- Why do you write?
I write because it’s what I know and love to do. Inside my mind, there are stories and I share them. I see the smallest things in life and wonder about them, turn them into ideas, and those ideas become stories. As an example I gave last week on a message board… there was a small clearing between two cornfields. I pass it two times a day on my way to and from work. There was a red mini van sitting there. Then a blue mini van pulled up and the two women began to talk. This all happened in seconds but the image stuck. By the time I made it to work, I had an idea for a horror novel.
- How often do you read for pleasure?
Every day. You have to read to write. There’s no way around it. Reading and writing go hand in hand. And plus, with all the great authors I interactive with on a daily basis, my “to-read” pile is endless!
- Has publishing your own book changed how you view the work of others?
I think you gain a better sense of what it takes to write a novel. Getting the words on paper is just the beginning of it all. The hours of thinking, plotting, and writing. The editing, the decision making. The cover. The blurb. The marketing plan. EVERY single detail that goes into just one book is amazing.
When I read a book now, I analyze it, try to understand what the author is saying. And of course, I just try and imagine what it must have been like to write that book.
- Do you think character or plot is more important to a good story?
I believe that characters carry a story. I know some may argue but characters are what brings the story to life. Those people you come to know and look forward to “hanging out with”. Take Under the Dome by Stephen King. The premise? A glass dome traps a town. Everything after that is all about characters… the characters in that book carry the story.
- What is your all-time favourite character, and why?
Odd Thomas (from Koontz’s series). From the first sentence of the first book, I was drawn to him. He’s such an honest person but yet such a special person too.
- What book changed your life? In what way?
Pet Sematary. I read it when I was a kid – eight or nine maybe. Everyone else was reading Judy Blume (who writes great books) and I was buried in horror novels. But Pet Sematary did it for me. It was pure horror. Inside and out. From the idea, the story, the characters, and the events. My, oh my, the dead coming to life. Thank you Stephen King for corrupting me. J
- What, to you, defines a successful author?
Someone who does it every day, no matter what. Someone who doesn’t give up after a rejection or a bad review. Someone who knows what they are doing next. I set a 2,000 word a day goal for myself and have to hit it. If that means waking up early or staying up late, I do it. I’m an author, hear me roar. J
- What inspired your most recent book?
I was sitting at my desk one night thinking about horror. I’ve always had a dark humor side to me too. I wondered what would happen if a serial killer made a deal with The Devil… think about it? A serial killer who is about to get caught… but he’s not done killing. What could help him? The Devil. Then I imagined The Devil stepping in and working out a deal… the serial killer, in exchange for his soul, can kill for an entire weekend… if people try and hurt him, it doesn’t work. Bullets go through him. A stab wound does nothing. From there, I wrote….
- What was the best review you ever got?
I had a story in an end of the world anthology. Probably one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever done. Someone read the anthology and actually wrote the review on Amazon about how great my story was AND then tracked me down to tell me how awesome the story was and how I inspired them.
- If you could be any author who would you be, and why?
Well, of course, I’d have to say Stephen King. Could you imagine being in his mind for a day? The man who wrote Pet Sematary. The man who created IT. The man who made a care come to life and scare us. The man who took a rabid dog and turned it into everyone’s worst fear.
- What book do you wish you'd written?
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (by Christopher Moore). The book is just damn perfect. He’s one of the best writers out there right now. The story is funny, strange, and just works. He’s able to take things that shouldn’t make sense and make sense out of them.
- What is the most frustrating thing about self-publishing?
Doing everything. All those little petty tasks that just eat away from writing the next book.
- What is the most rewarding thing about self-publishing?
Being able to do it all yourself (yes, that contradicts the above question, but it’s how it goes). I enjoy being able to make big decisions without corporate input. I enjoy being able to be active with my readers. I enjoy being able to talk with other authors who are willing to share advice. The self-publishing community is vast and everyone is welcoming.
- What one thing do you wish you'd know about self-publishing before you started?
I wish I had a greater understanding of the process. Setting up all the necessary accounts, bank accounts, etc. The formatting for the different types and vendors (KDP, PubIt!, etc). My first book took my almost 3 hours to figure out what to do…
- - If you could give one piece of advice to a novice author, what would it be?
That’s all that matters. Write, write, write.
Submit short stories to small press magazines and ezines. Get accepted. Get rejected. Get over it. But again, the most important thing is writing. Always write. Always.
The Devil's Weekend