Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
So many authors seem to have amazing, fantastic lives full of adventure, whirlwind romance, foreign travel, and excitement. The only adventure, excitement, whirlwind romance, or foreign travel I’ve experienced has been through media – movie, TV, and books. And I know I’m not alone. Very few of us get to jet set to Italy on a whim, but we can always fly there through the pages of a well told story, and that’s what I hope to do for my readers in the Amaranthine series. So far there are seven books (including the free starter book Shades of Gray), with book eight to be released April 1, 2016, and book nine March 31, 2017.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Masque of the Vampire – to be released April 1, 2016 – is the eighth book in the Amaranthine series and, though it has plenty of blood, action, and vampires, it is inspired by the classic British mystery; a guest at a well-to-do days long party ends up dead. Who killed them? Why? Instead of a dead guest I have a series of child murders, a mysterious locked door in the attic, a phantom stalker, and a cast of suspicious characters.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to figure out what’s going on after I’m halfway through the book. For instance I had a mysterious stalker written in, but it was several chapters before I figured out who they were and why they were doing it. Writing like this means I have to spend a lot of time going back and adding/deleting/changing things, so I end up writing all out of order.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have a standard answer for this one involving Poe, VC Andres, and Laurell K. Hamilton, but more recently I have been inspired by C.G. Coppola and Tricia Drammeh. Coppola writes a sci-fi/fantasy romance/thriller and while I was reading chapter after chapter I noticed it wasn’t just her great story but the fact that she ends almost every chapter with a “hold my breath” moment that kept me turning pages. I have since tried to emulate that. Tricia Drammeh, who writes a variety of work, not only is fantastic at descriptions, but also has a perfect sense of pacing, so again I have tried to kind of emulate that by thinking “Why does this work?” as I read her books.
What are you working on now?
When Masque of the Vampire is released I plan to turn back to my Patrick novel. It’s a prequel to the Amaranthine series and shows how several events got put into motion. It’s a lot darker than the series, and doesn’t have a happy ending. I’m also writing a fantasy novel with a co-author, and a humorous vampire story with another co-author. We’re having a lot of fun.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
A lot of authors swear by Twitter and Facebook, but I haven’t had much luck there. The average participant on a social network is there to be social, not buy a book. Sure, after cultivating a month or more of friendship, your new buddy might check out your book and might buy it – but that’s one sale for a month of work. I prefer to make friends on social networks, not sales, and I prefer my time there to be fun, not work. The best luck I’ve had with sales are listing them with email lists/book sites because people who get these lists, or check these sites, aren’t looking to be social, they are looking to buy. That way I can spend time on Facebook actually making friends instead of trying to sell to them.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Delete, delete, delete. I’ve read countless books that could have gone from “okay” to ‘Amazing” if the writer had just cut out about 10,000 useless, time dragging words. I know there’s a pressure on word count (A book must be so many words to be “real”) but better to have a novella or a short book that flows and has a good pace, than a novel where the entire middle is a waste of everyone’s time. Kill your darlings. Delete scenes that add nothing, or else repeat the same information we already have. Cut extra “and”s and “then”s. Take out unnecessary dialog tags. Put the same value on deleting as you did writing (“I’ve written 10,000 words! Whoo hoo!” and then later “I’ve deleted 2,000 useless words! whoo hoo!).
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Start your brand and your platform before you publish. This may seem strange because you have nothing to sell, but you actually do – you’re selling YOU. Make social profiles, make connections, blog, use wattpad, twitter, whatever medium you enjoy. (If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick to it, and sticking to it is important.) You don’t necessarily need to discuss your upcoming book all the time – or even at all – but you need to build a network so that when the book comes out you have people to sell it to besides just your family.
What are you reading now?
I’m finishing Tricia Drammeh’s The Warrior, Abe’s Story Part One, an amazing prequel to her Spellbringer series about a magical race of people who live aside humans and fight demons – but in a far more realistic way than so many of the crazy books. Then I am on to DM Yates second Dimidium’s book, which isn’t released yet. The Dimidiums are her take on vampires, which are very unique and interesting. I can’t wait to see what the characters are doing in book two!
What’s next for you as a writer?
There will be a book nine in the Amaranthine Series (Goddess of Night) but after that I plan to take a hiatus from the series proper and release Patrick (if he hasn’t been released by then) and also write an origin book of the series’ hero Jorick (by request). After that I’ll see what the fans want next. In the meantime I am slowly working on a short story collection about the Executioners (the vampire special police squad).
What is your favorite book of all time?
I don’t know if I have a favorite book, but I have a favorite universe: Middle Earth. I’ve watched or read entries in it all of my life, and at one point could even write in Quenyan (the language of the High Elves.) I have since forgotten it, use or loose it, as they say, but may get back to it someday.