Can you tell us a little about how you got started in writing?
Writing has been something I always wanted to do growing up. I come from a family of writers and English teachers. My great aunt, Ruth White, the author of the Newberry Honor book Belle Prater’s Boy, Sweet Creek Holler, Memories of Summer, among other titles, has always been an inspiration to me. The idea that someone so close to me was a successful writer made that dream seem within reach.
I attended the University of Michigan in Flint, where I studied history and English. I became a master of research and creative writing after writing literally hundreds of research papers, stories, and literary analyses throughout my coursework.
But it wasn’t until October of 2009, when my friend, Andrew Utley, and I, decided to write a novel together that I actually wrote a novel. We had been talking off and on for a year about writing something together, but could never come up with a story to fit both of our interests, but then I suggested the story for what would become Harvester: Ascension.
The original idea was a story about aliens coming to earth and doing to us what Europeans did to the Native Americans. I thought that would put a little twist on the concept, as it was to follow strict historical parallels. But the story evolved and grew into something that became what it is today.
I have been writing novels ever since. My current library includes: Harvester: Ascension, An Inner Darkness, A Light in the Dark, and 9111 Sharp Road. And I have three in the works: City of Evil, Harvester: Evolution, and a Christmas-themed horror novel called Santa Claws and Fangs.
What is one of your favorite things to write about?
I like the dark side of our psyche combined with the struggle for acceptance…so in all of my novels you will find a struggle with insecurity and doubt…in other words, struggling with one’s own personality. In Harvester: Ascension, the character Lou Bryan has to struggle with the destructive power of his on-air personality. In An Inner Darkness, Decon Mangler and Teret Finley must deal with something that makes them question their oaths and traditions. In A Light in the Dark, Julian has to overcome his own insecurities and disbelief. And in 9111 Sharp Road there is an internal and external struggle with dark forces.
What do you think makes an unforgettable fantasy story?
An epic conflict involving well-developed, and flawed, characters that come alive and find a greatness within. I am a definite proponent of the idea that good fiction involves ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Can you tell us about 9111 Sharp Road?
This is a novella featuring Amanda, an 11-year-old girl who has just experienced the death of her father. The surviving family, which includes her mother and her 6-year-old sister, Lori, moves in with their gramma because they can no longer afford their own house. Gramma lives in this strange town called Orchard Hills, which is essentially a large cemetery that contains a few houses, a school, and a single road, known as Sharp Road. The house—its address is 9111 Sharp Road—is the biggest house in Orchard Hills.
Amanda thinks the place is creepy and her gramma, who she had never actually met before, is strange, but she doesn’t know just how off this place is until the first night when she sees a humanoid bat creature staring in at her through her bedroom window. She’s terrified, but tries to pass it off as her imagination, as a dream. The next morning her sister says she saw the same thing through her window.
It isn’t until her sister begins changing into one of these creatures that she realizes just how serious things really are.
And then there are those ghostly voices pleading from behind a mysterious door to be let out.
Who is your favorite character? Why?
I really like the Gramma in this story. She is so bizarre, she will make you laugh in every scene she’s in despite the fact this is a horror novel.
What made you decide to write this story?
I used to live in a house very similar to the house in this book. I spent many wonderful years of my life there and just wanted to include it in a story.
What is the one thing you would like to tell up and coming writers?
Don’t think you have to include everything about the characters or setting in the novel itself. One of the mistakes I see a lot in new writers is they want to tell the reader everything about the life of the character or what the setting looks like, even if it doesn’t do anything to advance character or story. You do not need to go into a lot of detail about what the character or scenery looks like unless it is relevant to the character or the story. There is a meme going around facebook that says something to the effect, “The curtains were blue—what your english teacher thinks it means: ‘The blue curtains represent the character’s depression.’ The Author says it means: ‘The curtains are blue.’” You know why your English teacher looks for deeper meaning in the description of BLUE CURTAINS? Because the writer made it a point to say they were blue. If the fact the curtains are blue has no deeper meaning, a good writer would not even bother saying what color they are.
Do you have any other work coming out?
I am working finishing up a horror novel called City of Evil within the next few months. This is much darker than anything else I have ever written.
Which do you prefer, self-publishing or traditional and why?
Self-publishing allows you to get your work out there immediately and to get audience reaction…that was one of the reasons I self-published 9111 Sharp Road instead of going through my publisher. But self-published titles often lack the proper editing.
Any advice to give writers?
Write every day and read constantly.
What is your fave color?
What is your fave number?
If a cow walked into a bar, what would it say?
I knew I’d find you here with that tramp!
Can you share the blurb of 9111 Sharp Road?
Amanda Gates' world is turned upside down when her father dies and she, her sister, Lori, and her mother have to move in with her eccentric gramma. The house is old and strange, and the entire town is a grave yard. Not the most pleasant place for an 11-year-old girl to spend her last years of innocence. But even worse are the strange creatures resembling humanoid bats that lurk through the night and peer in through her bedroom window while she sleeps and the ghosts pleading to be released from behind a mysterious door
Where can readers purchase 9111 Sharp Road?
99 cents at