Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name’s David Kristoph. I live with my wonderful wife and two not-quite German Shepherds. I’m a fantastic reader, great videogamer, good chess player, average cyclist, mediocre runner–and a (hopefully!) decent writer.
I’ve written two books: one published sci-fi novel, and one behemoth Fantasy book that’s currently collecting dust while I procrastinate on beginning the second draft.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Siege of Praetar (Tales of a Dying Star: Book I) was just released. It originated as a short story about two pilots. The story focused on the futility of war, the hopelessness of soldiers just following orders.
I sent it off to many of the short-story publications, and received a ton of great feedback encouraging me to write more. I had this incredible universe built in my head already, so it was easy to expand upon the original story and make it into a full-length novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wake up at 4:00am and write for two hours before work. People look at me like I’m insane when I tell them. But I find I’m far more productive at the beginning of the day; I get a thousand words written (that’s my daily goal) and can spend the rest of the day feeling accomplished.
I also outline the ever-loving crap out of my stories before I write them. An 80,000 word novel usually starts off as a 5,000 word outline before I ever type the first sentence.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Michael Crichton is probably my favorite author. His books are fast-paced thrillers that grab you from the beginning and never let go. Jurassic Park is the kind of book everyone wishes they’d written: a theme park with dinosaurs that spirals out of control. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
In the fantasy genre, Robert Jordan is my biggest influence. I was crushed by his death in 2007, not just because he had yet to finish The Wheel of Time but because he was such a huge part of my adolescence. I would get home from school at 3:00 and read his books until dinner, then read again until bed. They were that good. Brandon Sanderson did a fantastic job finishing the series for him, but Jordan is truly missed.
What are you working on now?
I’ve got a few works-in-progress right now:
1. Tales of a Dying Star: Book II is finished with the first draft and “resting” before I start the next draft.
2. I just started writing the first draft of Tales of a Dying Star: Book III this morning.
3. A thriller tentatively titled “Sleep”, about a man with a sleep disorder who’s admitted into a secretive drug trial at a remote facility.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Twitter and Reddit seem to be pretty great resources.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t be afraid to write poorly. Get the words onto the page: that’s what first drafts are for. You can always go back and refine it, but if you spend hours at a time focusing on one scene during your initial write-through you’ll never finish your book.
Write the first draft, worry about editing/perfecting later.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The exact advice I gave above: don’t be afraid to write poorly. I used to agonize over every sentence, trying to perfect it as I went. I would write a paragraph, then stop and go back and reread it, and start editing it then and there. It was terrible; I averaged maybe 100 words per hour. It felt like I was getting nothing done.
Someone on Reddit gave me that advice, and it changed my life. I know that’s a cliche, but it’s absolutely true.
What are you reading now?
I received several books for Christmas: Voltaire’s ‘Candide’, Sanderson’s ‘Way of Kings’ and ‘Elantris’, and GRRM’s ‘The World of Ice and Fire’. I also picked up JS Morin’s ‘Tech, Lies, and Wizardry”.
I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much good literature out there right now.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I wrote 160,000 words in the last quarter of 2014, so I’m aiming for 500,000 words for all of 2015. By the end of the year I’m aiming to have Books 1-5 of Tales of a Dying Star completed, as well as a few thrillers I’ve got in the works.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Jurassic Park and Ender’s Game are two books that I adore. I usually reread them every year or so, and they’re always as good as they were the first time.