1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I’ve pretty much always loved reading and writing. I wrote spec screenplays for a while. While I won a contest and got an agent, I still didn’t sell anything. Never-the-less, screenwriting taught me the importance of developing your characters while keeping the story moving forward.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Having had a religious upbringing, I’ve always been interested in the origins of religions and what their earliest ceremonies might have looked like. In Greece, for example, the Eleusinian Mystery religion most likely had some sort of hallucinogen at their annual festival. This sacrament enabled their faithful to actually have a firsthand mystical experience. (Sidenote: medical researchers are now discovering that hallucinogens are having positive results with patients with trauma, addictions, depression. It turns out, having a mystical experience can change one’s perspective in healthy ways.) Anyway, I really liked the idea of a shaman bringing a cure into a fragmented modern world. That was the impetus.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
It is possible to cut the cords of addiction, find acceptance/healing from traumatic memories, and discover your own spiritual path.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I fell into speculative fiction because it’s where the story took me. With speculative fiction, you have the ability to really let your imagination go. I have always admired futuristic authors who can also work with spiritual ideas; writers like Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Aldous Huxley, and Herman Hesse.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
While I identify with the protagonist (Matt), I think the “Peacemaker” is the most interesting character. A chameleon, he can be whoever he needs to be in the moment. He also seems to have access to ancient esoteric wisdom. Not only does he know about sacred plants, he also comprehends their chemistry and sees no conflict between the scientific and the spiritual. In fact, he finds a way to merge the two worlds. This book allowed me to ask him most of the questions I have, but I think he still has more to tell me.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I do not have much of a social media presence so I’m probably not the right person to ask.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
If you write in a specific genre, learn its rules. Whatever you write, do it because you truly enjoy the process. Obviously, it’s hard work and can be a grind at times. However, I think it’s important to find the fun and creativity in telling your story – a story that you would want to read.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?
Yes, I’m working on a second ‘Peacemaker’ book that takes place a couple of years after the last one ends. It is set in another fictionalized city and has many of the same characters and several new ones.