What book do you think everyone should read?
It depends on what you're wanting. As creative types, everyone should read Stephen King's On Writing.
On a broader level, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
There are more in-depth philosophical books out there, but this one is the most rooted in realism.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was eight, so just over 20 years, professionally, I started in 2011, and my first book Reality came out in 2012, so we'll say eight years.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time, or do some of them come to you as you write?
It ranges depending on the book. The common theme is I end up scrapping characters or merging two of them into one more complex character.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I do a ton of research for each book. Research is fun because it takes you down strange paths you wouldn't usually go down. I've been to my city's armoury. I've found online dating sites for prisoners. I've interviewed public service (police officers & RCMP) professionals. I've read religious scriptures and have been on academic-level biology forms to confirm details.
Research is fun because you are introduced to so many new things.
Do you see writing as a career?
I do and have turned a profit, a small one, but it is something that I put back into the next book and a good meal. My primary income is still freelancing as a graphic designer and web developer. Always, I keep looking at new methods of making writing my full-time job.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I do read a lot. Oddly enough, I read more non-fiction in the realm of social sciences and philosophy. For fiction, I do love horror, thriller, and sci-fi.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I write anywhere and everywhere. My best writing is done early in the morning, where I do put on strange instrumental music that suits the book. Lyrical music is distracting while writing.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Usually, I focus on one book. I have a number of them in various states at any given time, but they sit until I reach a milestone for a book. Those milestones can include finishing the first draft or sending it to beta readers or the editor, or while managing marketing for a new release.
What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision?
Telling stories is my joy of writing. I've dabbled in all sorts of art forms to tell stories and still do. In my teens, I've made board games, videogames, cartoons, comics, and stop motion films – all of them were terrible, by the way. In the end, I kept gravitating to writing literary fiction because I could focus on the story and not worry about the medium's craft as much.
The advice they would give new authors?
Write a ton, and take your time. You can build your author platform without even having your first book out. Share a sample here, show something else there, but build up hype. The incubation period of not having a book out is powerful because it gives you the freedom to explore and find your voice.
If you have a book out, just keep writing and keep bringing work out. Building an audience is a long and slow process.
What makes a good story?
If the reader gets flashes of the story at obscure times after they've finished reading it. Then you know you've done your job. If they don't, the story is forgettable.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I have dabbled in both pantsing and plotting. For a long time, I plotted, and now I am going back to pantsing. All of my short stories on my blog are pantsing, and they've felt like the most authentic work I've done. They're also the most fun.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I guess original. I've also worked on giving the reader what they want. For the Mental Damnation series, and the Rutherford Manor series, I knew there was an audience that the stories should match with. My other works and short stories, not so much.
What's the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Most of my protagonists have been female oddly enough. I have varying female beta readers to go through it because I am male. On occasion, they point something out, saying that's not really how most girls would behave.
In the end, it hasn't been difficult because I've paid attention to what people say. As writers, we should always listen keenly to what people say. Snoop in on conversations, on the bus, at a bar, or listen closer to the conversation you're having with friends/partners. Then you can adopt the voice of another sex, age, or profession.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
My writing has gotten faster, I've gotten better, and have gained more confidence in the words I write. Mortal took me a year from the first outline to launch. I've done others like The White Hand or Fire, Pain, & Ruin in about eight months.