I stumbled across the epic fantasy genre as a teenager. I was into medieval history at the time and I started picking up fantasy books because the covers showed people with swords and cool armor. Once I started reading, I discovered that I loved the magic and the worlds invented as well.
Q: What is your latest fantasy release?
My latest release is The Magic of Dimmingood trilogy, beginning with Book 1: Thief’s Blade. These books are prequels to my older Legends of Dimmingwood series and explore the pasts of some of the characters.
Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?
I wanted to write in a familiar setting, someplace where my characters and their fairly simple plot wouldn’t get swallowed up by a sprawling world. So I based my setting on the forest surrounding the house where I grew up. That location was my inspiration and everything else just naturally grew out of it. I spent a year writing books 1-4 of what would later become the Legends of Dimmingwood series. But they wouldn’t see the light of day until many years (and a lot of revisions) later.
Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?
I always enjoy the villains most. My favorite character is a thief named Rideon, who’s both the villain from my first fantasy series and the hero of a later series.
Q: Do you have a specific method for developing characters?
It sounds a bit weird but I start with choosing an interesting place. Then I ask myself what kind of person would live or work there and how their surroundings might shape them. The characters pop into my head then and I fill in any missing details.
Q: What was the most memorable moment in your publishing journey?
I’m not sure there was any one moment, so much as a gradual realization that I was doing this thing. That’s the most amazing part. When you realize people are reading what you’re writing–and they’re liking it. There are a lot of fun milestones before that, like finishing a novel and publishing for the first time. But when you sit back and think, “This is really happening. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted,” that’s the best.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Be persistent. If an obstacle gets in your way, don’t give up. Look for a way around it, even if that means trying a path you never expected to take. When I discovered agents and major publishers weren’t interested in my work, I found small digital publishers for my early stories. When I failed to reach many readers with those books, I switched over to self-publishing. When self-publishing sales were good but not great, I reinvented myself with a new pen name, genre, and branding. At a glance, it might look like my first fantasy books were successful right away. But there was a lot of unseen effort before that, years spent honing my craft, collecting rejections, learning about new ways to get my stories out into the world. Always keep pushing until you get where you want to be.