When did you start writing?
Other than school and college, I took a little shot at writing when I was a teenager, but my art won out and I didn't pursue writing. It wasn't until about 2005 that I really started writing seriously.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Actually, I consider myself a storyteller. I've always done that with art. It wasn't until later I decided to put more detail into the stories via writing.
Why did you start writing?
My wife admired the art I did for fun when I was younger. She encouraged me to start creating art again. As I did so, the old stories returned in my mind. It was only a matter of time until the need to tell the stories pushed me toward writing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I have to write when work and projects around our home allow it. That said, I usually have the first draft done in about four to six months. My first book was completely done in about a year. However, I have since then made several changes to it and finally, after about seven years, recently completely rewrote it. What was a trilogy became one novel. I suspect my current novel will finish a good bit quicker than the last one.
What genre do you write?
Science Fiction and Fantasy are what I enjoy playing with. The first novel and my current one are both Middle Grade to Young Adult Fantasy.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
It's just what I enjoy most.
What inspires you to write?
My art. Whenever I write a story naturally forms in my mind. I believe that helps me put personality in the characters on the page. Over time the little stories grew into complete story lines.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write mostly in the evenings and weekends.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The battle I have between writing and art. When I'm drawing I often find myself compelled to walk away from the art and start writing. When writing neat images will dance in my mind and I'm pulled toward leaving the writing and inspired to start sketching.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I seldom experience true writer's block, but I often have difficulties getting one scene to move smoothly into another.
How do books get published?
(is this a birds and the bees question?) I have self published my book.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Mostly from my head. I am of course inspired by years of reading science fiction and fantasy novels and comic books as well as movies and games.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
An outline exists in my mind. I know what is supposed to happen in the story (even though it sometimes changes as I write).
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Let's just go with the final rewrite. I've only just finished it. I'm 50.
What do you like the most about writing?
The story and characters take on their own life. You control it to some degree, but if you treat them honestly, you can be as surprised by what happens as the reader.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy drawing, going to the movies and watching television with my wife, playing with our dogs and cat. There's more on the list, but these are at the top of it.
What does your family think of your writing?
They seem to like what I write and encourage me.
What do your friends think of your writing?
Like my family, they seem to like my writing and encourage me.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much fun it could be. As an artist, the concept of being a writer is really very new to me. I enjoy how the words paint what I'd otherwise be drawing with a pen or pencil.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Just one. I'm working on the second. I'm currently loving the second one. As happy as I am with the final version of the first novel, this one has more life to it. The characters are more animated and full.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Get a critique group. But be picky as to who's in it. People who don't write your genre may not understand what you're writing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Getting input from people who have read my book is like pulling teeth—slow and painful. Other than friends and family, I am only now starting to get some honest input about my work. That is probably part of the reason I have been reworking the book so much and for so long.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I guess I might eventually want to right a more mature novel. But I lean toward the family level of thinking, so my work tends to come out that way, too.
What do you think makes a good story?
Easy to read with enough tidbits in it to make you want to see what happens next.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
An artist. I've ventured toward being a lawyer or a teacher, but I believe I've always known I'd be an artist.
What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his or her creator?
I wouldn't survive five minutes in the world I created. They might be interested in me for entertainment value, but they'd be too busy saving me all the time to be friends.
Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
Bunnies. And they're as easy to control as a yard full of bunnies.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Plain, whole milk for the hero, black coffee for the not-so-friendly queen and espresso for everyone else.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
What has been the best compliment?
One versions of my rewrite was torn apart due to the poor transitions between events in the story. Once I returned to the way I had originally written the book everyone was happy again. The best complement: "Unique high fantasy epic tale. The narrative is woven into multi-generations with skill. Great read for ten and up—including teens and adults."
Is anything in your work based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
For the most part—purely imagination.
Do you plan on making a career out of writing?
I hope to do more writing and art when the day finally comes that I retire. Until then, it's highly unlikely I'll make a full-time career of either (though my current job does utilize my art).
What was the first book you’ve read that has stuck?
A teacher in grade school gave me a copy of Outlaw Red by Jim Kjelgaard. There are other books I could probably have noted, but I think this is the one that stuck the best.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The works of Michael Crichton do a great job of creating images in your mind while your read and Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth Adventure series does an amazing job of telling fun stories. Their works are somehow always with me when I'm writing.
What is your favorite type of book to read?
Science fiction and then fantasy. I like to read Star Trek and Star Wars novels because I'm already comfortable with the characters.
What was the last book you’ve read?
Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler. Not his best work.
Who is your favorite Author?
Michael Crichton. Reading his books is like watching movies in your mind.
What is currently on your to read list?
I'm debating—should I read the book for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" before seeing the movie?
What do you listen to when you write?
Nothing. I need silence when I write. I'm too easily distracted. However, I do like to surround myself with art (it doesn't have to be the same genre as what I'm working on). Somehow it helps inspire me.
What is your favorite music?
My tastes go all over the place—from orchestra music to some rap. Mostly I prefer classic, soft rock like Chicago, Styx, ELO and Boston. I like sound tracks like the works of John Williams. I do enjoy some newer stuff. I really enjoy Home Free, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Barailles, Meghan Trainor and Torry Kelly.
What is the most embarrassing song that you still like?
MMMBop by Hanson or just about anything disco by the Bee Gees or ABBA.
What are your favorite movies/shows?
I have been enjoying the new Star Trek movies. I'm really looking forward to the next Star Wars. I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movies made Marvel have really been fun.
Who is your favorite actor/actress?
There are quite a few and picking favorites is difficult. Let's go with those actors making movies now that I like most. Chris Pine is turning into an incredible actor. I loved Amy Adams in Enchanted. Truthfully, there are so many incredible actors and actresses out there it's too difficult to answer this question. I will say that Robby the Robot is my all time favorite.
What actor/actress would play you in a movie?
They'd have to create the actor with CGI.
What is your favorite quote?
Never laugh at live dragons.
What is your favorite candy?
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Why? What were you told?
What superpower would suit you best?
Turn drawings into real objects.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional—with whom would it be?
I don't think I'd want to trade places with anyone dead. I wouldn't mind being Boris Vallejo or J. Scott Campbell for a week to experience their artistic skill levels. However, I'm happy with being me and wouldn't want to visit those lives much longer than the week.
Have you ever played patty cake?
I have rolled it around and thrown it into the pan many times.
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
No. On those few occasions I've corrected the problem.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
'm kind of in between. I like it made, but don't always get around to doing it. Thank God for wives.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
I only go out of my way if they're in the house (except for hornets and wasps). I don't run and hide, but spiders get my respect and wasps/hornets can get me to run until I'm properly armed.
What is the weirdest thing your hands have unknowingly typed?
Probably something to the effect of "houssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss." Did I mention I tend do most of my writing late at night?
What is the first thing you notice about a significant other?
We're referring to my one and only significant other, right? The way she looks at me. I can easily see how much she cares for me at a glance.
Does that feature come out when you’re writing?
A bit. It helps me work strong emotions into the characters.
What is the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
You're kidding, right?
Is there anything unique about you that you’d like for us to know?
You're questions were pretty thorough. I think you've covered most everything.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Please let yourselves be known. I'd really like to hear from you. Also, I'd love to get input about my art as well my writing. Check my work out (shameless plug) at www.grimtrojan.com. Let me know what you think.
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