You have told me that you grew up with a love of reading, and at a young age took interest in Stephen King’s The Stand. I love King, but that is not one of my favorites. What else of King’s work do you like, and has it inspired you to write your own dark stories?
Well, it was The Stand and The Long Walk that I read when I was younger that really started my love of dark stories. The ability of King to bring his writing to life is what caught my attention and drew me to appreciate a great story. It by King was another book I was checking out from library, reading it at night before going to bed (which proved to be a mistake haha) Additionally, Brian Keene influenced me with his dark writing and great stories. But I would say my favorite author is James Rollins. His books are great and a must read for me when they are released. I would say all those authors inspired myself to begin writing.
Your parents inspired you to write, which is absolutely wonderful. They were teachers, but were they writers as well? In what ways did they support you in becoming a writer?
Not really, no. I know my dad wrote a few short stories for fun or as examples to display to his class. I would say the best thing my parents, especially my mom, did to support in becoming a writer was to take me to the library when I was younger and let me enjoy all the different stories I found. That’s where I found my love of writing, spending those days after school going to the library to checkout the latest books.
Although Washington is far from the New England I know and love, I have always wanted to venture there because I love the weather. What do you love about your home state, and does it inspire you? My work is heavily inspired by my life in New England.
Yes, here in the Pacific Northwest inspires my writing very much. For example, my short story Supply and Demand is inspired by the beautiful scenery of the area around Mount Rainier. If you ever make it out here, I suggest a trip to Mount Rainier. You won’t regret it. Also, I like how Stephen King incorporates the New England in his stories, and that’s what I hope to as I continue writing
You mentioned that you have two other works in process, can you tell us a bit about each?
Sure. One is a nerdy zombie novel that I’m working on with my brother. The first book is currently being edited and rewritten after feedback, We have plans for a long drawn out series for The Undead Plague, which is the title of the whole series. Additionally, I’m working on a series about a female serial killer who is a mother and wife. If anyone was read or seen Dexter, then they know how dark that type of story can be. And yet, I believe writing one from a female serial killer’s perspective would be new and exciting, something that has not really been written about before, especially in the view of them being a housewife.
Currently you are working on a zombie series with your brother, which sounds exciting. What is the series about, and how did you come to collaborate with your brother on such a project?
Sure, it’s told from the viewpoint of several different characters. The main one is a young man named Roland Smith who is attempting to survive an onslaught of zombies. What makes our story unique is the fact Roland is just a regular guy. He’s a dishwasher, not some black belt or former military special ops guy. So we’re trying to present a more realistic (ha) view of how a regular person would react in a situation like this. Also, we have an actual backstory to the zombie virus and do our best to show how the government would begin to act and start fighting it.
Do you plan to make a living for yourself as writer in the future, and if so how do you plan to do that?
Oh I wish haha. Right now, it’s just continuing to get better as a writer and get my name and my brother’s name out as new, upcoming writers. That’s the immediate goal at the moment.
It is admirable that you are trying to develop yourself as an author. Have you thought about reaching out to other indie writers to mentor them?
Oh yes, that is something I would love to do. And I would love to get together with other indie writers and share feedback.
Your day job working for a software firm is very different from being a writer. What do you like about the work that you do in IT, and what drew you to choose that type of career?
It’s a new and exciting career path. Everyday there is something new happening within my job. And it’s a field that always interested me, so I just did what I could to learn about coding and hope someone would give me a chance!
Tell me about your most daring project?
I would say just putting my work out for others to read. Letting the public read my writing. That’s daring for any new writer.
What keeps you focused when you write?
The feedback and criticism I receive. I take that seriously and want to improve and become the best writer I can be, so I always have that in the back of mind. What can I do to make this story even better?
What is it about history that you love, and do you have a particularly favorite part of history?
I just love reading about it. The backstories of events, the first hand accounts of someone that was actually there, and then attempting to put myself in their shoes and think how I would react in their situation. And yes, the American Civil War is my favorite part of history.
Do you have any major writing goals for this year? How do you hope you accomplish them?
Yes, to finish the first book of The Undead Plague and have it available on Amazon for free by the end of this month, with the second book almost done by the end of July. Also, finish the first book of my female serial killer novel and get feedback from that. Just knowing I’ve improved as a writer over the course of a year helps me in accomplishing that goal. I’m getting better as a writer and that helps drive me forward.
Finally, what advice do you have for other indie writers?
Just put your work out there. Best thing that can happen is to get criticism and feedback from your stories. It sucks and hurts when that feedback is negative, but it will make you a better writer and you’ll be thankfully in the long run for it.
You can follow ZJC on Twitter, or read his work following the links below: