According to your bio, you are a former private investigator. In what ways, if any, does this experience manifest in your creative work?
When you are on surveillance as a private investigator, you morph into something not unlike an invisible bystander, and you are given a rare opportunity to anonymously observe people’s behavior in all its complexities. Sometimes, you witness first-hand what some would call the “dark side” of human nature, and it’s not often pretty. However, at the very same time, you also have these amazing opportunities to right wrongs, to seek justice, and to solve real-life problems for people who need your help. I think this contradiction between good and evil, and right and wrong, comes out in my writing, and that my experience as a private investigator has given me some insight into what truly lurks inside the hearts of men.
In lots of people, I'll bet! In DARK TOMORROW: RISE OF THE CROW I'm especially intrigued by the ex-Marine, Edward. How did he come to you, and in what ways did he surprise you?
Edward is a unique and interesting character in many ways, and he is without question an amalgamation of several “real-life” people that I have known. Unlike many of the characters in Dark Tomorrow, Edward is also no teenager, and as a former Marine, he has experienced life events that my younger characters have yet to encounter. At the same time, Edward also enters the story with a fair amount of emotional baggage, and I think it was surprising to see where these personal issues took Edward as the story unfolds. In the end, he makes some truly startling decisions, and I think the reader gets a chance to look into the troubled mind of the complex character that is Edward.
He definitely sounds interesting. What do you wish stories had more of?
Realism. While I definitely enjoy fantasies and the supernatural as much as the next avid reader, I really enjoy reading fiction that takes a realistic perspective. I know that in my own books, I strove to build a post-apocalyptic world that was not only intriguing, but also plausible. This can be difficult as a writer, mostly because there are no easy outs—characters don’t get to conveniently cast a spell or use their secret powers to solve a problem. In realistic fiction, the characters are bound by the laws of reality, and as much as we all love a character with super powers or magical elements, I think readers also enjoy making connections to characters who are painfully real, and who must overcome challenges that we can all relate to.
Indeed. And I've seen some of those painfully real characters in SF/F too. What are some of your current projects?
Right now, I am right in the middle of the final edits for the third book in the Dark Tomorrow trilogy, Fall of the Crow. It’s the final chapter in the series and it is due to come out sometime in early summer of next year. I am also working on the first book in a completely new dystopian YA series that I’m really excited about. Like my previous books, it’s set in the not-too distant future, but this novel has more elements of science fiction, and while I can’t say too much about it, I think it will appeal to a wide range of readers who enjoy a fast-paced and thrilling YA story.
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