I've always been a storyteller, although for a long time I didn't realize it or embrace it. I spent a lot of years trying to be what I thought people expected and was just miserable. Having always been drawn to writing I took a creative writing class in college, just on a lark really. I turned in my first short story and waited in horror for the reviews. Our professors was very disliked man, with no mercy for anyone who didn't give their best. He actually liked my story and it was the first time I thought seriously about becoming a writer. After college I went to a writer's conference and was told if I wanted to make a living writing I needed to write what was selling. I spent the next five years playing around with a novel that I hated. I knew I had the chops but I still wasn't being honest. Finally, I had an idea about a story while I was mowing. I started writing and got consumed with the story until I finished it. I was pleased that my family and friends liked the book, but then the traditional publishing world slapped me down and made me doubt everything all over again. When I finally embraced the fact that I am a storyteller everything changed. I stopped feeling guilty about my passion, and stopped worrying about what would sell commercially. I just kept writing.
I've had a lot of influences. I love specific things about each of them. I love the world that J.K. Rowling created. I love the Celtic realism in Stephen R. Lawhead's early fantasy novels. Growing up I read Edgar Rice Burrows Tarzan novels and a lot of the Conan novels by various authors. From them I fell in love with the strong hero, of characters who aren't afraid of who they are. I also love the Oregon Files books by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul. I like the team or band of brothers aspect of those books.