How did you find yourself writing a book? What’s the story behind your career? As a child I was a heavy reader, always in search of the next page turner. My writing began as an escape from my boring childhood but I soon realized that, through my writing, I could create the worlds that I always wished other writers had created for me. It all started with small, short story ideas in a Kingdom called Undirras. I loved fantasy and was obsessed with the Lord of the Rings. After reading Eragon, I was inspired to create my own magical kingdom. Eventually the small kingdom I created grew so much it became a planet. Once that point was reached, I made it my goal to create my own Star Trek and give life to Undirras.
What makes your subject interesting? I wanted to try something new with the Zeir Prophecy and blend 2 worlds that don’t come together often enough and when they do, it mostly comes off as cheesy or a disappointment. When Darkness Prevails begins as a horror/apocalyptic novel and turns into a sci-fi/fantasy as it progresses. I’ve never seen this particular combination so I wanted to try it. I am very pleased at how it turned out.
What makes you an interesting author? I like to see the story potential in anything I look at. It may not be story worthy but it always sparks an idea. I love taking abstract ideas and working them into a story. My English writing instructor in college told me while writing When Darkness Prevails that blending horror, sci-fi and fantasy together in one book would be an interesting read and warned me that it was a fine line. I believe this novel is a great story that ties these three genres together.
Why did you start writing when you did? When Darkness Prevails was originally it’s own horror story with no elements of sci-fi or fantasy. Zeir was also its own story but had no plot. I began to draw maps, naming cities and landmarks, and slowly worked my way into creating a plot to Zeir. Undirras began as a small peninsula and became an entire planet home to half a dozen alien species. Without having a solid plot to Zeir and no idea how to end When Darkness Prevails, I decided to blend the two novels. Having done so, I created a wonderful novel with plenty of potential for sequels and spin-off stories. I feel if I had not started my work on Zeir when I did (particularly the maps!), I may not even have When Darkness Prevails. I would probably have a story idea with a good plot and just beginning work on a map.
Who are your favourite authors? My favorite authors include Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, James Luceno and Peter Benchley. Dean Koontz and J.K. Rowling hold a significant spot in my life serving as my idols. Without the inspiration that they give me, I would not be where I am today.
How much time do you spend writing? If you count actual writing time, I usually spend about 12 hours a week writing. However, I carry a notebook with me and I’m constantly thinking about new ideas for future chapters and thoughts for different novels that I would like to write.
What are you reading right now? I am currently reading Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno.
What’s the biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how do you overcome it? The hardest part for me is always the beginning. Just trying to start that very first page of the novel can sometimes feel intimidating. I overcome it by concentrating on only one chapter, or “scene” as I call it, at a time. I finish that scene and move on to the next. Then the next. Eventually I take a look and see I’m halfway through the novel already. It can be very intimidating knowing where you are at and how much more needs to be written.
How do you feel about ebooks vs. print? I have always preferred a physical book over an ebook. I like the satisfaction of physically seeing how far I am in the novel and how far I have to go before it’s finished. Plus I have a home library so it’s always nice to have new material to add to the shelves.
If you could work with any author who would it be? Dean Koontz. He inspired me to write when I was in middle school. I truly love his writing and no matter what book of his I pick up I know that I will enjoy it!
Night owl or early bird? I am most definitely a night owl! Trying to get me to wake up early is like politely asking a brick wall to step out of your way!
Other creative outlets? I occasionally enjoy air brushing. I learned the process when I was in school and it’s a great way to work on something and allow my mind to wander in the process. You can never “mess up” when it comes to painting. There’s always a way to fix it or create something new out of the accident!
Favourite books from childhood? My favorite books from my childhood are the Harry Potter novels. I started getting into them when the Prisoner of Azkaban came out in 1999 and could not put them down! I remember being so impatient waiting for the next installment to be released that I would reread the last novel again!
Three favourite movies? This is a hard one. I would have to say that my top 3 favorites are The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), Secret Window (based on Stephen King’s short story) and Interstellar. Count of Monte Cristo is a wonderful classic and always brings pleasure to watch regardless of the time or season. Secret Window has great suspense and features Johnny Depp as an author with writer’s block. Can you ask for anything better!? Interstellar is a fantastic story with amazing visual effects. I went to the theatre 3 times to see it!
Favourite type of hero? My favorite hero is usually the anti-hero, typically the guy doing the wrong things for the right reasons. My foremost favorite is Count Dooku from Star Wars. He was a dark knight and joined the dark side in an attempt to bring down the Sith Lord from the inside.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from? Growing up with only two sisters and an infant brother for company, I always felt like I was on my own. I didn’t have anything in common with my step-dad and I rarely had visitation with my father (parents were divorced and remarried). So I resorted to “escaping” my childhood through reading. I discovered that reading could take me to different worlds and make me forget the childhood I had. I thought about this and the impact that writing had on me and so I decided to write stories as well. It started out as a personal hobby for myself; however, as more people read my work, the more it turned into writing for others so that they could have an escape as well.
What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.? I believe that storytelling and reading can significantly change someone’s life and help define who they are as a person. If a novel finds the right reader, it can speak to them in the most direct and intimate form. I have personally seen people who have changed just by reading a novel that spoke to them. Likewise, if a novel is poorly written with disrespecting and vulgar terminology, it can help stain or tarnish a reader turning them into someone whom they should not be. Writing can influence anyone regardless of culture, race or religion so it stands as the most powerful source to influence people’s values.
What are some of the references that you used while researching this book? A lot of my references came from researching dozens of government and aircraft manufacturer sites in order to give my best and most accurate descriptions of the air craft and military procedures I chose to use in When Darkness Prevails. Being my first time writing a novel, I read several books, screenplays and watched dozens of movies to try and get an accurate feel on how to describe most of the military scenes. It always made me laugh when you watch a movie on the Syfy channel and a big, intimidating Navy SEAL who is supposed to be a top notch killer waves his arm casually shouting, “A’ight guys, hang loose ’til I see what’s goin’ on.”
What do you think most characterizes your writing? While writing, I tend to focus more on short chapters that solely focus on a specific character. I feel that this characterizes my writing the most as it tends to create shorter chapters ending with cliffhangers which helps build suspense and keep the viewer reading.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? I would have to say that the hardest part was trying to come up with a convincing situation that would have caused Jaisen Meyer to become the contagious mutated beast that is featured in the novel. Anybody can make up a reason for the dead to reanimate but I wanted to try and keep it believable.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? The scenes featuring Alexis and Erebus are what I enjoyed most about writing this book. It was exciting to bring the two characters together. Alexis has no idea who she is or what she is capable of and Erebus is the lone wolf who wants nothing more than to be himself and return to a home he has never even seen. Even though they are meeting for the first time, they have special a bond to one another that will only continue to grow stronger as the story progresses.
Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those. Yes. With the introduction of Undirras (under-es), I am launching an entire world mixed with several different cultures. With new cultures comes different ways of life, languages, customs, and so much more. There are several names on Undirras that may seem confusing to pronounce. Different languages means different terms for places or groups we have on Earth. For example, when Alexis first meets Raf-Nir (Roff-Ner), he mentions that he was sent by the Danushi. On Undirras, the word Danushi (duh-new-she) is used to describe their version of a senate.
What inspires you? Nature. Whenever I burst into a writing spree it is always at the inspiration of the elements. Most of this novel was written on dark stormy nights with the wind blowing and thunder roaring. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more than exposing myself to an inspiring setting.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd? I would have to say the Sci-Fi twist at the end. You read through the novel expecting it to be just as every other zombie-esque story out there until the World Council decides to colonize a planet that they discovered. That is the game changer for this novel.
What are your plans for future projects? I have many plans for the future of the Zeir Prophecy. I have at least 3 novels planned that feature Alexis Rydell (the Zeir, rhymes with heir) and several back stories that I plan to fill in with either short stories or novels of their own. I have yet to determine how I will finish the 3rd installment of the Zeir Prophecy novel but that ending will determine how I continue the story featuring the Zeir. Creating an entire new galaxy for the Zeir Prophecy novels has made it possible to pursue several different possibilities in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy realm. In other genres, I have intentions to someday write another series featuring a gunslinger for hire in a western setting as well as a few stand alone suspense novels.