Monday, October 17, 2011




Hello William, and thank you for doing this interview with Great Minds. My first question is about your seeming fascination with Zombies. It seems that a lot of people have become interested more recently in this genre of writing can you tell us when you first decided to write your "Elements of the Undead" Series?

I first became fascinated with the idea of zombies when I saw Return of the Living Dead in eleventh grade. From that point on, I couldn’t get enough of them, whether on the big screen or in books. In late 2009, I had just completed the first draft of what was to become my bestselling espionage thriller, The Patriot Paradox, and I was casting about for for my next project. I was reading a lot of zombie fiction at the time, but I hadn’t really given much thought to writing any of my own. Another writer friend convinced me to participate in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) that year as a way to start writing something new. Since I had just written a thriller, and I was enjoying the genre, I decided to write another one. Somehow though, a few thousand words into the first draft, a zombie shambled out of the woods and attacked my hero. I tried to fight it. I even deleted the scene and pressed on with the thriller, but the zombies kept on returning, until finally, I gave in and let them have their way. I didn’t finish NaNo that year, but I had the core of a good story sketched out. “Zombie Story One” sat on my hard drive forgotten for most of 2010 while I completed my work on The Patriot Paradox. Early in 2011, I pulled out the manuscript and gave it a quick read, fingers crossed that I would still like the story. I did. After two serious rewrites and a cross country move for both my family and my story, Fire: Elements of The Undead was born.

Who are some of the inspirations behind your writing and creativity?

People and world events are my biggest inspirations. I’ve always enjoyed watching people, whether across the conference table at my day job or sitting in a coffee shop. There’s so much variety in the way people view the world and how they act upon their interpretations. I find it particularly fascinating that two people can participate in the same event and come away with entirely different impressions based upon their frame of reference. Along the same lines, I’ve been a news junkie for as long as I can remember. Not a day goes by that I don’t read dozens of news stories from different sources and points of view in an attempt to understand what’s really going on in the world. The main thing I have taken away from watching people and world events is the external display, or action, rarely matches what is going on inside the person (or nation’s) mind.

As for specific authors, my favorites include Margaret Atwood, Craig DiLouie, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and David Baldacci.

How does your wife feel about your writing and does she read your novels?

My wife has read bits and pieces of my espionage thriller series, but she refuses to read the zombie stories because she “doesn’t want to know what goes on inside my head to come up with that stuff.”

Where do you get some of your best ideas? Is there a special place that sparks your imagination and creativity?

I don’t have a particular physical location that sparks my creativity. Sometimes the story comes from a dream at 2AM; sometimes it happens in the shower before work. I recently had a breakthrough about a particularly gnarly plot issue while standing in line at Costco. A smart phone comes in really handy in those situations.

How old were you when you first figured out that you had a knack for writing and creating?

I first realized I was able to write an entertaining story while in college, however I didn’t pursue it in earnest until my early thirties when my industry (software development) collapsed in the wake of the dot-com fiasco. Facing an uncertain future in an industry that had lost its allure, I embarked on a quest to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Writing was the answer.

Right now you are working on two series, the other one besides "Elements of the Undead" is "The Reluctant Hero" can you tell us more about this series?

The first book of the Reluctant Hero series, The Patriot Paradox, follows the exploits of ex-CIA analyst Kurt Vetter and his mysterious partner Amanda Carter as they race across the globe to prevent a rogue group of disgruntled CIA operatives from launching a new, hot war with Russia. The second book in the series, Pressed, due out at the end of 2011, picks up where The Patriot Paradox leaves off, and follows Kurt and Amanda as they dive deeper into the plot behind the plot.

I’ve always been intrigued by espionage stories, whether fiction or non-fiction. This series gives me an opportunity to inject my characters into real-world scenarios and see how they land. Sometimes they make it, and sometimes things don’t turn out so well. But it’s always fun!

Are there any other genres you have thought about writing for?

I have a few ideas for stories outside the zombie genre, yet still inside horror. I’m also intrigued by science fiction and political thrillers. I’ll see how I feel after I complete the Elements series (two more books) and the Reluctant Hero series (at least one more book).

After your series are over do you already have plans for another book or series?

I’ve been collecting notes on a more literary effort based upon a tragedy that occurred near my former home in Virginia several years ago. At this point I haven’t decided how to approach the story, but it keeps showing up in my dreams so I know I have to tackle it eventually.

When we hear about Arizona a lot of times people immediately think, hot, dry, and humid. How is the weather there really and how long have you lived there?

I’ve been in Arizona for a year and a half. Aside from late June through mid-September, the weather is amazing. During those summer months, it rains a lot, the mosquitoes come out, and it’s too hot to think. However, the sun rises at 4:45 in the morning during the summer, which makes for great morning bicycling.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a little bit every day, even if you don’t feel like it, and before you know it, you’ll have your first draft.

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