Where was a place you’ve visited on vacation that you’d go back to tomorrow?
Sitka, Alaska. My wife and I lived in Seattle for several years and Alaska was a common vacation spot due to its proximity. We visited several towns, but Sitka remains our favorite. There is a raptor rehab center there that is a magical place to experience.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part of writing Transient was creating a believable sociopolitical environment. Since the population is immortal, certain systems of governance wouldn’t be viable. It’s easy to drop characters into something familiar, like a capitalistic democracy. But if nobody dies, then sustainability becomes a real problem. After a bunch of research, the only system I could come up with that made sense for the story was a totalitarian form of global socialism. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but works from the perspective of an immortal regime.
What gives you inspiration for your books?
Coffee and curiosity.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
That’s a tough one. My instinct is to go with Ross from Max and the Multiverse because he is a joy to write and has the best one-liners. But even so, I have to go with Phil from Max and the Snoodlecock (book two of the series). I can’t say too much about him without spoiling the reveal, but I can comment on what makes him so endearing. He has a handsy yet innocent nature that is a veritable gold mine for comedy.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Is Ross from Max and the Multiverse based on a real cat? The answer is yes, and his snarky portrayal is highly accurate. He died several years ago, but remains a lasting member of the family. We love that he lives on through the series.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
I don’t really have a strategy, to be honest. Transient was a straightforward decision, given the storyline. Max and the Multiverse was modeled after Harry Potter because the format rings true to the tone and audience. Potter titles do a great job in evoking fantasy imagery, so I set out to do the same with science fiction comedy.
Describe your handwriting.
Poor. I had a blocky style back in school with sharp lettering. But as a programmer, I became entirely dependent on computers for my writing. In fact, I had to pen a short paragraph not to long ago for some random task, and it actually hurt my hand.
What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
I have a lot to say on this as an indie author, but I’ll keep it brief. My favorite part is the thrill I get when I hold the first physical proof of a new book. My least favorite part is the marketing, which can be a giant time sink if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
(sudden and uncontrollable laughter) Holy hell, that’s a good one. Every first draft is a giant steaming pile of word puke. But that’s the entire point, you need to get the story out before you can identify its strengths and flaws. This is the bane of indie publishing, as many writers will tank their reputations by publishing piss poor manuscripts without proper editing.
You remain perfectly healthy and have unlimited financial resources but you only have the next six months to live. What do you do?
Buy a remote cabin in Iceland, stock it with creature comforts, and wait to die. My idea of happiness is silence, isolation, and gorgeous scenery.