Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Q: Riley...what made you become a writer?

A: That's an interesting question, because if you had told me even five years ago I'd write book, I'd call you a liar. Sure, I had ideas; I had experience of world building as an RPG player; and I've always been one to pick up a good book, but I hated writing growing up. If it weren't for all these awesome newfangled technological devices we have now.... Hell, I wrote my zombie book on a tablet, because I could carry it around more easily. Before that, I'd been a Certified Nurses Assistant, working in nursing homes and a psychiatric hospital. I loved my job. I learned a lot, met a ton of interesting people, and if I can work myself back to it, I will go back to doing that job. So, I'd say it's circumstances. Match boredom with technology, and who knows what you get.

Q: What is your typical writing day like?

A: First, my wife Sara and I bounce ideas off of each other, and figure out how I'm going to go about making the first draft of a chapter. This combines our ideas, adding more flavor and imagination to the world than I might be able to master on my own. Then I write the first draft of said chapter, throwing it all out on the page. I think if my wife tried, she'd be much better at this stage than I am. She reads over what I wrote, translating [what I've written] into English. This is a key step, without it I'd seem like a babbling incoherent man, full of grand ideas and shallow depth. Somehow, my wife reads it and see's what I'm saying, or coaxes it from me with a bit of talking. So our writing is very much so a collaboration of two minds, and we love to do it.

Q: Do you outline? If so, how extensive are your outlines?

A: I write about ideas, if that's what you mean. At the start of most of my books, I don't have an outline per se. I started to make one on more recent works, but they are really flexible. I'm very much a seat of the pants writer, and there has been more than one idea I've thrown out the window because I couldn't fit it in with the chapter before. The discarded ideas usually show up in other books, in other ways.

Q: How many revisions will you typically do on a novel?

A: Five or six. If I do a serial through BigWorldNetwork it goes through another two to three layers from editors.

Q: What is your best tip for editing a manuscript?

A: Get more than just your eyeballs on it. And read it out loud to yourself. You catch so many errors this way. 

Q: Which writing habits and/or tricks of the trade have made you a better writer?

A: I think I'm just picking it up as I go along. I mean, I'm becoming a better writer as I write more, but the same could be said of everyone. I don't do writing groups, and I consider every word I type to be a writing challenge for myself just because I used to hate it so much.

Q: Do you ever suffer through writer’s block? If so, how do you fight it?

A: I do! Most writers will tell you they drink a glass of wine, or have a shot of Tito's, but I myself prefer marijuana. Luckily I live in a state where it's legal for me to possess and smoke. But other than that, most of the writer's block comes from how to approach a particular problem in a work, and I solve it by approaching it from a different angle. One of the advantages of having met so many people is that I learned to adapt, and part of adapting is being willing to change your perception of things.

Q: What drew you to write your preferred genre(s)?

A: I think anything I write has to give me the room to stretch my imagination. And the genres I choose give me that option. Horror, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and High Fantasy leave me a wide range to spread my wings and have fun.

Q: Do you utilize beta readers?

A: Just one, and that's only because she has almost the exact same tastes as I do in writing. It's not my wife.

Q: In your most recently published novel, what’s one scene you really enjoyed writing—and why?

A: That would be Urban Punk. The entire book was fun to write, as it started out as a confidence building exercise for my wife. I think the funnest scenes to write in that book were the cage fights. 

Q: What makes the main character(s) of your most recent novel so special?

A: Her favorite weapon of choice is a dildo, which she likes to use to quite violent effects. The cage matches really show this off. 

Q: What is your best advice for author self-promotion?

A: Don't be afraid to shamelessly self-promote! But promote others as much as you promote yourself. I have a blog that I use to help other authors as much as possible, because I want us all to succeed. We all have a story that deserves to be read by someone. 

Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?

A: Honestly, I've learned to love them. They help me grow so much as a writer, especially when reviewers leave detailed feedback on what they did and didn't like. Either way, I've learned at the end of the day the only person I really write for is me. I don't have a bestseller (yet), but even if no one reads my books I'll still probably write just to get the ideas out of my head. 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: Meeting other indie authors! Seriously, one of the greatest things is being introduced to others' works. I've met all kinds of people, from all over the country, and every single one of them has been a pleasure to meet. 

Q: What is your least favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: Never really knowing what is going to get you a sales spike. I mean, I've tried studying marketing of books and all that jazz, and the one thing that seems pretty consistent is no one knows what really works. The market can be very fickle. 

Q: What is your current writing project?

A: I'm finishing up the second book in a Science Fiction series.

Q: What are three of your favorite novels?

A: I can't pick just three! They were my best friends growing up! I'll try to narrow it down as much as possible. 

Stranger in a Strange Land By Robert Heinlein. People say it's sexist, and it might be, but I don't like it for that. I like it for the thought put forth about a man coming from Mars, raised in a completely different society, and trying to survive in this crazy world. 

The Magician series (Including Daughter of the Empire) by Raymond E Feist (with Janny Wurts), which showed me just how expansive worlds can be, and taught me how to use powerful female characters.

The Assassin series by Robin Hobb. They taught me to look at magic in ways I'd never considered before.

Q: If you could have lunch with any novelist, living or dead, who would it be? What would talk to them about?

A: I'd have to say Mark Twain, just because he seems like an interesting man. As for what we'd talk about, I'd be happy just to see the look on his face when I pull a smartphone from my pocket and take a picture with him. 

Q: What is your best piece of advice for budding authors?

A: WRITE! I spent almost a half a year "planning to write" and not writing. Once I started, I found the planning was useless except in the most rudimentary sense, and I had to have the freedom to stretch my wings. But the only way I could learn that was to start writing!

Q: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

A: I had another, less experienced author tell me he was writing crap. I told him, “So write crap!” You can always fix crap. You can’t fix a blank page. Guess what? He published the book. So…hey you! Yes, you! Write crap! 


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