What is your book about?
Grim Ambition is a superhero crime thriller told from the viewpoint of the criminals. It’s an intense read with plot twists and mystery throughout. Not only is it a fun read, but it was really fun to write!
Is it a part of a series?
Yes. Grim Ambition is the first in A Grim Trilogy. There is also a short story prequel available (Grim Inception, A Grim Trilogy 0.5). I’m also working on an origin story line, which gives you the first person viewpoint of each of the main characters and what got them to where they are in the trilogy itself. More short stories are also planned to be between books 1 and 2, and 2 and 3.
How often do you write?
Every. Single. Day. If I don’t, I’ll lose focus and ambition (I had to) to do so. I also need to write about my Grim characters. If I try taking a break and writing something else entirely, my mind will shift focus and what needs to get done won’t happen.
What other plans for the Grim universe do you have?
Well, this is really exciting. I’m currently starting to work on recordings for the Grim Audible versions. It’s a LOT of work, but I know it will be worth it. In addition, I’m going to make each book into a graphic novel, which I’m even more excited for. Lastly, I plan on making an RPG (role playing game) out of it as well.
How long did it take you to write Grim Ambition? Grim Inception?
I finished the first draft of Grim Ambition in two months. I started it May 2016, and it was off to the editor shortly after I was done. However, editing and revising takes a long time. It was ready to go for publishing around mid-December of the same year.
Inception I actually wrote after Ambition. It took me about a week. I had this idea to do a short story on a very small character from A Grim Trilogy and give their background on how they got to where they were in the trilogy as well. So for Grim Inception, I decided to focus on Henry, who has a very tiny role in Grim Ambition, but still brings up questions that readers may want answered. So I just wrote his story!
How many books have you completed?
Grim Ambition is out and published, ready for purchase. So is Grim Inception.
As far as the rest of the books in the Grim Universe, book two, Grim Judgment is finished and just waiting to go to the editor. Book three, Grim Vengeance, is fully outlined. The ending is completed, and so is the beginning, so I just need to finish the middle.
Lastly, I’m about 29,000 words into the first Origin story. It has a few more chapters to go, then it will be sent to the editor as well.
What made you choose to publish yourself instead of going through a traditional publisher?
Well, first of all, I wanted my story and the characters out right away. It was killing me not to be able to share it with the world. Had I gone with a traditional publisher, I’d have to find an agent first. Pitching them takes months, even years, and you might not ever find one anyway. I didn’t want to risk not having my book published until 2020 or later!
Also, as stated before, I have HUGE plans for the Grim characters and universe, with the graphic novel and RPG. I also have two artists doing my own cover art (which most publishers don’t let you do, you have to use theirs instead) and unique character portraits of each person in the Grim series. I have unique ways of promoting, too, and I just really wanted to make sure I could keep all control and all the rights of my work, and one of the few ways to do that is to publish yourself.
What inspired you to start writing A Grim Trilogy?
Well, I was watching Daredevil on Netflix one day. I love that show. I’m also a big fan of Batman. The thing that always gets me is that the hero rarely kills the criminals he’s fighting, they always turn them over to the law. That got me thinking, “What if a hero DID kill his victims? What would that do to him? Do his loved ones once they found out? What if someone he loved ended up being a bad guy? Would he kill them?” All these questions hit me at once, and I knew I had to explore it all.
Who is your favorite character to write?
Bruce. Sorry guys, he’s in Grim Judgment and Vengeance, so you’ll have to wait to see why he’s my favorite!
In Grim Ambition, though, my favorite to write is Shawn. Which makes sense, since he was adopted and raised by Bruce, so of course they have similarities. Plus, the interactions between Shawn and his adoptive brother Jaxon are really fun.
What made you want to do character art?
Like I said before, I really wanted to share everything I see in my mind with my friends, family, and the world. Writing is only one way to do that. With the art, I can show everyone how I picture my characters in my head. That’s also why I want to do the graphic novels. People are very visual most of the time, and having something really cool and well done to look at increases the excitement.
This is also true of websites. Many authors don’t think you need one, but oh, boy, do you ever. You should have a website before you even begin to write your book! You need to get your brand out there, your name out there, increase the hype of people so they jump at the chance to get your book once it’s finally released.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Oh, so much. I can only write certain characters when I’m in certain moods, too. So, I write Shawn or Bruce when I’m in a great mood, Jaxon when I’m moody and irritable, Alex when I’m angry. Because my books focus a lot on emotion, it really works out!
Did you ever think you’d be unable to finish your first novel?
Yep. When it was done, I actually did try pitching agents to get it through to a traditional publisher. I had everything set up, pitch letters, a synopsis, everything. I did a ton of research on hundreds of agents, and sent out five pitches every other week. I didn’t get many who responded to me. A few said they weren’t looking for what I was pitching at that time but to try again in a year. It was pretty frustrating, and made me want to give up pretty quickly.
Soon, though, after only about a month and a half, I was like, nope. I know it’s going to be a LOT of work on my end, but I’m getting this out there, and I’m getting it out now. And I’m so glad I did, because the response I’ve gotten is fantastic! Nothing is more thrilling to me, and more inspiring to write more, than people coming up to me telling me how great the book was and how they crave more!
Are there any books you are currently reading?
Oh, I’m reading ALL the time. I’m never without a book or three in my purse, and my house is literally full of them. I can’t get enough! Right now I’m reading the fascinating book by Madeline Miller called The Song of Achilles. I adore mythology, and it’s so well written. I highly recommend it.
Who are your favorite authors? Have any inspired your writing?
I grew up reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz. However, now I’m in love with Joe Hill’s writing. I absolutely love books that keep you guessing until the end, that are full of intensity and suspense, and all of these authors have that. And, because of them, so do mine! I love weaving a story that all ties together eventually, but not right away.
Who are your books dedicated to?
My family and friends, of course. I couldn’t have done any of this without their love and support. I also dedicate them to the memory of Anton Yelchin, who inspired the character Isaac. Anton’s death was so tragic and pointless, and it still upsets me to this day, nearly a year later. I wish more than anything I could have known him.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are all socially inept. How true is that?
Not very. I’m mostly a shy person who prefers to stay in and write or read instead of going out, but that’s mostly because once I’m in the writing “zone” I cannot be snapped out of it, and if I am, it’s pretty frustrating, as I then lose all of that focus on the book I’m writing and the ideas I have for it. In addition, because I have two day jobs on top of writing all of the Grim books, I’m pretty stressed and tired. The best thing for me to do is curl up with a book and read until I fall asleep.
However, when I am out, I’m social and friendly. Since Grim Ambition was released, I have been to multiple conventions to participate on author panels and to sell my books at vendor booths. For that you need to always be “on” and able to talk to many people you don’t know. I absolutely love this part of it, and would not consider myself socially inept at all.
Another misconception is that all authors are wealthy. How true is that?
For me, not at all! I haven’t even broken even yet! Everything I do is funded out of my own pocket, but for me to keep all the rights and be able to have free reign on what I do with my characters and story, it’s worth every penny.
Plus, you don’t make a lot at all when you release your first book. That’s why you have to keep writing, keep releasing more! The more product you have, the more people can buy if they like your style!
If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything at all in your books?
Not at all! I’m very happy with how everything has turned out, and can’t wait to see how the rest goes!
How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
Passion, for sure. I can’t get enough of it. I pour my heart and soul into each page, each character. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop, and I know without it, I would wither up inside. I’ve been able to get so much emotion, so much life onto the pages of my books, that it’s sparked even more in myself. I know I’m going to be writing for the rest of my time.
Do you reply to your fans personally?
I love to, yes! Nothing is more amazing than to have someone approach you and say they loved what you wrote. What I put out there is everything I have, and it takes a ton of work, and if someone loves it just as much as I do, it’s an amazing feeling. I make sure I personally reply to every single fan. Unless they are on the mailing list, then my superhero Grim messages them!