Thanks, Elizabeth. Although I’ve lived in the Atlanta area for the last 14 years, I grew up in a small mid-western town in Indiana and consider myself a misplaced Hoosier living in the land of Bulldogs and cat-sized mosquitoes with my wife, Connie, and our cat, Ty. I’m an avid reader, writer and collector of all things fantasy. I especially like to collect wizards, dragons, and knights. I’m passionate about the written word and I strive for perfection in everything I do. I enjoy fishing, going to movies, playing computer games, watching Broadway plays and dining in nice restaurants. If I had my way, I’d rather fly a Pegasus than drive a car. My four favorite food groups are: popcorn, beef jerky, Skittles and Diet Dr. Pepper—not necessarily in that order.
Why don’t you tell us about the book?
For the sake of space, I’ll give the condensed version. Anyone interested in the longer, more detailed version, can find it on my website under the “Books” tab. My debut novel is called Maiden of Destiny, Volume I of The Forgotten Gods Trilogy—a YA epic fantasy adventure story filled with magic, monsters, mayhem and a little romance. The story centers on Indigo Frost, a young peasant girl, who must rise above her station and champion the gods and mankind against a dark sorcerer determined on annihilating the world of man with the help of a Demon Lord and his powerful army of monsters. Prophesized as the Chosen One, Indigo must learn to harness the power within her as she struggles to overcome personal tragedy and the threat of death at every turn. Can she do it? You’ll have to read the book to find out. (It’s only $2.99)
To buy the book, click here >> Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Maiden-Destiny-Forgotten-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005ES07HY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313710378&sr=8-1
What was the inspiration for your novel?
As I mentioned, I’ve always loved fantasy, and the concept of becoming a writer has appealed to me since high school. I’ve probably read over a thousand fantasy books through the years, and the one thing that stood out in most of the stories is that the hero was usually male. When I came up with the idea of having a young female heroine, initially I thought it would be a standalone story. Over time, I kept thinking of more plots and subplots that I wanted to include, until finally, I knew the story had expanded far beyond what could be incorporated into a single volume. That’s when I got the idea of making it a trilogy. Originally, the story was going to be called “The Good Spirits,” but since the story centers around Indigo, the young heroine, and her struggle to fulfill her destiny, the name was changed to “Maiden of Destiny.” Since Indigo’s destiny is intertwined with the Gods, the series became: The Forgotten Gods Trilogy. Of course, I wanted Indigo to stand out, so I had the gods mark her in a way that told anyone who saw her she was different (at least in my world).
What was your favorite part about writing it?
Creating the characters and watching them grow as the story progresses. It’s fun to take on the persona of each character and figure out what that character would actually say and do. As the main group of characters progress through the first book, I think readers will see there is a strong bond that forms within the group as each of them must come to rely on the others if they are to survive.
What was the hardest part?
Re-writing as the plot changed. I’d be halfway through the story when a new idea would hit me so I’d have to go back and change things to make the new idea fit. I consider myself a plantser—meaning I’m halfway between a plotter and a pantser. I usually have a good idea where I want to end up; I just don’t always know how I’m going to get there. I guess that’s part of the fun, letting the story guide you where it wants to go and I get to go along for the ride.
Can you tell us what the road to being published has been like for you?
I started out trying to get published the traditional way: sending out queries, holding my breath each day as I checked my email only to find nothing or a form rejection. No matter what anyone says, rejection stings. It took me a while to develop that “thick skin” everyone talks about. And let’s face it, as more book stores close and shelf space becomes even more limited, agents and publishers have been forced to become all the more selective. That’s when I decided to go the Indie route.
Indie publishing has become more and more accepted as a larger number of authors have opted to go out on their own. Indie publishing isn’t for everyone, as there is a significant amount of work that must be done that takes time away from your writing. But the rewards can be well worth it. Indie published authors can set their own prices, get a larger percent of royalties, and have total control over the entire publishing process. There certainly is more cost involved, such as: hiring a professional cover designer, paying for professional editing, formatting, doing all your own marketing, purchasing swag (bookmarkers, postcards, pens, etc) to hand out, and having a quality website designed. This doesn’t cover everything, but it gives you an idea of the work that an Indie published author must exert to compete with traditional published authors. Having now done it, I can tell you I’ve learned a lot about the nuts and bolts of the publishing business, and at this point I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t wait till Maiden of Death – Volume II of The Forgotten Gods Trilogy is ready for publication.
What advice do you have for others joining you on this rocky road?
Practice and patience. We all have a story inside us that’s trying to escape, otherwise we wouldn’t be writing. Good writing takes time to cultivate. The more you write the better you’ll get. Personally, I think I’ve come a long way from where I started, but I know I have a much longer way to go. And patience? Writing is one of those “hurry up and wait” endeavors. You write as fast as you can, edit (oh yeah, you’ll learn to hate the word edit) and then wait for feedback from your critique partners. Eventually, you’ll send out agent queries and wait forever for an answer (at least it feels like forever), and if you’re lucky/skilled enough to get one, you’ll wait for contracts, and more edits, and book covers and release dates and…you get the idea. That brings up another word of advice; join a writers group and/or get some good critique partners (or you can pay for professional editing). Don’t rely on friends and family, they’ll tell you everything is great and wonderful all the while thinking: don’t give up your day job. That’s what friends and family are for. They love and support us when the world feels like it wants to swallow us whole and spit us out in small neurotic blobs of ink.
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