I see you’ve got twins! Do you have any pictures? Isn’t your wife a twin, too? I have a vague memory of your family making the news, do you want to talk a little bit about that?
I do have twins (Naomi on the left, Celia on the right)! Funny story. Interesting, actually. My wife is an identical twin as well. We knew we were having a baby girl to begin with, which was fantastic. And then maybe a month or so later, my wife comes waltzing into the bookstore we were both working at at the time and says to me verbatim, “You’re going to have twice the practice changing diapers.” So that’s how I found out, haha.
The science part of this is that the chances of an identical twin having identical twins is like stupidly rare, about 1 in 65,000 or something close. So she had identical twin girls in the same hospital in which she was born, and it was a pretty big deal apparently as it made the Los Angeles Times.
Your covers are great, which two covers that you’ve designed are your favorites? What are your favorite two covers of other artists’ work?
Thank you! I’m always happy to hear that people think the art I’m churning out is good, it’s definitely a nice confidence boost! I think, personally, my favorite two covers are the most current iterations of Vultures and The World Maker Parable. I feel like my growth as an artist is most apparent in them.
Other artists’ covers—that is a tough one. One that comes to me immediately is Todd Lockwood’s cover for his own novel, The Summer Dragon (which is fantastic for those of you who have not read it). I’m also very partial to covers featuring characters, and another that comes to mind is Michael Whelan’s cover for The Snow Queen (by Joan D. Vinge).
Your website says you’ve got a doggo – pictures of the doggo por favor and a favorite story of your dog doing something awesome, ridiculous, cute etc.
Catcher the Coonhound, Queen of Boopable Snoots. She lives with my dad. She went through a phase as a puppy where she would steal things and hide them outside behind a particular bush. I don’t know how many pairs of socks we found, but it was a lot. She also stole one of dad’s watches. I jokingly said one night, “I bet if I go outside into the bushes I’ll find it.” Lo and behold…
What has been the best and worst part of 2020 so far for you?
Best part by far has been the birth of my daughters. They’re two goofy little cherubs who make my days better.
As for the worst… I don’t even know where to start with this. Earlier in the year, maybe mid pandemic, my mental health took a nice little nosedive. I think it was right around the time I went back to work, more or less started a new job. It’s definitely a huge balance, working full time in a law office, raising kids, etc. in the midst of what can only be described as a trash fire of a year.
You’ve publicly talked about anxiety, do you feel that writing helps or increases the strength and frequency of your anxiety? Do you have any favorite characters in your own work or others that you feel you can relate to as far as dealing with anxiety?
For me it definitely helps. I look at it as being able to address my anxieties piecemeal as opposed to having to deal with everything all at once, and that definitely lessens the weight. I think Avaria from my forthcoming novel A SYMPHONY OF BROKEN DREAMS is one of, if not my favorite character that I’ve written. He’s the strongest representation of my anxieties and my own battle with my mental health as he’s dealing with anxiety that stems from loss, having been adopted, and generally feeling frustrated with the state of things.
What genre of music would you pair with your books? Or, if your life had a theme song, what would it be?
God, I don’t know. I’m horrible with music genres—I mostly listen to whatever appeals to me. Musical acts I would pair with my books include but are not limited to: Alesana, I Am Ghost, Lindsey Stirling, and Motionless in White. I like dark and moody; I LOVE bands that do concept albums (which is where Alesana and I Am Ghost come in).
I’ve read your post about Coping After Loss, trying not to get too personal, but, do you find that loss has affected your writing in regards to your characters grief, or the overall tone and messaging in your stories?
Oh, absolutely. I’ve always been into writing dark fiction as I also really love to read it. I don’t personally recommend seeking loss in any capacity—spoiler: losing people sucks hard—but I think experiencing it definitely helps put things into perspective; I think, in a way, it really humanizes people. A lot of what I write is stupidly dark, but done so in a way that a) tackles serious subjects and b) makes those happier moments that much stronger. Like I mentioned earlier, I look at my writing as a way to tell a story, yes, but also address things going on in my life, whether it’s loss, grief, anger, anxiety, depression, etc.
Looking at your Check-In’s on your FB page I see you go to a lot of Theatres all over the country from Greek Theatre in LA to the Lyric Theatre in NYNY – which has been your favorite performance and which theatre do you think is most aesthetically pleasing?
I will be the first to admit I can barely remember the inside of a lot of these places, haha. That said, one of the most stunning and aesthetically pleasing performances I was fortunate enough to see was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Lyric Theater. Words really don’t do it justice—it’s something that needs to be personally experienced; the special effects team is amazing.
You also seem to have gone to many different countries, if you only got to go to on one more vacation for the rest of your life, would you revisit an old familiar haunt or would you go somewhere new?
I’m tempted to say somewhere new, but I’m also really torn between Scotland, New Zealand, or Switzerland. All three are gorgeous in their own ways and, as a writer, provide ample inspiration.
How many hours, approximately, go into designing a book cover?
Depends on the project. I’d say on average (for me, personally) around 10 or 11. Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more.
What’s your favorite word?
Least favorite word?
If someone were to drop by your approx neck of the woods, what would you tell them to do with their time? (Sightseeing, restaurants, parks, other)
I don’t really consider where I live to be all that excited—but Pasadena, CA does house the Huntington Library and Gardens, so if you’re into rare books and beautiful flowers then I highly, highly recommend it!
If you could have a mythical creature as a pet what would you pick?
Probably a dragon, but one with a lot of fur. Essentially a giant winged doggo.
(I googled “furry dragon” without thinking too much about the phrasing. It came up with this. This is now canon, this is what Luke wants as a pet)
If you pissed off a witch and she cursed you, and turned you into an animal, which animal form would be the best case scenario for you?
Probably a cat. Maybe an owl? Or a dog.
Wait—A FOX. Canine on feline hardware with a bushy tail. Yeah…a fox.