-Try to describe your book in one sentence.
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island is a middle-grade fantasy full of adventure, magic, spookiness and fun that kids and parents will enjoy together.
-Your genre in Crater Lake is YA Fantasy right?. You did that on purpose, or you just start writing? What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?
I knew I wanted to write an outdoorsy/camping kind of book inspired by my adventures camping and hiking in the Oregon mountains as a kid. I started with the basic question, “What would happen if all the adults at Crater Lake disappeared?” and I started writing. As I considered possible answers to the question I found myself drawn to the fantastical answers and ultimately I knew, based on the location of Crater Lake and the legends of the area that this books was meant to be a fun fantasy. I think everything we read and watch is mashed up in our brain somewhere and comes out in different ways when we write, but my real focus was writing a Fablehaven type book my kids would love.
-Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the books?
I knew the book was going to be set in the Oregon Mountains but I didn’t know where exactly so I started researching locations. When I was reminded of Crater Lake, I knew I had to write about it. I researched the legends, the plant & animal life, history, topography etc. which was really important because I’ve never been to Crater Lake. I studied many pictures and videos so I could get a good feel for the location and breathtaking views. This summer I plan to take my family to Crater Lake when I take my family on vacation to Oregon.
-Which scenes were the hardest to write?
I usually have to work hardest at expressing the emotions of the characters. So in scenes where traumatic things happen, like when Ethan’s and Allies parents are sucked into the ground, I had to work to capture the shocked sorrow they were feeling.
-How long has it taken you to write a book ?
I wrote the rough draft of Crater Lake in about 3 months but then I worked on revisions, off and on, for another year. Crater Lake is my second published book and I have finished manuscripts for two others and I’ve found that the timing varies widely for completion.
-What’s the best part of writing for you?
I love imagining the world that is being created and finding out what the characters will do when facing obstacles. So far I have not outlined my books before writing as I prefer writing to see what happens. If I want to know what happens next, I have to write it and sometimes I’m just as surprised as the reader. After all, I was the first reader.
-Are you reading or writing something else at the moment?
I have recently finished a sequel to my first novel, Defensive Tactics, which is a light FBI thriller. I have a contract now for the sequel but I don’t have a scheduled release date yet. I’ve also recently finished a young adult dystopian novel in the tradition of Hunger Games and 1984.
-Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
My wife and 13 year old daughter are my main supports and are very encouraging. Sometimes they push me to write faster because they’re excited to see what happens next.
-Did you always had in mind to be a writer or it just happened?
I’m a banker. I never planned on being a writer, though I now find it to be much more rewarding and interesting than my day job. I simply woke up one day a couple of years ago with a story in my mind. I told my wife about it and she encouraged me to write it down. I had no idea if I could write a novel or not, but I started and the result was Defensive Tactics.
-How important you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
It’s hard to explain how good it feels when someone says they read your book. It’s even better when they like it. It is wonderful to receive feedback from readers. My cousins daughter brought a book home from the school library one day and locked herself in her room. Her family tried to get her to come out for some family activities but she didn’t want to. When they asked what she was reading she showed them my book and they were all amazed. My cousin asked her if she knew the author was related and she had no idea. She just loved the book. That is VERY cool.
And absolutely, I respond to messages and I read the reviews. I can’t help it. I love to hear from readers.
-Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
I’m always busy with extra work, church and family activities, but writing is my ongoing project now. Hopefully Crater Lake will be successful so I can complete the next two books in the Crater Lake Trilogy.
-Something special you want to share with us?
I’m really excited about Crater Lake and I hope the readers love it and share it with their friends.
Now some simple questions and more fun^^
-Your favourite books and author?
I actually don’t read much. I probably shouldn’t admit that, but I enjoy books like The Hunger Games and the Maze Runner and I also love youth fantasy like the Percy Jackson books and Fablehaven
-Your favourite band/singer?
Of course I love the Beatles and other classics like James Taylor, but my kids get a kick out of my enjoyment of Lady Gaga and Adele. What can I say? The music is catchy.
-Twitter or Facebook?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter but I much prefer Facebook. I also have a Crater Lake page on Facebook some come find me.
-Favourite place in the world?
-Last movie you watched at the cinemas?
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
-The last book you’ve read?
Time Gangsters by Berin Stephens
-Have you ever googled yourself?
Yes. Apparently there is a famous DJ named Steve Westover and also a professional cycler. Kind of interesting.
-Writing, reading or hanging out with friends?
Hanging out with family! But when I really get cooking on a book, it’s hard to stop.
-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?
A banker, I guess. It’s not very interesting but a day job is important to pay the bills.
-And last one....printed or ebooks?
Printed. I like holding a book in my hands and there are few things as exciting as holding your own book in your hands. It’s awesome!
Thanks a lot for your interview :)