What made you choose Red Adept Editing?
I’d done a lot of homework online for editing services and found RAE via Google search. I liked their website right out of the gate. It was straightforward and easy to understand. “Here’s our service. Here’s our price. Here are our credentials and why we’re good at what we do.” I then reached out to a few of their clients, every one of whom raved about the quality of service they’d received from the RAE staff.
On a more personal note, it helped that RAE is based in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. I live in Durham myself, and I’m a huge proponent of supporting local artists and businesses.
You purchased the Premier Package for your latest novel, and Jessica was your content editor. Did you enjoy that process?
I enjoyed the process with all of my editors, Jessica included. I found their feedback to be wonderfully insightful — but better than that, it was honest. My editors had no problem telling me where my story fell short, though conversely they always chased those criticisms with suggestions for how I could make the piece better. As an author, I need that, and Red Sky Dawning is a far better read for having gone through such a rigorous ordeal.
Are your books standalones, or do they need to be read in order?
Yes and no. Red Sky Dawning is the direct sequel to Mako. However, I went to great lengths to make sure readers of book two could follow its story without having read book one. Will you have a clearer understanding of the world and the characters if you’ve read Mako? Sure. But readers won’t be lost if they haven’t, either.
You mean besides making the New York Times Bestseller List and rising to Hollywood blockbuster fame? Oh, not much. 😉
At present, I’m working on At Circle’s End, which will be the third and final book of the actual saga, otherwise known as the original trilogy. Having said that, I’ve got tons of ideas for standalone stories to be set in this universe, but I plan to take a break before starting those. I’ve been playing in the “Mako-verse” sandbox for quite a few years now, and I’d like the chance to go play in a new one for a while. Not sure what that’ll entail just yet, but I’m thinking something set in a post-apocalyptic America could be fun.
Do you think you’ll stick to the science fiction genre?
Hmm, tough to say. My first inclination is to say “yes,” because I’ve loved the genre since childhood. Like any author, though, I live to be challenged, and that often times means stepping outside of my comfort zone. Maybe I’ll write a western one day, or a crime thriller, or perhaps even an autobiography on what it was like as a legally blind kid growing up. Who knows? I guess it’ll depend on my mood that morning when I roll out of bed.
What part of self-publishing do you enjoy the most?
The freedom, mostly. Freedom to have final say over my own stories and freedom to set my own deadlines. I’ve got a day job like everyone else, and a family at home. So I’m not exactly that guy who can carve five hours out of his day to write, much as I’d like to be.
You have some great covers. Who does your cover work? Feel free to put in a link.
The cover for Mako was done by one of my dearest friends in the world. He’s a longtime graphic designer, and he’d been with me since the beginning of the project (mostly by way of a barstool). So naturally, when the time came to do the cover, he jumped at the chance to contribute.
Side Note: As credentials go, he’d previously designed the tattoo on my left arm. So I was fairly certain he’d do a solid job.
By the time I got to Red Sky Dawning, my buddy was entirely too busy for the extra workload, so I reached out to Streetlight Graphics, whom I’d previously worked with for ebook formatting on Mako. Glendon, the owner, was extremely psyched about the concept I sent him, and not long after, I had a spec cover in my inbox that was absolutely stunning. A handful of tweaks later, the cover was on my website.
Needless to say, I plan on using Streetlight for quite a while to come.
Hang out with friends and family, mostly. I love to entertain, particularly during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is primed for grilling out. Burgers, dogs, chicken, steaks, ribs, sausage, fish… Throw in some sides, a few “adult beverages,” plus some college football, and that’s a tough day to beat!
Name a few of your favorite authors and tell us what you like about them.
Wow, huge question. Um, well let’s see. Stephen King is obviously a go-to where characters are concerned. Nobody pens characters like “the King.” Love ’em or hate ’em, you’ll do so with passion and zeal, and few authors in this world have the talent for drawing that level of connection out of the reader.
Others I enjoy are Jonathan Mayberry of The Joe Ledger Series (probably one of the best pure action writers on the market), Lisa Gardner (a total research junkie and it shows in books like Touch and Go), Louis L’Amour (I was raised on westerns), and Timothy Zahn (still the undisputed champion of the Star Wars: Expanded Universe).
I also enjoy the occasional non-fiction read from guys like Timothy Keller and J.D. Greear.
What advice would you give to a new author?
You’ve probably heard this before, but I’ll say it anyway: Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Take all the training courses and continuing education you like, but at the end of the day, reading how others pen the genre and practicing it yourself are the only true ways to get better. Period.