Author’s Bio: I've been writing fiction almost as long as I can remember, starting with fan fiction at 13 (before I even knew there was a term for it). In my late teens, I tackled my first novel: a thriller from the most sedentary kid you'd ever known. It was every bit as bad as you're thinking.
A few years ago, I decided it was time to finally make my dream a reality. Inspiration for the characters in my Warlock Case Files series hit, and I started writing. I've published three books in that series with more to come. My most recent book is the start of a spin-off series, introducing a new warlock character.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve been working on The Warlock Case Files for several years, and the series is going well, but I had this book I wrote several decades ago that I wanted to get back to. My initial idea was to rewrite it as a Warlock Case Files, but I liked one of the characters in the original draft so much that I wanted to make him the main character instead. I changed the setting from the Mid-west, where it had originally been set, and made it Northern Virginia so I could use the main characters from my other series in a guest starring role.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I love the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher. When I decided to start writing urban fantasy, he was definitely an inspiration. I wanted to make my characters different, though. Harry uses flashy magic to defeat his opponents. I wanted my characters to be more subtle, so I did my magical world building with a simple philosophy. No fireballs!
Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
No, not my first book. It was actually the third one I wrote, several decades ago, and the only one that had a strong enough plot to be published. That said, after rewriting it and changing the main character, it’s so different that I estimate only about 10% of the original text is still there. It took me about a year to write the first time and roughly the same length of time to rewrite. In hindsight, I should have just scrapped all the original text and started over from scratch. The rewrite was brutal and much harder than just writing fresh.
Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
This one was a special case, so I’ll answer this question about my other books. I do not use an outline. I usually start a book knowing roughly how it begins and ends and with some ideas of a few scenes in the middle. Other than that, I just let it flow. I like it when my characters do something unexpected, which often happens several times in a book. Some of my best scenes happen that way.
Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
I do listen to music, although I don’t have a theme song for my books. My writing playlist is heavily made up of soundtracks (mostly Marvel movies and TV shows) with a few alternative and classic rock songs to round it out.
What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Word of mouth, mostly. When I get a chance to talk about my books, if people enjoy urban fantasy, they often go out and buy at least one. My non-fiction book was featured on Lifehacker earlier this year as one of the best business books to read in 2016. That was a big boost to the sales of a five-year old book. It’s great when things like that happen!
What advice would you give to new authors?
Keep writing. Don’t give up. Sales from a first book might be disappointing, but remember that you can be in this for the long haul. If you work with a publisher, be careful of what rights you sell and get an attorney to review the contract. A bad contract can hamstring an author. I prefer self-publishing because I retain control, but a small press can be a fantastic publishing partner if you find a good one.
How about sharing an excerpt from Buried Not Gone?
John stood outside, staring at her. Denise felt her world narrow down to just his eyes. She dimly heard Kevin ask her what was wrong, but she couldn’t look away from the hurt and the pain and the despair outside the window.
Part of her noticed the deeply-etched circles under his eyes, and she thought he must not be sleeping much. The circles made his brown eyes seem like deep wells of sadness, and his face was slack, as if all the spirit had left the man whom she had once loved. The moment seemed to stretch into hours. Raindrops dripped down his cheeks, pooling in his slightly open mouth. He was still dressed as he had been earlier, in one of the sensible, off-the-rack suits he wore when he taught his classes. John’s throat moved, as if he were about to speak, but then he shook his head and turned away and started walking toward the street. Water slicked his dark hair to his head, making him look smaller and less threatening than he had earlier.
Denise wanted to speak, to say something to break the spell, but her shock held her paralyzed, and she couldn’t force words past the heavy dread sitting on her chest. Without words, she couldn’t turn away. Dimly, she felt someone shaking her, but even that seemed far away, like it was happening to another person.
She watched John cross West Ox Road, the traffic seeming to part to let him pass. He got into his car, and even through the rain and the distance, she could see him clearly, see the droop in his shoulders and the halt in his step as he opened the door and got in.
His car door closed, and she could hear the “clunk,” even from that distance. She prayed the sound would end the spell, but still she could not look away. Her heart lurched, and she knew deep inside that the horror was just beginning.
From across the street, she saw John look at her again. It was impossible that she could have seen him at that distance, but she did. She never forgot those eyes: dead and yet filled with a terrible black light. She wanted to scream. She wanted to cry. She even wanted him back at that moment. Anything to appease the accusation in those horrible eyes.
It didn’t end. Maybe it would never end, and the two of them would be locked here forever, until the world stopped and everything crumpled around them. She watched him turn the key in the ignition. The engine roared to life, and he pulled out of his spot. From the prison of her mind, she screamed at him to “Stop! Don’t do this!” But his mouth stretched into the rictus grin of a corpse, and he locked his gaze with her.
Then he drove straight through his red light, heedless of the oncoming traffic. For a dreadful moment, Denise thought the car would leap across the street and into the window, swallowing her up in that chasm of pain.
But then a Chevy station wagon broadsided him, smashing his red Accord and almost knocking him into the passenger seat. Horribly, he still came on, the eyes accusing her with every passing breath. A pickup hit him next. Denise heard the horns blaring as cars swerved to avoid him. And yet, he still came. Until a BMW convertible swerved wildly to avoid him, plowing into the side of a minivan in the next lane. The van crashed into John’s car, smashing him again into the pickup. Only then did the eyes close and release her. Finally, Denise could scream.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my next Warlock Case File. I’m roughly half-way through the first draft, and I’m loving where this one is going.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
· Website: http://warlockwriter.com/
· Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006UECFFI
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/warlockcasefiles/
· Twitter: @1to1Discovery
· Blog: http://warlockwriter.com/blog/
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.