When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
I've enjoyed writing since elementary school, when a teacher passionate about art and literature inspired me to get into it. I only started writing in earnest in my teen years, and a number of the short stories I wrote during those years have been published (after much editing, of course).
I didn't start down the author journey until 2013, however. A friend who runs a publishing company read a piece of mine and loved it. That inspired me to start writing—to complete the novel I had started at the age of 18.
Where do you get your ideas for your book?
Ideas are everywhere—it's all about being in a receptive frame of mind. I get ideas from random images on the internet, billboards I pass, random comments in TV shows, comic books I enjoy, video games, movies, novels, and the list goes on. I find that when I'm in a creative state of mind, the ideas come at me from every direction.
What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
I love reading comic books (Marvel, of course), playing video games, reading, training at the gym, running. I like a quiet life with my family. Of course, what's life without a bit of active fun: hiking, paintball, laser tag, traveling, attending book conventions, and exploring the restaurants in my city. I also love to cook.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have published 4 books to date (latest release: March 31st), but I've written three more (in the editing/publishing process). I'd have to say my favorite is either Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1) or Gateway to the Past (The Last Bucelarii Book 3). I'll always love Blade of the Destroyer (The Last Bucelarii Book 1), the book that started off my world. But the latest books have so much more depth and value to them, and they help me to realize how far I've come as an author and a person.
Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Start writing, and don't stop!
You don't have to be a great writer to write. Most of writing is about practice and honing your skill. If you have a passion for writing and a story to tell, get it down. Even if it's not perfect, the next one will be better, and the next one after that.
What do you think makes a great story?
Three things: conflict, a question/theme, and a relatable character.
Your character is the foundation of the novel. People want to read how the character/s survive the conflict they face. The question or theme of the novel is the deeper meaning that makes people think.
Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
I look at the writing of Scott Lynch and think, "I want to be like him!" The rich detail, colorful description, and authoritative writing is something I can't help but admire. And his characters—sweet gods, how amazing his characters are!
Brandon Sanderson is another author that inspires me. His stories have depth and value, and there's a certain gravitas to his writing I don't often find in other fantasy works.
What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
I JUST (like a week ago) finished the first draft of Queen of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 3) and got to work finishing up Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 2) for submission by the end of May/early June.
What genre are your books?
They're all dark or grimdark fantasy. They look at the darker side of the fantasy world—both the underbelly of society (criminals) and the darkness of human nature. They explore dark themes, including violence, death, loss, suffering, torture, and psychological/emotional/neurological/physical disorders.
What drew you to the genre you write?
I've always loved stories about "the bad guys": thieves, assassins, thugs, bounty hunters, mercenaries, etc. They were so much more gritty and realistic than the stories about shining knights and noble kings.
When I was diagnosed with ASD a few years ago, I wanted to understand more about my brain and why it's different from "neurotypicals". Studying ASD led me down the rabbit hole of psychology and neurology. I found the different disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, etc.) made for such fascinating characters that I had to explore it further.
Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)
I'd LOVE to see Dafne Keen (the girl from Logan) portray the younger version of Ilanna in Child of the Night Guild. For the older version, I think it would be cool to have Chloe Grace-Moretz (from Kick-Ass).
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write part-time. I have a day job (blogging/copywriting) to pay the bills, and it takes the pressure off my writing. I don't have to turn my novel writing into a business, so it's more of a pleasure than an occupation. It also provides a steady income that I can invest in my career as an author.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Not being able to write as much as I want. I can fit about 2,000 words/1 chapter into the time I have allotted to write. I wish the story would progress much faster, but I have to go at that pace. It can be stressful at times not to see it typed out/completed as fast as I'd like.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
I've never had to deal with writer's block because I always have an idea of what comes next. I'll spend a week working on a rough story outline before I sit down to write a book. As the story develops, I'll always have an outline a few chapters ahead. I'm not limited to that outline, but it helps me know where I'm going with the story.
Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I'm a fantasy reader to the core. I do love sci-fi and I'll dabble in other genres, but for the most part I stick with fantasy. I spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks (at the gym, while driving, during my runs, when cooking, etc.), and there are so many great fantasy audiobooks to listen to.
How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)