Interview with Bryan C. Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos: Chaotic Omens

  1. Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Bryan C. Laesch, and I am a writer from Metro Detroit, Michigan. I am the author of Remnants of Chaos: Chaotic Omens which I self-published through Amazon along with four other books ranging in genre from horror to fantasy to Shakespearean plays.

  1. What can you tell us about Remnants of Chaos: Chaotic Omens? What’s it about?

The short answer is demon slayers. The slightly longer answer is it’s about a boy and a girl who are demon slayers. The longer-than-that answer is it’s about a fight between good and evil, demon slayers versus demons, in a post-apocalyptic world set almost a millennium in the future in central Europe. Despite the war that the story revolves around, the ROCCO takes place during a time of relative peace before the war kicks up again due to an evil plot surrounding my female protagonist Nissa Omen. My male protagonist, Azrael Chaos, wants to find out why she’s so important to the forces of Hell, but decides to protect her instead by taking her to the monastery where he trained to become a demon slayer. There Nissa starts her formal training to become a demon slayer and the story builds from there. For an even more detailed answer, you’ll have to read the book.

  1. What sets Remnants of Chaos: Chaotic Omens apart from other stories?

Well, it’s a queer bird in that when I wrote it, I was inspired by the music of the Gothic metal band Nightwish and Capcom’s game series Devil May Cry. As a result, I created a story that I call a Gothic Epic because it’s not really a horror novel since it isn’t meant to scare anyone, and its action scenes are relevant to the continued existence of the whole world and man’s. Ergo, it’s dark and creepy, but can be beautiful if you give it a chance, and its action is very over the top.

  1. Interesting. Tell us, what is your motivation for writing?

Well, there are a lot of reasons why I write. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad. Some of the bad ones include money, renown, I’ve got something to prove, and the fact that I hate most other jobs in the world, but some of the good ones include things like adding and contributing to the literary world and I enjoy the machinations of a good story with fantastic storytelling. But the real reason why I write is because I want to. There’s no stronger reason than I write simply because I want to write and I want to see my stories out there in the world. Everything else is just the icing on the cake.

  1.  Why is the Gothic genre so special to you, and what made you make a “Gothic Epic”?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Why do I feel so strongly about Gothic fiction and why do I want to combine it with over-the-top, meaningful action? I don’t know; it just resonates with who I am. My mind is dark yet beautiful, but I also love guns and swords. Why not combine the two? It worked pretty well for the movie Underworld. Epic Gothic fiction also resonates with me because heavy metal is my favorite music genre which tends to be dark and aggressive, and I want to try to capture that quality and instill it in my writing. There’s just something mystical about it that I am genuinely drawn to and crave. It’s what my spirit yearns for, plain and simple.

  1. Your favorite music is heavy metal? How big of a part does music play in creating your “zone”?

Oh, music is very important. In my iTunes, I’ve created several playlists specifically meant to write by depending on the genre I’m writing in. When I was writing ROCCO, I listened to my Slaying Demons mix, but for my fantasy novel, Heroes of Majestia: The Company of Flight (HOMCOF), I have a Slaying Dragons mix. Then for sci-fi, I have a playlist called Space Odyssey mix, and then there’s a playlist for when I finally get into my young adult books called Teenage Angst mix. So, music is extremely important to finding the creative flow. Like I said, Nightwish helped create the general atmosphere of ROCCO, and their song “Ghost Love Score” helped my characters Nissa and Azrael fall in love. So, yeah, need my tunes when I write. According to science, it also helps you focus, so that’s a boon worth taking advantage of.

  1. Let’s talk more about genres. Do you write in any others?

Well, like I said earlier, I do have books in other genres. One is a compilation of three horror short stories. That one’s called Tales of Horror: Macabre Monsters of Michigan. And then of course there’s HOMCOF and my Shakespearean play The Passion of Gloucester and Sinéad. I did offer a self-help book that was part philosophy, but my father who read it didn’t have very good things to say about it so I’ve taken it off the market for the time being. But, I do intend to return to self-help and philosophy, and I plan on expanding into all sorts of other genres including romance.

  1. How versatile. Which do you think is easier: fiction or non-fiction?

Non-fiction, definitely. Whether it’s autobiographical, philosophy, or self-help, it’s just so much easier than fiction. One of the reasons is world building. You don’t have to world build in non-fiction; you just present the facts of the matter as they are and what you think about them, and the reader does the rest. Fiction requires a lot more work for the writer. World building, characterization, storylines, word counts; there’s just so much more that has to be done.

  1. What about fan-fiction? Have you ever written any?

Unfortunately. But most of the fan-fiction I’ve written has never seen the light of day, and I want to keep it that way. As you can guess, I don’t have a very high opinion of fan-fiction. The reason being is that I have the perspective “if you’re going to create an original story, why don’t you just create an original world and characters too and make an actually original story?” I understand wanting to see your favorite characters embroiled in more adventures, but so many people take liberties with characters when writing fan-fiction, and there are quite a few fan-fiction writers who just aren’t good writers.

However, I do have a fan project going on for the American made anime RWBY where I’m basically writing a novelization of the show. I’m mostly doing it to expand my audience and maybe even get a contract with the creators to help my writing career, but until it’s officially recognized, it is for the time being… (sighs) fan-fiction.

  1. Writing is your career? It’s not a hobby or a passion?

Oh, it’s definitely a passion. Hobbies you do to pass the time or just to have fun with. Passions drive and define your life. You love them for what they are even when you suffer for them, which is what passion actually means—to love something so much you willingly suffer for it. And both my bank account and love life are definitely suffering for my writing.

  1. Sorry to hear that. When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?

Some point in high school. Sophomore year I think. That was the first time I really got a taste for creative writing, and I had the recognition of both my classmates and my teacher that I was good at it. At the time, I still planned to go to college and become an engineer like my father, but as I continued through high school and wrote more, and the more I was critically acclaimed, the more I started to believe in myself as a writer. And the job itself is more enticing than engineering. At some point, in college I think, I just started calling myself a writer. I knew it was what I wanted to do, and I knew it was the reason for my existence. It was my destiny to be a writer. No two ways about it.

  1. You were going to follow in your father’s footsteps? How did he take it when he found out you wanted to be a writer?

Well, both of my parents think I’m a good writer, and they do buy and read my stuff, but they were raised in the 50’s and 60’s, so they have a very different idea about how I should live my life. They’d prefer I get a stable career and work for the next 40 years of my life before retiring.

  1. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?

Probably my Uncle Jerry. I mean, my sister has also been quite supportive. She’s come to me for advice on some of her own projects and I definitely get support from the rest of my family, but my uncle trumps them all. I told him one day that I would have to get a real job soon because I’m broke and his response was “Why do you wanna work?!” (laughs) Add to that, when I told him about ROCCO being published, he said he wanted to buy a copy and have me inscribe it with something like “To my uncle who pushed me to write instead of work.” Obviously, that isn’t true, but you can tell he’s quite a character.

  1. So you’re not the only writer in your family then? Your sister writes, too? Do you have any other siblings?

I have one other sibling, a brother. Both are older than me by quite a bit, but I got the last laugh since I’m the tallest. My sister does share my passion for writing somewhat. She writes fan-fiction to critical acclaim, but she does have an idea for an original story that she has discussed with me. There was a problem with one her world building mechanics, and she wanted to run it by me to see what I thought. She’s also said that she enjoys helping to craft a good story which is why she got into video game art. My brother however is more into the automotive world, not that I’m disparaging his choice in career. The world needs honest mechanics, and he’s one of the few. Plus, I like cars myself. I hope to own a Ferrari some day.

  1. Let’s talk more about your writing and how you write. What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

For me, it’s dialogue. I don’t know what it is about dialogue, but it just flows from me. In fact, I try to tell as much of my story as possible through dialogue because it’s easier to digest and quicker to read than blocks of text. Plus, I just enjoy writing it. I love interaction between the characters. The other part of writing that is pretty easy is coming up with the original idea for a story. Just that first bit of imagination that gives birth to a whole new world which then births characters, and then it starts writing itself. It’s all quite exciting.

  1. And what would you say is the hardest thing about writing?

World building. Coming up with characters is easy, but when you have to build a world around them and make sure it has its own rules and limitations, and that those rules and limitations don’t interfere with what you want to do with the story, it can get quite frustrating and be quite time consuming. Thinking up a story’s world is easy, but hammering out the conceptual details can be a pain. I mean, world building is one of the reasons why fantasy and sci-fi books are expected to be 90 to 110K words whereas other novels only have to be 90K. Having 20K words devoted to world building is a lot of world building. Having written a fantasy novel myself, I don’t know how other writers do it. HOMCOF is barely over 92K. However, one of the real hardest things about writing is just beginning to write something. It’s easy to think about, but starting to right like is taking a small bite of a huge cake. You know you’re going to eat the whole thing, but it’s going to take a while.

  1. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

Setting a plot, definitely. Outlining is a must. I didn’t outline ROCCO and that’s one of the reasons why it took me seven years to complete. I had an idea of where it was going and where I wanted to take it, but it wasn’t until halfway through did I get serious about where the story needed to go. That’s one of the reasons it’s almost 150K words. It was originally 206K. But I did outline HOMCOF and as result, that only took me a year to write and finish. However, I don’t plan everything. I will plan the major scenes but how the scene plays out is all up to the characters and the scene itself. So, despite the outlines, there is an element of organic creation to my writing.

  1. How do you prefer to write: typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

It all depends on what I’m writing. For novels and short stories, I always begin and end on the computer. For poetry, I prefer to use a notebook and a pen to start with. With the nature of the two media, a computer is just more conducive to novels and short stories, and a pen and paper is more conducive to poetry. With a novel, it’s about getting the story down now; with a poem, it’s about finding the flow and the right syntax and diction. Plus, it’s better to have your previous attempts at writing a line right before you so you can continue to synthesize a line. With novels, there’s not that much importance on a single line. There are times when I’ll stray and I will write something by hand for a novel, but that’s usually because I’m away from my computer and I want to work on the story.

  1. Oh, so you’re one of those types who write your revelations as you have them rather than struggling to remember them later?

Well, not really. If the revelation was particularly mind blowing, I will bother to write it down or put it in my phone or something. But most of the time I convince myself that it isn’t that big of a deal and I’ll remember it later. And sometimes I do. But when I don’t, especially when it comes to character dialogue or how a scene’s climax is supposed to go, I want to scream. Guess I better start writing things down.

  1. Have you ever changed sentences more than five times just because it didn’t hit the right notes?

Uh, maybe. I can’t think of a single sentence where that was a problem, but I did go back to an old piece of poetry a few months ago and I did revamp most of the lines. There was also the entire intro to HOMCOF; I’ve re-written that quite a few times and the second to the last chapter of ROCCO I wrote at least three times in three different ways. I’m pretty sure I hit the nail on the head for ROCCO, but HOMCOF I don’t feel confident about.

  1. Have you ever just destroyed any of your drafts? And why?

Aye. There were stories I wrote back before I was serious about being a writer that either I left in the dust because they weren’t any good, or that I’m “re-tooling” to be used later in a different capacity—sort of like recycling them—but there are two projects that I have just outright deleted. One was a dramatic short story based off that Woody Allen line, “There are only two things that scare me: sex and death,” and as a result, the story was going to be about sex and death. In fact, it had the title Sex and Death. The other draft was to be a compilation of erotic short stories about different sorts of couples and their intimate experiences with each other in a totally monogamous and very Christian way. I ended up destroying it because it made me super uncomfortable to write—I had to go for a brisk walk multiple times while writing them so my blood would flow to other parts of my body—and I couldn’t bear the shame of someone in my family actually reading these stories and then knowing what sorts of things go through my mind. However, I am working on another compilation of erotic romance shorts at this time. The difference between this project and the other two is that no one gets laid in this one, but it is still quite steamy.

  1. Although all books say that all the characters aren’t real or related, but are they really all fictional and made up? Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?

I’ve never made the claim that all my characters are completely fictional. In fact, I can’t make that claim because it would be a bold faced lie. I do have characters in ROCCO that are based off myself, friends, family, school chums, and former “girlfriends”. I have characters in ROCCO that are even named after teachers I had in high school and college. My female lead, Nissa Omen, while she is my idea of what the perfect girl and girlfriend should be, some of her behaviors and thinking patterns are based off an old female friend of mine who at the time I did think was pretty damn close to the ideal of what the perfect girl was like. And a good chunk of my characters are based off me in some way, no matter how small or fleeting. If they weren’t, I don’t think I would want to write about them. But, the character Ardal Swordmaster from ROCCO does come the closest to being a highly romanticized version of myself.

  1. Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long does it usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?

Who hasn’t experienced Writer’s Block? Seriously, who hasn’t? It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, you’re likely to get it at some point. As for how to cure it, it depends: were you writing and then suddenly stopped, or have you been stopped for a while? If you’ve been stopped for a while, read the last section you wrote to try to jumpstart the creative juices and then force yourself to write something—anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. You may hate how it sounds, but when you come back tomorrow, you might find it perfectly acceptable.

As for if Writer’s Block stopped you writing, the best thing to do is to do something else. Either go for a walk or engage your mind in a different way. The flow should eventually come back. And if it doesn’t, I recommend you try manipulating your inspiration. For instance, if a particular song always inspires you to write, listen to that song.

  1. Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

I do it all myself. I graduated from Wayne State University with my BA in English Honors, so I should know how to do it all myself. And the thing about proofreaders and editors is that they’re not infallible. We’ve all read books with mistakes in them. They’re small, and few and far between, but they’re still there. And with how much such services cost, it just makes more sense to do it myself despite the time investment. But you know what? They say the more you put in, the more you get out.

  1. Do you make your own vocabulary words in your book or resort to the existing ones?

I always look to existing words first, but sometimes, you have to make up your own. And I’m not talking about words that only have one purpose or definition within your fantasy or sci-fi novel. I mean words that sound like real words and can be used by others. One I made up in ROCCO, at least I think I made it up, is “awkwardity”. I’ll use it in a sentence for you: “Every time she runs into a pole and apologizes is an example of an awkwardity.” Another word I made up was “deicentrilization” or in its verb form, “deicentralize”. It means to align your will with God’s. And I would tell people not to be scared of making up their own words. Shakespeare made up a bunch! Some of which we actually use.

  1. How realistic are your books?

I don’t know how to answer this. Is any fantasy book realistic? What about romance or horror? I mean, I do try to keep things as realistic as I can, but if realism is in the way of my telling a good story, I try to find a way around it. But, I do try to keep my characters’ sensibilities grounded in real life. If their sixth sense tells them to run, they run. If a character can’t convince them, they don’t. Or I write my convincing character to be more convincing. I try for the greatest realism possible, but I do find ways around it if the story calls for it.

  1. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

Oh, yes. I have a few story ideas that are based on dreams I’ve had. And when I was in high school, I was writing a book that I called The Shadow Blade, a name and concept that I’ve decided to recycle since then, but there was a scene that was based off a dream I had involving zombies and a graveyard. Maybe I’ll re-purpose that scene and put it into something else.

  1. What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?

Rain. I don’t know what it is about dreary weather, but I absolutely love it. Cloudy, rain, thunderstorms; just something about it all makes me want to write. It might have something to do with the fact that as humans we’re diurnal creatures, so when the sun’s out, we want to go outside and play. But when it’s raining, it’s like, “Well, there’s nothing outside for me. And I know all my friends are cooped up inside too, so I know I’m not going to miss anything. Might as well write.” It could also be because the rain is more romantic or poetic than sunshine. There might also be a sense of ambiance associated with hearing and seeing the rain as if it adds character to the scene I’m writing.

  1. Do you have a daily habit of writing? Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

I try to have a daily habit of writing. Ever since I started a blog, it’s been much easier to write everyday because now I fall into the groove more easily, but the blog does take its own portion of my time and away from my other works. At one point, I did have a number of words I wanted to write every day (3000), but with the blog, I’m sure I smash that every day. Well, not every day. Saturday I don’t get anything done because I have so much other stuff to do. But yes, I try to write every day.

  1. Lastly, can you tell us about your writing style? Which writer’s work do you believe most resembles your work? How do you think your writing style has changed over the years?

Well, when I started out JK Rowling had the greatest effect on how I wrote. I even mimicked some of her diction. At one point, I was a little more influenced by Terry Pratchitt which made me put slightly comical statements here and there throughout a piece. The problem was that I wasn’t writing a parody or a comedy, so those parts just came off as strange and out of place. When I went back to Cook to finish The Chronicles of the Black Company, and then I re-read the entire series immediately after, my writing style became more spartan. Cook has a very simplified way of writing where he doesn’t get bogged down with the little details of a scene or what a character looks like which is very different from how Rowling writes. And then, after reading Stephan King’s On Writing where he postulates a writing philosophy that doesn’t interfere with the reader’s imagination, I think my style has become sparser. But I’ve also been influenced by older writers like Shakespeare and Poe. In fact, I once had a creative writing professor who said I should use less antiquated language. Guess where I get that from. But I have no intentions to stop using antiquated language. I love it. Love it! But getting back to the question, I feel like my writing style is definitely its own these days as I try to strike a balance between everything I’ve learned. My writing is definitely my voice, but what my voice is, I can’t really say. My friend Jessica describes it as being more formal than the way most people talk these days.

  1. Interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about your writing philosophy. For instance, do you think someone has to be a writer to be an author?

Well, on the one hand, it just sounds like someone is trying to split hairs to be a pain in the butt. There isn’t enough of a difference between writer and author that they can’t be used interchangeably. However, having said that, I claim the title of “writer” because I don’t just write books and novels; I also write poetry, short stories, plays, blogs, philosophy, self-help, and I’ve got quite a few ideas for screenplays. So, I claim to be a writer because it’s general enough to be used as a catch all to catch all the things I write. But can you be an author without being a writer? I don’t think so unless someone believes writer is lofty and ethereal whereas author is more down to earth, but again, splitting hairs.

  1. Do you think anyone can be a writer?

I believe so. Sure, some people are more naturally talented, but writing is a skill. We know it’s a skill because all writers get better the more they read and write. And if we can get better at it, then it can be taught or learned. So, yes, anyone can be a writer.

  1. Do your novels carry a message?

Generally, no. The first purpose of my novels is to entertain. While they may contain messages or themes in them, they themselves are not vessels for a particular message. I think doing so kind of ruins the mood of the book. Although, there are some books like 1984 and Brave New World that seem to carry their messages just fine. So, maybe a book carrying a message gracefully is dependent on the genre.

  1. Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

Not at all. We are humans and we speak. And many of the experiences we have throughout our lives are experienced by people who speak other languages. Why wouldn’t they be able to understand what we’re getting at? Now, some of the cultural subtext may be missing, as I know when I watch anime, regardless of whether it’s dubbed or subbed, I’m bound to miss or not understand something, but the overall meaning isn’t lost on me.

  1. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

The story—always the story. Without the story, the book wouldn’t exist. And for some books, their covers and titles can be applied to about a dozen different books. But the story is what makes a book unique. That’s where you find all the character. Get it? Character?

  1. So what then is your take on the importance of the cover and title?

Both are definitely important from a marketing stand point. A good cover catches the eye and a good title tickles the brain. Together, they cause you to pick up the book and turn it around so you can read the synopsis. But, the cover and title aren’t everything. Like I said, some titles are so generic, they can be applied to anything, and some covers can be misleading. Although, I may only be thinking this because all my covers are home bodge jobs, so I’m kind of being idealistic and naïve about the whole thing.

  1. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

I’m working on a project with my uncle right now that requires co-authoring, and it is very, very, very difficult. I understand why some writers don’t want to do it. Most of them don’t want to do it because their work is their own. For me, the problem lies in getting two people together to write a book when one of them isn’t a writer. It’s especially frustrating when the one who isn’t a writer is the one who knows the story but hasn’t outlined it. So, it’s quite trying, but I have several projects on the back, back, back burners that are co-authoring ideas, and I wouldn’t be involved if I didn’t think they could be good stories.

  1. You’ve already mentioned some of the writers who have affected your style, but let’s talk about what you read. Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite authors?

I don’t read as much as authors should to be honest. I don’t have a particular reason for not reading, but just like starting to write a book, starting to read a book canbe the hardest part. But two of my favorite authors are Glen Cook and Terry Pratchitt. Cook wrote The Chronicles of the Black Company, a gritty, dark fantasy series that drags the idea of dashing heroes through the muck, and Pratchitt is famous for his Discworld series, which is a great parody of fantasy paradigms. But two of my real favorites are Shakespeare and Poe. I’ve got a real classic bent.

  1. If you were given the opportunity to form a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to become a part of the club?

Well, the idea sounds intriguing at first, but given whom I’d want in my club, it would be one of the weirdest clubs ever. It would be composed of Shakespeare, Poe, Lovecraft, Dante, Chaucer, Dickens, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Dostoyevsky just to shake things up. And the point of the club wouldn’t be to read and discuss books, but to further develop the craft of writing by bringing together these great and weird minds and seeing what sort of wacko crap they come up with. It’d be a hoot! And I wouldn’t let any contemporaries in because they don’t carry the mystique that these guys do.

  1. Do you read any of your own work?

Sort of. I do enjoy reading what I’ve written, but I thought that might have been an arrogance thing. I don’t know if you’re actually supposed to be a fan of your own writing. Although, it does amaze me when I go back and read something I wrote years ago. Most often, I have the reaction “Who wrote this crap? Me?! No, that’s not possible.” But once in a while, the opposite happens. “Who wrote this?! It’s amazing! Oh, wait. I did. I’m really good. I should do this for a living.”

  1. How do you think concepts such as Kindle and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

Well, they’ve definitely changed the present and future of writing, but reading, I’m not too sure. I was talking about my books with my friend Jessica and she said she thought e-books were good because they allow more people to read and to read more. There definitely is a sense of freedom about it as people carry their computers, tablets, and phones everywhere with them, so they can read wherever they are rather than remembering to carry a book with them. And I’ve heard the e-book business is big on Amazon. Like, real big! But how many people are reading the books they’ve purchased? Who can say.

  1. If you were to watch your favorite book (which hasn’t been turned into a real life motion picture) turn into a movie, which would you choose?

The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook. I think it would really blow people’s minds to see a dark fantasy movie series with the same production values as The Lord of the Rings. It would give them a whole new perspective on what fantasy can be. Cook does a lot of interesting things with The Black Company, specifically bringing fantasy down to the human level and what it’s like to be a normal man on a chess board where the players are ancient sorcerers duking it out for absolute power. As a result, the normal man has to play pretty dirty and make some deals with the devil to make sure he doesn’t end up squashed. But, there would be things that would have to be changed for the film adaptation. I’m not going to give anything away here, but The Black Company does explore the dark recesses of human brutality and desire, so there are some things in the books that would have to be changed for the motion picture audience.

  1. If you could have been the original author of any book you’ve read, what would it have been and why?

Either Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings because then I’d be rich, rich, rich! Muah-ha-ha-ha!

  1. Bryan, it’s time we wrap this up, so let’s talk a little bit about life. Do you think writers have a normal life like others?

Define “normal”. If you mean we have taxes and bills to pay, we eat, we breathe, we have families and responsibilities, then yes, writers have normal lives. But if you meant that since we’re trying to achieve something great that will leave our mark on the world and transform the lives of all those who read it while others work 9 to 5 for someone else’s dream and after a hundred years no one will remember them, then no, writers don’t have a normal life like others. But, even with everything considered, I’d still say no just based on the way writers carry themselves and how they view the world.

  1. Do you think you’ll write for the rest of your life, or do you think you’ll retire someday?

Well, some writers do retire—some retire after writing a single book. I mean, after all you’re not a writer if you stop writing. But if you never stop writing, then you never retire. Most artists don’t. Ozzy Osbourne tried to retire once, but he came out of it. I suspect for myself that I’ll never retire. In fact, after I graduated from Wayne State, my Uncle Dennis asked where I was going to work or what I was going to do, and I told him I didn’t know. He returned with “Well, don’t you want to retire?” And I said, “I’m a writer—we don’t retire.” Then he said, “Writers also don’t eat.” To which I said, “I’m overweight. I can stand to lose a few pounds.” Just another example of the criticism writers suffer for their craft. But getting back to retirement, writing is my life’s calling, and I’m certain I’m going to be doing it until I die. I just hope I don’t have any unfinished books or series when I croak. That would be devastating.

  1. Can you tell us about your current projects? When can readers expect your next book?

I hope to have another book or two out before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, they’re taking a little more time than I thought. If I can‘t get them done by Thanksgiving, then Christmas is the next deadline. But as for what they are, well, I’ve gotten really into the idea of writing short story compilations. There are only three stories per compilation, but I really like doing it. Tales of Horror: Macabre Monsters of Michigan turned out real well so I hope to do the same with the genres of erotic romance, thriller, narrative poetry, and I’ll be using the same basic tactic to expand the worlds of ROCCO and HOMCOF. Each entry will have two or three short stories expanding on the universe along with a sample chapter from the next real book in either series. Besides that I’m planning a self-help book for archery beginners and two non-fiction philosophical dealies dealing with what it means to be a true American and the harder to swallow beliefs of the Catholic Church. I’m also working on my next novel which will be a standalone project—I think, depends on how long each major part is—and that’s a dark fantasy book inspired by the works of Glen Cook. And all this doesn’t even include the project I’m working on with my Uncle Jerry which will include a book, possibly a series, an animated show, and a phone app.

  1. Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on. Finally, is there any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. It will take a lot of work to see your book come to fruition, but it will only come to fruition if you keep working at it. It will take a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Also, recent research suggests digital publishing is the way to go. Paperbacks and hardcovers are for promotion. I urge you to do your own research on the topic, but I think the time of the traditional publisher is coming to an end, so keep that in mind as you move ahead. Keep writing and stay up to date with what’s going on in the field.