Where there alternate endings you considered for this book?
The ending for The Ridge came to me about half way through writing the novel. I realized the entire story I wanted to tell couldn’t be told in one 50,000 word book, so I purposely left the ending somewhat ambiguous, allowing for a sequel. Stone Ridge is the sequel and wraps up the story fairly clearly I think.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
The biggest challenge with my writing process is simply “time.” I am a full time High School English teacher, a husband and father of two young children. Needless to say, sitting down for hours at a time to write can be difficult. On weekends and in the summer, I tend to get up early and work for an hour or two before the day really gets going. I’ve found if I don’t do it right away, it might not happen at all. I always write the book on the computer, but I keep a journal for extra notes, revision ideas, etc. I am also part of a Minneapolis Facebook group that motivates each other to write at least one thousand words every Tuesday. I try to participate in that whenever possible. Anything a writer can do to stay motivated is imperative. Sometimes it’s a deadline, sometimes it’s preparing a manuscript for a writing group, sometimes it’s getting those thousand words written. Everything helps.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?
That’s a good question. I don’t think I would ever write about vampires or zombies. The Ridge and Stone Ridge are paranormal mysteries, but I think there are some subjects that have been done to death (pardon the pun) and vampires and zombies fit into that category. I love The Walking Dead and some of the classic vampire stories like Dracula, but how much more can be done with that genre? I’m not sure.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Some of my favorite authors that I look to for inspiration are Tim O’Brien, Khaled Hosseini, John Green, Maya Angelou, and Richard Wright. All of them in their own ways are masters of language and I am blown away by their ability to construct sentences that stick with a reader. I often look at these authors‘ works for motivation- they make me hopeful I can create language in such beautiful ways.
For me, a series feels a bit overwhelming. The Ridge and Stone Ridge are a short series, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go. I have so many ideas circulating in my head that I find myself becoming impatient, which is not to say a series isn’t fun to read. I have the utmost respect for those writers who are able to construct characters and worlds that span multiple books. For me though, I don’t want to get stuck in one story too long. The Ridge and Stone Ridge together took 3-4 years to create and by that time I was ready to move on to other voices and stories.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
In my writing life, my best accomplishment is finishing my first novel, If I Know It’s Coming. Being my first go around with writing a full length novel, it took a great deal of time and was particularly challenging. I am proud of the way it turned out and I’m proud of the message it gives.
In my personal life, my biggest accomplishment would have to be marrying my wonderful wife and raising our two great kids. It’s a joy to watch them grow each and every day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I see myself still teaching school, possibly making a return to coaching tennis, and continuing my writing career. At that point my kids will be older and there may be more opportunities to write. I am working on a novel right now and its success may have a little to do with how much I pursue further writing endeavors in the future. I will continue to write regardless, but I’m hoping this book will find a publishing home and reach a larger audience, which will help motivate me to use writing as more of a second career rather than something I do in my spare time.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I definitely prefer paper and/or hard back books. I like the artistry of them. I own a Nook and have read some books on them, but I always feel like I’m missing something. The book itself is a work of art, along with the words and it feels “cheaper” to me when I read them on a screen.