately be disrupted, forcing him to fall back on skills and aptitudes he’d learned from living and surviving in the wild. The character becomes entangled between the world of the intellectual/scientific and the natural and essential.
In Young Love, Old Lore my main character, Paul Masters, is a wildly untamed and apathetic young man on a collision course with his own recklessness and shortcomings. He’s terribly self-destructive and views self-immolation as romantic, edgy, and destiny itself. I was inspired to write about this type of character because so many young men (including myself) have to suffer through this growing-up phase. It’s one archetypal image of a young male in my view (and increasingly more so with women too) and I wanted to explore a possible resolution to this tough phase of life: tapping the knowledge, character, and life experience of older generations who’ve already been through it.
Do you listen or talk to your characters?
I listen and talk to them throughout the writing process. I am not in control of them and they are not in control of me. They tell me what they want me to say and how they want to be presented and I try to be as faithful as I can to their wishes. To me, characters are not two-dimensional robots on a page but living, breathing entities crying out to have their stories and voices heard. There is always two-way communication going on when I’m engaged in character development.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed breathing life into my characters and going through all their challenges and emotions with them during the course of the story. A novelist is like an actor who must play every role in a story and get inside everyone’s head too. He or she has to place themselves in the conscious and unconscious psyches of lots of different personalities which is part of the thrill of writing.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find lots of things challenging about writing. Just sitting down and blocking out the world while absorbing yourself in fictional people’s lives can be one hell of a challenge at times. Especially when you have a lot of real-world problems in your own life to deal with…BUT you can channel a lot of that into your characters, at least in terms of depth and quality of emotions and experience.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
Faulkner for delving into the dark recesses of the human subconscious. All of them, for different reasons, got me pumped up to follow in their footsteps and become a writer that puts his heart and soul into his work. Sinclair Lewis and Henry James for their disciplined approach to literature and Conrad and Faulkner for their fascination with the dark side of human nature.