Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I began writing as a teenager, but never finished a book or sought readers. I didn't really start up again until after some life changing events two decades later.
What makes writing your passion?
I love story telling. I'm not much of a wordsmith, but I come up with plenty good concepts for novels. Getting the ideas out of my head and onto the page is very therapeutic. Once I start a new book the characters drive the story for me.
How long have you been writing?
Over ten years. It took nearly 8 years to finish my first book, 2 years for my second, 1 year for the third. Now I publish a book every 1 - 3 months.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Relief to finally finish the huge project. Confusion over what I had to do next. Then disappointment that writing is actually only half the job for a self-published author.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I like believable characters. There are no human versions of pure angels or devils in real life. And most people don't make stupid decisions one right after the other. I don't believe that my characters should be unrealistic. Annoying sometimes, lovable the most, but believable.
I rarely base a character on a real person. Truly invented characters are more work, but they inspire me to build them properly. That's makes their relationships more special.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Not having enough time to write is a big one. Not knowing how best to promote your work is even bigger.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I never have writer's block. Instead, I have too much story in my head and not enough time to get it out. In rare cases where I don't think that I'm giving a novel my best work, I'll stop and move onto to another project until the creativity begins flowing again.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
The reviews from my readers is a big motivation. The support of my wife is tremendous as well. But the sheer joy of completing imaginative stories that I know my readers will love is the constant driving force.
Advice? Write your story as fast as you can. Revise it as needed, but don't toil over it. Your first book won't likely be perfect. That's okay. Get it out there, build an audience and keep improving with each book you write.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
That would be a very long conversation. If I knew back then that I could be a paid storyteller, I wouldn't have taken most of the jobs that I worked. Of course, in my teens, there was no internet. So self-publishing was nearly impossible on a limited budget.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read every review. Most inspire me to continue writing. The bad ones hurt sometimes, but they often provide critical help. If the reader was obviously not of my target audience, I shrug it off a bit. But otherwise, I try to understand what they didn't like and improve on it in future installments and series.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Elated, of course. It is a great feeling to know that all the effort that I put in was appreciated. Detailed reviews are absolutely the best. I don't want them to love every character, but getting their feedback really does assist me in plot development for sequels.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes, of course. There are a lot of sexually explicit scenes in my books, so I won't get into details. But plugging real life experiences into a story helps ground it for the readers.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I never base characters solely on real people. However, I write most of my novels in first person, so I prefer that the main character's thoughts and dialog feel right. If I had to choose a character that most closely matches my innermost personality, it would have to be Mason of Dystopian Girls.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The story is what matters the most in my mind. I wouldn't think that anyone buys a sequel because they really loved the book cover on the previous one. Unfortunately, in order to get new readers an author must willing to spend time and/or money on a good book cover.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I don't get a lot of time to spend on social media, but I love the short chats that let me know that I'm providing good content for my readers. Detailed posts about individual characters are fantastic, too. It helps take the story to a higher level for me.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I feel weird usually, but it depends on the person. Sometimes it makes me feel like a sports hero. But when a woman tells me which character she most relates to in one of my harem adventure stories, it can get a bit awkward.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I don't have one. I appreciate variety too much. In my younger days I read of lot of CJ Cherryh, Alan Dean Foster and Harry Harrison. More recently I have thoroughly enjoyed Brandon Sanderson and Hugh Howey. But the author that made biggest difference for me is Michael Scott-Earle. Reading a couple of his series inspired me to being writing in the harem adventure genre, and Dystopian Girls was born. The decision to write that novel was the single best choice of my writing career.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream isn't that big, really. I'd like enough readers that I can afford to write full time. I have so many stories to tell, and so little time to do it. I don't need to become a big celebrity or have my stories made into movies. A good book is better than any movie inside your head. I just want to be inside a lot of heads.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Yes. My first two books were a lower caliber in my opinion. I would like to redo them when I have time. Fortunately, my active series are keeping me busy with writing sequels.
I was surprised one day when one of my favorite authors said they were embarrassed by one of their early books. It was one of my favorites! So, maybe it is best to leave them be.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I have no idea. I'm sure their lives are full of good and not-so-good just like mine. I think I'd rather stay me. I like the place that I am in right now. Happiness is the journey, and I have quite the journey ahead of me.
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.
I do get surprised when I see a very bad review. If I hated a book that bad I certainly wouldn't have finished it. If they are out there doing it just to annoy authors then we shouldn't give them the satisfaction. It is much better to focus on our real readers and give them what they enjoy.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on my books and my characters. I also love hearing how the plot was unpredictable and that the compelling story made you finish the book in one sitting. Nothing is better than seeing a review that ends with "I can't wait to read the next one!"
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in Germantown MD, in the Washington DC area. I've spent most of my life in Maryland and Virginia.
I have two sons from my first marriage. Both have grown up to make me very proud of them.
Ten years ago I remarried. I found my gorgeous wife Amelia through internet dating. She is from the Caribbean island of St Lucia. Since finding her my life has changed dramatically, all for the good. I might not be writing if it weren't for her daily support. She is my biggest fan and I love to involve her in every aspect of my life. I used her face for the first cover of one of my books.
What is your day job if you have one?
I managed small businesses most of my adult life before getting involved in sports recreation. I started my own business and provide events for youth and adults. It is a very happy and rewarding job, but it varies quite a bit with the weather, etc.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love playing unique card games. I even make my own and have some available online. My wife and I love dancing to reggae music. I DJ for friends and family. But my favorite activity is writing. It is not a job, its a joy.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I was the youngest of 8 children, so I wore a lot of hand-me-down clothes. However, there was always someone available to play games with, so it couldn't have been too bad. Publicly I was the quiet smart kid that also took to every sport. Yes, my childhood was happy.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Yes. A series of events really. My divorce led to me reentering the dating world, which led to interacting with women that read a variety of books. I started reading things that I otherwise wouldn't have. But, when I did, I kept thinking, "this story would be much cooler if..."
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
No. If it was worth writing it is worth putting out there for others to enjoy. Self publishing is so easy these days that I don't believe any author should keep their books to themselves.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Break away from the structured mundane academics and begin inspiring children at a much younger age. It is a shame anytime someone is close to graduating high school and doesn't know what they want to do with their lives. I'd rather they drop out and chase a dream than get boxed into the monotony of what society tells them is adult life.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I don't do much wishing, but I do a lot of planning.
What is your favorite music?
I listen to a lot of reggae these days, but a variety of styles. My favorite recording artists are Collie Buddz, The Common Kings, Dirty Heads, Gytpian and Konshens.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I didn't realize this interview would be this long when I started.