Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I’ve always been a storyteller, I think. Writing was just one of several tools I used to create characters. Over time, however, I realized I could say more with writing than, say, sketching or acting. It was a convenience that evolved into a compulsion.
I wrote stories as far back as age 12 and started my first (complete) novel as a freshman in college. That book eventually became the first installment of The Renegade Chronicles. I’ve pretty much been working on novels consistently since 1997.
Tell us about your books.
I’ve written two series to date:
The Renegade Chronicles are sword-and-sorcery fantasy adventures. It’s a trilogy comprised of Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters.
The Soul Sleep Cycle is a mashup of different genres, including traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, suspense, and even metafiction. The first book in the series, If Souls Can Sleep, introduces a hidden world where gifted individuals possess the power to invade the dreams of others. Two rival factions have transformed the dreamscape into a war zone where all reality is relative and even the dead can’t rest in peace.
The story centers on Vincent Cruz, a man who lost his daughter and never recovered from the tragedy. He’s stuck, haunted by a dream that replays the dreadful memory over and over. Then the dream suddenly stops, and he’s faced with a new nightmare that starts to bleed into the real world.
How did you go about getting published?
I have an agent and spent years trying to entice traditional publishers. I was told that The Renegade Chronicles books don’t stand out from their genre enough while The Soul Sleep Cycle is unmarketable because it stands out too much from pre-established genres.
So I decided to publish both series through my indie press, One Million Words.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I can pretty much write anywhere at any time. It’s important, I believe, to add to one’s word count even when the muse is on holiday. Sure, some days flow better than others, but I have a set amount of time allocated to my writing each week, and I guard it zealously.
Other than that, I’ll just add that I started out as a pantser, but these days I’m a staunch plotter. If I don’t have at least a rough outline, I know I’ll end up paying for it in the editing phase.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I have a background in journalism, public relations, and marketing. In addition to writing and publishing for One Million Words, I work as a content specialist at a website marketing agency.
With two jobs and a family, I don’t have a ton of free time, but when I do have a moment to myself, I unwind by reading (books and graphic novels), binge watching television series, and playing videogames.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
In some ways, self-publishing is a DIY situation. However, unless you happen to also be a professional graphic designer, please don’t attempt to create your own book cover. Everyone judges books by their covers, and even if your novel is amazing, no one is going to give it the time of day if the cover looks shoddy and/or amateurish.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Book marketing is a bizarre beast, to be sure. I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. Maybe I should be the one asking for tips!
What’s your favorite book?
1. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) 2. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner) 3. The Bible (various authors)
What are you reading now?
For the past couple of years, I’ve enjoyed a renewed interest in graphic novels, from Robert Kirkman’s Invincible and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to older Marvel compilations, such as Squadron Supreme and Fantastic Four. Right now, I’m thoroughly entranced by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staple’s Saga.
What’s your next book project?
Getting Books Two and Three of The Soul Sleep Cycle ready to publish will occupy most of time in 2018, though I look forward to jumping into a completely new story (series?) after that.