Yes, i was infatuated with the old Universal monsters like Frankenstein, the Wolf-man and Dracula, so I used to attempt to write horror stories with haunted houses and monsters. The first story I wrote, the protagonists saw a dead body and one of them suggested that they go get something to eat afterwards. My sister pointed out that they probably would not be hungry after seeing a gross, day old, corpse. It was my first critique! I think i was about 10 years old, but i will never forget it.
What is your writing process?
I let myself wake up naturally. I get up and make coffee. While I drink my coffee I watch something on netflix. Then I open up the previous night's writing and look it over. I go to my outline (I write a paragraph for each chapter of the book before I start writing) and I look it over to see if I need to amend anything based on the previous day's work. I write each chapter individually (often out of order) in a separate folder so I can keep track of how many words I am writing. The outline allows me to keep track of the story as a whole kind of like movie story boards help a directer keep track of where he is in filming. I put each chapter in a universal word document in order after I get done writing it. Once I am done with all the chapters, I read over the universal document and make editing corrections. When that is done I have a 100,000 word novel. I probably average about 4 hours a day writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, I don't remember the first story. My mother used to take us to the county library to check out books in the summer. We would always get into those summer reading contests. I remember the first chapter books I really got into was The Three Investigators series. I remember that one of the main characters was named Jupiter Jones. I got into Fantasy with Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings my Freshman year in high school and fell in love with Science fiction and Fantasy genres.
How do you approach cover design?
I dabble a little with photoshop, but I like to hire an artist out of Portland, Oregon by the name of Joseph J. Calkins. he does remarkable work and he blows my self-made crap out of the water. I just give him some info about my story and characters an let him come up with something. Here is my advice for covers. Hire the work done if you are not familiar or good with photoshop etc. Give the artist some info on your story and characters and then give them free reign. Don't try to force a certain cover because it will always suck. They are the artist, let them work. I have found that when I give free reign, the covers come out awesome, better then I at first imagined myself.
What do you read for pleasure?
Usually fact books like "The Book of Useless Information" or "Why Do Donuts have Holes" I am wicked good at trivia! I like to read at night before I go to sleep and I have something I like to call literary narcolepsy. As soon as I start reading I go to sleep. So, I read books with small excerpts. Also, I hold a masters degree in Literature, I don't read for pleasure muhahaha!. Just kidding. I am pretty well read. But seriously, I have to read in the day. (I really do have literary Narcolepsy!)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I used to like the NOOK but I also have come to like the Kindle. So, I guess anything you can read my books on is good!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Websites like Goodreads. The reviews are brutally honest and the giveaways generate a lot of sales. Other social media sites work pretty well too like Twitter and Facebook.
Describe your desk.
Maps of my created fantasy world, three different outlines of my latest novel, Exiles from the Sacred Land. Snickers bar wrappers, a telephone, my cell phone; my book writing idea journal, two hot wheels cars, and a bunch of dragon figurines. Oh, and an action figure of Edgar Allan Poe with a raven on his shoulder.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
West Texas, in the Panhandle. It's a steppe climate (one step from being a desert!) it influenced my writing because I write fantasy and its my fantasy to be somewhere else! (disclaimer: If you love the panhandle I mean no disrepect. I just hate the heat and lack of greenery.)
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I learned how to form words! That is seriously the truth. I can't remember a time when I didn't write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's the second book in a series called the Sacred Land Saga. I have been dreaming of the story to this series for over 15 years but I have only been writing it for about 8, give or take. When I say writing it for 8 years, I mean the back-stories and such. I am just now writing the actual books. I am also putting some of those back-stories and short stories in appendixes in each one of my books as a bonus. Book 1 "Defenders of the Sacred Land" is available on Smashwords and other retailers now and the a fore mentioned "Exiles from the Sacred Land" Will be available on Smashwords and other retailers later this month (July 2014)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I believe traditional publishing is on its way out. From everything I have seen in the past few years, the indie author market is where the money and readership is going so that's where I am going!