How did you get published?
Around the year 2000 a friend sent me the information about a contest Warner Aspect (the SF/F imprint of Warner Books at the time) was having for first novels — with Tim Powers as the judge. I was writing WARCHILD already and decided to finish it in time for the contest deadline. Over the next few months I heard through the grapevine that it was moving up in the ranks and then eventually I was told that I'd won. I was working in the Arctic at the time; that time period was all a little surreal and amazing. Everything moved pretty fast after that — fast for the publishing world. The book was published in a year and a half, in 2002. I know I'm extremely lucky, but I believe luck is opportunity meeting preparation. I had a book that I planned to shop around anyway; the contest sped up the process.
How long have you been writing?
Since I can remember being cognizant enough to put sentences together in a narrative form, on paper. Very, very early. Kindergarten or earlier. I still have those stories too. I never throw out my work. They're time capsules in my life.
How many hours do you write a day?
I'm not a quantitative person. For me it's quality and working when the time is right (unless you're under a contract and deadline of course). This doesn't mean that I write purely on inspiration. I believe you need discipline for the long haul of novel writing and waiting solely on inspiration is a road to nowhere. Sometimes I write in my mind for a day; other times, when I'm on deadline or fed up of planning/researching, I will be back and forth from my computer for 12 hours. That being said, writing isn't the only thing in my life and I believe it's healthy to get my head out of the world of it and do other things. All the things that go into a book, for me, have as much to do with my development as a person as well as the development of a plot.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
Anywhere from 3 months to a year. Honestly it depends on what kind of deadline I'm on — either self-imposed or by contract. I'm a writer that likes deadlines.