When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I like going for hikes when the weather is good. Getting some fresh air and being away from all the everyday complications of life always helps me relax and clear my head.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it - What keeps you going?
When the writing gets rough, my characters keep me going. I have a really strong sense of obligation to my characters. Even when my outline is vague, I usually have a couple exciting “payoff” type scenes in my mind that happen towards the end of the book. I know I eventually have to get my characters there, or what have I been spending all that time working on?
Have you met any people in the industry who have really helped you?
I’ve taken a few classes with author Jonathan Maberry and he’s been a huge help. He’s very knowledgeable about the industry and has a lot of practical, no-nonsense type of advice for writers. He’s very generous with his time and information and is genuinely interested in creating an active writing community.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope my stories will inspire people to improve themselves. I want my readers to feel empowered; if my character can rise to the challenge, they can too.
What’s your favorite meal?
Tacos!! I could eat tacos every day of my life and never get sick of them.
What’s your next project?
Aside from the rest of the Leveling Up series, my next project is a YA steampunk series beginning with the book Air Pirate. It’s about a post-apocalyptic society divided into two factions, and the loveable scoundrel who brings them together. Also, airships.
How important are friends in your life?
Friends are immensely important. I can’t say I know the full meaning of life yet. But I think part of what we’re supposed to be doing here is learning, improving, growing. I like to have friends that are better than me, in at least some aspect, so that I can learn from them. It’s also important to have people who know you, and love you, well enough to call you on your shortcomings.
Do you find the time to read?
It’s really hard to find the time to read. But it’s also extremely important! So my friends and I formed a book club to help us read more and also expose us to different genres and formats of storytelling. A lot of our picks are available as audio books, so I like to listen to those while I’m driving or cleaning.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I don’t take myself too seriously, which, I think, is an important quality to have. It allows me to try different things and experiment, without getting too wrapped up in being great at every little thing.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Like a lot of people, I’m afraid of failure. So with things that are very important to me, like writing, I tend to procrastinate and self-sabotage because then the story I have in my mind can remain perfect. That is a terrible way to go about being a writer, obviously, so I’m working on it. But the tendency is there.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The hardest part about writing a novel is the freaking middle part. It’s where you’ve done all the exciting, fun part of setting up a character and making readers interested in him. But you’re not ready for the climax yet. So you just have to have him go around and…do stuff. And that stuff has to be important, and eventually lead to the thrilling climax and cathartic ending. But it can’t be TOO interesting that it overshadows the climax.
Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.
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Genre – YA
Rating – PG
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