When did you first start writing?
When I was 15. First published in 2013.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The story that began on a fantasy world has now expanded to space as the aliens faced in my fantasy trilogy return to fight humanity among the stars.
What motivated you to become a writer?
I had a story in my head since I was 15. I refined it over the years, wrote notes and snippets of stories. Then one day I heard about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I wrote my first book in 2 weeks (the rough draft) trying to enter it, but missed the deadline by 5 hours. That was for the best, though. What motivates me to continue writing is to share the stories in my head not only with others but with myself.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing the triumphant scenes where the good guys are down and there looks to be no way out (the dark night of the soul, etc.) and then, if my book were a movie, the music crescendos as the tide turns and the good guys win.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me. I want them to enjoy the stories I write. I too am a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy, and so I like to connect with fans as both a fellow avid reader and as the author of books I hope they enjoy.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on the second book in my Dark Tide Trilogy (space opera), Eclipse, and also writing a story for a Kindle World belonging to Lindsay Buroker and her Fallen Empire series. The story for her Kindle World should be out in April, while Eclipse will be out at the end of March. After that it’s on to book two in my Dark Tide Trilogy, Ruin. Then in summer 2017 I will be opening my own universe up to other writers and putting out a “story bible” of sorts as a guideline. Authors will be able to obtain a license for free from me to write stories in my universe, retaining all royalties and copyright, with the only stipulation being they link to a page where all the books in my universe are listed.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, L.E. Modesitt Jr., Elizabeth Haydon, Terry Goodkind.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, aside from the day job and kids and household responsibilities, the desire to continue the stories I’m working on.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend time with my wife and kids, read, watch television with my wife, play computer games and walk and bike ride (weather permitting in Michigan).
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was called “The Windriders” and is long lost to a reformatting of the computer it was saved on. It was an early version of Dawyn Darklance who appears throughout my fantasy and science fiction books. In the story he led a group of mounted soldiers known as the Windriders. I later scrapped that idea and replaced them with rangers, but the concept is still there in the back of my mind for future stories.
What is your writing process?
I outline chapter-by-chapter with a few paragraphs describing what happens in that chapter. Once the entire book is outlined I begin writing in chapter 1 and write until the end. I’m not so inflexible that I can’t add to the outline as I go, but I really find having an outline keeps me on track and from wandering aimlessly through the story.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first fantasy story I ever read. It was “Rhapsody,” by Elizabeth Haydon. I was thirteen at the time and I was just enchanted by that book. It was my first fantasy book, and from that point on I devoured countless fantasy books as a teenager.
Is there anything else you would like new or existing readers of your writing to know about you?
I would like new or existing readers to know that I always strive to provide the best story possible while remaining true to my vision of where my series and characters are going. I want readers to know that I value them and want to interact with them more.
What’s the best way for fans to interact with you?
They can visit my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SagaOfTheSevenStars/), give it a like and send me a message.
In your own words, what is Science Fantasy?
The most popular science fantasy example, in my humble opinion, is Star Wars. You have science and technology mingled with the mysterious Force, which is for all intents and purposes magic. Not only that, but hyperspace and all the systems in Star Wars just are, with no explanation. And that, to me, is part of the wonder and magic. Star Wars is a space opera and thus part of the larger science fantasy umbrella because it’s focus is on the story, not the science or technology or even the force. It’s about compelling characters moving through an interesting world and the drama they face.
How does your story classify as Science Fantasy?
My book Emergence classifies as science fantasy because in my universe there exists “magic” in various forms. The primary form is manipulation of matter and energy. Want to create fire? Rub particles together with your mind very quickly. Want to command light? Bend it with your mind. There are other forms of magic also, such as shapeshifting, shifting (shifting into an alternate plane of existence for long distance travel) and time manipulation.