What works best for you: Typewriter, fountain pen, dictate, computer, or longhand?
I am definitely a fan of longhand. I love to go out and purchase legal pads and fill them with notes, thoughts, doodles, sketches and outlines, etc. first before beginning my writing process. Then, I begin to write my story in longhand format. I don’t have the best cursive handwriting but it really helps me to have the ideas flow from my brain, through my pen, and on to my paper.
Which book inspired you to begin writing?
Can I cheat? Because two come to mind! “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis are the two novels that have always stuck with me throughout the years as both a reader and a writer. I loved how the two authors were able to create worlds that were foreign but also familiar to their readers. The imagery was colorful and believable. I found it fascinating! Interesting fact! I named my main character in “The Canvas Adventures” Gabriel in honor of a character in “The Giver.”
What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?
Not becoming repetitive! My biggest fear is my readers are going to pick up a copy of one of my books and say, “Ugh! Doesn’t he have any new ideas?!”
Over the years, what would you say has improved your writing?
That’s easy! I can tell you it was my strict educators, particularly in English and literature. You don’t have to have the best grammar and spelling skills to be a writer or author, but it certainly helps to have the basics.
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
A book needs to leave a reader having learned something. In the case of my debut novel, “The Canvas Adventures,” I aim to empower children to find their self-worth despite an adversity they may face or struggles in their life. Despite the hands we’re dealt in the game of poker, we can still win in life with the worst hand.
Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
Maybe everyone believes this, but I think I have an imagination that never left. I can relate to children because I never grew up! I like to think I have a child-like faith when necessary. There’s a difference between childish and being childlike. I’m childlike.
Do your novels carry a message?
Yes – two, actually. The biggest message to take away from “The Canvas Adventures” is to empower children and preteens to find their self-worth. Second, but equally important message is to help the same group overcome any adversity (like bullying in my novel) and become all you can can in life!
Any advice you would give to aspiring writers?
Write – and write every day if you can! Also, take criticism from others but don’t let that criticism affect you from your love of the craft!
Do you read any of your own work?
Yes. Some book signings require you to read your work to your potential customers. Also, I believe in reading (and reading again) for proofing purposes.
Is there anything you are working on that may intrigue/interest your readers?
Yes! Book 2 of “The Canvas Adventures,” tentatively titled “Trapped in Harmony” will be released Fall 2016!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Because I write for children, it’s always difficult to write an emotionally heavy scene, like a death. You never want to sugarcoat something like that. You want to make it realistic, but you have to find a way to write it so children aren’t angry at you for “killing off” their favorite character.
Do you enjoy book signings?
I do, however it’s challenging sometimes to get the word out. I love meeting new people and telling people about my novel and what it means to me.
How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
I see it as little of both, actually. However, to be a writer you have to have a passion for it.
How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
I had to drive two hours to pick up my first printing and I remember picking them up, and the feeling of ripping open that box. It felt so good to pick up a copy and say, “I wrote this!” I’m usually not one for self-gratification but this felt good.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or hire someone to do it for you?
Both! I edit my novel many, many times. I had my family look over it, then hired and editor. I’m a firm believer in the more eyeballs you have on something, the better.
Is writing a book series more challenging?
Yes, yes, yes! You have to decide how (or if) to continue a character’s story, how to keep each subsequent novel fresh and interesting, and you have to be careful with continuity.
Do you believe attractive book covers help in its sales?
I will answer the question this way: The saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a complete lie! It certainly helps and doesn’t hurt to have an attractive book cover.
What did you what to become when you were a kid?
As silly as it sounds, a writer. I guess I succeeded!
Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Heavens no! I think aiming for a goal will only ruin your creativity! If I am on a creative flow, I will work longer. On the flip slide, I will give up for the day if I’m in a creative slump. There has to be a balance.
Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
The most supportive of my writing in my family is my 8-year old niece. “The Canvas Adventures” was read to her by my sister each evening over the course of a couple of weeks and after each evening, my niece would call me with her predications about what was coming next. This past Christmas, I presented her with the manuscript of the sequel to the series. Based on her input, I may change a few details before the novel is released later this year. She truly is my biggest fan!