When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
That’s debatable. I’ve always wanted to write books. My biggest obstacle was my obsession with video games. Every time I started writing something, it wouldn’t be long before I lost interest and went to play video games instead. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that it finally stuck. I still don’t know what was different that time, but I was sitting in agriculture science class, and rather than listen to my teacher ramble on about the finer details of the Brangus bull, I decided to pull out my Alphasmart (best tool a writer on the go can have, if you ask me) and start writing. And I didn’t quit. For the first time ever, I actually finished a book. Yes, it was only 100 pages long, and yes, it was terrible, but it was still a huge thing for me, because it helped me discover my love of writing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Impossible to say. Depending on what the book’s about, the style I’m writing in, and how much free time I have, it can take me anywhere from a few months to more than a year.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I work full time taking calls at the Walmart home office. You wanna know a dirty little secret? Whenever the calls are coming slow, I’ll start writing. Heck, sometimes I’ll churn out a paragraph in between calls even when we’re busy! Don’t tell my bosses, though. I write stories for free, so I still need this job!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm, my ability to fill every letter I type with enough awesome to MAKE YOUR FACE MELT?! No? Okay… Then perhaps my inability to write anything I think I’ve seen before. Have you ever taken a look at the YA section of a Barnes and Noble? You’ll see a ton of Twilight and Hunger Games ripoffs. I want my stories to be memorable, and to do that I can’t just regurgitate what Myers, Collins, or anybody other author has spat out a hundred thousand times.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Well, there’s this noodle between my ears that just won’t shut up. In all seriousness, though, I draw inspiration from everything. Like T.S. Elliot said, “A good author borrows, a great author steals.” That’s not to say that I rip off my favorite authors (please see above question), but I do take mental notes when I read their books, thinking “Wow, that’s cool! I wonder if I could do something like that?”
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Like I said, I was in my junior year of high school. That would make me sixteen years old. It was a story about an orphan being adopted by Santa Claus and brought to the North Pole because he’s the chosen one to win the ancient war against the Winter Warlock. Hey, I told you it was terrible. May the old PC that holds it rot in a landfill forever.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Video games! Yeah, that beast never went away entirely. I don’t play as much as I used to, but I do still play… a lot. RPGs like Final Fantasy are my favorite, since they can tell me a cool story as I play. I also like to read books (comes with the territory, y’know?), watch Netflix, drink pina coladas and get caught in the rain.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I could do it well. I’m not joking, the fact that I could write books that other people actually wanted to read blew my mind. I mean… what’s wrong with people?
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
I feel like my best books are inspired in equal parts by JK Rowling and Brandon Sanderson. I’ve always admired how Rowling was able to write a story that’s appropriate and readable for kids and teens, but still enjoyable for adults. That’s my goal for every book I write. Likewise, Sanderson is the king of modern day fantasy, if you ask me. He introduced the concept of magic having rules to me, and I’ve taken that rule to heart. That’s what allowed me to write Juryokine, after all.
What do you think makes a good story?
A lot of different things, depending on the story. The biggest thing, at least for me, is that I have to be able to identify with the characters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a book that was supposed to be “SOOOO GEEEEEWD!” and put it down without finishing it because the heroes are empty headed, vapid balls of clichés. Just write them like regular people, authors! It’s not that hard! You’re around them every day! Arrrrrgh!
*storms away shouting incoherently*
*stops and looks back*
Thank you for having me, Andrea! Happy reading!
*goes back to insane ranting*