Who are your influences?
My biggest influences are John Grisham, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson. Each one for different reasons. With Grisham, I enjoy the variety of stories he weaves into his books. With Connelly, it’s the way he develops his characters in such a way that they can grow throughout a series of novels. And Patterson, for his style of writing each chapter as if it were a scene in a move. With my background as an Executive Producer and Director, I find that my writing style is a mix of all three.
When did you begin writing?
I remember when I was eight years old picking up a copy of Treasure Island, and then spending the next two or three days lost in the story. I didn’t know then that my passion was writing, but I did know that story telling was in my veins. It wasn’t until about five years ago that I sat down and decided to write my first novel, The Disillusioned. I finished the manuscript without telling a soul what I had done. Then I shared it with a few friends to get their honest opinion, and went through the painstaking process of finding an agent and publisher. In fact, my wife didn’t read the book until I received my author copies from the publisher. After finishing a 15-city book signing tour with Barnes & Noble, I’ve been humbled by the response of the story. My hope is that Waking Lazarus will build on the characters and story while growing an audience who enjoys the series.
How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc.?
I’ve tried several different methods. Sitting down and outlining every chapter, character development, and a long list of story ideas. What I discovered about myself was that I could spend all of my time doing this and never write a single word. So my style is to begin with a main character, decide on the POV, and the beginning of a story. Then I write, and write, and write until the story begins to take shape. I push through a first draft, and then rewrite. During the rewrite I look for the characters that stand out, the story lines that are the most interesting, and then add another layer to the overall book that keeps readers guessing.
If you could actually meet one of your characters, who would it be? Why?
I think the one character would be Stella Adams. In The Disillusioned, she was the mystery, and the payoff of finding her has fueled what I have planned in the rest of the Guardian novels. She’s someone who is willing to put it all on the line for justice. I only hope that I could be half as brave as she is in the story.
Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
My philosophy on writing is that I want my stories to make a difference, to cause readers to think about the world around them in a different way. While some authors write for pure entertainment, I believe there is an underlying message in my books that goes deeper than an action adventure or suspense novel. At least that’s my hope. I figure if I’m going to spend 6-8 months writing then I want there to be purpose behind it. In The Disillusioned, it was to raise awareness about human trafficking. And now in Waking Lazarus, it is a deeper look into good versus evil, and how those lines are often times hard to define in the world we live in.
Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
Honestly, I don’t think about what genre I’m writing. I think more about the characters and how the story unfolds. In the future, I’m sure I’ll write stories that are outside of the mystery/action adventure genre, but for now that’s what keeps me writing. I’ve got big plans for the Guardian novels that will keep me busy for the next few years.
Do you listen to music as you write?
Yes. I always write with a soundtrack blasting in my ears. It helps me to focus, to grab the emotion in a scene, and the imagine what it is I’m trying to reveal. In fact, with Waking Lazarus we’re taking it a step further. We’ve actually recorded a soundtrack that will accompany the book. I haven’t seen this done before and am so excited for readers to have this as an enhancement to their reading experience.