Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
With a background in screenwriting and a long career working on movies and TV shows (not as a writer), I’ve long been fascinated with the creation of entire worlds from the ether. Having watched some amazing writers do their thing, I first gave it a go around 2004, starting with zombie films, then moving to dark comedies, period action pieces, and even a few adventure scripts. More recently I began writing short stories, and the process has been invigorating.
Tell us about your books.
Quirky and offbeat are words most people seem to gravitate towards when describing my stories, and I’m quite happy with that. I’m a big fan of the odd humor of Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Etgar Keret, and they’ve influenced my style quite a bit. Ultimately the goal is to tell a story with interesting and fleshed-out characters, but in an extremely condensed timeframe. It’s a wonderfully fun process, and my stories are all over the place, from humorous to romantic, from sci-fi to horror. Shorts allow me to dig into multiple genres to see what flows, and the stories that make the cut eventually make it out into the world.
How did you go about getting published?
While I know publishers at two of the Big Five, there’s just no call for short story collections. As such, I decided to self-publish and get my work out there to people who enjoy this sort of thing. The Amazon Kindle Short Reads section is my niche, and so far my work seems popular among that crowd.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
My writing process varies depending on the project. For screenplays, I like to get away from the distractions of home for a week and brainstorm. I often end up with notebooks full of ideas for the story I’m working on. Then I’ll break the story into Post-It Notes and start moving scenes to flesh things out. After that week, the writing of the outlined material can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Short stories are a totally different beast, and one I find particularly rewarding simply because you can have an idea, jot down the basics, and work it through to the completion of a first draft all in a day or two. For those, more often than not, I come up with ideas near the ocean, just letting them float around my head until a good one sticks. Then I’ll head home and start writing, usually not stopping until a first draft is done, anywhere from three to five hours later. Sometimes it’s a very rough story in need of a ton of revisions, but on rare occasion it comes out in pretty good shape.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I’ve been an on-set medic in the film and TV industry for many years, dealing with injuries to cast and crew on everything from little indie films up to massive blockbuster films. It’s a great industry, and you work with a very interesting group of people who often wind up like a second family.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Get a professionally designed cover. If you’re going to do it yourself, at the very least go look at covers that have won and lost the monthly contest at https://www.thebookdesigner.com where you’ll see not only covers, but also reasons why they work or don’t. Very useful.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Build your network long before you release your book. Nobody wants to have a friend who is simply there to push their wares. Participate in conversations and forums, be an active member of communities, because if you are, the people you meet will be far more likely to support your work.
What’s your favorite book?
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (my friendship litmus test book I’ve given away dozens of times)
What are you reading now?
Seven Years of Happiness by Etgar Keret (excellent short story author)
What’s your next book project?
My next book is Worst. Superhero. Ever., another short collection of odd stories. One is obviously about a superhero with power control issues. The others delve into unorthodox addictions, lesbian farmers battling closed-minded government, and an unusual amnesiac finding her way with the help of a talkative parrot.
Like I said, my stories are rather odd.