When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. In high school I wrote a lot of poetry. I was an English major in college, so I wrote a lot of short stories and research papers for four years. I thought about writing a novel about eleven years ago, but I could never settle on a plot or find the time with two babies. Then about six months ago, I made the decision to really make an effort. Four months later, The War Within was completed.
Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
No, being an author is definitely not what I thought it would be. When you pour yourself into something and then set it free into the world, it's like sending your child into the world. You worry how it's doing, if it is okay. Will it be successful? Will people like it? And you're never really ever done, just like parenting. I am constantly thinking about things I should have put in, changed, or taken out. I didn't expect to feel so much for my book. The best thing about being an author is being able to bring to life your characters, or as I like to call them my alter egos, and share them with the world. The worst thing about being an author is the publicity. It takes a lot of time and energy to get the word out about your book so that people will even know that it exists. It took me by surprise the amount of avenues I've had to travel down to promote my book and still only reached a handful of people.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
Besides journaling, the very first thing I ever wrote was a really mean poem to and about a boy who broke up with me for another girl.
What made you create (your book)? How did it come to you?
The idea for my book came to me one night after reading a lesbian romance novel. I said to my wife that all the lesbian books I seem to find have to do with two people finding love or fighting societal or family forces to get the love, but I really didn't find any that had to do with maintaining love and the ups and downs that go with it. The best I could find was stories ending in marriage. Without opening her eyes my wife said, "Well write one." That's really what I get for waking her up to share that enlightening thought. I know a lot of married couples with families but I haven't seen it portrayed in any books I've read. I stuck the mental illness aspect in to help spread awareness about the disorder.
Who is your literary hero?
My literary heroes are Edgar Allen Poe and Jane Austen. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my literary heroes because there is so much life in his poems. I get enthralled in the deepest recesses of the dark side of humanity's subconscious. Jane Austen is also one of my literary heroes because she wrote at a time when there weren’t many women authors. Jane Austen's works emphasize the societal image of women during her time and she didn't conform to it. She was basically a feminist before the feminism movement.
How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
All of my characters are based on either myself or someone I know. I am very familiar with a Kira, Avery, Evie and Emma and they all bring something different to my life.
Describe your main character in six words.
Six words to describe Kira: vulnerable, caring, afraid, depressed, lost, and exhausted.
Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Six words to describe the world I created: cruel, disloyal, untrustworthy, confusing, unfair, and eventful.
What scene was your favorite to write?
My favorite scene to write was the confrontation between Evie and Avery. Through this conversation many positive traits were highlighted about Kira, demonstrating that people with mental disorders are more than just their illness.
What scene was the hardest for you to write?
The scene that was hardest for me to write was the confrontation between Kira and Evie. My heart hurt and I felt every emotion that went into that scene.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I am simultaneously working on book 2 in the War Within Series and a romance novel involving a firefighter.
Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
I would like to write at least one best seller in my life. Some of the things I have accomplished are writing a full length novel and being able to connect and speak with authors I have admired for years. Since I believe that you never stop learning (that's the teacher in me), I would like to improve my writing and expand my creativity. I would also like to achieve successfully editing my novel before the eighth version.
Are there any authors or books you recommend?
Yes, absolutely. I have too many really, so I'll just list a few of my top ones. Raw by Belle Aurora, Say Something by Jade Winters, Veritas by MJ Duncan, In Absentia by Kelli Jae Baeli, London Calling by Clare Lydon, Driven Series by K. Bromberg, Fighting Series by JB Salsbury and Awaiting My Assignment by AJ Adaire.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
My favorite thing to do when I am not writing is photography. I used to do it professionally part-time but now I do just for fun. I shot and designed the cover of The War Within.
Top Ten Places I've Visited
Any Island/Beach Anywhere (water,water,water)
The Illusion of Perfection by Tye Shirelle
Life was the last thing Amy wanted to think about as she crossed the busy intersection to get to the entrance of the Rose Hill Cemetery embracing a bouquet of white lilies. As far she was concerned, life was not all it was cracked up to be. She always felt that life was unfair and unbalanced and she was on the perpetually screwed side. She lost her father to Liver Cancer, she lost her smart, beauty queen sister to drugs, and now she lost her best friend to suicide. It was three months ago when her best friend Carly decided to swallow a fatal concoction of pills and end her life. Three months before graduation. Three months before her birthday. It was after the biggest football game of the season and half the seniors from Park State University gathered in the student union for a celebratory after party.
Carly was the captain of the cheerleading team so it made sense when her and Brett, the Spartan's quarterback, had started dating. Some of the players from the team had purchased alcohol for the party and it didn't take long before they were all buzzed. The music was blaring loudly, the drinks were flowing, and the union was filled with vibrant, dancing and laughing 21-year-olds. Amy watched Carly and Brett the whole evening wishing she was the one Brett was kissing, holding hands with and joking around with. She was well-known on campus and a cheerleader herself but she was always envious of Carly. The way things always seem to come so easy to her without her even trying. Her beautiful flowing chestnut hair and bright brown eyes; her perfect white teeth, fashion sense, and flawless academic record. With Amy's stringy, dirty blond hair and droopy, dull blue eyes, she could never compete with her and a lot of the time hated being her best friend. For the last four years she daydreamed about what it would be like to be Carly, to live her life.
That night at the party, Amy decided, would be the night that she found out. She ducked into the dank, smelly, student union bathroom, closed herself up in one of the olive green stalls, took a prescription bottle out of her bag, crushed up some pills and poured the powder into a red, plastic cup. Then she strolled back out into the union, filled the cup with a fruity mixed drink and switched it with Carlys. She wasn't really trying to hurt Carly, she just wanted the chance to walk in her shoes. Once it looked as though the pills were beginning to take effect, she grabbed Carly's right elbow, pulled her to the side, and told her that Brett said that he wanted to be with both of them tonight. She also warned her that if she didn't do it then he said that he would break-up with her. Carly's mind was cloudy; she was dizzy, unfocused and drowsy. She didn't really understand what Amy was saying and stared at her dazed and confused. Amy could see that Carly was unsteady and not completely "with it" and took that as her opportunity to act.
She went over to Brett and intimately whispered in his ear that Carly wanted to experience being with him and her together tonight. Brett glared at Amy puzzled, thinking maybe she was playing a joke. The look on Amy's face was one of supreme seriousness and desire. He glanced over at Carly's swaying body and figured that she must be super drunk if she said that, but he made up his inebriated mind that he wouldn't ask any questions and would instead enjoy the unique opportunity being handed to him. When they got back to Brett's dorm room, before anything could really happen, Carly passed out cold. That, however, did not stop Amy and Brett from continuing to take pleasure in each other.
Amy was in heaven but knew that when the morning came it would be all over. She whipped out her silver and gold cell phone and videoed what was happening between her and Brett so that she could have something to look at to help her remember the best night of her life. After they were done, Amy put her clothes on and went back to her dorm and Brett fell dead asleep. They left Carly lying nude and unconscious on top of the roommate's bed. The next morning Brett awoke to the sounds of heavy breathing and grunting. He cracked one heavy eyelid open and turned his head to peer across the room. What he saw made him bolt upright in his bed, which also gave him a severe head rush to go along with his banging hangover. He saw his roommate on top of a very naked Carly. Not at all remembering what transpired the night before, Brett pissed off at the sight of his girlfriend sleeping with his roommate, jumped out of bed, threw on his gym shorts and left his room.
The next afternoon in front of Lecture Hall One, Carly approached Brett teary eyed and unsure. She questioned why he had left her naked and alone in his room and about what had actually happened that night. Brett made a scene, yelling and screaming and calling Carly a whore before he stormed off across the quad. Perplexed, Carly ran after him trying to get him to talk to her, to explain to her what he was talking about when her phone pinged with a message. It was a link to a video on the football team's social media page with the caption, "That's what I call cheering on the players, everyone on the team she follow her lead." Carly clicked on the link and the air was immediately sucked from her lungs. She lost her footing and tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and landed on her hands and knees. At that exact moment, another student walked passed her and said, "That's a good position, you should try that one next time."
Horrified, Carly crawled to her feet and sprinted to her dorm room. Her face was hot and red and tears were streaming down her cheeks when she burst into her room and flung herself face down onto her bed. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed Amy's number, wondering if she could tell her what was going on. She was at the party with her so she had to know what happened, she thought. The call went to voicemail. She didn't leave a message and when she disconnected the call, her phone pinged and pinged with more graphic images of her exposed body. Carly was desperate and hysterical. She screamed and heaved her phone at the white, plastered wall shattering it into a million tiny pieces. She hauled her body over to her desk and logged onto her computer to write Brett an email but when she opened her inbox, it was filled with emails and images of her having sex with Brett's roommate and herself posed bare in various positions. Carly's hand flew to her mouth with a gasp.
An agonized wail erupted from her gut and an unstoppable flow of tears ran down her face. Knowing that she could not face anyone or go to anymore of her classes for the day, she emailed the dean to tell him that she had fallen ill and would need to take leave from school. In her blurry-eyed haste, she accidently forwarded the last email in her inbox to all of her contacts. Once she realized what she had done, a look of sheer terror and panic overtook her now pale face. Her stomach dropped and her breath hitched in her throat. Everyone she knew would see those filthy pictures. How could she ever face her family, her friends, or her professors? Her life was essentially over. She thought that she finally escaped this sort of humiliation when she went to college and moved away from her stepfather. Carly went into her drawer and pulled out her bottle of anti-depressants that she had kept secret from everyone. She staggered down the dorm hall to the slate gray communal bathroom, looked at her puffy face in the mirror under the harsh florescent lights, removed the top and ingested the whole bottle of pills. She stumbled back to her room in a stupor, laid down on her bed and cried herself to blackness.
Amy finally makes it across the street and rushes to the gate. "Hey Brett, sorry I'm late. I was talking to Carly's mom."
"No problem, babe. You ready to go say happy birthday to Carly?" Brett asks as he takes her hand and twines their fingers together.
"As ready as I'm going to be."
"Didn't you say that your sister was also buried in this cemetery? Did you want to visit her as well?"
"Yeah, she is but no, I don't need to visit her today. My perfect sister now has my perfect best friend to keep her company."
"What happened to her anyway? How did she die?"
"She died of an overdose. She was addicted to pain killers."