Jun 13, 2014

Salted Interview

 When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer? 
Strange as it may sound, it’s only been within the last ten years or so. Acting was always my first love, but I began listening to the voices in my head along the way. They can be pretty demanding, especially my main character Lenny. 

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
I love being an author! It’s very different from acting where you’re only playing one character. As an author, I’m not bound by restraints of age, gender, or even species.
The best part is allowing these voices to spill onto the page. There’s honestly times when I’ll reread a page or excerpt and wonder, When did I write that? That’s my favorite – when I feel like I’ve channeled that character and let them breathe life into the story.
The worst part is when I feel sapped creatively. When I’m staring at the computer, praying something sparks. That dead zone is horrible.  

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
As a kid, another dream of mine was to become a stand up comedian like my idol, Bill Cosby. When I began competing in talent shows around age 12, my Mom was firm that I needed to write my own material rather than do Bill Cosby impressions. So I wrote a 3-minute skit called ‘The Truth About Brothers & Sisters’ about the two heathen brats that are my siblings.

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?
My Mom gave me the initial idea. 
I had written a different book that received numerous rejections and was moping around about it one day. She told me to suck it up. Write something new. For about an hour she gave me various prompts.
“Wizards!” she’d say.
“Harry Potter.” I’d reply.
“Vampires! Werewolves!”
“Twilight, Mom.”
Finally, she said, “How about mermaids?”
I didn’t have an answer for that. In fact, the only response I came up with was that mermaids were for girls. Guys didn’t want to read about romancey mermaids. They weren’t cool!
Then, Mom said something I’ll never forget. “Find a way to make them cool.”
That changed everything. I’m a pretty competitive person. Suddenly I had a challenge. How could I make guys like me want to read about mermaids? How could I make mermaids different…unique? 
Salted is the result. It took me five years to reach this point, but I like to think I accomplished Mom’s challenge. Readers will decide if that’s true.

Who is your literary hero?
That’s tough. I respect so many authors for different reasons.
I’ll say J.K. Rowling though. Not only because she’s a fantastic writer, but I think she seems like an incredibly kind and wonderful person. Also, she didn’t let circumstance beat her. She wrote Harry Potter when she was without much/any support system as a single mom living on welfare. 
I have enormous respect for Ms. Rowling and hope to meet her someday.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
I tend to not base any of my characters off people I know personally. Mostly because I’d feel horrible if the story demanded that character be killed off later. 
That said, most of my characters have a great deal of me in them. My main character, Lenny, often speaks when he should listen and is impatient despite his best efforts. That’s me to a tee. Another character, Garrett, is the dorky guy I was in high school (and honestly still am). 
I think an author has to inject bits of themselves into their characters to give them life. Otherwise it’s just lying. 

Describe your main character in six words. 
Boston. Hardened. Calculating. Impatient. Aspiring. Grumpy.

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Dangerous. Dark. Complex. Dualistic. Unique. Diverse. 

What scene was your favorite to write?
Tonight, I’ll say the scene with the Nomad. 
I always imagine that scene very clearly and wonder what an incredible experience that would be to witness such a creature. 

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
I can’t stand bullying so I say Kellen’s first chapter. It’s a rough scene, but vital to the story.

What are you working on now?
I have a novel about the Salem witch trials that will be released in late July/early August. It’s set nineteen years after the trials ended and focuses on those seeking vengeance for what occurred in Salem.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
I’m hard at work on Taken With A Grain of Salt. I’m thrilled with the reaction Salted has received thus far so my goal is to have the sequel released in early December so readers won’t have to wait long to continue this journey.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
I’m a fantasy guy. My fave authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Lloyd Alexander, and the reigning king George R.R. Martin.
A book I cannot recommend enough is Stephen King’s The Stand. I’ve yet to find anything better.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Epic Nerf sword battles with my daughter. I swear I’m raising Arya Stark. She’s the best!