Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
That’s always a fun question to answer!
I was born in Japan to missionary parents (French and American step-father), and am a Canadian by nationality. I’ve lived my life abroad (Japan and Mexico), and have spent most of my time traveling–first as a missionary, then as a blogger.
I have no formal training as a writer, but I’ve dedicated myself to learning the craft of not only writing amazing books, but doing my best to market and promote my work to the best of my ability.
Why do you write?
I write because I must. Since I started writing, I feel like a tap has been opened and creativity has simply bubbled out. Writing has given me the voice I never knew I needed, a way to express the thoughts and feelings that are trapped inside me. Without it, I would explode.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
The covers are actually the brilliant inspiration of the artist, Marie Story. The first idea was more of the classic fantasy covers, with the art of the city, the Hunter, his victims, etc. But I had seen a picture (I can’t find it now) from the cover of a heavy metal album, and I sent it to her. She drew the rough sketched lines of the Hunter, with the white, black, and red scheme of the cover. I loved how unique it looked, and the responses from readers have echoed that sentiment.
What are you currently working on right now? Or plan to work on in the future?
I’ve submitted the next book in the series (Titled “Gateway to the Past”) to the publisher, and I intend to have the fourth book completed in early 2017. The six-book series should all be completed and published by 2019 or so.
I’m also working on getting an agent for a side trilogy set in the same world, but following a young girl’s journey from innocent child to vicious thief. It’s as grim and gritty as the Hunter’s story, but from the perspective of a young woman driven to do terrible things in the name of survival.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Don’t stop asking! I’ve found most of my readers, reviewers, and guest posters just by asking for help. Most indie authors are incredible people who are more than happy to lend a helping hand to those trying to learn the craft.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I love to read reviews, both the good and the bad. I haven’t responded to any yet, but I’ve found that the bad reviews have actually helped me to improve my work. The bad reviews point out things to tighten up, weak spots in the work, and inconsistencies. Those little details often escape me, so keeping them in mind helps me to make my next work a lot better.
What is your favourite book and why?
I’d have to say my current favorite is The Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch. They are so complex, with such intricate world, fascinating characters, and mind-bending plots. I aspire to write such amazing works!
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I intend to find an agent and place my work with the bigger publishing houses, the ones who can get my writing in front of as many eyes as possible. I’m not in it for the money, simply for the sheer joy of telling amazing stories.
How long does it take you to write a book?
From first draft to submission, it’s about 5-7 months of solid work. However, I’ll usually be working on one book while another is with beta readers and another in the rough draft stage, so it takes roughly 9 months of real time before a book is ready to submit.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The idea for the Hunter came from a short piece I wrote years ago. It was about a creature that inspired such terror in its victims that they would do anything to get away. Then I had the idea to make the story from the perspective of the “creature”, but my mind shied away from a monster story. I made the monster a half-human, and the story simply evolved from there.
But I find ideas in everything. I’ll come up with ideas from street signs, billboards, books, newspapers, and TV shows. Heck, I even wrote a poem based on a silly cartoon whale in a kid’s bathtub.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started my first book at the age of 15, and six chapters in I knew it was rubbish. I began writing In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent when I was 17, and kept working on it until I turned 19. Life happened, and I stopped work until after my 25th birthday. The book was about 60% done, so it was fairly simple to complete it when I started. I self-published it, and in the process learned a lot about the publishing world. It’s thanks to that experience that I’ve come as far as I have.
What does your family think of your writing?
Most of them are proud of the fact that I’m creative, though they don’t truly understand how all-consuming it can be. It’s more than just time spent sitting at the desk, but it’s thinking about it, studying, researching, marketing, and doing everything else that is part of being an author.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have a lot more depth than I realize!
I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly emotionless person, but through my writing I discovered a depth of character that I never really show anyone except through the pages of my book. A lot of my trials, tribulations, heartbreaks, and emotions are bled into the words I write.
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?
I have not, though I do think I would like to. Not for the sake of actually fighting, but to have the experience. I’m the “I’ll try anything once” type of person.
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
Definitely a bear. I’m big, furry, bulky, and wonderful to snuggle.