Welcome to the newest series on my site! Knowing how difficult it is to get your name out there as an aspiring author, I thought it would be a great idea to take on the role of helping other writers gain some exposure and introduce them to as many new readers as possible. I have identified several guests and so far they have all graciously agreed to let me bug them with a bunch of questions! Naturally, when I had the idea to feature other authors, my starting point had to be with my writing partner, Adam K. Moore.
Adam is responsible for penning the completely original and enthralling Compendium Twenty-Three series, as well as helping me co-found Circle City Publishing. In addition to that, he is also one of my most trusted proofreaders, and is crucial in helping me make sure my projects turn out okay. And not only is he a fantastic writer, but he creates some visually stunning pieces of art too. That great Circle City Publishing logo? Yeah, that’s all him! He also provided all of the artwork for CCP’s first children’s book, My Ship Don’t Sink!
For the books I have written, I did do some research to help with names and places. I also think research and basing details in fact (even if you are writing fiction) helps the reader relate to topics or situations and endear them to the story.
How particular are you with spelling, grammar, etc? Do things have to be perfect from the beginning, or are you more worried about getting the idea on paper, then leave the proofreading to the editing?
I prefer to write as if I am having a conversation with someone versus educating the reader. This may be a lazy practice on my part, but for storytelling I feel it’s helpful to relate to the reader and not use over complicated language or grammatical rules that they may have to re-read to understand. I also don’t expect to teach anyone about grammar in my writing, so I write as if I was actually telling the story.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A few months before I started writing my first book. I’d had an idea in my head for years and always thought it would be cool to write down my thoughts. Then, when my wife Amanda showed me you can take what you write and publish your own book, I was convinced I should write a book.
What inspires you to write?
I find my inspiration peaks after discussing ideas with other creative types, even if they don’t write. I always feel energized after meeting with my writing partner, Charles Kelley. (Editor’s Note: Aw shucks!)
How often do you write, and how long is a typical writing session?
I have been on a bit of a hiatus lately, but when I do write it varies how much and how often. I find I do my best writing when I think I’ll just sit down and plunk out a few sentences. A lot of times this turns into a few hours of writing. When I think “I’ll sit down and write a book today” I usually wrap up within an hour of starting.
Do you write for a certain time period, or do you set a word count and write until you reach that goal?
If I set a goal, it’s typically a word count. But if I write for 2-3 hours (even if I’m not cranking out word count) and I get “lost” in the writing process, I consider that session a success.
Do you outline an entire plot, or have a few highlights in mind then let the action dictate the rest of the story?
I have tried both and I tend to prefer writing from point to point, knowing where I want to end up. So, I probably write from highlight to highlight in an effort to get to my ending that was predetermined.
What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting those first words on the page and being happy with them. The rest seems to cascade after that. Some days though, it’s just not going to happen.
What is the easiest part of writing for you?
Coming up with highlights and exciting details about a story.
Definitely a real thing for me. Some days, it’s just not going to happen. I’ve sat and stared at a blank document for quite some time. Writers block is a real thing, though there are ways to cope with it.
What do you like to read (genre, titles) and who are your favorite authors?
My favorite type of books are historical non-fiction. For example, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.
If you took the chance to rewrite one of your books, which one would it be and why?
Well I only have 2 published currently, so I’d be happy finishing book number 3! Then I’ll see what I think.
Any advice you’d like to give your younger self? Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring authors?
Surround yourself with creative people and bounce your ideas off of them. Collaboration is a beautiful thing.
Do you read any of your own work? If so, are you a harsh critic, or do you get wrapped up in the story?
I’ve read my own books and I’ve found if I’m not sick of looking at the story, there is work to be done.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into any of your stories?
My first book Through the Valley has many references to people and places from my childhood. Since I assumed my family would be the only ones reading the book, I did my best to make it interesting for them by adding events or objects they may be familiar with.
What are you currently working on/What’s your next project?
I’m working on book three of the Compendium Twenty-Three series – Fear No Evil. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
How many ideas do you have at the moment for other stories?
I have so many stories I would love to write down. Seems like a new one pops in my mind every couple of days. If I don’t write them down, they’ll be gone.
Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
My family and friends, especially my wife Amanda and my buddy Chas. They have pushed me to pursue this crazy passion for writing.
Do you have a day job other than being a writer? If so, what is it and which do you prefer?
I’m a registered nurse and very proud of it. I do love writing though. It would be nice if writing paid the bills.
Is it true that anyone can be a writer?
Yes. If I can write a couple of books, anyone can. It’s like drawing or painting. Some people start ahead of others as far as natural ability, but repetition and practice leads to proficiency.
Which of your books would you most like to see adapted into a motion picture?
Either of them! haha
Yes. My friend and writing partner and I started our own label Circle City Publishing to act as a marketing platform.
Have you ever worked with other writers on any of your projects?
Yes. Charles Kelley and I collaborate frequently and I invited/begged him to write short stories as part of the Compendium Twenty-Three effort. (Editor’s Note: There was no begging involved, except maybe the other way around. I jumped at the chance to work in Adam’s world!)
How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
I bought myself a copy. But my good buddy Chas printed me a screenshot off Amazon.com when it went live and framed it for me. That was the best gift. Thanks buddy!
What kind of mementos do you have in honor of your published works?
Books, bookmarks, some posters and other marketing materials. It’s really easy to slap custom designs on all kinds of things to get your title out there.
Have you ever abandoned a manuscript for any reason and not proceeded with publishing?
I have not. Though, I have not written many manuscripts. Although I have one that I have not touched in a year or more. But I do not think of it as abandoned. Just on hold for the time being.
Have you received any awards for any of your literary works?
I got a hug from my wife and a high-five from my friend. Also, I sold some books. So I count that as a reward (though I realize it is not).
Do you need silence to write, or do you prefer some background noise? If you need noise, what is your preference?
I prefer some light crowd noise (like at a library) and some mellow music. I find classical helps keep me focused and not singing along. Although, when I’m really engrossed in writing I don’t really hear anything.
Where did you do your first book signing?
My first book signing was at Neat-O Art Shop. It was in Broad Ripple (Indianapolis, Indiana), but they closed their doors a few months ago. They are still present online though and are a great place for local artists to sell their goods. Check them out! https://www.facebook.com/neatoartshop/
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Why or why not?
I did not. I thought I would just confuse people and I wanted my friends and family to be able to find it easily.
Is your goal to offer a unique writing style, or to provide a more conventional story that readers are more geared towards?
I hope to tell a better story than write a better paragraph. I feel I can sustain a story longer than high-writing.
What is the best purchase you’ve made as a writer?
Hardcover copies of the finished books I wrote. I LOVE them and it makes me feel like a real author.
Who’s your favorite author that nobody knows about?
Charles Kelley. Except everybody knows about him. (Editor’s Note: hahahahahahahaha)
How do you select the names of your characters?
The characters in my books are humans, angels, and demons. So I researched all kinds of contemporary and historical names. That was a fun bit of research.
Have you ever Googled yourself? What was your reaction to the results?
Let’s just say there is/was a professional baseball player and a photographer that stole my name.
How can fans reach/find/follow/contact etc?
Look no further than Circle City Publishing for all of my work and my collaborations with my writing buddy Charles Kelley.
Anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for thinking of me for this project!