What inspired you to write this book?
Much of the characters in this book are based off of “imaginary friends” I had as a child, maybe 5 or 6 years old. Inspiration to actually write it comes from something much deeper than that though. I always encourage people to follow their dreams, but I never took the time to examine my own. When it really came down to it, I had created a universe full of adventure and excitement, and I realized my dream was to bring that universe to life.
Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?
There is a feline warrior named Tel’ Shira who plays a major role in the book as well. Though I left her out of the blurb, she actually plays a very significant role in the story.
How did you choose your title?
The main villain, who never had a name when I was a child, was always supposed to be like the ultimate “bad guy.” He was born of nightmares and yields terrible power. With that in mind, I figured the first book would be titled “The Birth of Death” as the world of Evorath is just now being introduced to his terror. For the world itself, Evorath, I actually just did a lot of brainstorming and word-playing and then asked some friends to vote on what they thought sounded best. Evorath ended up taking home the win.
Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.
I am blessed to have some supportive friends and family around me. In this case, I had a graphic designer friend of mine come up with the art. I gave him descriptions of the characters and we discussed options. Deciding it was best to keep the main villain on the cover, this is what he made. I am happy with the results, and look forward to having him design the cover for my second book.
Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?
Self-published. It was an easy choice for me. I am impatient and I had already put off writing this for years. When I decided to do it, I wasn’t going to wait around for a year or more to submit to a bunch of publishers. Furthermore, I did my homework. Big publishers aren’t going to pay a first-time author to publish his books, so that was out of the picture. Marketing? They don’t really help with that either. With all things considered, self-publishing keeps me in charge of my book, so I’m happy with that. Until some big publishing company comes at me with an outrageous offer, you can be assured I will continue to self-publish.
What do you consider the most important part of a good story?
That’s a tough one. A story is more than the sum of its parts. To me, a good story is like a living creature, one that must be nurtured and cared for. I know the hardest part of writing a good story is the beginning and the end. The middle just unites the two. I guess if my head were on the chopping block, I’d say the most important part of a good story is the depth of characters. Create 3-dimensional people that are easy to relate to, and a good story will follow.
What is your writing process?
I think I could write an entire book on this one question. I’ll try to keep to the basics though. Going mostly in order, here is a list of the steps I take.
- Come up with a setting. Build that setting to every last detail; planning out where it is in the world, how many people live there, what type of features it has, the climate, etc.
- Plan other settings. Most stories don’t work well without multiple locations. In the case of fantasy, definitely not. Basically, this is repeating step 1, but for the entire world.
- Come up with the main characters. Plan them out to every last detail. I mean detail. I write down their height, weight, hair color, eye color, clothing, hobbies, skills, weaknesses, any particular physical attributes, a brief history, and a brief personality profile. I plan out every detail.
- Craft the story. At this point, I build a basic outline, just writing out sentences on what happens. In the case of this book, the outline was six lines in Microsoft word. That outline held all of the important plot points in a very condensed and (most likely) unintelligible fashion. I understood it though, so it worked.
- Build some support characters. This is not as detailed as the main characters. I do write out brief physical descriptions and personality profiles, but that is it for the most part. Depending on how big a role they play, I sometimes write out more details. This is just a minimum.
- Start writing.
- Consult the outline.
- Continue writing.That’s pretty much the process for me.How long have you been writing?Depends on how you define that question. I started blogging in January of 2014, but I did a small amount of professional writing prior to that. I actually started writing this story back in 2006 or so. As I stated before though, I never listened to my own advice, so I never really followed through. In 2013, I decided I would start following my own dreams, so I resumed working on this story. In about 3 months, I spit out the second half of this book, sent it to editors, and now I’m here.If I were to look at the question differently though, I could say I started writing when I was in eighth grade.How did you get started writing?I think most writers are somewhat introverted; I know I am. With that in mind, I didn’t really feel that I had too many friends when I was young, so I joined some online role playing forums and become active in those communities. Sometimes I wish I were still active there so I could share what I have done since.Are you a plotter or a pantser?Big time plotter. Though, sometimes unexpected things do happen while I am writing, but that’s part of getting into the moment. When they do, I tend to go with it.What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?Concluding a story. The scary thing is that I believe it is easier for me since I have sequels planned. I don’t even want to know how hard it will be bringing a final end to the entire series. Good thing I have some ways to go.What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?It may seem silly, but I have two ways that I deal with writer’s block, and if one doesn’t work, the other always does. First, I notice that I usually have something else stuck on my mind. When that is the case, I just do whatever is on my mind. If I am thinking of eating a ham sandwich, I go eat a ham sandwich. Second, I re-read the previous chapter. This helps ground me and puts me “back into character” if you will.What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?I often feel like the characters I am writing about influence what type of music I listen to. There are times when I need silence while writing. Specific artists I enjoy while going through the writing process include: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Lindsey Stirling, Pink Floyd, or certain movie sound tracks. Alternatively, I might flip on Pandora and listen to my “orchestral” station.Who is your favorite author?That is another tough question. I guess I can’t be the answer, right? I’d probably have to say J.R.R. Tolkien.Who is your favorite character from a book?Ragnar Danneskjold, from Atlas Shrugged.What is your favorite book?Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.Read anything good lately?I only read good books. At this moment I am working through “Money and Freedom,” by Hans F. Sennholz. After that, I will be reading another non-fiction book on economics. I may write fantasy, but I have eclectic interests.What do you like to do when you're not writing?I enjoy various forms of exercise, my favorite being use of the heavy bag. Obviously, I enjoy reading. I also like anything to do with the outdoors, and look forward to a time when I can get away for another primitive camping trip.What advice would you give an author just starting out?Never give up. Be prepared to tough out a lot of criticism and a lot of negative energy. This is not meant to discourage you though. If you truly love writing, don’t let anyone put you down and don’t let anything crush your spirits. I firmly believe that the road to success is open to anyone who is willing to persevere. When you feel it is time to give up, keep pushing forward; and then push some more. One thing on a more practical note: don’t waste money on expensive advertising methods that promise the world. I’ve gotten more results from free or really cheap ads than I have from the ones that have cost me a pretty penny.Have you had anything else published?Not that interests me. Since I do some ghostwriting, I have little pieces published here and there, but nothing I care much about.What's your next project?I have some short stories and poems I am working on, but my big project is the second book. I guess I can say the title, but it might be a spoiler: “The Rise of Yezurkstal.” It takes place about 1 year after “The Birth of Death,” and you’ll get to revisit all of your favorite citizens of Evorath.
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