You have written three books (In Stone; Night Creatures; Dark Rites). How old were you when you first began writing? Publishing?
I’d always dabbled in writing, but I was about twenty-five when I decided to get serious about it. I experimented with essays and blogs, but eventually found my footing in a gargoyle story I’d had in mind since I was in grade school. This, after a lot of development, writing, and re-writing, became In Stone. The process of getting a book published is different (and annoying…disheartening…traumatic) for every author. It took me about two years to get the novel in good enough shape for a publisher to bite. Bold Strokes Books bought my manuscript in 2011. I was twenty-seven.
How would you describe your relationship with writing?
Developing a healthy, practical, and productive relationship with writing is probably different for every writer. For me it took a few years. I used to sit at my computer whenever I had a chunk of free time, but now it’s something I make time for. I try to treat it like a job, because it is. Fortunately it’s a job I love and look forward to. I attempt to mimic a typical work day, toiling away on my various projects from morning until early evening. Then I come out of my creative haze and socialize. I’ve also come to realize and accept that writing is not just about getting words on the page. A lot of time needs to be spent thinking, outlining, daydreaming, researching, seeking inspiration. For me, that part is crucial. But learning to tell yourself how and when to actually put all of that into a document is equally crucial.
What makes one desire to write as prolifically?
I’m going to be honest with you. There’s not a ton of money in publishing. Unless an author is hugely successful and gets translated into a zillion languages, goes into multiple printings, and sells rights to a movie studio, most writers have “real jobs.” I want writing to be my “real job” and the only way to make that happen is to produce as much work as I can. More books mean more potential royalties. If a farmer wants to have a successful harvest, he doesn’t just plant one seed in his field. A prolific writer has more opportunities for people to become exposed to his work and to get invited to create more work. I’ve got a lot of ideas I’d like to see become reality.
Talking about being a prolific writer and publishing entity, would you discuss your relationship with money?
Hmmm…money is tricky. Depending on the project or contract, checks come in at different times. I’ve had to get used to the momentary excitement of a receiving a check, and the disappointment of not being able to spend it right way. You know, saving, like adults are supposed to do. Having a freelance job is still important in terms of paying bills, but I’ve been fortunate to secure more book deals and a commission for a theatrical project. The process of really making money as a writer is slow. It takes time to not just write, but also t build an audience. I’m learning to be patient.
Do you have any advice or commentary to those who are thinking of publishing their work for the first time?
I freelance in event management and I often see one staff member trying to do something on his own when he should really do it with a partner; like lifting something heavy or maneuvering something way too big to be handled by one person. It might look impressive to do something challenging alone, but it is ultimately dangerous and stupid. To these people I always say “don’t be a hero.” I say the same to newbies in the writing/publishing game. All work needs another set of eyes. This can be an editor or just a friend. Telling people you wrote, edited, submitted (and even published) on your own may seem impressive, but it’s risky. All work needs to be shared, discussed, and refined. Don’t send your manuscript to agents before it’s ready (have others read it and give feedback so you can do rewrites to make it as good as it can be) and don’t publish anything without a professional edit (if you are traditionally published by a house, they will take care of this for you). Don’t be a hero. Ask for help.
How does a creative entity make peace with unifying the abstract with the tangible?
It’s been a difficult process, for sure. The hardest thing I’ve had to make peace with is the amount of effort it takes to promote a book. My publisher of course does that too, but the author has to put in a lot of leg work. I’ve found this to be the case no matter how big the publishing house is. When my first book came out I felt like I was spending way too much time trying to promote it and not enough time writing the next book. I think all authors are faced with this and must learn how to balance the creative half and the business half. Basically I just have to remind myself that both are important and to stop complaining. No matter how creative and beautiful it feels to write, at the end of the day it is a business.
In Stone and Night Creatures are out now by Bold Stroke Books. Dark Rites will be published via Bold Stoke Books in February 2015.
More interviews: SIRPAUL, Baron and Armand Deluxe, Panther, Walt Cessna, Mark David Gerson (second interview), Emerson Collins with Del Shores, Joey DeRuy, Ryan Lill, Laura Pausini, Vanessa Carlton, KENN, Mary Lambert, SATURN, Stephen Dittmer, Stephan Nance, Mark David Gerson, Eric Himan, Kevin J Thornton, Sammy Crawford, Eddie Christie, John Carrasco, YogaBear, Bryan Nevin with Christopher Van Etten.
Books: Rasping Melodies: Painspirations of My Past, by Roeau Vetrano : Out of the Past, by Jeffrey Ballam : Dreaming Outside of Destiny, by Roberto Carlos Martinez