Write for the Smashing Guest Writing Gala

Hello All You! I hope you had a great Fourth of July!

I am currently in Portland, Oregon for The World Domination Summit and am totally excited about learning some awesome things from writers and bloggers of today! Also very excited to meet new contacts.

If you are still interested, The Smashing Summer Writing Gala is still going on and there are a few more places left. If you are interested in guest posting be sure to click and send me a pitch of at least 2 paragraphs on what you’d like to write about and then press send! :)

I will write again soon when I get back home to Minnesota.

Be a Guest Writer

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Hello All! I am running a call for submissions over at my new website: http://www.devinberglund.com called The Smashing Summer of Writing Gala.

Are you awesome? Yesss… Yes… You are! And because of that I’d love to have you guest post.

Send me a pitch – a few paragraphs on the topic of the post you’d like to write.

Your posts can be anything about writing! So, share that awesomeness! 😄
www.devinberglund.com/contact

What are you up to this summer? I’m on my way to Portland Oregon for a conference!

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Buccaneer Blogfest Interview & Blue Mountains Update

Hello Everyone, I am sorry that it has been awhile since my last update. I have currently been away in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. It has been so beautiful and relaxing!

This morning was so nice. I slept the best that I have in awhile! The silence was actually so loud that I was out. I don’t think I knew how spoiled I was back home in Minnesota to live in the country! I really miss it! It was so peaceful! Yesterday our group went and hiked/toured at Katoomba which is a village near the ‘Three Sisters’ which is an aboriginal legend. It’s really interesting! I will be sure to share more with you soon! Today I went with our group to the ‘Jenolan Caves’ which were neat! Got some cool ideas for my story from today and yesterday!!

I am kind of sad because we have to leave and go back to Brisbane area tomorrow. We could have stayed longer with the others but I had bought tickets for the Jersey Boys Show on Wednesday and we didn’t want to miss it! So we are heading back tomorrow. Uffda… 12 hours in the car again. And ten on Sunday my sister flies back to the States! I am truest going to miss her a lot! I’ve gotten used to having her here!! Don’t want her to go home!

I have been a part of the Buccaneer Blogfest and here is an interview that I did
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Verity, and I’m based in Manchester, England, where I live with my wife, my lodger (is the American term still ‘roommate’ when I own the house and he pays me rent to live here? No idea!) and his boyfriend, and two cats. I work full time for Curiosity Quills (www.curiosityquills.com) as director of business development, which is a deliberately broad and uninformative title. This is because what I actually do is edit some of our books, arrange cover art for almost all of our books, research any random marketing or product idea we come up with, and a billion other bespoke little tasks – and because ‘meddling cow’ didn’t seem very professional.

2. I read that your personal blog is for a editing and publicity site, can you tell me a little about this company and how it started?

In June last year, Michael Shean ( http://michael-shean.com/ ) self-published his debut novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. We’d been friends Many Years(TM) and when he said he’s done this, my first question was “how are you going to tell people about this book?” and he said “idunno” and as it was summer which, to me at the time, meant only thirteen hours of work a week, I offered to help. And then I read through the book, and went “this is full of errors, babe” and sent him a pile of edits. 3 months later, I’d been beavering away, contacting hundreds of reviewers, re-editing the book (twice), badgering him into being on twitter and so on, and in the end, he got signed with CQ. Huzzah! Happy ending.

Michael recommended me to a few other people for editing, CQ ended up liking what I’d done for Michael enough to give me a fixed-hours contract (for international-income-tax reasons I’m technically self-employed and CQ is a client of Publicity Pixie the company, it’s all a bit complex!), and now I do most of my work for CQ, with one or two extra clients a month, largely for editing. It’s all been word of mouth – you might notice the publicitypixie.com site is currently a shameful void. I must fix that.

(( Novel editing, checking for grammar, spelling and internal consistency plus substantiative overall feedback, on $6 per 100 words- ow! OW! Okay, okay, I’ll stop, I’m sorry. ))

3. Can you tell me a little about the writing you do on Curiosity Quills?

I write a (semi-)regular column called the Book Blog Spotlight (http://curiosityquills.com/category/interviews/book-blog-spotlight/) interviewing book bloggers and reviewers about their blogging and other such. It was every Sunday for three months but lately the takeup’s not been as high so it’s roughly one every two weeks at the moment (if you have a favourite reviewer you’d like to see on here feel free to get them to contact me, I’ll be happy to review).

In addition to this, as-and-when I also post video reviews of books (http://curiosityquills.com/cq-reviews-automato/ ) and bits and pieces of advice on marketing your book ( http://curiosityquills.com/submitting-your-book-to-review-sites/ ). There are plans for a new column of rants where I’m wearing my editor hat, about common mistakes and pitfalls that make me as your editor want to string you up by your toes and beat you with a skunk.

4. What do you like to write?

In terms of blog posts? What I write for fun is non sequitur slices life, as I feel you see into the mini-universe of a person, not with their greatest achievements, but through their ordinary comings and goings. Tell you what, here’s one, that actually involves the answering of your question. http://houseofpixie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/oh-god-it-burns.html

In terms of fiction, probably fantasy, both the ‘urban’ and ‘high’ derivatives.

5. What kind of things inspire you?

Worst answer ever – anger. Yep, picking up a book and going “what?!” about some aspect I don’t like immediately send my brain spiralling off how I would have approached that subject differently. Kind of negative, really.

6. Do you like to travel? If so, where have you gone? Where are some places that you want to go?

I’ve lived in Holland as well as all over the place in my native England, and visited the US, Turkey, France, Belgum, few other bits of central Europe. I’ like to see Canada and Scandinavia.

7. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be and why?

Loud – I’m partially deaf and talk too loudly quite often
Outgoing – blessing and a curse. I AM that person who starts a conversation with you at a bus stop, not because I want your number or want to mug you, but because I’m bored.
Insecure – my own hardest critic, to a devastating degree.
Loyal – nothing pries my away from people who are important to me
Confusing – puce duck doughnut

8. What is a tip of advice for writers out there? What would you like them to know?

Keep writing.
The first thing you write will almost certainly suck, and learn to be okay with that.
Read everything you ever write, even if you come to hate it, and decide what you liked best about it, what you don’t, and how writing it makes you feel.
Get critique partners with no obligation or emotional baggage toward yourself, so that if it blows, they can actually tell you so without repercussions.
Remember criticism is subjective, and people who just tell you they hated it can get stuffed (don’t take it personally) and that the ones who calmly tell you what they didn’t like and why might have something useful to say.
Don’t every become too attached to a scene or a character this, if they need to be carved from your pages for the good of the story you just can’t do it.
Keep writing.

I hope you all enjoyed the interview with Verity! Be sure to check out the pages up above.

I will be in the process of writing a nonfictional article for a contest. Yes, I have been busily writing! Trying to keep busy with some smaller projects here and there as well as my bigger project.

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P.s. sorry for any misspellings or strange layouts as I did this on my phone!

Hope you are all wonderful!!

Devin

Writer Interview : Zeinab Alayan

Hello Everyone, It’s been a few days! How are you all? How is your writing going? I have been busy writing a short story for a competition and still am working on my fictional novel. :) Sooo many ideas have been flooding my mind lately. Totally happy and excited about that! I just thought I would let you guys become introduced to an awesome writer online. Here is an interview with her! Enjoy and let me know what you think! :)

Interview : Zeinab Alayan

1. Where are you from?

I am from Lebanon, a small country in the Middle East. I was born in UAE, but Lebanon is my home country.

2. Currently located?

I’m currently living in Lebanon, but I should hope to move to the States within a year or so.
    -Do #’s 1 and 2 contribute to the settings or characters in your story?

Not really! The settings are purely fictional, and the characters aren’t anything like the people I meet in my everyday life.

3. I read that you run a manuscript editing business with your fiancé? Can you tell us a little about that?

Daniel and I started Manuscript Magic after editing each other’s manuscripts one too many times. We both have degrees in languages, so we thought, “Why not start our own editing business? We’re already experienced enough.” MM is still relatively new, but we’re slowly building a client base. Since we’re writers ourselves, we understand how expensive editing is and how many other writers can’t afford it, so we’ve aimed to be as competitive with our prices as possible.

4. Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Oh dear. I don’t really like talking about myself, but… um… well, I’m a 23-year-old girl with a deep affinity for chocolate – that’ll be the first thing anyone tells you about me. My childhood revolved around my books, my friends and getting good grades at school. I was always the good kid, never sticking a toe out of the line, haha. I graduated a little more than a year ago with a degree in Translation and Interpretation – I translate from and to Arabic and English – and I currently work at a translation office. The worst thing about that? Waking up at ungodly hours of the morning! When I’m not working or writing, I like to read, draw, watch anime and movies with my fiancé, and sleep. And occasionally I’ll do that thing called chores.


5. What inspired you to be a writer?

Reading, probably. I was really young when I first started writing, so I can’t tell you exactly what made me start. I do remember that I was often reading books instead of playing like the normal children of my age did, and I can only assume that after reading one too many stories, I discovered that hey, I can write stories like this too!

6. Are you an outliner or a pantser?

Definitely a pantser. All my stories have started with little to no brief outline. All I need to start writing is a bunch of characters and a very basic plot, then I let my imagination do the rest of the work. =]

7. Do you write certain parts of your story first and then come back later to fill it in or bridge the gaps? OR do you write it the whole way through?

I write it the whole way through. This often leads me to Writer’s Block, but I can’t just abandon where I’m at and skip to the scenes I like. I know each scene complements the next, so I try to get them all done in order.

8. Do you listen to music while you write?

Occasionally! My house is loud, so more often than not I listen to music to drown out all the other sounds and get myself to concentrate. But sometimes it helps me get into the mood of writing. There’s nothing better than an upbeat tune to help you continue. It’s like having a mini cheerleading squad in the background!

9. Who are your favorite authors?

Hmm. Well, my all-time favourite author is definitely J. K. Rowling. I love Sophie Kinsella, Lisa Lutz and Mil Millington for all the laughs, and Mitch Albom for the touching stories he writes. I also like Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett for their absolute genius.

10. What is your favorite genre to write in?

I would have to say fantasy. I’ve dabbled in other genres, but I keep coming back to fantasy. You have so much freedom in the fantasy genre, and I feel comfortable in it because I can basically just go wild with my ideas, and nobody would say anything because it’s fantasy anyway.

11. What are some things that inspire your writing?

I’m a visual person, so more often than not I’ll feel inspired by a pretty picture, a scene in a movie/TV show/etc, a situation happening in front of me, or even a dream. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but such things give me ideas that I’m able to develop into stories. 

12. Do you have an inspirational spot where you like to write? Does it have special significance to you?

I don’t have one, no, but… well, many people laugh at me when I say this, but I often get ideas and inspiration when I’m in the bathroom. No joke. I get many ideas while in the bathroom. I guess since my house is pretty loud, the only place I can get any peace and quiet is the bathroom, since nobody can come and bother me in there, haha.

13. Who is someone that has inspired you in your writing?

I guess that would be J. K. Rowling. When I first read her books they reminded me of why I love to write, and I picked up my pen and notebook again shortly after finishing the first one.

14. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write your book “Puppet Parade?”

Nothing in particular! Honestly all I know is that NaNoWriMo was about to begin and I wanted to get writing. I had the idea of a masked girl in mind, but beyond that, nothing. She just came out of nowhere and I thought, “Let’s see where I can go with this”, and Puppet Parade was born. =]

15. What are a couple things in your life that contributed to your book?

I remember one thing. I was stuck at one point in the book because I didn’t have a villain (I went through the whole story without planning anything), and at that time I watched Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. I was inspired by Dr. Facilier – the voodoo witch doctor – and the way he controlled people and puppeteered them around. My villain is completely different from him though, in every sense of the word, but I can’t say anything else or I’ll be spoiling the book for potential readers!

16.  Is there a book currently in the works?

Yup! I’m currently working on a book titled, “The Muse Bunny”. In the world of TMB, the muses are in the shape of bunnies (taking from the term, “plot bunny”) and they help inspire all artists. However, the bunny in this story is a bad egg, and his life’s mission is to ruin the dreams and aspirations of artists everywhere. The story is told from his point of view as he tries to destroy Anna, the aspiring author he’s latched himself onto.

17. What are 5 songs playing on your iPod right now?

Recently I’ve been listening to way too much Disney songs, and they include “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” [Mulan], “Look Through My Eyes” [Brother Bear], “You’ll Be In My Heart” [Tarzan]. I also have a number of instrumental tracks including, “Explosive” by Bond and “Raga’s Dance” by Vanessa May.

18. If you could meet one of your favorite authors, what would you want to ask them?

Well, often I’m curious about how many rejections some of them received before they got published, because it helps me feel better about my own rejections, so I suppose I’d ask them about that. I would also like to ask them about their writing habits (what they drink, eat, time during which they write, how they sit, etc), and I’d like to know what they’re like away from their writing selves – what they like to do, watch, eat… things like that. =]

19. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Recently something happened to me that reminded me of something no writer should forget… back up! Seriously, even if you’re a fantastic writer, you won’t get anywhere if your computer suddenly crashes and you lose everything. Also, I recommend that they try to get someone to help them with editing their first manuscript, because it’s after all the first impression they’re going to make in the writing world, and they should want it to be a good impression.

Check out her blog for more from her in the future! :)

Lis Wiehl Interview

Hello Everyone! I just got back from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I went there for the Hillsong Colour Conference. It was absolutely amazing! I will be sure to write a post about the whole experience and I will be sure to also attach pictures! I have been reading some really good books by Lis Wiehl – So, I thought to interview her. When thinking of questions – I found out she had gone to school in Brisbane, Australia. Which is where I am located at the moment. I got excited to ask her questions not only about her writing but also about her experience in Aussie. Here is her interview! I hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Lis Wiehl
Lis Wiehl used to be on the Fox News O’reilly Factor. She was also a prosecutor and journalist. She has currently written a few fictional books. Her best known are “The Triple Threat Club” books. Check out more of her books here! http://www.liswiehlbooks.com/about/

Devin, You are living in Brisbane? I love Brisbane! I had a year there and got my Master’s and traveled all around Asia during my ‘winter’ break. Wow..enjoy. The people are wonderful. Now, I’ll take a stab at some of your questions, but you’d be totally bored if I tried to answer them all, so I’ll be brief so you don’t yawn too much. My greatest inspirations for writing are my mom (an immigrant from Denmark, who got her PhD in English and taught at a college level) and my dad, a former FBI agent, who always had great stories to tell. I got the wonderment and excitement of telling a story from them. Ideas? Well, ideas are all around us all the time. Mine come from what I know, i.e. cases I’ve prosecuted or cases I’ve covered as a journalist. One of the wonderful things about fiction is that you can meld the real with the made up to tell a compelling story. With Eyes of Justice, due out this April 3, I wanted to tell a story about friendship, loss, and renewal. I ask the readers to take a walk with these three women, all strong yet absolutely fallible. In our lives we will be faced with extreme adversity…it is how we handle that adversity that defines us. Regarding my writing methods: I’m pretty disciplined. My college writing teacher told me to “write a page a day”, and I did. And I’ve kept that up, sometimes many more than a page a day. And, if I’m away from my writing computer, I leave myself post it notes (lots of them) , and phone messages relaying to myself an idea for a chapter, or character. Oh, it sounds as if I talk to myself. Yikes. I hope this at least answers some of your questions..all the best to you, and say Hi to Brisbane for me, Lis

Hope you enjoyed this note-like interview! Hope you all have been great and happy! :)
Much Love,
Devin :)

Robert Liparulo Interview

Robert Liparulo Interview
Hello Everyone, I want to introduce my friend Robert Liparulo, best selling author. “The 13th Tribe” is the most recent book of his and it will be on shelves on April 3rd. He has written many books-some adult thrillers, and some young adult. Check them all out.

1. How do you find inspiration?
Art done well always inspires me. Doesn’t matter if it’s literature, paintings, statues, music, movies—if it stills my emotions, if it’s finely layered, and well crafted, it inspires me to be just as good. Before I write, I’ll often read a few chapters of a great book, look at Michelangelo paintings, watch an especially moving scene from a movie. While I write, I listen to mostly soundtracks. I’m also acutely aware that God gave me the gift of storytelling. I don’t want to let Him down.

2. When is it that you get new ideas? Meeting people? Visiting new places? Dreams?
All of the above! And also from pursuing my insatiable curiosity. The Dreamhouse Kings came from a dream I had when I was a child. Comes a Horseman sprung from my reading an article in Psychology Today about people with delusions of grandeur. It addressed people who thought they were great people throughout history, and I thought, if people can think they’re heroes, why not villains, why not the ultimate villain, the Antichrist? Deadfall came about when I considered my best friend: He’s a game warden, a real outdoorsy guy, and a strong Christian. I wondered what he would do when faced with an impossible situation, in the case of Deadfall, a guy armed with only a bow and arrow trying to stop an isolated town from being terrorized by group armed with a satellite laser weapon.

3. What do you do when you get in a tough spot with your characters? When they don’t want to talk?
In the rare times when that’s happened (my characters tend to be highly animated and alive from start to finish),I act out their situations, I try to be them. People can’t stop life, so something has to happen. I try to get a sense of what I would do as them. I’m already in character, so I trust what I think I’d do is what they would do.

4. How do you approach starting your novel? Do you outline? Make a story/character bible?
I don’t create a detailed outline, but I know the high points of the story, where I need my characters to be. I want them to figure out how to get there, to behave they would based on their personalities and experiences. So once I have a general idea of the story and have spent a lot of time “being” my characters and doing researching, I set the characters loose on the page, then run behind them, writing down what they do. Since I try to live my characters for a time before starting to write, I don’t make character bibles; I don’t need one for me, so I don’t need one for them. That’s the theory, anyway.

5. Do you write the story straight through? Or write bits and pieces to later piece it together?
Except for adding a scene here and there to make things clearer or create better transitions, I write straight through, beginning to end. I’ve found that writing in non-contiguous chunks leads to inconsistencies in character behavior and sometimes plot and tone. It’s tempting to write whatever scene is pressing on you, inspiring you, but the inconsistencies that result (at least for me) isn’t worth it. Instead, I try to write faster so I can get to that needling scene sooner.

6. If you were told you couldn’t write any more what would you do?
Fall into a deep depression. I feel wired by God to write. Not doing it would be like ripping out a large part of my soul. I’d keep searching for a way to write nonetheless. Unless, of course, it’s God telling me to stop writing. I trust that He would also take away my desire to do it. I hope so.

7. What kind of advice do you have for amateur writers?
Read everything. Never stop reading. In reading fiction, you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, the structure of stories, the development of characters. Even reading magazines helps, it’ll fill your head with ideas and people and inventions, adventures and misadventures, human nature—all of it you can use to flesh out your stories, make them deep and real.

8. What stories, songs, and/or writers inspire you?
All kinds, as long they’re well done and stir my emotions. I’ll listen to everything rock to Christian contemporary to soundtracks. I like The Fray, Iron & Wine, MercyMe, The Kry, Hans Zimmer, Daft Punk . . . a wide variety. As far as authors, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, Thomas Perry, Elmore Leonard . . . mostly thriller writers.

9. What was the hardest part of writing The 13th Tribe?
People have asked if moving from more mainstream-type thrillers into a Christian thriller was daunting. But writing about faith wasn’t difficult at all; all of my stories have had some measure of my own sense of faith in them, though until now, it’s been very subtle. It’s a matter of degree. In The 13th Tribe, the spiritual-faith-supernatural elements have been ratcheted up a good bit.
The challenge was in making these things organic, natural to the story. I didn’t want anything to feel tacked on, but everything needed to flow from the characters and the plot. In other words, take away the faith part and the story crumbles. And I wanted the story to appeal to the kind of reader I am: I don’t want to be preached to; I don’t want to read a story where the world is sanitized and everything is oh so sweet because the characters believe in God. Bad things do happen to good people. I wanted to paint a realistic world that is both fallen and basking in the hope of glory.
The story itself was a bear to put together because of its complexities and that I wanted everything to feel organic, natural, but I didn’t think in terms of “this is what I have to do to make it a Christian story”; even though my previous novels found a readership among mainstream thriller fans—readers of James Patterson, Doug Preston, Vince Flynn—I’ve always felt there was a thread of Christianity woven throughout them, whether because my characters exhibited moral traits that have their roots in faith or the stories have faith-based elements; the main reason is that I wrote them and my stories will always reflect who I am, which is a lot of things, one of which is that I am a spiritual man.

10. Did you learn anything from writing The 13th Tribe and what was it?
Honestly, there are too many to list. Everyday I stumbled onto interesting fun facts. One was finding out that the brain actually undergoes a physical change during puberty that gives it the capacity to grasp adult concepts, to think like an adult. It’s not just time that matures us into adult thinkers. That factors into the way the immortal children think and behave.
Another one was the story of the Apostle John walking away from that vat of boiling oil, and that Jesus said about John, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?’” The two things taken together make you wonder.
I’ve always studied God’s word, always sought deeper understanding, but now, writing about it, I’m learning so much. To make these stories work, to make faith integral to the plots, I have to excavate theology like I never have before. And at every turn, I’m awed by His love for us, his tolerance and grace. We are so unworthy, but still, there He is with His arms wide open.

11. What inspired you to write The 13th Tribe?
Some time ago, I started thinking about vigilantism, frontier justice. I think most of us would say we’d do something to stop, for example, a child abuser, even if we have to go outside the law to do it (assuming all other recourses have failed). But what are the ramifications of that . . . to society? To our souls? It’s a scary door to open. The best way to examine a topic is to exaggerate it, or look at how it functions under extreme circumstances. I wanted to look at vigilantism that way: an exaggerated reason to be a vigilante . . . how far could you take it . . . what do you become if you practice it over a long period of time?
You can’t think too deeply about taking the law into your own hands, about hurting people before they can hurt others, without eventually getting around to thinking about the nature of forgiveness and grace. So now there’s God, filing off the edges of my story, shaping it into something bigger than it was before.
Also, my previous adult thrillers were heavy on action, adventure, and the fight between Good and Evil—but light when it came to acknowledging God’s influence in the world and in the lives of my characters. That was fine with me: Before embarking on each new story, I’d spend weeks fasting and in seclusion, praying for Divine guidance. And then I wrote the stories I believe God wanted me to tell in the way He wanted me to tell them.
As I prayed about the next adult thriller after Deadlock, I sensed God’s telling me it was time to go another direction, to take a new, bold stance in proclaiming His sovereignty in everything that happens. To rip down the veil and show His inextricable presence in all we experience—unreservedly and un-apologetically.
The result of all this became The 13th Tribe, which can be summed up in two words: Immortal vigilantes. But, really, it goes much deeper. It explores our struggle to grasp God’s holiness; our stubborn belief in “earning” God’s favor, though we know better; and how even our good intentions can be twisted when we insist on abiding by our own limited logic instead of God’s righteous wisdom. All of this in a story filled with action, cutting-edge technology, and complex characters—the kind of story I like reading myself.

12. What motivated you to become an author?
When I was 12, I read “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson. For about half the book, the main character, Robert Neville, tries to get a sick dog inside his home. When he finally does, he spends the night nursing and stroking the dog- he recalls the way things used to be. The last line of the chapter was: “In the morning the dog was dead.” Not only was the dog cool, its death was symbolic of the death of life as it had once been. I started crying, and I thought, “If words—only WORDS!—can make a pretty tough 12-year-old boy cry, I want to do that.”

I started crying, and I thought, “If words—only WORDS!—can make a pretty tough 12-year-old boy cry, I want to do that.”

13. Our lives have all been touched and challenged by various people.  Is there one person who has most influenced your life? your writing?
My mother, actually. She’s a natural storyteller. She can describe a great adventure out going to the store for milk. Her ability to describe locations and people in fascinating detail is incredible. I hope a bit of that rubbed off on me.
Regarding living a fulfilling life, I have my father to thank for that. He’s a man of high morals, which I’ve tried to live up to.

14. What are five songs that have recently been on your IPOD playlist?
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
“Sail” by Awalnation
“Sub Lift” from the X-Men First Class soundtrack
“Sarabande Suite (Aeternae)” by Globus
“Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence

15. When writing have you ever come to deal with spiritual warfare or spiritual attacks?
More so while The 13th Tribe than any other novel. It seemed that everything went wrong, equipment malfunctions, crashes that obliterated days of work, personal issues that had to be handled. They were so frequent, weird, and severe that I started thinking I was being attacked. I figured I was on the right track, doing something that God wanted, and so drew the attention of those who oppose Him, so I just prayed a lot and buckled down and wrote with more determination.

16. What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
First, probably that I’m as emotional as I am. Here I am, writing action thrillers, tough guy adventures; and personally, I shoot guns, do extreme sports . . . but I’ll tear up at Hallmark commercials. A break-up song can get me all choked up. When I see someone hurting, I want to hug them, to comfort them. But I think this aspect of my personality has helped me tell compelling stories. My good guys tend to be tough on the exterior, but fiercely in love and protective of their spouses and kids and people who can’t protect themselves. I have a lot of female readers, and I think it’s the undertone of love and justice and hope, the quality of my hero’s and heroine’s relationships that they relate to and appreciate.
The second thing . . . hmmm . . . maybe that I’m a frustrated musician. I love music, all kinds of music. I consider myself more of a storyteller than a novelist. The novel is just one medium for telling stories. Music is another. Years ago, I wrote a few songs that made it onto the albums of local bands. I loved it. I tried performing my own music, but I’m not as I wanted to be, and much as I tried, I didn’t improve much. So I went back to prose.

17. Can you describe your average writing day?  Do you have a set schedule, or just work like crazy when the “muses” strike?
Stephen King said, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” That’s a philosophy I ascribe to. I research for months, then start writing, and when I do, I put in twelve, fourteen, even more hours everyday. I practice what’s called “immersion writing,” which means while I’m writing, I try to go deeply into the story and characters. I forget I’m writing, I’m there. When I look right, I don’t see what’s right of me, but what’s right of my character. It takes time to get there, to travel into that world, and the only way to get there is to commit to long stretches of writing.

18. Many writers are also avid readers.  Do you have any favorite authors?  If so, could you name a few?
Beside the ones I’ve already names, there’s Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Steven James, Tosca Lee, Eric Wilson, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, F. Paul Wilson, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Crichton, James Rollins, David Morrell, Steve Berry, Vince Flynn, Umberto Eco.

19. What motivates you to head to your keyboard every day?
Beside believing that this is what God wants me to do, I love my job and want to do it.

20. For writers who are married and have kids, how can they balance family/kids with writing?
It is a challenge, but what works for us is making it a family affair. My wife is my first reader and a great person to bounce ideas off of. My kids help at signings and with office duties. I try to take them with me when a travel of business. When I finish a book and when one comes out, we celebrate together. Because they’re so aware of what I do, why I do it, and what comes from the hard work, they’re very respectful of my writing time. It also helps to have scheduled time when I’m there for each of them, to do nothing but play or do something recreational or just be with them.

21. Do you have anything else that you would like to say to people?
I love to interact with readers. So if you have any comments or questions, write me. I’ll write back.