When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I worked full time and went to college full time. When I
finished my degree, I needed a new hobby to occupy my time and explored writing
novels. So through a process of teaching myself, doing tons of research about
how to write fiction, and joining a writer’s workshop, I spent three years
writing The Heretic of the North and beat out many other writers in an open
call from Runestone Hill. Before I wrote my first novel, I had not written a
thing, no short stories or novels, nothing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me about a year to get a book written and edited to
the point where I’m comfortable presenting it to an agent. However, I spend
about six months conducting research and sketching out the plot of the novel
prior to writing anything. Snorr’s Saga is my latest example of this process.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I try to keep an eye on what’s currently popular in the
world of books. I then hopefully create something that contains some of those
elements, but then work on a plot that is different and stands out from the
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written four complete novels. The Heretic of the North
was my first novel, which was published by Runestone Hill. My favorite and latest
one is Snorr’s Saga. I chose to self-publish that one as an e-book, because I
was tired of many reputable agents saying “this isn’t a fit for us at this
time, but we know someone will pick this up.”
What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters with problems the reader can relate to on an
emotional and personal level. I would also say constant tension built into the
plot and tense dialogue keeps the reader turning the pages.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first novel was published, I officially considered
myself a writer since I was paid for that work.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to
I guess one message I imbed into my stories is that gaining
power always bears a price and somebody always wants to take it away, or there
are serious consequences that always follow getting power.
How much of the book is realistic?
I try to make my fight scenes and the injuries characters
suffer as real as possible, because I want the reader to know my characters are
playing for keeps. Also, in the case of Snorr’s Saga, those who wield
frodleikur (Icelandic word for magic) always pay a physical price. In addition,
I am a former Marine and a law enforcement officer, and I have been subjected
to my fair share of exhaustion, stress, and danger. I try to use some of those
emotional experiences and knowledge to flavor my writings.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing books is finding the time to write.
I am convinced anyone can set aside two hours of their day to write, but
dedicating oneself to even that small daily goal is difficult.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was
Failure at getting published is always a hard cold reality.
Agents and publishers have “x” amount of time and money to spend on publishing
a novel. Furthermore, there are as many writers competing for the public’s
attention as there are fish in the ocean.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on Snorr’s Exile. It is another stand
alone novel about Snorr and his adventures, but the events that took place in
Snorr’s Saga affect this story.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change
anything in your latest book?
I would probably rework the first few chapters of Snorr’s
Saga to create a stronger hook and characterization. Agents and publishers are,
and can be, very picky at what they choose to represent. But I also did not
write another dystopia/vampire-slayer/zombie apocalypse novel either.
What are your current projects?
In Snorr’s Exile, Snorr and Krym get exiled from their
homeland as punishment for all the chaos created by releasing the draugr from
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Practice, practice, practice. To be able to write, you have
to write. Be open to constructive criticism. Let down your ego and admit
there are problems with your story and fix them. Joining a writing workshop is
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your
The most honest thing I can say is this: Why do I write?
Simple. I want to tell a tale that gives my readers the same satisfaction I get
out of reading. If I satisfy you, then I have done my job.