Why did you choose to write wholesome, cozy fantasy?
At the time, it was what I most needed. If you’d told me a year or two prior that I’d be writing low stakes nonviolent fantasy novels, I’d have said you were crazy. But in the deep, dark heart of COVID, I didn’t need any more Red Weddings. I needed the Great British Bake-Off.
Will we be seeing more of Viv or the other characters from Legends & lattes in future books?
Initially I didn’t – but by the time I finished writing, I definitely knew that I was going to continue. Viv and a few other folks reappear in the prequel novel Bookshops & Bonedust, which releases November 7, and I definitely have plans to spend some time with another character or two as well.
I’m a bit of an SEO geek and am always interested in marketing plans for authors. When you initially self-published Legends & Lattes, what were the key marketing points you focused on, and was there anything in particular that had the greatest impact?
I think you could sum up my marketing plans as being ‘the book is the marketing’. I think as an author there are limited levers you can pull once the book is out in the world. For me, articulating what the book was clearly and compellingly in its blurb and cover felt key – and that the book itself delivered on that premise in the way a reader expected. I think it’s a really good cover. Beyond that, influencers, readers, and booksellers did all the heavy lifting.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I’m an audiobook narrator by day, and I dreamed of being able to write in coffee shops out in the world. It turns out I have to go right back into my booth, where it’s quiet and isolated, and write one chapter until it’s done – and I do the same thing every day until the book is complete.
What impact has narrating books and developing games had on your writing?
Narrating has had an enormous impact – the act of reading the work of other authors out loud, and expressing every moment fully, is incredibly powerful in crystallizing your own personal taste as far as prose and content. It also sharpens your inner voice tremendously in a way that is very useful when the time comes to write. Many authors say that reading your work aloud is an excellent way to revise – and I get to do that while I’m writing. Game development instilled in me a methodical process of evaluation, change, and ultimate improvement that I think is universally useful – but also the ability to work in isolation on hard problems until they’re complete.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
Pretty early – I was a voracious reader as a kid. Everything from the Hobbit to a Cricket in Times Square to Dune. Particular favorite rereads were Nicobobinus by Terry Jones and The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.
What are some of your favourite recent reads?
I really loved The West Passage by Jared Pechaček – delightfully weird Gormenghast vibes throughout.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing and reading?
Narrating is pretty fabulous, although I suppose that falls into the reading side of things. I still occasionally enjoy playing video games, and I love exploring new cities and places and getting to know them. I am a serial hobbyist, so I switch from activity to activity to get that sweet dopamine hit of early exploration.
If you could be any fantasy character, who would it be and why?
A hobbit. Well-stocked larder, books, a cozy place to be, and lovely hikes for miles around.
Bookshops & Bonedust is available for preorder now and will be released on November 7, 2023 on all the places you buy books!