For the benefit of those not familiar with The Traveler’s Gate Trilogy, can you tell us a bit about it?
The Traveler’s Gate Trilogy is a trilogy of fantasy novels following Simon, a boy who wants to beat the bad guys and save his friends…even though he’s not the hero prophesied to do it. There’s lots of action and magic in this trilogy, and it moves fairly quickly. No romance, though. At least, not in the first two. Maybe the third book will be the fantasy version of The Notebook, who knows?
(I know. It won’t be.)
Better than I had hoped. Apparently, having a second book out really encourages people to read the first book, because releasing Crimson Vault has done more to spread the word about House of Blades than anything else I’ve done. I guess people want to know that the story’s going to continue before they invest time in the first book. Most readers I’ve heard from seem to agree that The Crimson Vault is better overall than House of Blades. I mean, it makes sense: I’m a better writer now than I was then. At least, I hope I am.
Honestly, because I thought it would be more fun to write. Usually, when the main character is the Hero of Prophecy, he doesn’t have much more motivation to save the world beyond the fact that he’s supposed to save it. I’d rather read about someone who chose that role, and who’s trying his best even though he has no assurance that he’ll succeed. I think that takes more guts, and that makes Simon a more fun character to write about and to read about.
Moving on to The Crimson Vault, how do you feel your characters have evolved?
You know, I’m playing Pokémon Y right now, so when you said “evolved” I immediately thought of Pikachu. There will never be a Raichu on my team. That’s what the B button is for.
Anyway, to answer the actual question you asked, I certainly feel that I got a little more time to explore the characters than I had in House of Blades. Simon is a bit more mature in this book, and Alin is slightly less of a self-centered jerk. Leah certainly has more to deal with, that’s for sure. I know a lot of readers would still like some more character development from me, but the major characters definitely do make progress in this book as the readers learn more about them.
Magic inherently makes everything more interesting. Shopping for groceries? Boring. Shopping for pickled wyvern’s eyes, using a bag made from old basilisk skin? Fascinating. Stories set in the real world have to follow actual, universal rules, whereas in a fantasy world, I get to make up the rules as I see fit. Take that, physics.
I was planning to put out House of Blades to make a few hundred dollars and hope it might pay for a month of rent while I looked for another job. Instead, I now have enough money to support myself while I write for at least the next year. I thought it would take me decades to reach that point. It kind of blew my mind.
As you can imagine, I did a lot of research on this, and one of the main advantages of having a traditional publisher is that they give you an advance. With self-publishing, there is no advance. Either your work sells and you make money, or it doesn’t and you don’t. The advantage of self-publishing is that if your work does sell, you keep most of the money and you get it quickly. Also, you don’t have to give up any of your rights. If I wanted to change the cover and rewrite a chapter of my book, I could make those changes whenever and however I want to. I’m in the driver’s seat.
At this point, enough people are reading my books that it would be foolish for me to look for a traditional publishing contract. If my book wasn’t selling so well, though, I’d be on the first publishing contract like a dingo on a baby.
As you would imagine, I mostly read fantasy novels. Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Brent Weeks, the late Robert Jordan. Those are probably my favorites, though there are a few fantastic Kindle-only fantasy novels out there as well. I’m looking at you, Blood Song.
In my leisure time, after I’ve hit my word count for the day, I’m usually either reading or playing video games. League of Legends and Pokémon are the games currently taking up most of my free time, though I hope to soon get into the Hex: Shards of Fate alpha test. Every once in a while, when the moon is full, I take a net of woven unicorn hair out into the forest and catch dreams. I’d probably call that a hobby.
I’m going to Disney World! Actually, I live about half an hour from Disney World, so I’m probably going there regardless.
I certainly intend to revisit the Traveler’s Gate world at some point in the future. I’ve created a big world here, and I don’t think a trilogy is quite enough to do it justice. Not in the short, fast-paced books I’ve written, that is. I do have a few more ideas for my next series, though I’ll have to narrow it down as to which idea I want to use. It will almost certainly be a series next, not a trilogy. It’ll probably be a coming-of-age story about a girl in Victorian England adjusting to society’s expectations.
No, not really. It’ll be a fantasy action story. Odds are good there will be dragons.
Thanks for giving me a shot! It’s cool that people were willing to take a chance on an unknown author…and not only that, but to write reviews on Amazon, and even recommend the books to their friends. Word of mouth is the only way people hear about writers like me, so I can’t overstate how awesome my readers have been. I’m talking to my leprechaun friends about sending a rainbow to each of you.
Thanks for the interview!