What inspired you to write your first book?
I originally wanted to write and draw comic books. But some years back I took a writing course at a local college. The instructor convinced me to try my hand at writing short stories. I enjoyed that so much that I started working on a full-length novel featuring the characters I’d originally created for comic books. Ten years later the result was Noggle Stones, my young adult fantasy novel.
I'd love to check out some of your comics. Do you have a specific writing style?
Most of my early writing was in third person. With the Whisper King books I’ve found first person much more rewarding. I really wanted to explore the psyche and motivation for my lead character, David Kinder. It’s a lot of fun writing in David’s voice. He’s much more open and freer than I am.
I like using humor in my writing as well. I grew up watching Monty Python and reading Douglas Adams. I feel Noggle Stones in particular follows that style of humor.
I see the Whisper King as a grittier kind of humor. More American stand-up comedian than British satire. Guess I owe a lot of that to South Park and Cracked.com
Fantasy with inspiration from South Park. Sounds intriguing. How did you come up with the title?
The Whisper King was originally a super hero I created for a role-playing game I used to play. The name just came to me one day. I liked how mysterious and eerie it sounded.
When it came time to name the antagonist for David Kinder’s story, I remembered that super hero. I liked the name so much that I made it the title of the entire series.
Is does sounds very mysterious and eerie. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Modern human beings have a lot of “Masters.” Work. The government. Society. We’re pulled in a lot of different directions and have a lot of different responsibilities.
But the greatest responsibility we have is to our family and friends. In my mind, that’s the only bond that matters. I work because I need money. I pay my taxes because the government will put me in jail if I don’t. But I spend time with my friends and family because it’s a stronger bond… one that’s not dependent upon rewards or threats.
The characters in The Whisper King are motivated by these kinds of bonds. They place their friendships and families above their duties to empires and governments. They break laws. They renounce bureaucracies. They clash with authority.
While I don’t necessarily recommend my readers break any laws, I do think it’s worth noting that nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without some level of rebellion.
Placing value on family and friends is a great message to send. What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible. But not just for the religious and inspirational aspects. As a horror writer I find the Book of Revelations just about the most terrifying thing ever written.
There’s a lot of raw power in the Bible. Lots of destruction. Floods. Wars. Cities being wiped out. Angels wrestling with mortals.
It’s a history of mankind’s rebellion against God. That same kind of theme runs pretty strong in The Whisper King.
I’ve also been greatly inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, T.H. White, and lots of other British fantasy writers with initials in their names.
The American pulp writers are also a source of inspiration, particularly Robert E. Howard, Manly Wade Wellman, and H.P. Lovecraft.