Tell us about yourself:
I am a 37 year old father of three who grew up on reruns of Rockford Files and Magnum PI. I'm working my way through writing a long series in the weirdest order possible. (More on that later.) I write urban fantasy, high fantasy, poetry, and really, really want to write a crime noir at some point, but I'm not sure I have the chops for it.
Where did your inspiration to write Frostbite start?
I started writing my series with two books, Discord and The Last Hunt. I wanted to combine those two into an epic finale of supernaturally gifted humans versus a megalomaniac mega-corporation. As I started writing that finale, Borderline, I fell in love with two of the characters, Colin Fisher and Veruca Wakefield. Without giving away their story, I wanted to know how they started, how they got to the precipice of the apocalypse, and why their allegiances were what they were. So I went back to the start, some four and a half years before and wrote Colin's story in Frostbite.
What was the hardest thing about writing Frostbite?
Consistency. Because I had so much written material for the Modern Knights series, I wanted to be careful to make Frostbite line up with the rest of the series. I'm going to have to fix a few things later on to keep it canon, but I feel like I kept Colin himself.
Writer’s block: How do you beat it?
I write. It's the only cure. First sentence is awkward and awful and horrible. Second sentence is a little easier. By the end of the first page, my writer's block is usually cured. If that doesn't work, try a little rum and force yourself to sit in front of your keyboard while you drink.
Do you have a favorite book or author? What do you love about them?
So many. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files is amazing because it combines my love of old PI shows with fantasy. Harry Dresden is the Jim Rockford of urban fantasy. Since that spot is taken, I think Colin is my tribute to Columbo: bumbling, adorable, and clueless ... but he gets the job done.
What do you absolutely need in order to write?
A full size keyboard? I love my phone and pen and paper, but the keyboard is way important. Rum and Diet Coke help.
What do you love outside of writing and reading?
Pokemon Go is my drug of choice right now. I've dropped 10 pounds since it released. Parenting is pretty cool, too.
PREVIEW: Frostbite (An exclusive clip!)
Her breath nearly gagged me when she spoke my name. It was full of warm spice overlaying cold decay. When I had recovered, I said, “And the spirit wars forced the wendigo to slumber. How?”
“Once, all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve were one race, one people. But after they were broken, their strength was not what it once had been.”
“The tower of Babel?”
“It is one story: Babel, Atlantis, Avalon, Pangaea. Many tales, one truth. The survivors who fled to this land found many enemies waiting for them. Arrogant spirits thought man’s dominion had ended. Mad spirits driven insane by the faceless set upon them. Without the strength of unity, the humans were easy prey for the monsters around them. Millennia after the falling time, the remnants of your people were still in fear of these beasts.
“The stories most commonly speak of twins who ventured beyond the edge of the world to bring back salvation. When they returned, they brought the spirit war. The tribes swore allegiance to the twins until all the people of this land were one people. Spirits of summer and spirits of crafting were appeased with offerings and promises and lent their strength to the twins’ army.”
“Offerings?” I asked.
“Do not play ignorant, knight-wizard. You know what the sun gods demanded for their aid. Winter is not the only thing that hungers for mortal life. Do not confuse our quarrel with the Seelie as a matter of good versus evil.” Visions of people lying on stone altars atop block pyramids, waiting for the dagger to fall, danced through my mind.
“I will remember, Eye of Winter. Please continue.”
“Their full strength rode to the Shadowlands, determined to purge the world of monsters like wendigo. One-fifth came back from that dark place, carrying the peace of the twins. The dark spirits would slumber and men would not walk in the lands of shadow. This peace has held for all of written history.”
“How did the curse wake it?”
“No,” she whispered firmly.
“The curse did not wake it. It only strengthened it, reminded the wendigo of the path from the Shadowlands to this realm. It was already awake.”
“Why? Why is it waking?”
“Some can be reached in their dreams. If people turn to cannibalism, the wendigo dreams it. From there, it might hunt in its sleep, but it will return to its hibernation.”
“Cannibalism,” I said.
“Not this one. Someone is walking the Shadowlands. Their footsteps echo in the night. The peace of the twins is broken and soon all the sleeping spirits will rise.”
“Armageddon.” Verses of Revelation came unbidden out of my memory.
“Apocalypse,” she corrected. “Armageddon is a battle to end all battles. This will be a one-sided slaughter.”
“So the person who wrote the curse is traveling through the Shadowlands waking things up?”
“No,” she whispered.
“The person who cursed Valente is not strong enough to walk the Shadowlands. The two events are not directly related.”
“Not directly. But there is a link?”
“There are many links, Colin Fisher. For example, you tie both events together by your interest.”
I needed the right question, but I couldn’t come up with it. The Eye of Winter was trying to avoid saying something and I suspected she had centuries of experience at not saying things she didn’t want to say. I would need to offer a greater payment or be satisfied with what she was willing to give. “Tell me what you want to tell me.”
“There is much that I want to tell you, Colin Fisher. Perhaps I will have the chance if you focus on the immediate. Kill the wendigo and break the curse. Overreach too soon, too fast, and you will die.”
I nodded. She made sense. The wendigo was enough without worrying about faceless men or a shadow-walker. “How do I kill it?”
“The peace is broken, but the twins’ allies are still bane to their enemies.”
“Summer and steel,” I said.
“Use what belongs to them and you can hurt it.” She paused. “Or let winter flow through your veins and you can control it, turn it back against your foes.” Her fingers reached up and slowly dragged along my cheek. “I could show you how, wizard-knight.”
The air grew colder almost instantly. My skin rose in goose bumps in response to the heady mix of chill, thrill, and terror. “I cannot pay the price for such a gift, Eye of Winter.”
Her smile was filled with pity and premonition. “The day is coming when you will wish that you had. But the choice that is made cannot be unmade.” She leaned forward and the stench of her breath grew thick around me. “But you have not answered me as to the girl. When you are ready to know of Sarai, you need only speak my name and I will come.”
What she whispered in my ear next, her lips almost pressed to my frozen lobe, was so terrible, so crushingly sad, so unspeakable, I forgot each word as soon as the sound passed. Only the emotion remained, the horrific certainty that what remained of my life was so disturbing, so violated, that when death finally found me, I would be grateful.
Days passed as we knelt there in the cold and stink. “What did you say?”
The Eye of Winter leaned back and smiled. “I told you your true love’s story.”