What made you choose Red Adept Editing?
I’ve been working with Lynn and her team at Red Adept Editing before there even was a Red Adept Editing. Back in the early days of self-publishing, Lynn ran one of the most well-respected indie review sites on the Internet. When she announced she was going to start editing, I decided to give her try. Prior to that, I had been self-editing. (Don’t do that, by the way.) Seven novels and two shorts later, I couldn’t be happier with the experience.
You’ve received a few content edits with your Premier Packages. What are some of the things you’ve learned from your content editors?
My biggest takeaway from my various content edits has to do with pacing. I’m a pantser by nature – I start with a vague plot idea and a very loose outline and constantly refine the structure as I write. While this process allows me enormous creative freedom, it often leads me into awkward structures, which an objective content review can help to untangle. A good example from my most recent content edit would be the recommendation to reorder some of my chapters, pushing minor characters farther into the background, while drawing out primary characters to achieve a better balance and narrative flow.
Tell us about your Reluctant Hero and Elements of the Undead series.
The Reluctant Hero Series:
Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, during the end of the Cold War, I developed an insatiable appetite for stories of global politics and the hidden actors (the spies) at their center. When I sat down to write The Patriot Paradox, the first book in the Reluctant Hero series, I had a very simple premise: What would happen if a bunch of ex-Cold Warriors decided to restart the war? Told through the eyes of Kurt Vetter, a former CIA analyst who left the Agency after at terrible personal tragedy, the story mixes international intrigue with a healthy dose of adventure as Kurt balances his own reluctance to reengage with the world with deeply ingrained sense of duty.
The second book in the series, Pressed, follows Kurt as he tracks down a Russian sleeper cell that has infiltrated DoD computer networks while also hunting a Chechen arms dealer who is about to flood the market with stolen nuclear weapons.
The final book in the series, Blood in the Streets (coming December 2014 or January 2015!), catches up with Kurt a few years later. In a bid to jump-start its own economy, North Korea launches a series of false-flag civil disruptions in China, hoping to steal lucrative manufacturing contracts in the resulting chaos. The plan quickly spirals out of control, and our hero Kurt has to figure out how to stop it all before the entire world is drawn into the ensuing conflict.
The undead have claimed the earth as their own, and humanity has been reduced to the role of scavenger, subsisting off the shattered remains of a dead civilization. The Elements of the Undead series follows the adventures of Megan Pritchard and Jack Wolfe as they adapt to this new, post-apocalyptic reality. Safety and security are an illusion in this new world, and old assumptions of cooperation in the face of adversity have become obsolete. Survival at all costs is the only option.
Which series do you enjoy writing the most?
Which of you children/pets/friends do you like the most? It really depends on my mood. I began writing the Elements of the Undead series during a desperate cross-country move in the middle of the Great Recession. My life situation had changed beyond my control, and I had no choice but to adapt through whatever means possible – much like my characters. For that reason, I find the series intensely personal, and something I go back to when I’m struggling with something in my life. The Reluctant Hero series, on the other hand, feels like more of an escape from reality, even though the subjects are just as weighty.
What part of self-publishing do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the flexibility to write whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m fortunate to have a day job I really enjoy, working with great people on something I believe in, so I don’t have to deal with the publish or perish problem. Not yet, at least 😉 I also enjoy being able to pick my own cover art (good or bad) and how I interact with my readers.
You have some awesome covers. Who does your cover work?
I’ve been working with the team at Streetlight Graphics for several years now. You describe it, they can do it. Every time.
I like to hang out with my wife and our dogs or go for bike rides. I live in Tucson, which is a great city for outdoor activities, and I try to take as much advantage of it as I can.
Name a couple of your favorite authors and tell us what you like about them.
Paolo Bacigalupi – Mesmerizing writing set in near-future, dystopian, and post-apoc settings – my favorite! I can’t get enough of his stuff!
Peter Heller – The Dog Stars. I’ve listened to the audio version and read the book twice. This is the ONLY book I’ve read more than once as an adult. Hell – I may even name my next dog Jasper because of this book. It’s that good.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
What was the last movie you watched, and did you enjoy it?
Insterstellar, and absolutely. Christopher Nolen is a genius.
What advice would you give to a new author?
We’re all making this up as we go along. Write what interests you and don’t try to be someone else.