My dad was always a storyteller. He would tell me about his exploits as a kid, then as a cowboy, and finally as a marine. The talent passed on to me and my siblings. I eventually had the inspiration to move on from oral storytelling to writing my fanciful tales. (It isn’t fibbing if it’s part of a book.)
What motivates you now to keep writing?
Several things. I love the art of writing. I love talking about it. I love learning about it. I love showing other people how to improve their skill at storytelling. But the biggest reason is that I have so many crazy stories that I want people to hear.
What made you want to write middle-grade?
There is a rumor floating around that I act like a middle-grade youth so it would make sense for me to write in that category. I feel that my writing style fits middle-grade the best and members of my long-time critique group claim that is what I write best. But the main reason is much less exciting of an answer. I switched to middle-grade because I knew that I could market it better than the adult fiction I already had published.
What inspired you to write Battlementals?
It’d be boring for me to mention marketing again . . . so, let’s go with the fact that I used to design card and board games and developed the Battlemental story from one of my games. I created about a hundred creatures for the game and thought they would be perfect for populating a middle-grade, fantasy world. The story has been on my writing to-do list since I designed the game.
Who is your favorite character that you’ve written?
Wow. That’s tough. If I limit my response to published books then the answer is much easier. Calvin McCord is my favorite character in a novel. He appears in The Gathering series and is the sort of everyman politician most of us wish was the President. I love writing his chapters. But if we include short stories then I would have to switch my answer to Coyote, the American-Indian trickster god. I’ve written two stories that appear in the City of the Gods anthologies and I’ve had more fun writing him than any other character.
What are you reading right now?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Do you have a favorite book/author?
My favorite book is Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny, my favorite author is Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame, and my favorite series is the Retief books by Keith Laumer. Yeah, I know, that’s all old school stuff. Then again, I’m old.
What author would you want to meet, living or dead?
J. R. R. Tolkien. He created a fantasy world that has been built upon by hundreds. I’d love to have a discussion with him about how he developed all of those races into one amazing story.
What advice do you have for people who want to write?
Write what you love. Don’t waste your time writing for a trend that will be over by the time you finish a book. Writing what you love will ensure that you are writing your best material.
Finally, what’s next for you?
More stories in the Battlemental universe. That includes a novella (Go, Go Gazoom), the next novel (Battlementals: The Tome of Balance), and a new storyline (Pounce About) that I intend to offer as a podcast and on Youtube. I will be providing the voice work for that story. I already have an artist working on the art for it. I hope to finish all of that within the next year and start on book 3 in the Battlementals series.