1) What inspired you to write "Progeny of Gods: Vertuém Destiny"?
Progeny of Gods was inspired by a fantasy world I imagined to exist in my back yard as a kid. A world of seven-mile-high trees, where airships were made of bark instead of steel. And that world was itself inspired by the epics of my childhood--worlds like those in Star Wars, Zelda, and Kingdom Hearts.
2) How did you come up with the character's names? Are they based off your life?
My character names have all had very different origins. And they all came from my world's inspirations too. Let's start with the villain: Stiqula. He didn't use bark ships in battle, oh no. Those were only for the good guys. Stiqula employed a fleet of stick ships to carry out his evil deeds. Thus where the "Stiq" part of his name came from. Then the "ula" bit came from the creatures in Zelda called "Skultulas." I thought they were scary and had a cool name so, I stole it.
The heroes of the story, Greyson and Tay, were at first actually named Tucker and James. But my first editor thought those sounded too generic, so he flipped their first letters, making it "Jucker and Taymes." I hated Jucker, but Tames suck out to me. It suited the character, so I threw a "Y" in there to make his full name Taymes--which he hates, so shortened it to Tay. For Tucker I wanted a similar, sensitive-sounding name, so I literally just googled, "names like Tucker" and Greyson was the first choice that came up. I fell in love immediately because much of his internal struggle has to do with the grey area between good and evil.
Then of course we have a few names which are just direct translations from my inspirations. The king's name is Hero Huey, taken from the main character (Heero Yuy) in one of my favorite shows growing up, Gundam Wing. And then we have little Kyri. Anyone who's played Kingdom Hearts will know right away this was inspired by one of the main protagonists from that series, Kairi.
What have I learned from writing this book? Wow... um. "What haven't I learned?" is a better question I think. Since it's based on my childhood, and it's taken me the rest of my life to actually finish it... this book is everything that I am. And over the course of writing it I've become the person I am today. Its both guided me and also been altered by the most major events in my life. It's... just... everything to me.
4) Do you have any (strange) writing habits?
Strange writing habits? Ha! For starters I have to be completely alone. Like if there is anyone within a freaking mile radius of me, I cant do it. And the reason for that is because--just like when I was a kid--I act out every scene, every action sequence, and every line of dialogue again and again until it's perfect and the scenes are all completely immersive and fleshed out.
Music also helps get me in the mood.
5) What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Now that this book is under my belt it's on to the next one! Vertuém Destiny is the first book for Progeny of Gods, and it is shaping up to be quite the looong series. I still don't know exactly how long! But it's a wonderful feeling to be finally moving on and seeing what my characters will do next after 14 years of being stuck in the same few days of their lives! Haha. And I hope you guys will like it enough to find out what's next for them along with me.