Q&A

Q: So . . . what’s your story?
A: That’s a rather open-ended question. Could you be a little more specific?

Q: Sure. We’ll do the vital details first. How old are you? Are you married? Do you have any kids?
A: That’s a little better. I am 29 years old, married to an absolutely wonderful woman, and father to the two most adorable little boys in the world. You may think I am exaggerating, but I assure you . . . I’m not.

Q: What made you want to become a writer?
A: Let’s go with the simplest explanation: I love words. I love the power they can have, and I love how an infinite amount of ideas can be conveyed through the simplest of combinations. Also, I love stories—all kinds of stories. I love reading a story in a book. I love watching a story unfold on a screen. I love hearing a story being told to a captive audience. I also love the stories that aren’t quite as obvious—like the ones that take place on the street corner across from your house, or the one that transpires while you’re waiting for the bus on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve been enchanted with stories for as long as I can remember; it was only natural that I decided I wanted to tell some of my own.

Q: What about more professional writing?
A: About eight years ago, I took a copywriting job on a whim. I wanted to be a writer, I reasoned, and this way I could write and actually get paid for it. Talk about a win-win. I didn’t have any marketing experience, but the agency that hired me was willing to overlook that minor detail due to a strong performance evaluation. Over time, my interest in the ins and outs of that particular style of writing has grown exponentially. It’s a delicate balance; you have to be persuasive without being manipulative—thought-provoking without crossing the line into confusing. It’s a challenge, and I love it. When I left that agency for an in-house copywriting position at a national retailer about two years ago, I branched out into search engine optimization, keyword research, email marketing, brand building, and rich content writing. It’s been quite an interesting experience, and I find myself learning more and more by the hour.

Q: What is your favorite word?
A: “Catharsis.” I love it for both its meaning and its construction. It’s just a beautiful word.

Q: Any favorite books or authors?
A: Plenty. My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. I’ve read most of his work, though my favorites of his are Neverwhere and American Gods. His collaboration with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, is a book I can read over and over again and laugh every time. As far as my favorite book goes, I would have to say The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I highly recommend it to . . . well . . . practically everyone I encounter. I have never read a more beautiful novel, though I was not really a fan of the eventual film adaptation for reasons too numerous to get into here. Also among my favorites are The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Q: While we’re on a media tangent, what is your favorite movie?
A: (500) Days of Summer. It’s such an amazing film in every possible way. Story, characters, drama, laughs—it really does have it all. Well, everything except explosions. But my love of comic book movies more than fills that void.

Q: So what else is going on in your life?
A: For one, I’m going back to school. I am enrolled at Chattanooga State, where I am taking mostly online classes in pursuit of an Associate of Arts Degree in English. My plan is to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to complete a Bachelor’s in English literature, then continue my educational pursuits in a graduate program and a doctorate program after that. If I could get paid to go to school, I’d be all over that. Unfortunately, it seems to be the other way around.

Q: 29 years old and just starting school? What’s that about?
A: Some of us just start later than others. Maybe that band in high school didn’t work out the way some of us thought it would. Maybe some of us just weren’t ready to jump right back into school after receiving our high school diplomas. Maybe some of us were slightly irresponsible when we were 19 and opted not to go to class whenever it was raining. Or cold. Or whenever we had something better to do that afternoon—like taking a nap on one of a handful of ugly couches on the library’s third floor (I wonder if those are still even there). The important part is that I’m back in school and doing well. I currently have a 3.9 GPA, and I am excited about continuing my education.

Q: What are some of your life goals?
A: Ah, back to the standard interview questions—very well. As far as personal goals and aspirations go, I would like to publish a novel—or several, if we’re being completely honest. I would also like to become a professor of either film or literature. And I’m feverishly working toward both of those goals. Finding time for school is a bit harder these days, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Also among my life goals: publish a fantasy series for children, write an issue of Batman, write an episode of Doctor Who, and to have at least one person approach me to let me know that something I wrote changed his or her life. Yeah, that last one might be a bit grandiose, but I have the rest of my life to accomplish it. Besides, what’s the point of having goals if they’re easy?

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