Needless to say, if you haven't checked out DJ's work yet, do it now. NOW!! DO NOT WAIT!!
Seriously, I've read it, it's awesome. Here's the interview.
1: When did you first start writing, and what inspired you to do so?
I've been writing stories of some kind since I was old enough to type. When I was very young, my father read Tolkein and CS Lewis aloud in the evenings. I think hearing those amazing stories from Middle Earth and Narnia really got me thinking.
2: What other work have you done that your current readers may not be aware of?
I have about a dozen short stories, and a few books that sit languishing in the digital dungeon of my computer, most likely never to see the light of day. There are a few of them that I think I might be able to polish up so that people might enjoy them. I enjoy the current genre I'm writing in, but it's definitely not the only thing I write.
3: Where did you get the idea for The Remaining? How did the story come to fruition?
I'm very interested in the TEOTWAWKI genre, and the "prepping" movement. I also love "zombie" stories. So I wanted to see if I could combine these two loves of mine in an interesting and realistic way. I decided to write The Remaining simply because I wanted to write something that I enjoyed writing, and really had no intention of letting anyone read it. Then, when I was finished, I thought, "well, this is actually half decent...maybe someone else will like it."
4: Who are some of your influences/authors you admire? Favorite books?
Aside from the mountains of Star Wars fan fiction I devoured when I was a kid, the first adult novel I purchased was The Taking by Dean Koontz, and I've enjoyed his writing ever since. Jack Ketchum is another amazing author, that really took me by surprise because he's never made it big. I will say that I have to be cautious with my writing after reading a Cormac McCarthy novel, because his voice is so strong it tends to influence me a bit.
5: What plans do you have for stories outside of The Remaining universe?
I have one book that I wrote several years ago. It needs some work, but I still really like the story, so I would like to fix it and get it out there. I'll also admit that between The Remaining: Aftermath, and the third book that I'm writing now, I pounded out a good portion of another story I had rolling around inside my head. I'm actually really looking forward to finishing that story.
6: What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
I hate to say it, but I think traditional publishing is a failing industry. And this is not based on any prejudice of mine, but simply on the overpowering digital age. I think if traditional publishing can get its act together and start selling their digital books at reasonable prices, they might eventually survive, and actually come out on top.
Self-publishing also has its flaws. It is to books what YouTube is to videos: most will be unseen, some will see mild success, and a select few will become huge. Because there are so many, it makes it difficult for the consumer to find the good ones. In a perfect world, traditional publishers would use things like Amazon's Kindle Store as a way to make their jobs easier. You can see how popular a product is without spending a dime on it. Unfortunately, they're very stuck in their ways.
7: Would you accept a book deal from a major publishing house if the terms were favorable?
At this point in time I have complete and total control over my story, without interference from other outside sources trying to make me fit a mold. I'm able to write what I want, and not what someone else thinks the public wants. That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to a traditional publisher, but the terms would have to be VERY favorable.
8: What advice would you offer to a first time writer?
Write because you love to write. If you enjoy writing the story, people will enjoy reading it.
9: Who would you like to give special acknowledgment for helping you achieve success as an author?
My dad has been a very encouraging force in my life. I feel bad for all the crap I made him read when I was a kid, because I thought I had written some amazing tale at 10 years old. He was always encouraging, but honest. If he didn't like something, he would tell me why. I think that helped a lot.
10: Who does your (awesome) cover art?
My wonderful wife is responsible for my cover art. She is a professional photographer (www.taramollesphotography.com) and she does amazing work.
11: How did you feel when you published your first book, and what kind of reaction did you get from friends, family, or co-workers when they found about it?
I'll be honest, I kept it very quiet. I was almost a little embarrassed by it. Only my family and close friends knew, and they were very supportive. Then it started to do really well, and people started coming up to me and saying, "Hey! I didn't know you wrote a book!" It still kind of surprises and humbles me when that happens.
12: How did you feel when you broke the 10K copy sold mark.
I set out with extremely low expectations, because I hate to be disappointed. So for me it was the 500 copy mark. Up until that point I had kept telling myself that it was only my wife's facebook friends being nice and buying my book. Then I looked at 500 and thought, "Not even my WIFE has that many facebook friends. Holy crap, people are actually reading this!" I think that was the first time it hit me that complete strangers were actually reading and enjoying my writing.
I hope you enjoyed this, and in the next few days I'll announce who the next author interviewed will be. Stay tuned!