What is one of your favorite quotes?
"A person hears only what they understand." Goethe
What kind of stuff do you write?
My stories entail normal characters undergoing personal struggles while discovering mysterious events tied to dark histories, creating eerie, atmospheric tension, while building suspense through a balance of horror, humor, and heart.
Who/what are your influences?
The Bible, Edgar Allan Poe, Cormac McCarthy, Susan Hill, early Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Barbara Michaels, and Ray Bradbury. However, I'm only influenced by certain stories, not all of an author's work. My main motivation to write stems from uninspired novels and movies with unanswered questions, vile content, and unsatisfying endings.
Why did you become a writer?
Being a writer is my inborn identity, not an occupational choice. My first attempt at a novel came in the second grade. My propensity to write is more like the involuntary impulse of respiration. It's part of who I am, not what I do. Furthermore, I never had an interest in pursing the normalcy of modern life. "To write is to become disinterested. There is a certain renunciation in art." Albert Camus
Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from a phenomenon I call the transient tornado of tales. Blessed with a phenomenal memory, my brain has stored up a lot of visual and auditory data, which enhances my prose. At random, the tornado whirls unconsciously through my mind unconsciously, combining elements from my imagination and memory, both past and present, together in the chaotic whirlwind. From out of this swirling chaos, an original tale is generated as the tornado spews different parts of the story out of the top of the cyclone to an empty "canvas," creating a randomly organized setting and chronological series of events--a novel idea....
What is your writing process?
Continuing on from the previous answer, like Dorothy landing in Oz, I am hurled into this new world. Unlike her, I'm just an observer, not a participant. For this reason, I do not believe that I control my characters, their evolution, or the story's progression. Instead, I see my function as a complete outsider recording the tale from my creative "perch." Like my readers, I wait with anxious anticipation of what will happen next. Therefore, no outlines or plot devices--ever. For me, writing a novel feels like being alone in a canoe without any oars on a raging river, controlled by the current. That encompasses the thrill of writing fiction! I have no clue where I might end up or how it all might end. I usually write at least 2,500 words daily (usually more--when it's really flowing I go day and night without sleep), producing a rough draft and a second draft. Then I set it aside to begin editing, rewriting, and polishing the second draft of a another previously written work. This time away from projects essential to gaining perspective. After coming back to a project, I edit and make a revisions before giving the book to my pre-readers, who provide feedback, constructive criticism, and suggestions. The points I accept are then implemented before sending it to my editor, restarting the critical revision process.
What is something every writer should know?
"The secret to boring people lies in telling them everything." Voltaire (Like on those last two questions!)
What advice do you have for aspiring, young writers?
Keep writing and revising. Develop tough skin to take rejection and criticism. Open yourself up to new experiences and interests. Too many writers rehash stale ideas in their books. Live to write--don't write to live, and find the voice and audience that is uniquely yours. The fifth book will be better than the first.
How do you balance writing and family time?
I'm not married and don't have children, so that's never been an issue for me. "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude." Henry David Thorough