Where are you from? I was born in South Dakota, in the US, but I grew up all over the world, since my parents both served 20+ years in the USAF.
Tell us your latest news? My latest writing news is that Baen books released the eARC of Black Tide Rising, an anthology of zombie survival stories set in author John Ringo’s zombie apocalypse universe. I have a story in that book. It’s actually the story that inspired the cover art, which is pretty cool.
What books have most influenced your life most? Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. I read it when I was a kid, and it was my gateway drug into SF/Fantasy fiction. It also inspired my choice of “day job” career. I wanted to be a dragonrider more than anything in the world. However, dragons, as you might have realized, are in somewhat short supply here on Earth, so I became the next best thing: a helicopter pilot.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Three come immediately to mind: John Ringo, who basically handed me my shot at a writing career on a silver platter, Michael Z. Williamson, who helped me do a significant bit of fine tuning to my craft, and Sarah A. Hoyt, who is a constant source of encouragement and sound advice.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? As I get older and have more experiences in the real world, I think that my creative life gets more nuanced. For me, a story is all about the emotional. Action is cool, but I want to tell it from an emotional standpoint, if that makes sense. In other words, I want to reflect the fear/anxiety/adrenaline/unholy glee/etc that my character feels while the action is going on. That type of perspective wasn’t possible until I’d matured enough to start being aware of my own emotional state, and that of others.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Getting my ass (butt if you prefer, Nico!) in the chair and making it happen.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Aside from sleep deprivation? I think staying focused. My current WIP is set in WWII, and so there are thousands of rabbit holes that I could take the story down. Some of those have evolved into ideas for Books 2 and 3 in the series (Thanks Chris Smith!), but I have to keep reminding myself that there will BE no Book 2 or 3 if I don’t stay focused and tell the story that’s in Book 1!
What is the easiest thing about writing? For me, it’s getting into the character’s head. I manage to do that pretty easily. It isn’t hard for me to imagine what my characters are thinking/feeling in any given situation.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Same advice I need to take: put your ass in the chair and write!
Where do you see publishing going in the future? So I think the trend toward lucrative self- and indie publishing is a really interesting one. With publishing vehicles like Amazon available to literally anyone with an internet connection, I think we’re going to see a lot more micropress action. More even than we’ve already seen, and it’s really been exploding lately. I find that exciting, to be honest, and I’m super curious to see how traditional publishing houses will cope, because they’ll have to do SOMETHING if they intend to stay relevant.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? The one thing that I can think of that I’d like to mention is that if you’re an aspiring (or, hell, an experienced!) writer, you might find it helpful to reach out and build a community of writerly-inclined people around yourself. I mentioned my Aggressive Muse, Chris. That’s a great example. Chris and I are often online writing at the same time. We bounce ideas, etc, but we’re also cheerleaders and critics for one another. I know that I can trust Chris to point out an awkwardly worded scene or sentence to me, and suggest a way to fix it. And vice versa.
But besides just Chris, in the last year or so, I’ve really found myself fortunate to be surrounded by some really talented authors and critics who are always willing to give a section a read, offer help or constructive critique, or just encouragement. It’s been so phenomenal.
How can readers discover more about you and you work? I’m on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/