Hey Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today? I’m doing pretty good, I would say great except for the wife’s health issues. I recently finished my super-duper secret project, and I’m getting ready for Christmas. Insurgency: Spartika launched yesterday! So did The Expanding Universe 3 Anthology, so if you need something to read give it a chance and leave a review when you’re done!
But enough about me, let’s interview some people! I love to conduct the Warrior Weekend and ‘SciFy Shenanigans’ interview series. I’ll send out the interview form to any author that fits those niche categories. If you know anyone you want me to interview, contact me through my blog and I’ll give it a shot! I love giving everyone a chance to get personal with the names behind the books they love! So let’s get right to the point of my latest blog posting!
I wanted to help you get to know these wordsmiths, so I created a template for the authors to talk about their latest book and their creative process. They’ll be able to pitch the other stuff too, of course, but many authors have deep backlists. It’s hard to get into the weeds with these prolific literary giants, but like all good sergeants I took decisive action. I took a weed whacker to the mess, and here are the final results! The questions are in no particular order, so grab your seat while your minion makes your popcorn and enjoy the ride!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages……
First, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Hi! Well, I’m a science fiction and (hopefully someday) a fantasy author. I’ve been writing in some form or another since I was about 14 years old when I wrote my first military sci-fi epic in a single-rule, one-subject notebook. In 2012 I started really getting into the indie space, and it’s been an awesome ride ever since.
I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie for 4 years and we have 2 beautiful babies. I also have two fantastic children from a previous marriage and when all four of them are here the house becomes extremely busy! Though I will say, that when all four are here, it’s a little easier to get stuff done because the older ones can watch the younger ones.
I published my first book “Breaking Through” in 2015, which was supposed to be the first of five novellas in a series of 5, however that project didn’t work out the way I’d originally envisioned it, and now I just published book 3 “Shadows of Neverland” and hopefully I’ll publish the fourth and final book in the series next year sometime.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am fascinated by flying. Helicopters and drones mostly. I’ve been trying to convince my better half to that drone racing is a worthwhile endeavor, however, my arguments—despite piles of scientific data that support the idea—have gone unheeded.
I’ll go out on a limb and assume that if you write books, then you also enjoy reading them. What other genres do you enjoy, and how have they affected your writing?
I read most genres. The only genre I don’t really read is anything romance related. Just not my thing. Over my lifetime, I’ve read about an even split of sci-fi and fantasy, though here recently, most of my time has been spent in fantasy. I love A Song of Ice and Fire and The Stormlight Archives.
Who are your biggest writing influences?
Brandon Sanderson, for sure. I’ve read all of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books. GRRM. The Dark Tower series (and characters) by Stephen King.
Who are your favorite authors and books?
The Stormlight Archives is probably my favorite series by far, followed closely by the Mistborn Trilogy. Song of Ice and Fire usually takes third. Of course, The Ember War Saga series by Richard Fox makes the list, one of my favorite modern mil sci-fi series and also the new Galaxy’s Edge series by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach.
that turned into writing for me. I’m fairly certain I started both at the same time. I lived in Germany as a kid, so we didn’t get a lot of the TV that people got here in the states, but my Mom always recorded Star Trek: The Next Generation and we watched it as a family, and I loved it. That series is was pushed me to read more sci-fi and also write my own stories and create my own universes.
What is your preferred writing style? Do you have a favorite point of view; first person, third person, etc.? Feel free to answer as both a reader and as an author!
I tend to write in third person limited. This is also my preferred narrative form as a reader. (Unless the main POV is a character like Mark Watney from the Martian, then it’s okay.
When did you get serious about your writing as a career, instead of writing as a hobby?
Like I said, I got big into the indie publishing scene around 2012 when I met a co-worker who also turned out to be a sci-fi writer, Scott Moon. I’ve become increasingly more disciplined over the last several years, and now that my writing is, for lack of a better phrase, starting to take off, I take it more seriously than ever.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I typically try to write in the early morning, before anyone is awake. I try to make it to the computer by 5am at the latest. I’d prefer to make it by 4am, but if I’m being honest, there are times I hit the snooze a lot.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
I usually aim for 1500 a day during the weekdays and 4k on Saturday. If I write on Sunday, then those are generally bonus words. When I’m in crunch mode, I’ll aim for 2k or 2500 words a day.
What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer the sound of silence?
It depends on whether I’m dictating or not. Most of the time I type, and then I’ll listen to music without lyrics, movie scores or Brian.fm. If I’m dictating, then I usually don’t have any music playing.
Okay, time for another random question. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think landed you on the government watch list for?
Hmmmm, embarrassing? I’m not sure. But I have researched a lot about Hitler and WWII, the driving issues behind the war and Hitler himself for a series I’m working on for later in 2018.
What is your current novel? Can you tell us a little bit about the premise?
My latest release is called “Terra Nova,” a spin-off novel I’ve co-written with Richard Fox, based on his Ember War series.
Terra Nova is a planet in a completely different galaxy than the Milky Way that an alien race in his Ember War series gave to humanity as a way to escape the coming Xaros (big bad alien drones bent on universal domination) invasion. Jared Hale led a colony mission to Terra Nova to start a new home for mankind. The catch is that with the distances and math (handwavium), humans can only get to Terra Nova through what’s called a Crucible, basically a hypergate, and even then only every few decades.
This novel stars about 20 years after the end of the Ember War and finds war-hero Ken Hale leading a second mission to the planet to reunite with his brother. However, when they arrive, they find the colony abandoned and all the colonists missing. The novel and following series are what happens the Hale and our new main character, Warrant Officer Katherine Carson a bad-ass, special forces type. She’ll lead her Pathfinder team on a series of missions to uncover the truth of what happened.
Terra Nova is apparently a series, where can we expect it to go?
Terra Nova is the first book in a planned 5 book series, it’s available now, and the second book should be available around February.
Where did you find the inspiration for Terra Nova?
Richard came to me and asked if I’d collaborate with him and write something in his Emberverse. Obviously, I took a few milliseconds to ponder over this proposal, then finally said, “Oh, oh, oh, yes, yes, yes, pick me!”
We talked about what we wanted to do with a spin-off and the different places we could go and decided that Terra Nova was the obvious choice. We went back and forth for several weeks on characters, plot points, and story-arcs, and came up with a novel that I think readers are really going to enjoy.
The characters from Terra Nova are sent into a gladiatorial death match. Who wins?
Definitely Carson. As a Pathfinder, they’re like modern-day Delta or Rangers, and she’s not afraid to cut a throat or two.
What was your favorite part of writing Terra Nova?
Writing with someone else is a completely different type of writing from simply putting down words by yourself. We worked off a pretty detailed outline, and move days I could just sit down and spit out a couple thousand words at a shot. This is the first project I’ve worked on where the book was completely plotted and outlined out before I started writing. I’ll definitely continue that process for all of my other projects.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from Terra Nova?
For Carson? Kate Beckinsale, for sure!
When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are, or do you let them develop as you go? The age-old plotter versus pantser, character edition.
With the story, I’m very much a plotter. For the character, I have a base when I start, then they grow as I write the story.
How did writing Terra Nova differ from your previous novels?
Collaboration is very different from solo-writing, so there was a little bit of a learning curve, for both of us, but this project has really challenged me as a writer, and I’ve grown because of it.
If Terra Nova had a theme song, what would it be?
Richat by Mark Petrie – Youtube it, you won’t be disappointed.
Terra Nova is full of many amazingly talented characters, and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?
Carson and Nunez are my favorites, Carson because she’s a hard-charger and is the underdog on this mission in more ways than one (I’ve got a thing for underdogs), and Nunez because he’s got a similar sense of humor to mine, generally says what’s on his mind and makes a lot of off-color comments at all the wrong moments.
And to bring us home, what advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?
Build your tribe. Network with other authors, and not just in a “will you read my book” kind of way. Make real relationships with people. Make an effort to help wherever you can, even if you don’t get anything in return. And WRITE. Practice all the time, better your craft, study your craft and keep at it.
Finally, where can readers and future stalkers find you?
I hope you enjoy this little conversation, and if you want to find out more about Josh Hayes then follow the rabbit trail to their den of insanity! If they don’t like it, beat ‘em with a carrot and keep on truckin’!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen shots taken by JR Handley and used under the Fair Use Doctrine.
–> Some of these interview questions were inspired by my good friend TeacherofYA, and are used with her permission. If you have kids who love to read, she’s the girl who’ll make the literary introductions! You should check her out, after a lifetime of reading, your kids will thank you.