Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
Well, I was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up there, except for my later youth years where my family lived in Morganton, North Carolina. Both places have a special place in my heart, and I gained different perspectives from both, from the ‘bustling city life’ to the ‘rural country life’. Both places definitely shaped me as a person, which in turn shaped me as a writer.
What inspired me? It was somewhat by chance, you could say. Going into sixth grade, I was suppose to start at a new school, and they wanted me to write in cursive; my cursive was horrible. To practice, I began writing short stories in cursive, and my love for writing took off. Having the discipline at that age to take initiative and better my self, it is somewhat surprising, but I loved writing and weaving the stories.
When I started writing, my stories were predominately about western cowboys or medieval knights. I remember, I also wrote some super hero short stories, and I would take them to school and read the stories to my friends; they all loved it. I think that encouragement, it pushed me into wanting to keep writing. I was nudged into the fantasy fiction genre by my dad; he gave me a few names and ideas, and I thought it was like magic (pun intended). Since then, its always been about writing for readers and getting better at my craft.
Tell us about your books.
Currently, I only have two published, The Realm and The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince. These two books are the first two of a trilogy; it was always my dream to have my first published books be a trilogy.
I began writing The Realm’s first drafts in 2010 through 2012, and The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince’s first drafts were written between 2012-2013. I didn’t publish The Realm until 2016. A lot of people ask, “What happened between 2013 and 2016?” and the answer is simple, I was college and my writing had shifted more focus on poetry. In 2016, I signed my first book contract with Palmetto Publishing Group, and The Realm was released that year; The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince was released a year later (2017).
The Realm is about a wizard, Telezzar, and his four companions: Dar Caine the malobathron giant, Troy Red-Dragon an elf of the paladin order, Leda a dwarf and ranger, and the happy, go-lucky Lars the leprechaun. They are quite the motely crue! Their objective is to stop a prince from taking over their homeland, the Plain of Prixem; and the only way to stop him, is by finding the metal, electrum, and re-forging the electrum swords. In their adventures, they meet Odie, a rock creature, battle spidermites, and journey across the realm.
The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince is split into two parts. Part one focuses on the companions journeying to the Plain of Zinzinc, a snow plain, and the Plain of Delirus, a twisted, psycho place. If they don’t stay alert, the companions could face a demising fate. Through their alarming tense adventures, the companions open up more, revealing more of their pasts and who they are. Part two focuses on secondary characters, and the main theme for part two is uniting the Plain of Prixem.
Both books have received much praise; many people enjoy what I do with the antagonist. I give a chapter, in each book, to my antagonist; this allows me to develop the villain for my reader, but also let the reader see the story from his point of view. It’s one of the key elements in both books, in my opinion.
How did you go about getting published?
Palmetto Publishing Group was a fairly new publishing house. They held a contest, looking for new authors, and I applied, figuring why not. There was about three hundred submissions, but they were only going to sign on twenty-five authors, and I happened to make their cut.
I happen to live in South Carolina, and PPG is based in Charleston, so I made a drive out there, sat down with the founders, and after speaking with them for a few hours, I signed on. Both, The Realm and The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince, have been published through them, and as of now, the third book in the trilogy will too.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
My favorite writing time is between 10p.m. and 2a.m., so I’m a night owl! Normally, I enjoy getting to my desk around 8, and I’ll sip some hot chocolate and listen to music, until it’s time to focus on writing. I don’t ever push myself to write a certain goal; it depends on how the words flow from my mind; but I’d say I normally put up four to six pages a night.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
There’s a life outside of writing? I’m flabbergast.
I juggle different writing, so I do write a lot. I do freelance writing, ghostwriting, and even some consulting; I write poetry, fantasy fiction, and do some editing; so writing takes a lot of my free-time. I do consider it a hobby though, too. Another hobby, I have, is collecting. When I was younger, I collected Star Wars memorabilia; in high school, I collected sport cards; and at this point in my life, I collect Lord of the Rings memorabilia.
When not writing or collecting, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter; that usually involves movie (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are household favorites). We do have two dogs: a Maltese/Husky mix, which my wife named Gimli, and the other is a Chocolate Lab, which I named Strider. Both are named quite appropriately!
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Two words: Rachael Griffin. She created and designed the book covers for both The Realm and The Realm: Rise of the Demon Prince. For those looking, Rachael Griffin is definitely the person to talk with; she gained her B.F.A. from Ohio University and M.F.A. from Wisconsin University. I rave about her because she is highly deserving of it. She’s an awesome person, drawing and art are her passion, and I’m lucky to have worked with her twice.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Stick with what works and keep looking for more ways. FaceBook, Twitter, and family referrals have worked for me, but I have gone other routes as well. Palmetto Publishing Group did land me a t.v. interview a year ago, and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.
What’s your favorite book?
The Hobbit or The Prisoner of Azkaban.
What are you reading now?
Bulfinch’s Mythology. I’ve been on a mythology addiction the past few years, and I love reading mythology, no matter the culture.
What’s your next book project?
The third book of The Realm trilogy will come out in early 2019. I do have plans to release a prologue book for The Realm trilogy, too.
There’s a few other ideas I have on the backburner, but I can’t discuss them just yet. I do plan on releasing a poetry book, a sport scandal book, and a children’s book this year, possibly.
If you’re interested in poetry, then pick up a copy of Z Publishing’s South Carolina’s Best Emerging Poets. Z Publishing reached out to me, wishing to print one of my poems, and after looking over some of my work, they selected my poem, Box Full of Wishes. That will be coming out late December 2017 or early January 2018.
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