What kind of books/stories do you write?
I write horror and other speculative fiction.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably in elementary school. I was writing bad knock-offs of the fantasy stuff I had been reading. Believing I could was when I came in second or third in some contest and got a check in the mail with the memo line "Payment for Zombies!"
What do you consider the most influential book you've ever read?
The Stand by Stephen King. It changed the way I think and put me on a path to exploring the apocalyptic in all its forms.
What other authors are you friends with, and how have they helped you become a better writer?
Armand Rosamilia, Chuck Buda, Max Booth III, Brian Keene, Chris Larson, Jessica McHugh, Brent Abell, Jack Wallen, Sean Grigsby, Frank Edler, and the more I list here the more I realize I'm going to leave so many out. The biggest way they challenge me is by writing well and forcing me to strive to be a better version of myself in order to share the same air. Each has been generous with time, cross promotion, and support in a hundred different ways. They are good friends even when writing is removed from the equation. Moreso with it in, I suppose.
What’s the best way you've found to market your books?
Look for something different. I'm doing a lot of direct sales off my site instead of Amazon solely. I'm going to sell a few titles only from the site coming up here soon. I have supporters on Patreon and do exclusive material there. I've done holiday mystery boxes to package books which have done well. Connecting with other authors to do blog tours and shared promotional pieces has helped. Working together at conventions helps. Strategic advertising - when to use Facebook ads and when to use Amazon ads, etc.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It varies. I research a lot during the writing and the editing. Reading of all kinds is indirect research. I spend a lot of time writing short stories on the subject or in the genre as I'm attempting to work out ideas and rules for a new novel. Time travel, vampires, ghosts, a new kind of monster, gritty steampunk, or whatever. I find short stories help me explore when I am taking on something new.
Any last thoughts for our readers?
Readers are a precious thing these days. I love and crave all of them.