1.) Why did you write Thrall? What initiated this particular burst of creativity? Is Gorias La Gaul going to be a re-occurring character?
I heard an ancient ballad by bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley that made Gorias appear. Gorias is the name of the Celtic god Lugh's spear. That full name just popped out. After an evening of cards with a few folks who mentioned a Draco-lich, things started to fall into place. I wrote the first draft while recovering from neck surgery. I've written several stories about Gorias and yes, he'll return in more novels, one currently being penned.
2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
I had a rough outline that changed quite a bit once I got going. I knew the major events, but twists and turns of the mind as one goes makes it like rock & roll.
3.) How important are your illustrations? How did you score a well known illustrator such as Matthew Perry to do your illustrations?
I was blessed that he works with Seventh Star Press. His renderings of Gorias and the dragon are gold. Bob Freeman has done covers in the past (and future) and he is a beast. Dittos for Alex McVey.
4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?
Aside from the aging hero Gorias? Perhaps the barbarian chief Brock, who is a trifle over the top, but cold & mean.
5.) What do you like the most about writing?
I love to tell stories. I feel the best when I am making folks happy, reading something they have never read before.
6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
Sometimes listening to heavy metal songs, offhand comments, or just filter in from the ether-realm as I work in the factory. At a Con last summer I mis-heard a lady in passing and her one sentence inspired an entire novel.
7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
Never stop, never give up and pound out every yarn you can. Harlan Ellison told me, "Don't be a phony. Don't lose yourself."
8.) What do have new in the works?
Well, BEDLAM UNLEASHED (co-written with Peter Welmerink) will coem out next sprign from Belfire. My horror novel HELL BILLY in 2012 from bad moon Books...but I've just written a Lovecraftian-western, an epic fantasy of Biblical measurements plus, I'm working on a new fantasy novel with Gorias.
9.) You are often compared to Robert E. Howard. Is he your favorite author? If not who is your favorite author and why?
Howard is my favorite. I still read his poems and tales. Karl Edward Wagner would be a close second. Howard spoke to me as a child and I reckon his cadence flows in my storytelling. George RR Martin and David Gemmell are terrific, too.
10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
READ. Read everything, not just the genre you choose. SCi fi, horror, fatnasy, westerns, pulp detectives, non-fiction and the Bible. Never give up and never think you can't learn.
Thank you for your time and your enlightening answers.