Why/How did you decide what genre you wanted to write?

Fantasy was one of the first genres that really activated my imagination. Stories like the Harry Potter series and The Inheritance Cycle started me on my path of loving reading and, eventually, developing as a writer in middle school and high school. Basically, I was a sucker for magic and dragons then, and very little has changed about that!

Do you have plans to venture into any other genre?

Oh yes! I already have some ideas I think would make interesting stories depending on how I develop them, covering genres like Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Mystery.

Any interest in doing short stories?

I actually have written a few that I’d like to get published fairly soon. Part of the draw to doing short stories is how much you can really hone your wording and the flow of the story since they’re focused on only a few characters for a short period. It’s definitely a different challenge, but a refreshing one if you’ve been knee-deep in pages and pages of a novel!

What do you use as inspiration for writing?

There’re actually a bunch of things that fuel my drive to write, but I want to focus on some major components of my “inspiration” for this question.

Media I’ve Absorbed: Be it a movie, T.V. show, book, or even video game (See: Skyrim), any memorable quote or delivery of a line can fuel entire scenes or story arcs in what I’m working on.

Music: When I’m writing, I exclusively listen to soundtracks (Game of Thrones, Skyrim [again!], and Harry Potter predominantly) and trailer music (Audiomachine and Two Steps From Hell come to mind). Music that fits the mood of a scene does wonders for keeping me in the writing flow.

Who is your favorite author?

Too tough to say! I’d have to narrow it down to George RR Martin for the sheer scale of what he’s able to create in his world in A Song of Ice and Fire and Patrick Rothfuss for the way his writing style is so carefully measured and paced (a lot like a 700 page song) in The Kingkiller Chronicle. (Once I get into Mistborn and further into The Stormlight Archve, I may have a thing or two to say about Brandon Sanderson)

What was the hardest thing about going from the 1st draft to the 2nd?

I think the hardest things for me were dealing with the scale of things that needed changing as well as taking into account how the characters’ choices affected the story. Both factors greatly increased the story (making a five-book series necessary!)

Was it hard to change things?

Of the things I found difficult to change, working out the timings of character movements (since the main two storylines are on opposite ends of the world’s mainland) and deciding which changes (based on character choices) had to go and which ones stayed were probably the most difficult things. I didn’t find opening up the world’s geography and history a bit more that “hard” from the first to second drafts, just a special kind of challenging.

Some writers feel very attached to their writings, and now that you have a 2nd version do you still feel attached to the first? Why or why not?

Inasmuch as I think the 1st draft had a lot of aspects to the main characters that I want to keep, I’m still pretty attached to that draft. Much of what I’ve written for the 2nd draft is an attempt to stay loyal to what I wanted to accomplish with the 1st draft while balancing what needed to change in the story in order to make it better.

Is the future of the books the same, plot-wise? Or could that be subject to change?

In true Christopher Paolini fashion, I’ll say, “No comment!”

What was the thing you enjoyed the most about writing your 2nd draft?

There are characters in the 1st draft that simply weren’t explored a whole lot, but this draft allowed me to dive into some of their minds and really dissect and put to words what they think and how they act. Another thing I certainly stressed was putting more emphasis on foreshadowing (subtly or not-so-subtly) the events that will take place in books 2-5.

Have you gone back to reread your first draft? What are your thoughts on it/what comes to mind when you read it?

One of the first things I think of whenever I see things I’ve written in the past is, “Oh my, I’ve certainly improved since then!” I think the same rings true now. I wrote draft 1 almost three years ago, and I believe I’ve improved drastically as a writer in that time. From a purely Words of Providence standpoint, I think of how much the characters have grown with me and evolved to be their own people. It’s an amazing feeling!

Who is the favorite character you’ve changed? (Spoiler free)

Without saying too much, in the 1st draft, Baluk’s father was a character who had a lot of potential as a character, but we didn’t get to explore him all that much before the book’s end. In the 2nd draft, I’ve elevated him to a POV character, so we see much of the events in the story through his eyes, and the way he’s unfolded as a character is something special, I think.

What was the goal in mind for your readers to take away from reading your book? Has this changed any in the 2nd draft?

When I write, I simply try to put something out that I as a reader would enjoy. One of the things I really love about reading is the escape-from-reality it provides, and I hope the depth of the world and its characters within Words of Providence can provide something of an escape for you as well. In addition, I think the biggest theme for Guardians is ultimately perseverance through great trial. I won’t go into detail about any of the characters, but what they go through is nothing to sneeze at, and the things they as individuals seek to get through these events bring them together and , in some cases, rip them apart.

I want to thank you all for the great questions you asked, and I hope the answers I provided fulfill some of your curiosities. As I continue with editing Guardians and submit my entry to the “Publish or Perish” contest on the 15th, you’ll hear more about the series, its development, and its kooky author!