Author Q&A

How old are you? I am 18 years old.

Where are you from?  Originally I am from Broomfield Colorado, but now I live in Star Valley Wyoming in the town of Smoot.

What grade are you in and where do you go to school? I am a Senior at Star Valley High School.

What are your plans after high school? I plan on going to a semester of college at BYU Idaho and afterward serve an LDS Mission.

When did you write the first draft of The Cimeter of the Ages and The Fall of Trebonious?   Right around my 15th birthday.

Have you written any other books? Yes. I have written many books, and I’m editing to prepare them for publishing. I am also currently write other new stories because my head can’t contain its creativity.

Do you do your own drawings of your characters or scenes? Yes. I do this for nearly every part of my series so they are easier for me to visualize. I hire a cover artist for the covers of my books.

What is your favorite thing about writing?  I get to go somewhere else. I choose where I go and it helps me endure my life’s current challenges.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  Editing the book; making it correct and changing it.  Sometimes it feels threatening to me, like my imagination is being changed according to what will please the public. At the end of the day I want to write what I want write.

How many hours a day do you usually write when you are in the middle of a story?  When I am in the middle of a book I can write for 3 hours or more at one time.

Who is your favorite character in your books and why? I don’t have a favorite character; even among my most villainous antagonists, my heart has a place for them because they came from me. Their lives are a part of mine because they relate to me in some way. Every challenge they endure I have endured in some manner or perspective. I feel like they are children, and I am their father.

Are any of your characters modeled after real people? Who? Yes. I don’t want to say who they are however because I want my readers to imagine the characters for themselves.

What is your writing process like?  First I make an outline. I keep my outlines basic and simple, so I can write the whole story within a matter of weeks or months. I don’t like starting stories and then stopping them, otherwise I fear they will be left in some part of my subconscious that will never come back.

How do you feel about autism? It always seemed like a gift to me, it was never a burden until I discovered I had it. The irony of this truth left me to question wether my mind was weaker or more intelligent than others. To this day I still don’t know, but I can acknowledge based on the fact I have self published two novels and will soon graduate High School, I can take on any challenge life throws at me.

Do you think that being autistic helps you as an author?  Yes. It makes me see things in the world more vibrant and differently from others so I can write in ways no one else can. 

What advice would you give to other kids with autism?  At first it is really hard to live with. You will feel different, perhaps weak, but these emotions will only remain in your heart as long as you allow them to. It took me a long time to adjust to what it was like for me, but if you keep working and never give up on your gifts and talents, it can become a skill that can help you in life. Undoubtedly, autism makes you special regardless of where you are on the spectrum. This is because you can see things in the world beyond the perspectives of everyone else.

What advice would you give to parents who have a high functioning child on the autism spectrum?  I have never raised an autistic child, let alone a child in general, but I realize it must be different from raising other children. My guidance is to feel no shame and don’t feel bad about it. It is hard for every new parent to raise a child. It is not that different from raising any normal kid. They will have bad days and good ones, but at the end of the day they need to know you love them despite how different they can be from others.

What are your favorite books? The chronicles of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Peter and the Starcatchers, Kingdom Keepers, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments and countless other good books I cannot name. When I was younger, I also loved the Bionicle books.

What are your favorite movies?  There are so many, I can’t narrow it down. Movies have had a really big impact on my life as someone who is autistic. For normal kids it turns their brains into mush, but for autistic kids (before mush settles in) movies give them a good structure on how to think, function, and feel. The way I see characters and how they act helps me feel the way they do. They inspire me in my life choices. The scenery in movies help me to think better and come up with my own worlds as I write. Autistic people like me usually do not come up with their own images as well and they need pictures to put into their mind, it helps for visualization. At least, that’s how autism has affected me.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?  I like to watch movies (especially Marvel), read books, listen to music, and write my books.

Do you have any advice for other young authors? There are many things that I could say, but if I could summarize it into one statement I would say this; don’t write unless you truly desire to. Books are supposed to be a place where people can go to run away from reality and dream, it should never be a prison where people carve what they wish in stone and wait for their desires to come to them. I won’t deny that every story does have its boring storm clouds and paragraphs of exposition, but if you enjoy the boredom and it entertains you or fulfills you, then it’s worth embarking to write.

What is your favorite color? That is personal.