I’ve actually published three books in the last few months. Not on purpose, just the cards happened to deal out that way. Billy: Messenger of Powersis a YA fantasy that is currently on several niche bestseller lists at amazon.com, Run is a suspense-thriller about a man who wakes up one morning to find that everyone wants to kill him, and CELESTIA is a sci-fi epic about a young man trying to save an alien race.
Obviously, I have serious personality issues.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’ve been writing since I was four years old. My father was an English professor at Pepperdine University, and taught poetry and creative writing there, so it was both a genetic and environmental foregone conclusion that I’d end up writing a bit. Or a lot. It helped that I got to meet and spend time with a lot of famous writers. Since my own father wrote horror and critical works on horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, I became friends and acquaintances with some amazingly talented and nice folks: people like Dean Koontz, Orson Scott Card (author of the ENDER series), and Frank Darabont (THE MIST) were either at my house or on the phone or emailing a lot, and I wangled my way into conversations with them. I also grew up with Brandon Mull (FABLEHAVEN) as a good friend, so it seriously didn’t take a lot of guesswork to see how I’d end up turning out: warped and twisted, loving to scare people and also loving to write a good kids’ book now and again.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, BILLY was inspired – or rather, commanded – by my wife. I had just done a rewrite on a screenplay of mine for a major Hollywood production company, so had been immersed in horror (the genre of the script) for a good long time. My wife told me she wanted me to write something that wouldn’t keep her up at night. She loved – and still loves – Harry Potter, so she informed me that my next project WOULD be a YA fantasy. BILLY was born. And it actually knocked Harry Potter off her most-prized position on the nightstand! Nothing I’d written had ever done that before, so I was VERY happy.
How did you publish this book?
The book is available as an ebook on amazon.com and smashwords.com, as well as barnesandnoble.com and a bunch of other outlets. It’s also coming out next month as a print novel, but when I got the publishing offer I decided to retain the electronic rights to the book. I figured that I’d written a pretty fun yarn, and wanted to see if it would sell off of word-of-mouth. Lucky thing, too, as it’s been doing very well!
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part of writing is the part where you’ve just finished. I mean, it’s almost like post-partum depression. You’ve been playing God, creating all these fabulous places. And then…it’s just over. There are still a million things to do – you have to market the book, get it published, do interviews (like this fun one!), and so on, but in the few days after I finish a book or a screenplay, it’s just tough to make the transition back to “real” life.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I like an incredibly eclectic mix of authors and genres. I’ve always loved Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Orson Scott Card is a good friend and a definite inspiration. I can also be found reading biographies of Churchill and FDR, lots of books about World War II, and just to keep everyone off-balance I just finished the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and am working on another fabulous YA series called The 13th Reality by another friend of mine named James Dashner.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Wow…you’re the first to ask that one. Sneak preview for you! I’m working on a book (working title “The Loon”) about a max-security hospital for the criminally-insane. A freak blizzard cuts them off from the rest of the world, and well…let’s just say that things go downhill from there.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write. Write. Write. And remember who your audience is. If you’re writing for yourself, then whatever you write is just perfect. But if you want other people to read it – or BUY it – you had better remember who you are writing for and take care to treat them with respect. And never, EVER bore them.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Well, as I said, they can find my stuff on amazon.com and smashwords.com.