Exclusive Interview with
Let’s start with your Career as a writer!
When did you start writing?
Writing for me started out of necessity. I was past of a helicopter rescue unit in the USAF and after a rescue we would have to file a report. I found myself very detailed and actually enjoyed the process. I first attempted a fiction book while stationed in Iraq for a year. There I took a Disney TV show I enjoyed as a child Gummi Bears and whole a novel about their origins. It was fun and I still have the draft.
What makes writing your passion?
I never was much of a reader growing up. Much like most boys I was outside playing all the time and didn't have the patience to read. I found most books didn't hold my attention, so as I retired from my military career I wanted to write a non-fiction book about my career. After finishing that I jumped into fiction. I had a story burning in my mind and wanted to get it down on paper. Most of my motivation was to write a story that appealed to me, or my younger self...well actually both. I wanted something people and kids would enjoy reading that would hold their attention and not disappoint.
How long have you been writing?
I would say I fist took up writing in 2010 while in Iraq. Before that it was just reports and paperwork for the Air Force. Since I have ramped up my efforts and am really enjoying it.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Nervous. It's something I never dreamed I would do, and putting something out there that people could love or hate. Growing up I have dealt with both, people who liked me and those who for some reason or another didn't. You can't please everyone but I was hoping to find a few who loved it.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
There is no denying with my first novel Flat Earth, James the main character has plenty of my traits yet is still his own character. Ariel on the other hand is a very strong female character who I wrote partially on my wife. Other characters have traits of people I have known in my life. I wanted to create realistic characters people could understand and bring them into the story. Art imitates life.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I would say the marketing. It's not something I have much experience with and like most writers I would rather be writing that trying to figure out the next location to post a discounted book. There are so many options out there and ways to go it can be overwhelming.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I just sit back and think about my character, the situation and what happens in real life. Maybe there's a phone call, or a visitor appears. From there I just go and see where the story takes me.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I have a multitude of stories and not enough time. I have two series in mind and I want to push through the current one to get to the next. My favorite story is the next one. My advice would be to quote a few famous people and one slogan. "Keep moving forward" Walt Disney. "A good plan violently executed today is better than the perfect plan executed next week" George S Patton. and finally Nike "Just do it" It will never be perfect, you will have roadblocks but getting started is the hard part.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Enjoy every second of life, it goes by too fast. There were plenty of things I didn't appreciate that I wish I could go back and do over.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, of course. It's fun to read the good ones knowing people are enjoying your writing. The bad ones I laugh at, everyone has their tastes and their opinions. There are things I just can't handle but others love, but I'm not going to tear that person or thing down for my preferences. Most bad reviews I believe come from the reader expecting something different than what they signed up for. I had one review where I sat back and thought to myself did they even read my book or every tenth page. The details where in there just not completely blatant.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Cloud nine. It's fun, motivational, makes me want to write more and get more words on the screen to finish another story. I enjoy seeing people happy. There is to much evil and bad in the world to not enjoy a story. I like to make them escapes from reality and am very excited when someone enjoys the journey.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Nothing directly correlating my my life, but small tidbits here and there. Most are small interactions, but I have a series I'm going to be working on soon which will draw a lot on my life story but with some twists.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
James as I have said is loosely based on my but some of his motivation and thoughts are different than me. Stay tunes and there will be one in the future very much like myself.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Book covers are the first draw. I love a good book cover. With my art background I appreciate a good solid well designed cover, it tells a part of the story. So many covers these days as simple thrown on top and have nothing to do with the story, it's sad.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I occasionally do. I love hearing their thoughts, and interact whenever I can. I have yet to find an outgoing reader who wants to interact a bunch but I'm still new to the writing biz so I'm hoping I'll find a few along the way.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I love it when people bring up mu work. It still feels weird but I enjoy it. I can't say I'm ever recognized in public I'm not that big of an author but it would be quite the experience that I'm sure of.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
J.R.R. Tolkien. For the obvious reasons, he created such an amazing worlds and has created a entire genre. But a very close second would go to Terry Brooks. His book Magic kingdom for sale is one of my favorites. It's an escape from reality, leaving this world for a fantastical magical kingdom. Who wouldn't want to take that journey.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Boy, that's a loaded question. I think simply staying out of site and writing fun stories and being able to see my visions turned into movies, or a Netflix series would be fantastic. With that said Ernest Cline comes to mind. Imagine Steven Spielberg taking one of my stories to the big screen would be the ultimate dream.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I think as I grow as a writer and get better at the craft i think all of them would be fun to go back and tweak. As I've said before getting something down is the hard part, finessing it and massaging it to make it perfect would be great to do someday.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
If I can take my family along than it would be Ernest Cline. He can blend into a crowd yet has connections all over the publishing and Hollywood worlds.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Thanks for entertaining read. They are good for a laugh, there will always be trolls. You can't please everyone and some people just enjoy getting a reaction, I'm not going to give them that satisfaction and I'll devote my attention to the real reviews.
What would you say to your readers?
Let me know what you like, and what you don't like, while I can't please everyone I'd love to be able to write something where a reader is able to say to a friend, "that was my suggestion" life is a team sport, and a rising tide lifts all boats.
Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in Spokane and have a wonderful wife, two young boys and two crazy main coon cats, Yetti and Panthro (Yes I'm a ThunderCat fan!)
What is your day job if you have one?
My wife is active duty and we own an aircraft charter company named Valkyrie. We fly private on-demand air charter throughout the Pacific Northwest. My goal was to create an alternative to the airlines without paying the high Jet prices. One service we will be adding is flying people to wine country for a day of touring wineries in Walla Walla and the Columbia gorge.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
What hobbies don't I have. I have dabbled in so many thing but currently, downhill skiing, playing mr. mom, writing, coaching the boys in ice hockey, and drawing. Ask me aging in a couple months I'm sure it will be different.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes, definitely! My parents were very loving and I really didn't need for anything. My father worked for General Motors, and while he worked long hours he made sure to attend and coach all my sporting events and was home nearly every night. My mother was a stay at home mom stooping her teaching job when I was born. Between the two of them they raised me to be a good Christian man and I am forever grateful!
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
My tour in Iraq. We had plenty of free time sitting behind a computer screen. I decided to get a story down on paper and things escalated from there. In hindsight I should have continued instead of taking a break after my first attempt.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have a new series I'm working on. The rough draft is complete now I'm doing some self editing before sending it to an editor. The story is about a young girl who is very good at video games. Her mother, a drug addict and not much of a mother is offered 5 million dollars to take her daughter away to a new school to play video games. While this sounds like a dream, there is much more to the story, and her life is forever changed.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Wow, ok let's just say that how to survive in the world. There are things taught that we never use and other things like finances, banking, and how to work a job.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
3 wishes, guessing there are the rules from Aladdin? Wouldn't need those anyways. I think the first would be simple I'd ask for wisdom, I can always use more of that, kinda boring I know but very useful. The other two not so sure of, Being a highlander and living forever sounds fun but loosing everyone you care about would not be fun. I think I would probably wish for a great life along with all my family members that would probably do it. When I was younger in high school I thought it would be awesome to have the ability to turn micro machines into real vehicles. Something about pulling a toy Lamborghini out of my pocket then driving away with it seemed cool. I think I'd make that my final wish still sounds pretty sweet as I think about it.
What is your favorite music?
It changes based on my mood but as of right now it's EDM, such as Deadmau5, Avicii, or Tiesto. but rocking to some classic 80's rock or pop is a close second.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I secretly prepare myself for an action adventure. What I mean is I want to be able to do the things you see in movies that action stars do. I ride motorcycles, fly planes and helicopters, have driven armored cars, know a little hand to hand, know my way around weapons, and stay in shape working out daily. So if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens if I can get through the disbelief in the first few days I think I could do alright.