FAITH: Proverbs 3:5,6
I was born and raised in a rural community in Southwestern Ohio where I spent most of my time running through the woods and streams and cornfields with my siblings and friends. Just after my sixteenth birthday my family moved to South Georgia where I am presently living and working today.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 9:48 AM.
I quite literally woke up one morning and decided I was going to write a fantasy novel series.
Now, here we are January of 2016 and I have two books completely drafted and outlining for a third, while writing the first book in an offshoot series.
What was your inspiration for The White Tower?
Believe it or not I had no inspiration for writing The White Tower, which is the first book in the The Aldoran Chronicles series. When I say I woke up and decided to start writing this saga, I literally woke up, sat down at my laptop, and started writing. To be fair, I did take ten to fifteen minutes of serious reflection, in which time I came up with two names I thought should be used as the main characters.
What is, now, chapter three are the first words I ever wrote in this book. There have obviously been quite a few revisions since then, but for the most part the majority of what I first typed is still there.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a number of favorite authors, all of which hold places on my shelves or space on my Kindle. [The following list is not in the least wise extensive, and only in order of my chronology of reading]:Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, L. E. Modesitt Jr., Terry Goodkind, Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Robert J Crane, Mark Lawrence, Cameron Jace, Danielle L. Jensen, and James Maxwell.
Do you do a lot of research?
My world building for The Aldoran Chronicles has been very extensive. When I wrote the series I wanted it to have firm legs to stand on, which meant there needed to be a very believable world with a very definable past that has led to where our story begins. My original intent, and still is perhaps, was to be able to create, at the very least, three separate series from this main timeline, not including the offshoot series I’m working on now, which takes place within the same world.
Needless to say, because of this, there is quite a lot of research that I have had to do in order to make this story even remotely realistic. I have an entire folder system on my computer dedicated to research alone with over 37 individual folders holding over 500 documents on every kind of topic I can think of to use within my book – and more gets added every day.
The good thing is that its fantasy. Fantasy authors are generally given a little more leeway when it comes to realism since it is all make believe anyway. However, you’ll be surprised how many times your readers will call you out on the minutest inconsistencies like there wouldn’t be a lace collar on a woodsman’s jerkin, when at other times you could describe a flying car in a high-speed chase with a dragon rider and no one says a word. Not that I have I have flying cars in my book, or dragon riders. hmmm?
Where do you write? place? laptop? computer? phone? pen and paper?
I do all my writing from home on my laptop. The very idea of paper and pen gives me carpal tunnel just thinking about it. I typically get up when I wake up…no more alarms, which for that reason alone I would suggest working towards becoming a fulltime author. Nothing like spending the day in your pj’s to appreciate this career.
What made you actually sit down and start writing your first story?
For three years prior to the decision of writing my own fantasy series, I had been working with a business partner on filming and pitching a new reality TV show to networks which unfortunately was never able to get off the ground. Putting the stress of television aside, I decided to put my time toward another endeavor, one that would still allow me to use my creativity and imagination.
I have always been a lover of fantasy ever since I first borrowed my father’s copy of Terry Brook’s Sword of Shannara. So it was no wonder that I made the decision to write in that specific genre.
Do you aim for a certain amount of words per day, or just write when you can?
I like to get in around 3K words a day as a benchmark. Some days I hit it. Some days I don’t. Some days I go over.
Both my first two books in the Aldoran Chronicles series have come out to roughly 200K words a piece, so even at 3K a day it still takes a while to draft. I know of other authors who are able to get 6K-10K a day. Who knows, maybe that will be possible some day for me, but right now I’m more worried about the quality of the words as opposed to the quantity. As complex as my worldbuilding is, most of my time is spent in research as I write.
Do you outline your plot ahead of time, or just sit down and write and see where the words take you?
With my first book I obviously didn’t outline. I had rough benchmark goals I wanted to see happen. I knew the ending, but I had no idea how I was going to get to it. I let the characters do the talking for me. The downside to doing this, especially as a first time author, is that in my case the first draft tended to be filled with too many day-to-day details and routines that didn’t move the story forward in a timely manner.
My second book I did more outlining, but still let my characters drive the story. I knew where I wanted them to end up, and let the creative process guide the way. I believe the first draft of my second book is much more fluid than the first. You learn and hopefully apply that knowledge from one book to the next.
With the first two books in my offshoot series, I have relied on a heavier set of outlining, finding the overall arc and then breaking it down into three tiers. From there, I decide how many chapters I’ll have in each and the main story arcs.
To sum it up: I am more of a pantser than a plotter, but without at least a basic plotting, I wouldn’t be able to do either.
Do you get writers block?
I don’t think I know of many, or any, authors who have not had this problem before. Typically this comes when I am trying to figure out the next plot point. My way around this problem is to step away from the computer, walk outside, and take a stroll around a forested pond. It clears my head. And when that doesn’t work, you’ll be surprised what a hot bubble bath can do.
Tell us something interesting about you!
Wow, this is probably the toughest question of all, much like a writer being forced to create his/her own back cover blurb.
I guess one interesting thing is that my entire family are black belts and we used to own and operate our own local dojo.