How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 5th grade, but I wasn’t exactly serious about it. I wrote stories about unicorns and gryphons, in a strange inspirational mix of Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Anne Pierce and The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon. It wasn’t quite fan fiction, but definitely heavily inspired by these two stories.
I didn’t get serious about writing until 2008 or so, though. I had written several books before then, but had never done anything with them.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I’m most comfortable writing traditional or epic fantasy, but I have been branching out into a lot of different subgenres lately. Inquisitor, one of my current works-in-progress, is an urban / paranormal fantasy with a healthy dose of mystery, thriller, and romance. I don’t like just writing comfortable. I write best when I feel I’m being challenged by the subjects I’m writing.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I think the hardest thing for me is to remember that no book can be perfect, but that I should still strive for perfection anyway. It’s a fine balance. When a novel is 100,000 words long, there are bound to be mistakes. I don’t want mistakes in my books. I’m pretty aggressive about correcting them, a freedom I have whenever I self-publish a novel. With Amazon’s auto-update feature, there’s no reason not to correct any and all errors as they’re found.
But, the real challenge is catching the errors before a book is released. If readers only find a handful of things I’ve missed in 100,000 words, I feel like I’ve done my job. Otherwise, I need to work harder, and write better books in general.
Fixing all of the mistakes, and taking care with my edits, is the hardest thing about writing a novel, in my opinion.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
My editor says I have a distinct style, but I write stories as I feel the story needs written. I don’t actually pay attention to my style so much as I pay attention to trying to make my characters and story interesting. I think style is something that happens as a result of all of the other parts of writing. I don’t believe in writing to create a specific style. I just try to write to my characters, their personalities, and the story they are in.
But, as a result, I think it has given a bit of a style. Just don’t ask me what that style is, I’m not sure!
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I used to get writer’s block. I don’t anymore. Writer’s block, for me, was an unwillingness to work. In short, whenever I got writer’s block, it was because I was being lazy, not because there was anything actually blocking me from working.
If I do not want to work, I ask myself why. I address the problem, and I get back to work. At most, I get stalled for an hour here and there as I work out a kink in a plot. That’s not writer’s block, that’s just making sure my story makes sense and works. That’s a totally different bucket of worms than writer’s block, also known as the complete inability to write anything.
How did you come up with the title?
Storm Without End got its title because of the opinion of one of the characters, who views war and conflict as a storm without end. It pursues the things humans, as a race, often bicker about without any actual resolution. We always have something we’re conflicted about, or in direct conflict with. I think the title reflects this human trait, as well as sets the tone for the characters who are trying to fight the inevitable storm.
It also is a reflection of how people will fight against things that can’t easily be fought against, but do so anyway, just because they believe it is something they need to do.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
The plotting process is an interesting thing for me. I don’t often start with an event or something I want to happen in the book. I often start with a question. For example: What if there was a culture where rape didn’t exist? What would the conditions for this be? What kind of people would be able to live in this sort of culture? How would men and women react to each other?
I often think about things like this, and then I take it a step further, and ask how this culture would react with other cultures. I built an entire world around this process.
Then I pick something that would put all of these people into conflict with each other. At long last, I’d then think of the type of person who might bring order to chaos, and chaos to order, and write about them.
Who designed the cover?
Chris Howard (of saltwaterwitch.com) was the artist for my cover. I ended up doing a lot of the titling work, although I did work with Chris a lot to try to pick an edgy font that matched the tone of the book. Chris has been a great cover artist to work with. Storm Without End was the second cover he did for me. I’ve since worked with him on a third cover for an upcoming novel, The City of Clocks.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
There is one scene during the ending chapters of Storm Without End that was exceptionally difficult to write. It involved the lengths one culture of people would go to for their beliefs, and it is something that many of us would consider a very, very evil act. It borders on graphic in some ways, and is most definitely abhorrent in the eyes of most. But it was a vital scene to the book. I left the scene out when I gave it to my betas, reworking the scenes before and after to work without it.
Every last one of the beta readers demanded its inclusion. I included it. It was the right choice, but it was a very hard choice to make, and an extremely difficult scene for me to write. I think that is part of why it worked so well in the book, though. I almost always write my best when I’m writing something that is difficult, challenging, and challenges the reader as much as it challenges me. It’s a dangerous scene in all ways.
Editing that scene was as brutal as writing it, too. Ironically, it led to one of my beta readers buying the book after its release. Things like that happen.
Will you write others in this same genre?
Yes, definitely. Storm Without End is the first in a series of novels following the adventures and mishaps of Kalen and Breton. I’m hoping for six books, although some may have to be big fat fantasies in order to keep the series to six. My goal is to release one book a year of this series until I’m finished. My main plan is to alternate writing and releasing the next part of two different series. The other is more of a traditional fantasy than an epic fantasy, although both series take place in the same world.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13