Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I live in Kansas. I do transcendental meditation 5 days a week wearing cowboy boots. Seriously. I was born and raised in a town called Shawnee, on a small farm of 55 acres. I grew up with dogs, geese, horses, goats, chickens, pigs, a few raccoons, some chinchillas and a skunk named Flower. Shawnee is a suburb of Kansas City now. Back when I was a kid though, the roads had two lanes. I would ride my horse almost daily up to the video arcade and get a slushy at 7 Eleven and rent a VHS movie on the way home over the summers. Reagan was president. It was literally a different time. So it is these two things that define me now as a 45 year old photographer and science fiction author; time and the Kansas landscape. Being a visual person, that landscape is burned into my mind – and this is reflected in the three books that I have so far written, 1, 2 & 3 in what will be a six part series entitled The 18th Shadow.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The first three books, Dawn of the Courtezan, Voices in the Stream & Absorption, were written in continuity and released together. These books are inspired by a lifetime love of science fiction, both literature and cinema. Honestly it's easier to give a brief list of topics they delve into, as all of these are relevant sources of inspiration: The concept of life, what defines it, and where self aware cybernetic canine(s) would fall along this spectrum. My primary protagonists are criminals, drug dealers who make vodka, which has been made illegal in 2082 when the novels are set – here in the Free State of Kansas, specifically Lawrence. These "shiners" as they are called, are ruthlessly hunted, and in return must become ruthless themselves to survive. In the future, marijuana is the mainstream recreational drug of choice, and so the series follows characters on both sides of this future War on Drugs (the cultural concept of the WOD started by the Nixon Administration and how it effects us on a daily basis is a huge source of fascination for me). One of my primary characters is a dolphin named Joan who is able to mentally interface with a fusion powered super computer. Dolphins, both good and evil, are the superior life forms running the show behind the scenes in The 18th Shadow. They manipulate time, so this is a constant theme. Book one is spread out over decades, it moves at a slower pace. Time condenses to years and months in Phase 02 – Voices in the Stream. In Phase 03 – Absorption, the longest novel, events take place over a span of 24 hours. At the end of the day, these are action adventure novels, designed to read like movies… somewhere between The Outlaw Josey Wales and Blade Runner.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Can I say smoking? When I need a break, I go outside and smoke a cigarette – it's so not 2017. I'm trying to quit though, so I try to spend most of my writing hours furiously chewing nicotine gum and playing with a fidget spinner when collecting my thoughts or reading up on the science of my theoretical realities in the books.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I immediately think of the work of Phillip K Dick, along with Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Hugh Howey's Wool series was also a big inspiration for this project. Tad Williams, Kim Stanley Robinson and Edward R Robertson come to mind off the top of my head.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on "Phase 04 – Escape From Hypatia 5" – the fourth installment in The 18th Shadow.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Facebook is your friend as a writer. So is having a mailing list sign up form on your website. Make friends. Talk to them. Social media gives your writing a personal touch and a medium for connection with readers that hasn't existed before, so I see this technology as a blessing to indie authors.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don't get pregnant. Don't get anyone pregnant. Don't distract yourself by talking about writing or your ideas. If you have a good idea, believe in it 110% and get busy writing, however it has to happen. When it's done, start talking about it!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Slow down. I must add, what is the worst advice I've ever heard? "Take no chances."
What are you reading now?
I so badly want to say War & Peace or The Selected Works of Pablo Neruda or Dune… but I'm actually reading a fantasy romance novel about witches and vampires called The Key to Erebus by a British author named Emma V Leech. It's simultaneously trashy and wonderful and I love it. She has outstanding character development and momentum in her writing. It's not deep. But it's fun!
What’s next for you as a writer?
Continuing the 18th Shadow until Book 06 – War of the Dolphin is finished… so I will be focusing on this project for the foreseeable.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver.