Author Confessions, Day Twenty-One

What do you want to accomplish with writing?

There are two major things, and one minor I aim to achieve with my writing:

  1. Entertain and inspire others. I can remember as a small kid reading The Hobbit for the first time, as my first adult book, and being blown away by the rich and detailed world Tolkien had created. It was the first driving force in my desire to write. If I can spark that creativity in just one other person in my lifetime, I will consider myself a very successful author.
  2. To tell the stories that have been forming in my head for years. Some have been begging to get out for decades.
  3. If I can be financially fruitful enough to quit my day job and concentrate on it full-time, I will be a very happy man.

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Author Confessions, Day Twenty

Do you have writing pals or do you ride solo?

It really depends on the story. In general, I write solo, and after I have revised enough so that either I am happy with it or just plain tired of looking at it, I turn it over to my Beta Reader team. I gather feedback from them, and if I agree with their suggestions (or the majority feel strongly one way) I make adjustments accordingly.

In some cases, I employ a few Alpha readers earlier in the process. I did this with Only the Dead Go Free as I wrote it with a particular themed anthology in mind, and I wanted to ensure it met the requirements. It’s also my first completed horror, so I checked with a few experts early on to make sure I was on the right track.

While most of my works will be just by me, I do have a few WIPs in which I am collaborating with other writers:

  1. My first planned novel, Ursa Major, will have a ‘crossover’ scene with a novel fellow Scribe Lauren Nalls is working on. We were talking about our stories and discovered we both have a scene in them which takes place in 1983 Big Bear, California. We decided that in both novels the MCs would meet the MCs of the other novel.
  2. My eldest daughter and I are working on a coming-of-age superhero novella together. This will be targeted at middle-school age kids and is the closest thing to a Children’s book in my queue.
  3. I am working on a biography of my lifelong friend with him. This story chronicles the physical, legal, emotional, and societal injuries he sustained from a horrible accident, and how he has been recovering from them.

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Author Confessions, Day Nineteen

What scares you most about writing?

This is kind of an odd question to me. I don’t really have any writing fears. Maybe because I am in my 40s and already have a successful career outside of writing, maybe because I know I am very new to this and have a lot to learn.

I guess my biggest concern is around time. If I don’t make more time for writing, I will crank out work very slowly, and it will never take off in the way that I want it to.

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Author Confessions, Day Eighteen

What is your favorite quote from Only the Dead Go Free?

Without giving away any spoilers or getting too graphic, it might have to be this:

“Questions bubble up like water-borne carcasses until I hear his final words thunder in my head. “Only the dead go free” he had said, right before he–”

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Author Confessions, Day Seventeen

What should all books have?

A good editor, without question. Too many writers think that their works don’t need it – but they do. Every major author, no matter how good, uses an editor. Even if you are a very skilled editor yourself, you need another pair of eyes to look at it. Nobody can see all the flaws in their own work which they love.

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Author Confessions, Day Fifteen

Tell a secret about your WIP.

Only the Dead Go Free is based on a song of the same name by the rock band Transpose. Many of the scenes are based on the lyrics in that song.  You can hear the song here.

Bonus secret – although it never explicitly states it, the story takes place just outside a small California mountain town, mostly in 1975.

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Author Confessions, Day Fourteen

Who is your favorite character of all time?

This is a surprisingly hard one for me to answer. As a child, it likely would have been Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he is still up there. As an adult, though, I might have to go with Randall Flagg. It’s not that I like the person or his deeds, but I like that he is the evil mastermind behind several otherwise unrelated stories, often in the background, pulling others’ strings.

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Author Confessions, Day Thirteen

How long have you been writing?

I used to write short stories and later songs and poetry as a kid. In college, I would write shorts in my spare time. Way back in 1998 I decided to start developing a video game with some friends of mine who already had a pretty successful game out. This game I had intended on having a very deep and rich storyline. After a couple years, the game company went under, but I kept on developing the cultures and details of the game.

In January 2016, I decided I would go back to writing, and that I would turn this game I had been developing into a series of novels. I knew that I knew too little about writing professionally to start off with that, so I joined a few groups and studied up on the craft while writing some shorts along the way. I still plan on releasing that novel series – Destiny Reborn – in a few years.

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