I just your average font fanatic English major who has a traumatic brain injury and an interest in everything serial killer, conspiracy theory, and veganism. And I would definitely know what to do if the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow.
What am I like as a person? Imagine if Benson from The Regular Show and Q from Star Trek had a baby. That would be me. I like order and need things to be done a certain way by a certain time, but if there’s nothing going on or I have time to myself, chaos is my thing. Which is why I love writing, to be honest. There’s order in how one writes a book, but having full control as an author allows me to do whatever I want to whomever I want.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I went to school in Adrian, Michigan.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I’ve lived a strange life, having gotten a traumatic brain injury at the age of five. I think this is reflected in my writing in a lot of ways.
Why do you write?
I try to write stories based upon my own life, though the plot might not be anything like I’ve lived through.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’d describe my writing style as fairly casual, so even though my book may be a few hundred pages long, it won’t take forever to read the entire thing. I’m all about entertainment and character development.
What are obstacles that come in the way of writing?
For me personally, fatigue gets in the way of my writing. Whether it be physical or emotional, when I get burn out, I get burn out. It’s especially bad if I’m out at a coffee place, since I’ll need to get myself home and coffee doesn’t do much in terms of giving me energy.
Another issue I come up against is perfectionism. I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (actually I enjoy every minute of it), which kind of explains a lot about what I go through when I’m writing: if I don’t know I can do something 100%, I just won’t start on it at all.
What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?
If you look at the first page of my book, you’ll see I dedicated my book to a college friend. I was giving her a ride to the ice cream place one day, and she asked if she could take a look at the thing I’d been working on. Fully expecting she’d think it was terrible, I gave her my laptop and tried to focus on the road. She got through a good chunk of it and exclaimed how much she was enjoying it. Every time she and I hung out after that, she’d ask when she could read more of it. That feeling never left me, even after spending three years after graduation going to school for something completely unrelated to writing. At some point, I just felt like it was my purpose in life to finish and publish my book so that she could see what it became.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved writing, but I think I really got serious about it in middle school when I started working on a story in which I went back (as a tween) to my childhood to stop a traumatic event from happening. At some point, I had to stop working on that because I knew it was fictional and I was stuck in the situation I was stuck in, but I discovered that I enjoyed the ability to create a world and a situation that had never happened.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
So, when I was little, I decided that I wanted to be “famous” when I grew up. I mean, I know being an author doesn’t guarantee that, but I took what I love and ended up doing it. The funny thing is I had fully planned on being a stand up comedian for quite a few years, but then after writing my zombie novel, I realized that working in horror was much closer to my heart.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
When I’m hard core in writing mode, it’s basically the only thing I do. I’ll take breaks every now and then to watch something on Netflix or Hulu, but whatever I’m writing will always be in the back of my mind, and I’ll keep pausing whatever I have on in order to work on whatever idea pops into my head that I like. There was one time I was on a 7 hour train ride, working on the final draft of my book, and I got an incredible amount of work done that didn’t save because I didn’t have internet access, but since I was in such a writing phase, it was pretty easy for me to duplicate what I had done.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write the characters before I write the story. When I was plotting out my first book, the first thing I did was write down the names of the characters, what their job was, their relationship status, and what their quirk was. That way, as I was writing and would have a character do a certain thing, I could plug in the name of whatever character was most likely to do that based upon personality. It does eventually turn into writing short stories about them earlier in life, but that’s also something we had to do for some college classes.
How long does it take to write a book?
So unfortunately I have a plethora of medical conditions, so I might declare one day “I’m going to get x amount of stuff done tomorrow” but then wake up to find my body isn’t up to that because I have to go to urgent care, or I haven’t waken up in time to do anything productive. That being said, I do have a lot of motivation when I want to do something, so just because I have one off day doesn’t mean I won’t get more done the next day that might be even more than I would have gotten done the day before if I hadn’t been sick.
My first (and only so far) book required four years to write, but I didn’t really know I was going to publish, so didn’t put a lot of care into it being great for the first draft, and I was still in college at the time. If it had been my one and only focus, I believe I could have gotten it finished much sooner, as I’m hoping I can for my future novels I plan to write.
Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?
I learned that it’s important to go with the flow. When I started writing my book, I had planned on a straightforward horror novel, but it became more of a satire in the vein of the John Dies at the End series. To me, this made it more fun to write (although like they teach in improv classes, the funny came naturally and didn’t need to be forced) and helped set me up with the opportunity to do a series. More serious horror novels tend to have a real closer at the end, whereas in my book, I left some things unanswered, which hopefully means readers would look forward to my future books. Also, there were certain characters I really liked, but in a zombie novel, people die.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think in order to write a good story, you need to write characters with whom your reader can connect. A guy working a boring job to pay the bills, or a mother who has a kid with a lot of health problems. Just normal people who aren’t particularly talented but have that one thing they really care about that keeps them going.
What does your family think of your writing?
When I first declared that I wanted to be an author, the family gave the “not everybody is as successful as Stephen King or Dean Koontz” lecture. They preached this in college as well, and that wasn’t really why I wanted to do it, so I just dove deep into my work and wrote the best book that I could. Now that the book is published and my family has read it, they are incredibly supportive and I think they realize that their hesitancy of my doing this wasn’t helpful or necessary.