When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I was 16. I had just written my first short story.
How old were you when you wrote your first published book?
I published my first novel “American Princess” when I was 22 years old.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
So far, I have 5 published books.
“The Incredible Boy”
“Justin! The Curious Boy”
It’s hard to pick my favorite. Some days it’s “American Princess” and other days it’s “Be Normal”.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Well, I not only write, but also illustrate, and design my book covers. It takes a while to complete everything. The simple answer is that it roughly takes me 1-3 years to complete a project. Usually, it takes 2 years of writing and at least a year for everything else. A year to do editing, get peer reviews, correct formatting issues, and to get all of the artwork done. This timeline changes depending on the size of the project.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I am not writing, I am reading, drawing, or spending time with my family.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
1. Write everything down. Some of my best sentences and ideas came to me in the middle of the night. First, I kept a notebook by my bed. Eventually, I started using my phone to create voice memos.
2. Read. Reading is fun, entertaining, and homework.
3. Don’t be discouraged by failure. Not all stories are great but they can still teach you a lesson on how to improve.
4. Take your time. Don’t rush.
5. Be sure to back up the files on an external hard drive or in the cloud (or both). You can email your story to yourself. Years ago, I lost at least one story when I upgraded to a new computer.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I get ideas all sorts of ways, like daydreaming, random bursts of inspiration, drawing, and music.