Why don't you tell us about your latest work?
My debut novel is called The Gift-Knight's Quest. It's a low-magic fantasy, sometimes labelled historical, though the world in which it's set is not our own (hence the need for a map). The plot follows a young woman who finds herself on a throne she was never really brought up to expect, that of the world's largest empire. Where her comfort zone might be in a library or just wandering the palace halls, now she has a huge burden of responsibility, this empire of Kensrik with its many enemies inside and out, and which is in political turmoil. As if that wasn't enough to cope with, enter the second main character, Derek, who gets summoned to Chandra's court in a manner that leaves him suspicious; his family was historically at odds with hers, so why would they request his services as a guard? What can he do about that, or what is he willing to do? The Gift-Knight's Quest is about the personal struggles of Derek and Chandra. It introduces these characters and what made them who they are, and also what made their world how it is by the time they have to decide each other's fate. Each character is briefly introduced in a pair of book trailers that I had produced for this novel.
Derek's trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2pmynBirXA
Chandra's trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijbjkukQTL8
What inspired it?
Coming up with a novel-length story was a personal challenge that I faced from 2006 onwards. Off the top of my head, I came up with two different story ideas. One was about a character making a lonely journey, battling with his thoughts, and not sure what he could expect upon arrival. The other was about a princess who had to solve the mysterious deaths that landed her on the throne, before the conspirators could correct their mistake. I didn't manage to get either idea past a couple of chapters. I resolved this by weaving these stories together, though they start as separate threads. So, by 2008, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and used that boost to finish a manuscript barely over fifty thousand words in length, which doesn't look much like The Gift-Knight's Quest today. Being a writer is a childhood dream, and this happened to be the story that worked for me.
Is there something you are currently working on?
I do keep writing one manuscript per year, and last November's work pertained to Derek's famous ancestor, Duke Lenn. I show some of Lenn's life in The Gift-Knight's Quest, but the story isn't really about him. Lenn is just this historical figure. I wanted to tell the rest of his story. In the meantime, I should probably get cracking on revisions for things I have already written!
Is there a topic you would like to write about but haven't gotten around to yet?
I have yet to write a story in a contemporary setting that actually works. Every time, it feels wrong and it is wrong. I may try again some day.
When did you finally feel like you could call yourself an author?
I feel like “author” is descriptive, something other people had to call me in order to validate it. I still think of myself as a writer, just having some fun, some frustration, grinding through the process, not really having achieved some form of recognition that would unanimously change what I'm called. I do see that people are more willing to refer to me as an author now that one of my books has an ISBN, but that can get fuzzy, too; traditionally published authors may view me differently because I fall into the self-pub category.
Other than writing, what are your favorite things to do?
I like to watch movies, both the mainstream type and ones with arty intentions. I like to take pictures at concerts when I'm allowed, and send the photos along so that the artists can approve and/or find a use for them. Though I'm not much of a gamer and don't have the skills, I like to keep up with the latest videogame releases via YouTube walkthroughs, and think about the plots, characterization, and the role of the gamer as both audience and participant in the unfolding drama.
Are there any websites where readers can connect with you?
My social media profiles are generally casual/personal at the moment, but I do maintain a Facebook page for The Gift-Knight's Quest. I am also on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25413493-the-gift-knight-s-quest