After grilling my fellow Pirates & Swashbucklers authors, I thought it only fair that I take my turn responding to the questions I posed them. Longtime readers may already know the answers to some of these.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
The blurb I usually submit for a bio begins with the writing I shared for Show-and-Tell in the third grade, but it wasn’t until my senior year in high school–I took a creative writing class and entered a statewide short story contest–that I truly thought of myself as a writer, or considered writing as a career.
What authors influence or inspire you?
Terry Brooks is probably the author who most influences my writing style. I reread the chapter from The Sword of Shannara where Shea, Flick, and Menion travel through the Black Oaks to get inspiration for writing about Adder Swamp in Maiden of Pain. I wanted to capture not just the environment, but the atmosphere Brooks created.
David Eddings influenced my ideas about world-building early on. Tolkien’s use of geography as a quest obstacle is also something that has stuck with me.
What book(s) have you read more than once? What drew you back?
The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Belgariad, The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, The Wheel of Time, and the Bible. The first five are genre classics, and some of the first books I read growing up, so there is a sentimental attachment as well as just being fun to read. Wheel of Time is on the list because I often had to go back and reread the series to remember what (if anything) happened as time between new releases grew longer and longer. The Bible is important to me primarily as the source of my faith, but I have looked to it from time to time for its value as literature.
In 25 words or less, how would you define “pulp” as a genre?
Action and adventure over introspection and angst.
What made you decide to submit a story for the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology?
“Relvan’s Rescue” had originally been written for a nautical-themed sword-and-sorcery anthology that was published four years ago. It was rejected, but with some nice comments from the editor. I overhauled the story and sent it out to some other markets. Still no takers. I let it sit for a year or so before revisiting and revising it. A second round of submissions began. One market held on to it for a year while they worked through their backlog and instituted a new submission process.
About the time I finally received a rejection from them, I ran across Pulp Empire’s call for submissions on Duotrope. As my story had originally been intended for a “pirate” anthology, I thought this was the ideal market.
How did you come up with the idea for your story? What is your writing process like?
The first Janner Kohl story I started working on was actually the last story I planned to write about him chronologically. At the beginning of the story, he is hired by an older Relvan, and there is a passing reference to Janner having rescued him from kidnappers when Relvan was younger. I chose to explore that when I decided to write a story for the sword-and-sorcery anthology.
My writing process for short stories is different than for novels. I always create a chapter-by-chapter outline before I get too far into the first chapter of a novel. For short stories, I might write up a paragraph synopsis, but I typically just start writing as soon as I have a general idea of the plot in my head.
Once I have a draft written, I’ll send it off to one or two readers. Based on their comments and my own thoughts, I’ll make some revisions before sending it off.
Do you consider yourself a “pulp” writer? Why? Is there another genre you like to write?
Sword-and-sorcery is a genre I like to both read and write, and has strong ties to the “Pulp” era. I also like to write high fantasy. I typically identify myself as a fantasy author/writer.
Care to weigh in with your opinion of the e-book?
They are the inevitable future of our technology-driven society, and while I plan to take full advantage of the format as an author, you will have to pry the paperback out of my cold, rigor-locked grasp before I trade it in for an e-reader.
Where can someone find more of your work?
All of my professional publications are currently out of print, so you’ll have to track them down used somewhere. I have some excerpts, poetry, and a five-part fantasy serial published on this site.