Obviously, you’d like to know who I am and maybe why you should read my fiction. I am a 37-year-old speculative fiction writer from Illinois. In most of my 20’s, leading up until a few years ago, I concentrated on writing screenplays. While I became mildly successful writing scripts, I eventually returned to my first writing love: fiction. I have had a few stories published in the 1990’s. I suppose the time spent away from fiction (even though it was over 10 years!) helped grow me as a fiction writer, especially as a writer of genre fiction. My publishing rate increased for short stories so I thought, hey, I might not be that bad at this after all. I did continue to submit novels to traditional publishers for a while, but when I read what a few YA writer friends were doing with self-publishing and e-books, I weighed those proverbial plusses and minuses and finally decided to do it myself.
When I’m not writing, I’m playing chess—on a team, in a tournament or just for fun—and watching movies or The Office (U.S. version) or Endgame (Canadian show) and Glee. (I can hear the groans on that last one.)
My favorite setting to use in my books is a small town, which I used in Nightcry, The Golden Door (another of my novels in the background) and am also using for my third novel. I love the atmosphere, the loneliness and tight-knit camaraderie of the townspeople that looks with contempt on outsiders. If the story doesn’t obviously take place in a setting other than a small town, I try to fit the story in a town replete with solitude. That’s not to say I won’t use a big city like Chicago or New York; other horrors can come out of those: in a little town those horrors can follow you easier. I hope the small-town atmosphere brings people back to their hometown roots or—at the very least—makes them search for hiding spots for the characters from all the monsters that might be living in the town.
I hate outlining and plotting, but it’s a necessary evil. In order to keep a good flow, planning has to be done. I do like spontaneity and I usually just make a numbered list of the scenes I know should be in there, important plot points and conversations and the ending. Over the course of the book, I’ll make little notes here and there and if any additions come earlier, I will add them during the editing process; otherwise I just write them as I go. For the most part, I don’t spend more than a day outlining and planning.
Probably like many other horror writers, Stephen King drew me into the horror genre. Sometime in the late 1980’s, I picked up a used copy of Night Shift and was amazed. That short story collection still remains one of my favorites of his. I dabbled in writing quick pieces of flash fiction, but nothing substantial emerged. A few years later, I was reading his book Cujo and I thought, This kinda sucks…I could do better. So I tried and what resulted were 28 pages of pure crap. However, the longer form helped me dive into deeper storylines, bigger fears and changing characters. I fell in love with writing and writing horror.
I don’t write with the same set word goal each day. It really depends on what I’m writing. Normally, I go for around 2,000 words, but depending on what I’m writing that could be more or less. For example, a deep emotional scene might only be 400 words and that’s where I’ll stop because I mentally drained myself. On the other hand, if I’m on a roll, I’ll go until my eyes hurt, which probably isn’t good in itself, but I have glasses, so I pretend I have bionic eyes.
I wrote plenty of stuff before my first novel. Two other novels—a horror novel called The Exhausted Man and a fantasy novel called My Way or No Way—currently sit in my closet. They are bad. Very bad. Also in the closet are numerous short stories. I’ve actually been taking some of the better ones and redoing them as I get time. Two have recently been published, so I have high hopes for the other ones.
I enjoy reading anything. Horror, Sci-fi, classics: To be a good writer, you shouldn’t tie yourself down to one genre. I think the more a writer reads, the better he or she becomes. If I had to name a few authors and why I’d say Stephen King for his storytelling ability; Brandon Sanderson for his knack of handling so many characters and plotlines; and Edgar Allan Poe for his skill in efficient writing…he gets into the story and gets out without anything extra needed.
On a desert island, I’d have Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; Lisey’s Story by Stephen King; Lord of the Rings Trilogy (yes, they are three, but I have them in one box set); The Road by Cormac McCarthy; and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
My future writing plans are to just write. I have one novel released Nightcry as well as a poetry chapbook Underneath the Trees and just plan to publish as I complete projects. I have one novel, The Golden Door, scheduled for released in June and another novel 50% done which will be released around October. Between the next two novels, I also plan on releasing a collection of short stories. Within a year, I plan to make enough money from writing where I could do it full-time. It’s a good plan, which I hope comes to fruition. I just wanted to use the word fruition in an interview.
I want to give huge recognition to Luke Imbery, my cover designer. He is absolutely amazing. Luke does computer art as well as hand-drawn work and works
very fast. He did the cover for Nightcry in one day…and he did two different ones! You can see more of his work at LI Designs.