1) How did you get the idea for Paraworld Zero?
I was only 14-years old at the time. The idea originally came from several things but one distinct memory I have was of playing a video game called Black Tiger. There was a scene in the game where you jumped from pillar to pillar. Down below was hot lava. A small insignificant spider web hung on one or two of the pillars and that really grabbed my attention. There is a scene in Paraworld Zero with spiders and hot lava.
2) How many books can we expect from the series? Does the second book have a title and release date yet?
I think you'll see 6 books in the main series and then one stand-alone novel. The second book is tentatively named "The School of Magical Learning," but it might end up being "Magical Learning." It is tentatively scheduled for January 2009, but I suspect that the date will be pushed back a little. A funny thing about this is that my publisher called me up one day and asked me what the title of the second one would be. I thought of something really quick and told them. The next time I was visiting their website, I saw the sequel listed on their website with a scheduled date for January 2009. How's that for motivation?
3) Tell us about the road to publication.
Long and tedious. Uphill battle. I can't believe it's taken this long. I registered www.ParaWorlds.com back in 2002! I finished the first draft in 2004. I spent a year submitting to agents but not a single one of them even asked for a page of my book to read. Then I realized I could submit directly to publishers. I selected a bunch of publishers but one in particular (Windstorm Creative) stood out at me. I sent to them first then two weeks later I submitted my query letter to the rest. One year and a week later, Windstorm Creative called me up and said they'd like to publish my book. Even then, it's been almost 2 years. Needless to say, I've been able to edit my book to death.
4) Aside from writing, do you have any other jobs? Or are you a full-time writer?
I am a 90% full-time author. I do have a "hobby" where I make all my money. I'm a computer programmer, website developer, and manager of several companies and websites. My job is very risky and stressful. I could lose $30,000 in a snap of a finger (which I have done a couple of times). I'd much rather write.
5) Which of the characters in Paraworld Zero are you most similar to? In what ways?
Simon Kent, the main character was based off of me when I was a young teenager (insecure, small, yearning for friends, etc.). I started writing Paraworld Zero in 1990 but stopped after a few chapters. Over a decade later, I picked it up again and finished it. Griffen Lasher, the older character in the story, is now more like me (excellent swordsman, good looking... er... okay, maybe not. But he is based loosely on me). I am definitely more confident now and I am a second degree black belt in karate (and my nose was broken when I was younger), so those qualities are also in Griffen.