I write adventure fantasy for readers of all ages. That includes a middle-grade steampunk adventure about a boy trying to rescue his kidnapped father (THE KIDNAP PLOT), a novel about rival secret agents competing over the secrets of airship and raygun technology in Utah on the eve of the Civil War (CITY OF THE SAINTS), a dystopian science fiction story about initiation by murder and control via guilt (CRECHELING), the story of the apocalypse, from the eyes of the rock and roll band that triggered it (ROCK BAND FIGHTS EVIL), and more.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
While I was reading THE LORD OF THE RINGS at age 8. I wrote many things -- short stories, scripts, songs, one terrible novel, lots of legal documents -- and then finally made a run at seriously writing novels at the age of 37.
Who do you consider the most influential authors you've ever read?
Tolkien, of course. Mervin Peake. Patrick O'Brian. Dorothy Dunnett. Fritz Leiber. Among living authors, the writers I think I'm somewhat similar to are Neal Stephenson (idea-rich action-adventure tales) and Tim Powers ("secret history" fantasy stories set in the real world).
What other authors are you friends with, and how have they helped you become a better writer?
The list of authors I'm friends with is way too long to put here, and includes big names like Claudia Gray and R.A. Salvatore, up and comers like Quincy J. Allen, Ramón Terrell, L.J. Hachmeister, and Aaron Michael Ritchey, and a large number of people who are still writing their first novel.
It's ironic that so many writers are introverts, because this is an intensely people-oriented endeavor. You undertake the role as a shamanic quest, but your search to find and share meaning only makes sense in light of the community you're sharing with. Other writers help you hone your skills (shout out to my peeps the Storymonkeys, Platte Clark, E.J. Patten, Michael Dalzen, and Erik Holmes), they help you connect with agents and editors, they help you sell and market your book.
What’s the best way you've found to market your books?
I don't know about "best". I can tell you that what I've done a lot of is in-person appearances at comic cons (12-15 events a year), along with bookstore signings. I'm not trying to find people who will buy a $0.99 ebook and ignore it, but readers who will actually read the books and get excited to buy more from me.
One of the most distinctive things I do is write and play music. My epic fantasy novel WITCHY EYE is full of songs, and therefore exists as an album I recorded (you can buy "The Songs of Witchy Eye" on Amazon). At signings, I sing songs from my books (accompanying myself on guitar) as well as read.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My whole damn life has been research, what are you talking about? I read constantly, including huge amounts of non-fiction.
Any last thoughts for our readers?
Grow the pie. Turn off your TV, stop watching every stupid movie that comes down the pike, and read more. Convince other people to read more. We're all better for it.
Links/promotional things (include any photos you would like)
Amazon link for WITCHY EYE: http://amzn.to/2hQi6Y8