Dark fiction, including supernatural suspense, mystery, and horror.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was five years old, if not earlier. By the time I was five, I was writing simple picture books.
What do you consider the most influential book you've ever read?
On Writing, by Stephen King. It got me writing fiction again after a long hiatus where I focused on journalism.
What other authors are you friends with, and how have they helped you become a better writer?
I have so many wonderful writer friends, including Chuck Wendig, Russell R. James, Hunter Shea, J.G. Faherty, Catherine Cavendish, John Palisano, etc. Chuck blurbed one of my books, which was a tremendous boost, and he's always available with advice and encouragement. Some of my friends have beta read my writing or pointed me in the right direction in terms of marketing and retaining rights, etc. They've all helped in some way. The horror-writing community is especially supportive.
What's the best way you've found to market your books?
I go for a scattershot approach, but I always get a boost when I mention my books in my blog posts. I should do that more often. Also, email blasts like BookBub are highly effective, but do your research. There are a lot of companies out there claiming to have big readerships who don't.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends on the book, but usually I research while I go, or mark passages that need to be checked in the second-draft phase. For one particular book, which features a West African slave in 1600s Dutch Caribbean, I needed to hire a professional researcher to help me out. Sometimes it's enough for me to have a source read over relevant chapters--like an oil worker for Monsters in Our Wake or an entomologist for Temple of Ghosts. Sources are everything for writers. It's always good to know a few cops and firefighters.
Any last thoughts for our readers?
This is a tough business, but there are as many definitions of success as there are writers. Believe in yourself above all, but not to the point where you refuse constructive criticism. Be willing to do the work--there are so many out there who aren't. Write a lot and read a lot, but you don't have to write every day, and there's no shame in taking a break or putting real life--and the ones you love--first.
Links/promotional things (include any photos you would like)