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Why does Jack have your name for a last name?
Purely to stroke my giant ego! No, not really! The truth is that it’s due to procrastination and indecision. There’s a lot of Jacks out there already, so its a little cliché. But my father’s name is Jack, so I thought I’d tip my hat to the guy and add one more. The last name of Randall was simply put there because I can type it fast. I used it with the intention of replacing it later, when I came up with “the perfect name.” Well, then the beta copies went out, and I started getting feedback. Every time I brought up the name change and threw out a few suggestions, I got back a lot of protest. In hindsight, that was a dumb thing to do, as everyone had gotten to know my protagonist already, and they all knew him as Jack Randall. To change it then would have been a bad idea made worse, so I left it there. I actually don’t get this question as often as you’d think, but I wanted it to be the first one here, just to get it out of the way.
Do you write every day?
I write something every day. It depends on where in the process of the book I happen to be. If I’m in the research stage, I may only take some notes as I read. If I’m in the writing stage, I start my day by reading what I put down the previous day, before taking up where I left off. I found that this keeps my pacing consistent. The only time I actually avoid writing is when I’ve just finished the first draft and sent it out for critique. I use that time to clear my head for its return. The only exception would be ideas, I write them down immediately, no matter what I’m doing.
Do you ever get blocked?
Thankfully, I have yet to experience a prolonged writer’s block. At least one long enough to admit that I had it.
Is there a certain order I should read your books in?
Yes, start with Closure before moving on to Pestilence. Scarcity comes third, but it does not necessarily center around Jack and his crew; Scarcity contains more of an ensemble cast of characters. Time is a series of short stories involving each of my main characters, and it should be read after Scarcity, in order to know them first. Security is forth in line and follows Jack and all of his merry men.
How much of your books are based on real life?
I get most of my ideas from watching the news, so the idea portion of it would be considered based on real life. If you mean based on my real life, the answer would be…some.
Have you ever written anything only to have it actually happen?
Regarding Pestilence, and without giving anything away, I was a little concerned when I saw a headline on the news. So far nobody from Homeland Security has shown up at my door.
Is the medicine in your books real?
Yes, though writers prerogative allows me to stretch it to the extreme. At the very least, it is probable. The Portable Organ Perfusion System (POPS), which I use in my third novel Scarcity, is real, although they call it by a different name now. As of this writing, it is in trials and should soon be in use. A truly incredible machine.
How do you name your characters?
It varies. Sometimes, a good name will just pop up in your head the second you need it. Other times, it might be someone who has helped me during the research phase, and I’ll name a character after them by a way of thanks, though I always ask first. Villains are sometimes jerks I knew way back then, but they’ve also been names I saw on a billboard. Occasionally, I’ll just thumb through the phonebook, if the character is a minor one. If they come from a certain ethnic background, I spend a few minutes on a Google Baby Name website and find one that fits. As a personal rule, I never use the name of an ex-boss, fellow soldier, or ex-girlfriend. Trust me on that last one.
Will Jack and Sydney ever get back together in a future novel?
I get this question often and I’ll admit that it’s prompted some thought on the subject. But that’s all I’m ready to say right now.
Are all your novels available as e-books?
All of my books are available as e-books through all the normal outlets.
When will your next novel come out?
Security should be released sometime in the summer of 2014. I also plan on having a few short stories out this year as well.
Are they making a movie of Pestilence?
There’s been some interest, but no deals on paper yet. If you have an idea of who you’d like to see playing the part of Jack, or any of the other main characters, please visit the blog and let me know. It’s been a fun topic.