Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I guess I started in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. Norslein, had stacks and stacks of brown newsprint with light blue letter guides available for us to practice our cursive letters. After I mastered cursive writing, I started using that newsprint to tell stories, and I guess I never stopped.
I started getting serious about writing while I was in college, and my first book came out in 2007.
What makes writing your passion?
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Just how difficult it is. It's a struggle to find the time to write in between work, raising a child, managing a household, and trying to market my already existing books. It's so much work for so very little reward.
And the publishing world is so hyper-competitive. Traditional publishing feels like a club you're just never cool enough to get into, so you just have to open your own club and hope that people find it.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I don't really get writer's block. I used to think I did. Then, I read an interview with Guillermo del Toro and he talked about how many ideas he had. He said if you struggle with writer's block, you're not ready to write. You need to dream some more. I took that interview to heart. I don't stop thinking of stories in my head. I have too many stories to tell now, and not nearly enough time to do it.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I keep going because I can't stop. It's just who I am and what I do.
I tell new authors to prepare for a lot of heartache and rejection. This is not a business for the faint-hearted or thin-skinned.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I'd tell me to major in tech in college instead of English, and to invest in Amazon and Apple. Then maybe I'd have the time and money to do all the writing I want to do.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I try not to. The good ones always feel like lies, and the bad ones--even though they're probably malicious--hit a little too hard.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It's always rewarding when someone likes what you've put out there. It's very difficult to put out a piece of yourself for others to judge.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
A lot. I don't think writers can separate themselves from their works well. There are always a few parts of yourself put into your writing.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
A good cover is important for catching the eye. It has to look good. Overly complex covers look amateur.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I'm always available through social media or email. I try to be helpful or give advice when asked because other writers have helped me.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's very nice, but it always makes me feel a little awkward. I try to be humble about it. I enjoy connecting with people, though.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have so many. Craig Johnson, Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, Laura Ingalls Wilder, John Steinbeck--All have taught me something about writing, or myself.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I don't compare myself to others. I'd just like to sell enough books every year so I could quit my job and write full-time.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
All of them. I think it was Steinbeck who said, "Books aren't finished, only abandoned." Every year that I keep writing, I learn more and my style changes.
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?
I know there are a ton of books vying your attention, so for you to give your time and energy to something I've written--I am humbled and grateful.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live just outside of Madison, Wisconsin with my wife of more than 20 years and my teenaged daughter.
What is your day job if you have one?
I'm an educator. I used to be the Dean of General Education of a Media Arts College, but that school closed, so I've been doing various jobs since then while looking to get back into technical education administration.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I write most of the time. That's my hobby. When I'm not writing, I try to go to the gym to lift weights, and I watch way too much television.
Did you have a happy childhood?
It was alright. I grew up in the sticks in southern Wisconsin. My parents were strict, but they were good people. I did not care much for school. Like so many creatives, I was something of an outsider.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
There are always books sitting on my hard drives waiting to be completed.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Money. Success. Health.
What is your favorite music?
I'm a big progressive rock fan. My favorite band of all time is Marillion. I also love Rush and Pink Floyd. Since I was a teenager in the 90's, I also like a lot of indie rock like House of Large Sizes, Flipp, Brett Newski, and Lords of the Trident.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Imposter Syndrome is real, and it's very difficult to deal with.