Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Southern California and currently make my home in Midland Michigan.
Tell us your latest news:
I’m currently working on my first science fiction dystopic novel entitled Pulse. It centers around a young woman who is coming to grips with frightening new powers in a world who enslaves her kind. Together with two companions she sets out to obtain her freedom and the freedom of those afflicted with the Pulse.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at a very early age…around seven or so. I actually started out writing very horrible fan fiction in the Dragonlance universe. I was just enraptured with the fantastical stories set in the Dragonlance world and I wanted to be a part of that. As I got older I began creating my own worlds of fantastical design and I’ve never looked back.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a really good question. I suppose I don’t really consider myself a writer, at least not in the traditional sense. I am however a person who enjoys writing. But if I had to nail down a time frame I would say my first year of college when I impressed my Creative Writing Professor was the first time I really considered myself a writer.
What inspired you to write your first book?
During college I began to gravitate towards short fiction and after trying my hand at it I found a great connection with the genre and the style. While it may not be a “book” my first piece of published writing is “Deeper Down the Hole”, a short story focusing on a man named Lyle who is forced to come to terms with being responsible for putting his teenage daughter into a coma.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t believe so. I think each story demands a different style and once I begin I just go along for the ride.
How did you come up with the title?
When I first began drafting what would become Pulse I had no idea what to call it. One night while lying in bed with my wife we were talking about different titles and finally she told me to just be simple and call the book what it is. After that the light bulb switched on in my head and I knew what the title had to be.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there’s a moral or a message in Pulse I think it would be a rallying cry against discrimination. The tone might not be prevalent or obvious but I think it’s there especially when you consider the consequences of severe discrimination.
How much of your book is realistic?
Maybe a little of it is realistic. I think the general tone of the book can be read in a way that it can mirror real world problems but it’s done in an otherworldly sort of way.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No not really although some of the characters in Pulse mirror some very close people in my life.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m greatly influenced by the works of R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman, Jean Rabe, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut and Ralph Ellison to name a few. While it’s extremely difficult to name certain books that have influenced me I feel these authors and their collected works have had an enormous impact on me.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would choose R.A. Salvatore. The way he writes about his characters is amazing and I would love to know how he does it.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading “The Companions” by R.A. Salvatore as well as “Looking for Calvin and Hobbes – A Biography of Bill Watterson.”
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
It’s been fairly hard to keep up with new authors as there are so many but I’m always looking for new works by Jeff Vande Zande.
What are your current projects?
A lot of my time is spent working on Pulse and shaping the world it’s set in. I’m also working on a collection of short stories entitled “The Deepest Part of Me.”
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of family I haven’t really had a lot of support. My wife of course has always supported me but if there was one person I could count on for any kind of support it would be fellow Michigan author Robin Devereaux-Nelson.
Do you see writing as a career?
Isn’t that what we all want? I would love to be a career writer but I don’t ever see it happening for me. For now I’m just happy to write and publish what I can. If a handful of people are the only ones enjoying what I’ve created than that’s good enough for me.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The one thing that I learned is that research is important! I think I went through fifteen to twenty drafts of Pulse before I even had a clear vision of what the setting was. So if I could go back and change anything it would be to do some research first and have a solid setting in place before anything else.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I used writing as an escape. In reality I lived in a one bedroom apartment in the middle of the Mojave desert with my mother and her then live-in boyfriend. When I couldn’t get away from it all I would sit in front of a stack of paper and I would write my way to a better life.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“We’re almost to the top boy, ya ready?”
Cale nodded and tapped the two bottles of water that hung on his hip.
Dalen huffed and spread his thin lips into a smile.
He was handsome once Cale noted. He had strong cheekbones and a square jaw. His body was muscular but not overly large, his arms and chest filled out his vest. His face was that of a hardened survivor however. His eyes sat deep into his skull and any life they once held was long gone. His face was rough and marred with so many scars Cale couldn’t count them all. It was his hands however that always caught Cale’s gaze growing up. His fingers which should have been straight were gnarled and twisted. The skin which should have been rough only from aging had been torn apart and stitched back together so often Cale often wondered if it was actually human skin that covered his father’s hands or something else entirely.
The rumbling of the tracks began to smooth out, a sure sign they were nearing the top as the Primary’s always took better care of the tracks the closer the tracks were to the surface.
Dalen stood and braced himself between the wall of the boxcar and the stack of crates and Cale did the same. The routine never changed it seemed. One….two….three….large bumps as the train passed over the tracks leading from the Bowels to the surface always threw everything that wasn’t securely fastened down around and on more than one occasion Cale suffered for not heeding his father’s warning. When everything settled back into place Dalen and his son resumed their seats as Dalen pulled out a small piece of cloth that had been rolled and tied neatly. A gift from their friends he had told Cale before they left their home earlier in the day. Cale had never been fond of his father’s ‘friends’ but he did have to admit they knew exactly where to hit.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Having to create an entire world is very taxing. While I could take the lazy-mans route and just throw together a bunch of stuff and call it a world I prefer to create a world that seems plausible. So from religions to the economy to jobs to social issues and everything in between I want the world of Pulse to feel alive and that takes a lot of work.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is R.A. Salvatore without a doubt. What I love about his work is how he handles his characters especially his sole creation of Drizzt Do’Urden. That character is so multifaceted that I can read book after book about him and always discover a new side to him that I hadn’t known before. It’s inspiring.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet but maybe someday.
Who designed the covers?
There is currently no artwork for Pulse but I’m always looking for artists who can bring Pulse to life in a visual way.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think one of the challenges of writing Pulse is getting the tone down. It’s very easy to take a book into an entirely new direction without even realizing it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I gained a whole new respect for new and established authors who have already finished their novels. It always seems that I’ll never finish but when I see others doing it I know I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone and get it done.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
To just keep writing and never stop; if you run into a block just write your way out of it even if it comes off as clumsy, you can always change it during rewrites and editing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support, it means everything to me especially on those long nights when I’ve only got the light of my computer screen and a warm cup of coffee to keep me company.