Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was eight years old. I won a school award. I didn't return to writing until many years later when I published my first book in 2017.
What makes writing your passion?
For me, writing is an escape. Whenever I am stressed or want to get away from reality I can escape into a story. I can write for hours. Once I get started ideas flood my head and I can keep writing and coming up with new story ideas.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since 2017.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I did it! It was a great feeling to go from thought to story to published book. After publishing the first book I realized I could write and publish all the other book ideas I had.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters are inspired by my godsons. They are adventurous, smart, and creative.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I am still learning how to market my books. Having a successful writing career consists of two parts. One side is being creative and coming up with an amazing story. The other side is marketing your book and getting it out there for the world to see. As an author, and publisher, I am always learning new ways to reach more readers and market my books. Sometimes I wish I could focus solely on writing.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Before I start writing I plan out the main points of my story. I write them down and play the whole story in my head like a movie over and over. I know what has to happen. All the extra (adventures and side stories) come to me as I write.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I try to set realistic goals for writing. I write a little each day. I also have a strong desire to one day convert my books into movies. This dream keeps me moving forward. My readers also keep me inspired. Every time a reader asks me when my next book is coming out it makes me feel happy that I am producing something that young adults want to read. I used to love reading when I was younger and knowing I have a book out there that a young reader is enjoying makes it all worth it.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
This is a great question. I think all of the choices I made in life have led me to the place I am now. I wouldn't want to change anything. I would probably say, "you are going to have an amazing life. Enjoy the journey."
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I read my book reviews. I try to understand where the reviewer is coming from and consider any constructive criticism provided. I understand that my stories will not please everyone.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I am always grateful to get a good review. They encourage me to keep writing and make me smile. A good review reminds me that I was born to write and that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
No, I have not.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
In my current series, I wouldn't compare myself to any of my characters. I did not base any of them on myself.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Yes, I believe the book cover is important because your reader must first pick up your book. A great cover can grab the attention of your reader. When I sell books in person, I have a lot of people buy my books because they like the cover. They are drawn to that before they know anything else about my books.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I do connect with my readers. I do school visits and chat with many of my young readers. I don't mind answering questions and inspiring them to become authors. I love doing in-person events.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It makes me feel like a celebrity when I am recognized in public. I also love it when readers say, "I thought I knew where the story was going and then you switched it up". I like to surprise my readers and keep them guessing. When readers appreciate my work it encourages me to do more.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I am going to tell you who my two favorite authors are. Growing up, I loved reading Goosebumps. Today there are still Goosebumps books being written and two movies. For that reason, R.L. Stine is one of my favorite authors. I aspire to do what he did ( and continuing to do). As an adult, I love reading horror books and for that reason, my other favorite author is Dean Koontz. His series Odd Thomas was very well written. I love how he develops the characters and evokes emotion from the reader. I also love his stories.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I would love to be as big as J.K. Rowling. I would love to continue writing my book series and convert them into movies and TV series. It is my dream to watch one of my stories at the theater with my family. Having a theme park ride based on my book/movie would be cool too.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
So far, I would not rewrite any of my books. Once I get the story out of my head I don't want to change it.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
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.
What would you say to your readers?
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I grew up in Texas. Now I live in Maryland. I am not married. I have one son that I have raised mostly by myself. I have always been a very creative person. I love math, watching anime, dancing, and traveling. I have always enjoyed a good movie. I look forward to making my books into movies one day. I encourage everyone to dream big, and then bigger.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am a computer programmer.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Aside from writing and helping others to write, in my free time I enjoy reading books, horror and fantasy, dancing, watching anime and traveling.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes, I had a happy childhood. I was a curious and mischievous child, but my parents always encouraged me to try new things and I had two supportive sisters.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I am currently working on the third book in my Dragon Twins series, Into the Dragon Realm. Young Ambrose and his sister Afiria find themselves trapped in the Dragon Realm and they make some new magical friends while they try to find their way back home. After I finish this book I plan to start my next series. I don't have a title yet but it is about a boy who inherits magical powers and has a talking dog, stay tuned.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think we lack opportunity for creativity. There is so much we pile on children to learn in our education system that we don't give them enough time or opportunities to teach us. The world is ever-changing and we should encourage innovative thinking and out-of-the-box problem-solving on a regular basis. Perhaps that is why I love writing fantasy. I like challenging the normal way of thinking.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
I like Lo-Fi Hip hop
Share a secret with us 🙂
Although I love to read horror books I do not watch horror movies. If I watch a scary movie I have nightmares but reading scary books is fun. I think it is because I get to create the characters in my head when I read the books.