Author Interview with Great Guy
Excuse me, Blake, can we talk? I think it is time to get to know you as an author and human being behind all the great writing. I think all of your readers would like that, too.
1. What sparked your interest in writing?
Actually I’ve been interested in writing for a long time, since I was a kid, but also very interested in art. But as a child I found that I got more attention for my drawings and I couldn’t get anyone to even read my stories, so I stopped writing with the intent to show it to anyone. I probably had 10-20 failed novel attempts between the ages of 8 and 30, but they were very sporadic. Even though I went to college for art and loved it, I wanted to tell stories and I maintained that insatiable need to write a novel someday, although it seemed like a pipe dream. Then, about 3 months after my divorce in 2018 I finally gave up art, tired of how I milked it dry for cash to appease my ex. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. So I turned to writing. I began with short stories and somehow wrote a book!
2. Has anyone in your life inspired you to write?
I’ve always felt inspired by movies and authors, but there wasn’t anyone personal in my life that made me want to write. Like I said, I couldn’t pay people to read my work as a kid, so I stopped talking to them about it. I feel most inspired by people like Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Michael Crichton, Linsday Buroker, and Joanna Penn. They are my go-to peeps 🙂
3. When did you decide to publish?
Well, I’d published a non-fic short back in 2015 and it wasn’t a difficult process. It’s even easier now with software advancements. When I wrote my first short story “Eat” I decided after being rejected from multiple publications that I’d just do it myself. I’m a super independent person with a contrary streak. If you tell me no, I will figure out how to do it. So I did. People telling me I can’t do something is a great way to make sure I will. Haha.
4. Are you an Indie Author or Traditional Author? Why did you choose the path you did?
I’m definitely indie. I think the traditional path is very romanticized and seems amazing, but the truth is it’s very hard to make a living selling Trad. There’s also ZERO control over your book, rights, cover, pricing, AND you still have to do all the hard work and market the book. I chose indie because I can maintain all that control from first word to publishing AND I get to keep all my profits. It’s a win-win situation for me. And marketing isn’t really that hard. David Gaughgrin and Chris Fox have excellent books that make it pretty easy.
5. What is your first published book?
Lake Arcadia was my first novella that was actually a book, which took me a year to write. Jonathan’s Letter is my first full length novel and took me about 35 days to complete the first draft.
6. Are you happy with how your books are coming out? Would you change anything?
Yes. I absolutely love how they are turning out. My motto is “Finished is better than Perfect”. I think artist Jake Parker said that who is currently in some hot water for copyright infringement, BUT I feel like it’s a good way to approach writing. Many people spend years making something “perfect”, but I want to practice and create better work faster. Years of art and an art degree taught me that practice is absolutely everything. So instead of writing the perfect book, I’m trying to write 500k-600k words per year to become a better writer.
7. Will you continue to publish books for many years to come?
Absolutely. I’ve currently finished the first in a six-part fantasy series and I plan to have the entire thing out by the end of next year. I’ve got lots more ideas after that and possibly a spinoff series in the same fantasy world
8. What genres inspire you to write?
Fantasy and Sci-Fi mostly. Although I’ll say I read an absolute metric ton of non-fiction. I’ve probably read somewhere in the ballpark of 75 textbooks in the past decade and I love them. I draw a lot of inspiration from real things in our world.
9. What is your favorite genre to write? What is your least favorite genre to write?
Currently I’m really enjoying writing fantasy because I get to build the world myself. But I’ll also say that almost all of my stories, even Jonathan’s Letter, which is very real world, has some paranormal elements, especially when the characters are children. I always like to add in a hint of weirdness into stories because that’s how life actually is. Some things are just unexplainable.
10. What challenges have you faced publishing?
My biggest challenge has been finding good cover designers. Unfortunately the indie world is rife with bad covers and I can’t stand them. I was able to get a good cover for Lake Arcadia and Jonathan’s Letter, but I was unable to find a fantasy designer that I meshed with that wasn’t $400 per cover. So instead I did my own and ran it by a lot of people to make sure it was acceptable. So my next book series will be all my own cover designs! Finally putting that art degree to use again!
I will also add that marketing is hard and I’m still learning. But a little bit everyday and keeping good notes really helps drive it forward. Also being brave and trying things even if you don’t know how they work can lead to unexpected surprises.
11. What challenges have you faced in writing?
My biggest challenge has been myself and procrastination. I did it with art, I do it with all my passions. I’ll sit around and get depressed that I’m not doing what I love when I have the option to do what I love. The biggest lie people tell themselves is that they have no time to do things. The average adult in the USA has 4-5 hours of free time each day that is unaccounted for. (Everyone is screaming LIES, I can hear it, but it’s been studied multiple times by RAND) What this means is that we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t have time for things, but we really do. I’m guilty of it too. However, I started putting myself on a schedule with a word count goal, which was small to start, and then I built it up as I went. I went from writing 500 words per day to almost 3000 per day in less than 3 months. My current fantasy novel is 85k and I finished it in 35 days. That is entirely possible to accomplish AND I still had lots of free time! It just takes practice and dedication, but I believe all of us are capable of such things.
12. Where do your ideas for your books come from? Where do you keep those ideas?
First of all, always write down your ideas. Stephen King likes to say “If my ideas are worth anything, they’ll stick with me” and he’s dead wrong. If you have even the slightest hint of ADHD or you multi-task a lot, you will forget your best ideas. WRITE. THEM. DOWN. Most of my ideas come from movies, media, and dreams. I usually take a dream and mash it with real world stuff or media that I love and boom, new story sprouts and it’s running off into the sunset. I have a book that is in very poor shape, that I keep all my ideas in. I have pages of titles, one liners, plot hooks, word webs, and associations all over this book. If the apartment were to ever catch fire, I would save it before I’d save my laptop (I back up my manuscripts online).
13. Are you also a bookworm and does reading other works help inspire your own writing?
I love to read. For years after college I stopped reading because nothing really excited me anymore. But since I began reading again I feel more inspired than ever to write. It’s never the main story that inspires me in a book, it’s tiny interactions between characters or a piece of scenery that sparks my imagination. A good book is so much more than a pleasing plot.
14. Do you have a website where we can follow you?
Yes please! There’s also a free short story with my newsletter!
15. What is the link for your books so others may look and possibly purchase them from?
My website has all my links and synopses of the books!
Here is also the links to Amazon for both books. His newest book is out now so snag yourself a copy!