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You got your start by self-publishing The Didymus Contingency...are there any other authors who have done the same?

Plenty of authors have gone from self-published obscurity to multi-book deals, but I prefer the examples in my genre. The first is Matthew Reilly, who self-published his first novel CONTEST and sold 1000 copies before getting picked up. He's since published scads of bestselling (and awesome) novels. The second example is a reverse of the scenario. Steve Alten pounded the pavement like the rest of us and by his own admission landed a book deal and became wealthy, literally overnight. But with THE LOCH, his most recent novel, Alten was published by Tsunami Books, a new publishing company that Alten owns! So, at the peek of his career Alten switched back to self-publishing. Why? As the publisher he's going to make a MUCH larger royalty. And the quality didn't suffer, THE LOCH is fantastic.

Do you read/blurb manuscripts or books?

I do, but my current backlog of books to read/blurb (if I like them) is 6 - 7 months! So feel free to ask, but if you're in a rush, I'm probably not the right person to ask. Also, to help narrow down the amount of requests I receive, I can only review books that are going to be published. I can no longer review manuscripts.

I'm self-publishing my book via POD and have some questions regarding (insert POD topic), can you help me?

This is probably the most common question I receive (on a daily basis). My answer is this: read POD People. Everything I have to say about POD publishing is in that book. The book was written specifically to answer the questions I receive about POD. If, after you've read POD People, you still have a question, go ahead and ask. If you need help with promotion or cover design, see my Creative Services section above.

I heard that The DIdymus Contingency is a Christian novel, but Raising the Past isn't. What's the deal?

Another common question. Here's the answer. I'm a Christian, and Didymus Contingency is technically a Christian novel (in that it portrays Jesus positively) but I do not write exclusively Christian books. In fact, I don't refer to myself as a "Christian author" or "an author who writes Christian fiction". I prefer to use the term Biblical speculation to describe what I write. I don't follow the content rules of the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association)--in fact I break all of them. About half of my books feature Biblical Speculation topics, but all of them are mainstream novels (not intended for a Christian audience). So, while some of my novels might have touches of positive Biblical Speculation they are not intended to be prosetylization.

I've heard you use names of friends and family for characters, is this true?

Yup. Guilty as charged. While there aren't any in The Didymus Contingency, in Raising the Past I kill my uncle: Mark Vincent, my friend Brian Dombroski and my cousin, Brian Norwood. Other names from friends (not there full names, just first or last) are: Eddy (from Eddy Ledesma), Eve (from Evangeline Adelman), Steve (a friend from high school)  Paul (from a guy my wife worked with) Nicole (from my childhood friend Nicole Baxtrum), the last name Sidmore from Tim Sidmore, a friend from high school.

I've used several other names of friends and family in Antarktos Rising and my other completed, not yet published novels. I'll post them when the books come out.

Your characters have some wacky beliefs, do you hold these beliefs too?

In general, no. Sometimes, yes. I'm not going to say which characters I agree with, but I will say this: my books are works of fiction. I have no ulterior motives behind writing my books, no agenda's to achieve and no subjects I believe the public should be informed about. My characters believe whatever suits the story best. Merril in Antarktos is a creationist. Eddy in Raising the Past is an evolutionist. My books are fiction, not propaganda. I have the same feeling about other authors as well. Just because a main character holds strongly to a belief does not mean the author does as well, even if the evidence for that characters belief is strong.

What authors have influenced your work?

My earliest influence was Frank Perretti, with his novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Fantastically scary books about spiritual warfare. After that I became hooked on James Rollins, Michael Crichton, Matthew Reilly, Clive Cussler, Jeff Long, Steve Alten, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child...basically all the big names in the action-adventure-creature feature fiction.  Some recent influences include Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne, who I've just got around to reading...and they're fantastic. Burroughs is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors.


More to come...

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