1. Where is your favorite place to write?
In my office. I have a designated study/office/library where I go to be alone and write. I have three big bookshelves full of books and movies in there.
2. Coffee or Tea?
Both! Although, I generally drink tea more than coffee. Every morning I wake up and brew a fresh cup of coffee or tea to help wake me up and get me in the writing mood. Most mornings, I drink pumpkin spiced black tea, but many mornings I have a warm cup of coffee instead—usually black.
3. Favorite book of all-time?
This is always a difficult question because my answer is always changing. Also, there are so many good books out there. So, I’m going to cheat and give TWO answers: My favorite classic novel and my favorite modern book.
My favorite classic book is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I adore this book to no end. While it has many dark themes, I think the story addresses some real—and disturbing—human conflicts that are relevant even today.
My favorite modern book is The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin. I have always been a fan of children’s and young adult fiction, having studied these genres in depth throughout college. The Ice Dragon is mystical story which provides a fun, descriptive, and short read for any person of any age. Additionally, the story addresses some mature themes and issues that are often skipped in most children’s books, but can be important for kids to learn about. Also, the lead character is a girl, which is an extra bonus in my book.
4. NaNoWriMo yes or no?
I absolutely adore NaNoWriMo. I have participated in the event every November for the last five years, mostly for the fun and enjoyment of it than anything else. I believe that being accountable to a group of fellow writers, as well as commiserating with other creative minds, helps to facilitate the writing process. Even if you never attend the face to face writing sessions or conferences, just being a part of a worldwide online group can be extremely encouraging. This is a great time to get out a rough draft of a full-length book. The only issue I see with NaNoWriMo is that many young and fresh writers believe that once the month ends that they are done and they can then publish their book as is. This isn’t the case. NaNoWriMo should be followed up by a good solid chunk of editing and rewriting to hone the book to something worthwhile. The larger part of writing is rewriting, a hard lesson I’ve had to learn repeatedly throughout my career as a writer and editor.
5. Genre that you would write if you had no restrictions?
I enjoy many different genres of fiction, and I’ve tried my hand at many of these genres throughout the years—mostly for the fun of it more than anything else. I’ve tried writing horror, thriller, noir, and even romance, but the only genre I’ve ever been good at is mystery, and even then, I’ve had to, and still have to, put in significant effort to be good at.
However, if I were ever allowed to write and publish in a second genre, I would 100% pick fantasy. If you didn’t know already, I am a big fantasy geek. I grew up on movies such as The Last Unicorn, Flight of Dragons, and Red Sonja and on books such as The Hobbit and the Beast Quest series. These movies and books strongly influenced my life for the better. I am also an avid table top gamer, specifically fantasy themed board games and role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. At one very difficult portion of my life when things seemed extremely dark, these games helped to save me and keep me going.
I find great strength in the stories of warriors and maidens, of dragons and goblins. In fact, the very first full-length book manuscript I ever wrote, which I wrote during my first NaNoWriMo, was a fantasy novel.
6. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
If I had one super power, it would be the ability to read books at an accelerated rate. I am a slow reader, a frustration I’ve always had with myself, so being able to read through all the books on my list at an increased pace would be excellent.
7. Favorite author?
Again, this is a difficult question to answer since there are so many great authors. However, if I were to answer which author influenced my life the most, it would have to be R.L. Stine. I learned to read because of his children’s books. I also decided, at a very young age, to ultimately become a writer when I grew up because of him. While he might not be a grand or literary writer, it is his books that influenced my life the most.
Another author who I love and who has influenced me to continue my pursuit of writing, is Stephen King. His novel, The Eyes of the Dragon, is excellent and I always thought he made a better fantasy writer than a horror writer.
The main thing I learned from both authors is how to best write a story that holds the reader in suspense and (hopefully) keeps them interested and entertained until the last page.
8. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?
When I’m writing, I mostly listen to instrumental music. I love movie soundtracks as well as ambient music from artists such as Adrian Von Ziegler, Midnight Syndicate, and Nox Arcana. During editing, I listen to rock music. The heavy beats and fast music keep me pumping and pushing through.
9. If you could live anywhere in the world where will it be?
I love any mountainous area. My ideal place to live is any small town in a mountain area where we’d get lots of snow but would have beautiful weather and nearby trails to hike in the spring and summer.
10. What do you do when you get writer’s block?
When I get writers block, I usually play guitar. The activity of making music acts on similar creative elements in my mind, and it often helps me to get back in the mode of writing. Other times I just force myself to write through it, knowing I can go back and fix any problems or plot holes later during editing.
11. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a little of both. My general plan includes first creating a general sketch for the characters and story overall and second doing a plot outline for the first half of the book. I then write the first half of the book. Once I’ve done that, I have a better idea about how the story is meant to progress up until the end. So, then I plan the second half and then write it.
12. Do you have a playlist for your characters?
This is something I’ve never done. Could be fun and interesting.
13. Do you write every day?
Yes, if possible. To be a good writer, the best thing to do is get practice, so I try to read and write every day. It isn’t always possible, but I do try. I also don’t always “work” every day. On my weekends, I generally write other projects besides Diner of the Dead just for fun.
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