Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
My first novel took about 30 years from inception to publication, and even then I had to self-publish. All my previous attempts at publication failed but I remained determined to eventually see the work in print.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Traitor Angel is my latest novel. To summarize: Jonah "Angelkiller" Mason and his Army resistance cell carry on their campaign against the demonic forces of Dorian Azrael.
Who is your publisher?
Traitor Angel is published by Seventh Star Press. I have several stories and a novella with other publishers as well.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Nowadays I take from six months to two years to finish a novel. After all these years of practice, I would hope I have the process down to a reasonable amount of time, but what really is reasonable when it comes to creating something from whole cloth and strange ideas?
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have several projects in the works, including novels and short stories in several genres. I still have one more book in the Angelkiller Triad from Seventh Star Press, entitled Doom Angel, to come out next year and short stories in anthologies yet to appear from Pro Se Press, Kerlak Publishing, and several others.
What genre would you place your books into?
My work runs the gamut from fantasy to science fiction and horror, so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. My novels Ascendant and Emperor from Sam's Dot Publishing are high dark fantasy. My novella High Kings is science fiction. Angelkiller and Traitor Angel can be called urban fantasy or horror. I don't try to write to or for a particular genre. I write to tell the story and let others define the genre if they really feel the need.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Probably my favorite character of all I have written is Baliak Kel Mari, a character in both Ascendant and Emperor, and to be included in the upcoming novel Deity. Although he is non-human, he is a good representative of the noblest portions of humanity and how a person can face the possibility of his own end and that of all his loved ones with courage.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
I have several friends look at the work before I send it to the publisher. They are familiar with my work and know that any criticism they level will be taken seriously and in the spirit given. I have developed quite a thick skin toward criticism over the years and that helps me make meaningful edits using their input. This lets me provide the publisher's editors with the cleanest copy I can.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Not any more. When I self-published, it was more or less necessary, but now that my work is generally published commercially by others, I gift books to friends, but just for their enjoyment. I trust the publisher to find reviewers who will provide an honest and impartial critique of the work.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I read them all, good and bad. They give me the input I need to determine whether the work has accomplished what I intended.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Absolutely not. The purpose of a review is to honestly present the opinion of the reviewer. Everyone has different taste, and not everyone will enjoy my work. I accept the fact that there will be those who hate my work. They are entitled to their opinion. It will not prevent me from writing or trying to publish my work. I find that the more your work is criticized, the more curious people become anyway.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I try not to start a project without knowing how it will go from beginning to end. It has been my experience that just starting a work and then following it toward an undefined end inevitably leads me to writer's block.
What did you do to get past the "block"?
Any writer who tells you they haven't had writer's block is either fooling you or themselves. Writer's block is inevitable for a serious writer. It is, more than anything else, evidence of the intensity of the writer's involvement in the story itself. When you, as the writer, cannot see where it should go then you have become too involved and need to step back for a while, get some perspective. If you can do that, you can probably finish the piece. If not, best just to walk away from it and start something else.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I play video games. Ever since I was a boy I have enjoyed strategy games, from chess to puzzles. Video games, both on and offline, let me separate myself from what I'm doing at the moment and immerse myself in something simple and clearcut, structured and yet complex enough to provide an intellectual challenge.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I certainly hope not. Books have been our way of protecting and preserving the knowledge and beliefs of humanity for thousands of years. eBooks may be able to make that material more readily accessible to more people, but not every person has the resources to access an eBook. The developed nations of the world control the majority of the technology that eBooks need to exist. If eBooks supplant printed books completely, that will deny so much to the rest of the world it would horribly cripple humanity as a whole.
What do you think about book trailers?
I believe they are a good tool in the promotion of the work. We are visual animals, more accepting of visual cue than anything else. A book trailer can tease interest with a few images in a way that a printed synopsis or even a cover blurb can't. I make it a point now to try to build one for each of my novels.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write. Read. Write some more. Finish the work first before you edit. Editing does you no good if it interferes with completing the work. Learn to accept criticism, but not to the point where you accept every suggestion as gospel. Finally, be willing to share your work. Research the market, find an appropriate publisher, and submit the work for consideration. See it through. Whether you are accepted or rejected, you will have accomplished something few people have ever done, and that is something you can take pride in.