I was born in the middle of a tropical swamp on the third planet orbiting a distant yellow star. Growing up the son of a military father meant that books were among my best friends. They traveled with me every time I moved, and took me on adventures that nothing short of a trans-dimensional portal could hope to achieve. Currently I reside in a place called Utah, on the shores of a dead sea, with my wife and fellow author Molly. My days are spent catering to the whims of machines that devour people whole, and regurgitate them at distant locations. At other times I am working on my writing. Oddly enough, I never excelled in studies of my native language during my years as a scholar. Vocationally, I geared my efforts toward things that worked with power – from nuclear reactors to toasters. I spent ten years plying those skills aboard mobile artificial islands.
What a way to phrase it, sounds so exotic. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
I don't spend a lot of time on the social networks, but here is my Facebook Author Page. I am going to be keeping it better updated now that there's an actual book to brag about.
Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?
My stories fall firmly in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. That is to say, stories with science that doesn’t exist, and works of fantasy that differ from the mundane world most of us reside in for the sake of a paycheck. My books include the series with Ion, A swords and sorcery fantasy series that has yet to see publication of more than short stories, and a futuristic sci-fi set. For my favorites, I’m torn between Ion and the fantasy world. I set aside a few dozen story ideas to focus on the re-editing of current books. I’m hoping to get Ion 417:Raiu (book 2) back from the editor before end of the year.
What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?
I relax to movies or model building. My TV watching is either whatever Molly was watching, or certain Anime, with the occasional forensic themed show.
What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?
Ideas pop through my head from the oddest places. Advertising is one of the biggest sources. It often produces the thought ‘didn’t they think about that?’. Something like “Ocean breeze in a can.” Prompts thoughts of typhoons available at the touch of an aerosol can. That’s when my mind adds in the cackling scientist holding Honolulu for ransom, all because some advertiser thought I needed air freshener.
Music is not something I get to enjoy for much of my writing. Most of my writing happens in places where music just can't work. When I do have the chance, classic rock is to my liking.
"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?
James Bond, Austin Powers, Inspector Gadget, Maxwell Smart, and many others faced off against mega villains holding cats. I suppose that authors fit within the category of mega villains. Most of us are devout serial killers that successfully evade prosecution for years if not decades. Personally, I’ve owned a few fish, catered to a few dogs, and tolerated several purring roommates. Currently two of the felines take turns making sure I know they own the house. One of them holds nightly staring contests perched on my chest, and the other starts bringing stuffed toys at about 3am.
What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?
The National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo, has been the gateway into all of the other groups I'm a part of. Have a question? They are better than Google for getting the answer you need. It was through them that I found the Utah Writers Guild, LTUE, Speculitive Writers of Utah, and others.
My advice to aspiring authors is simple, just write consistently. I know it sounds cliche, but it's true. There are many people out there that spend a great deal of time trying to learn all the secrets before setting any words to the page. Write the story. Let the thoughts flow into reality without a look back. Once you have the story down, go back and read over it, correcting anything that doesn't make sense. Add in all those wonderful details that bring stories to life. Read over it a second time, making sure the plot works, and there aren't any glaring problems. Notice that I haven't said anything about panicking over punctuation or spelling, because you shouldn't. Now read the story ALOUD to the cat. This will bring out those hidden things your mind has been skipping over because you already know the story. Once it passes the cat test, then set it aside while you write something else. Let the story age for a few weeks to a few months before coming back to it. You will be amazed at what you see in it.
I write nearly every single day. Sometimes for 20 minutes, and other times for several hours. Things I wrote years ago, and thought fantastic at the time, are worthy of gagging now.
What writers inspired you to become an author?
I could rattle off a dozen authors that had great influence in my enjoyment of stories. Asimov, Heinlien, McCaffrey, Cherryh, Norton, Bradley, Tolkein, and several others. Many people attirbute their writing to some other author. I attribute mine to games. Role playing games demanded the bringing to life of a character. This person seemingly sprang to life with all the skills of an adventurer, and none of the back story. Authors of my childhood had set my mind on fantastical worlds and thoughts. I couldn't have a character that was a 30 year old mage who poofed into existence one day. There had to be a story behind him. What drove him to pursue the world of magic? Why did he ever leave home in the first place? The games only covered what happened after that point, and expected nothing of a history. I started creating histories for my characters. Those histories expanded into stories that outlasted the games.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
November is fast approaching, and that brings another NaNoWriMo. Not too long after that will be LTUE. There's others that I can't think of right now, and I'll probably panic when I find out some event is less than a week away.
If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?
The problem with history is that it was never as glamorous as what the stories portray. The middle ages are fasinating, but I really prefer the modern comforts of indoor plumbing. It would be fun to visit, for a few hours though. My choice would be all of them. I'm an explorer at heart.
If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?
It would be a tough choice between Ion Ryukan and Phantarra Courggh. Both are adventurous and go through a lot. Ion travels the Galaxy, finding new adventures as she tries to find her place in life. Phantarra is equally an explorer, though her travels stick to a single world. As for Menu, Sushi would be the best choice for either of them. Ion is discovering the wonders of Japanese cuisine, and Phantarra is a feline hominid sailor.
If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?
Earth and Mars are the only two places that we've got good information about. I've already seen a lot of Earth, though I could spend a few hundred years exploring the rest of it. Not much to see on Mars right now. Give me a Tardis and I'd do my best to explore everything else in the Galaxy. There's a lot of places to visit.
What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Green. I tend to end up in blues a lot, but green would be my choice.
Describe your dream writing spot.
Comfortable chair with a good desk. Yes, though I don't often get the pleasure of it, music on the mp3. In reality, several stories have been jotted down in the pocket notebook while perched on the top of a train. When inspiration strikes, gotta have someplace to jot it down.
Thanks for visiting, James!
Please go check out his debut novel - Ion 417.