Author Q and A

General Questions:

Q. Are you a full-time writer?
A. Definitely not! I work full-time as a rehab nurse and on my nights off, I tackle Lacuna. It would be nice if I were able to be a full time writer but that just isn’t in the cards right now.

Q. What first inspired you to write?
A. I have been writing since before I could pick up a pen to put words to paper. The earliest memories of writing I have are telling stories to my dad and demanding he write them down for me so that I could illustrate them with terrible five year old stick-figure drawings. I wrote creative stories in elementary and all throughout high school and college and even created a newspaper when I was a kid for my family, a newspaper that they promptly threw away (I’m guessing that was a hint that it was terrible).  I think the urge to write has always been there naturally. I come from a family of creative people, but what honed it was my love of reading classics like Lord of the Rings. I would read and try to emulate any sort of fantasy book I could get my hands on when I was younger. Science fiction became an obsession in high school.

Q. How personal is your writing?
A. My writing is very personal. I draw inspiration from the things around me. I was told when I was younger to have as many experiences as I possibly could and then put pen to paper and see what I could create. And that’s exactly what I did. I began traveling as a teenager and haven’t stopped. I draw from my life and sometimes the people closest to me end up in stories whether I meant it that way or not!

Q. Why queer fiction? And why queer science-fiction, specifically?
A. I write what I want to read, and what I want to read is queer fiction. Being in the LGBT community myself, I enjoy reading about experiences, adventures, and love between people of many different backgrounds and sexualities. I want fantastical romances I can relate to… men, women, trans, genderqueer… and only try to contribute to a genre that is sadly lacking, but slowly growing these days.

I’ve been asked several times why I didn’t start writing in fantasy first and foremost because of my love for that genre, but Lacuna was an idea that kept niggling at me for years and Lacuna just  happened to be set in a dystopian world and in space, amongst aliens and artificial intelligence. It was really out of my hands by the time the idea became a full-fledged story. Science fiction was a love of mine that was nurtured by my father and his Star Wars obsession and only grew over the years and so the love for science fiction was always there.

Q. What is your writing routine?
A. My writing routine is very simple. I set up my depressing playlist, fuel up on Coca Cola and Andes mints, and let the story take me away! Really, I probably spend too much time being distracted by youtube and anything else not related to writing, but I usually make sure to write something worth reading by the time I turn in around 2am. My writing takes place at night for a few different reasons. I’ve always been a night owl with terrible insomnia, and ideas seem to flow much easier when everything is dark and quiet. Also, I work as a night nurse during the week so I try to keep my vampire-esque schedule consistent.

Q. When you suffer from writer’s block, how do you unblock?
A. When I get stuck, I usually try to do something unrelated to writing. Sometimes it helps to step away and clear my head. I love hiking and stuffing my face with candy at the movies, or even just reading. Usually once I sit back down to write after doing any of those things, I can manage a little something, if not, the process repeats until I can write properly. Nothing good comes out of forcing something out.

Q. Who has inspired you and influenced your work?
A. As I’ve said before, my own life and the people in it really reflect what I put to paper. And if we’re talking authors, my very first love was J.R.R Tolkien. Who wasn’t influenced by that amazing man? I’ve read his work too many times to count and he really inspires in me a desire to go beyond writing and to create something tangible for an audience. I’ll never be on his level, but he is definitely to be looked up to.

Q. Do you always have control of your characters when you’re writing, or do they sometimes get away from you? If so, can you give some examples of when you got them back in line, or did you just go with the flow?
A. My characters have a mind of their own and tend to run wild when they please and however they please. And usually I let them do as they will. There has only been a handful of times I’ve experienced someone getting completely out of hand and had to reign them in and rewrite them. I can’t come up with any specific examples at the moment, but it has definitely happened. I find letting the story go off on its own almost always wields the best results!

Q. Without giving anything away, can you share something about your upcoming novel, Sky Children?
A. Without giving anything away, all I can say is Sky Children will pick up where Lacuna left off and the rollercoaster will only get faster from here on out. The world of Lacuna was set up in the first book, but the next two books will determine the character’s fates, and I think that’s something exciting to look forward to!

Lacuna Questions:

Q. What sparked the idea for you to write Lacuna?
A. It’s hard to determine what exactly sparked the idea for Lacuna. One day I just sat down to write about a boy who lived in a world of artificial intelligence and suppression and was plagued by vivid nightmares– the story kind of took off from there. I’m never quite sure where my ideas spring from, some dark, twisted place in my head surely.

Q. When did you decide that Lacuna would be a series?
A. Lacuna was always bound to be a series. I’ve never been able to write short stories and as a book, Lacuna became longer with each passing week, until I knew that it would have to be separated into several books. At this point, it is bound to be an entire world that will have books that branch from the three main books. There is so much to play with!

Q. How long did Lacuna take to write?
A. Lacuna was an idea I had when I was sixteen. By then I had a writing journal where I would post stories and Lacuna was really just a little side project. I ended up finishing two chapters and posting it up on a writing website. It was a terrible story at the time, something unrecognizable from what it has become today, with different characters and a different title, but with the same sort of dystopian backdrop.  I took the story down and abandoned it for many years after that and only took it up again about five years ago because it kept niggling at me. I completely redid the first two chapters and promptly abandoned it for a second time. I let my girlfriend read those two chapters and she eventually, with much difficulty, prompted me to continue the story. It wasn’t up to par for me, and so it went through a third revision. When I began working on it in earnest a year ago, it was as if a flood had been released. It took me five months to finish the writing, and eight months to complete it all.

Q. Do you have a favorite character?
A. It’s almost like a mother playing favorites with her children, but I do have favorite characters. There are really three main characters in Lacuna with very different stories, but the one I’ve always enjoyed most is Blue’s tragic story. A few readers have already caught on that he is a favorite. A second favorite has to be the very suave and gentlemanly Loki. Both of these characters are incredibly fun to write. They aren’t bound by morals or any societal code of conduct and so they tend to jump off the page however boldly or lewdly they want to. That’s the best sort of character!