How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first story when I was ten. When I was twenty-three, I started writing a thousand words a day on my first full length novel. There have been months where that pace has abated, but not many. (If you’re doing the math, that puts me at about two decades of writing fiction) These days, during first draft, I’ll write between 2000-3000 words a day.
How many books did you write before The Last Angel?
At least five complete books, along with two others that I started and never finished (About 150 pages each). And one of those books, Second Blood, I spent over six years to complete.
Did you ever think about giving up?
Yes and no. I had a literary agent when I was in my early thirties who simply walked away without telling me why. I was pretty devastated, so I spent the next year and a half writing a spiritual memoir. I wasn’t sure I could go back to fiction. But I did. By then, I’d been writing for ten years and it was too late to turn back. I did learn my lesson, however. Writers write for themselves first. I love to write and I have to write. Not writing is not an option.
Where did you get the idea for The Last Angel?
Writers pull from all kinds of sources, but in the case of The Last Angel, there were two in particular. One was a book cover, and it was picture of a desert with a few homes on it. The other was a TV show called Dominion. The show used angels from the Bible and though I didn’t stay with the show, it inspired me. It’s difficult for artists to articulate what happens after the inspiration, but for me it was a book cover and a TV show.
Are there more books coming out soon?
Yes. Afraid of the Dead, my first noir detective novel is ready to go. I’m currently pursuing agents for representation. And with my upcoming podcast and everything else, it might be longer than I like before it gets published.
What made you decide to do a podcast?
The time was right. I’ve thought about it for a few years, but I wasn’t sold on it or a specific theme I wanted to talk about. Once I figured out the format and theme, the rest has been walking up a steep learning curve. fortunately, I have a number of friends, fellow writers and podcasters to help me out.
Can you tell us the theme of your podcast?
Sure. It’s called SCooP. Sports. Culture. and Politics. It basically allows me to talk about the things I love and connect the dots. There will be more information on my blog as it develops. Looking to release the first podcast by the end of October, 2018, but we’ll see.
What is the scariest part of the writing process for you?
Well, I’ve been writing in a cavern for two decades, so walking into the sunlight and exposing myself my work creates some anxiety. At least it did when I published The Last Angel in 2015. the podcast will be another challenge, but I’m excited about it. Once you step into the sunlight, you get used to the glare, and I’m at an age where negativity (towards my work) doesn’t really bother me.
Who is your target audience?
The Desolate Kingdom Series crosses genres. It’s near-dystopian. It’s urban fantasy. It’s partly religious. It’s heavily myth-oriented. It echoes the humor and sparse writing and melancholy of Afraid of the Dead, my noir-detective novel. But I also write and talk about sports, so I suppose it’s more topic dependent.
How does the idea of “Social Justice” inform your work?
In every way! Like most writers, I’ve worked a variety of ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills. In my case, most that work centered around youth and those with special needs. Without question one of the themes of my work is working to include ‘the least of us’ or those not well represented in mainstream culture. And as someone who has wrestled with mental health issues, the stories of people like All NBA player Demar Derozan and TSN personality Michael Landsberg are both inspiring and helpful. And something I tend to focus on, if only because I know it personally.
What was the most rewarding aspect of publishing The Last Angel and City of Slaves?
When I started writing fiction, Clinton was starting his second term in office, so was Jean Chretien. When you’ve written for that many years, just seeing it in print is a big deal. But that wouldn’t matter if the books hadn’t been so well received. Or, as my one friend put it: “What if it sucked?” (Laughs) But in the past few years, the real reward has been encouraging and mentoring young writers and other people to stick with their dreams. I’ve already had a few people who’ve informed me that my perseverance has inspired them to take on new challenges. Which is amazing. Ultimately, I’d like to start a mentoring program for young writers, but that’s down the road.
What has surprised you the most during your journey as a writer?
That’s easy. The collaborative nature of it all. There are so many people who have jumped in to help me along the way. There are so many, too many to recall here. Here’s the thing, if you dream big are willing to act, people want to join the ride. I should also mention that none of this would have been possible without the support of my brilliant editor and friend, Erin Healy.
So what’s next?
Launching the podcast. Collaborating more and writing more sports articles. I’m also currently working on a new novel that I’m co-writing with Erin Healy. (laughs) (Laughs) It’s busy, but I love it.
It’s been a whirlwind, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m excited for all the challenges that are headed my way, and looking forward to the next steps in the journey.