What is your favorite fictional character or creature?

That is a tough question. I could name dozens of characters that have had deep impacts on me. The Harry wizards (Potter and Dresden), and the old wizards: Allanon, Gandalf, Dumbledore. I might have to go with the Amberle Elessdeil and the Ellcrys, which are in essence, one and the same. For those who haven’t read the Elfstones of Shannara, the Ellcrys is an Elven tree that holds the demons of the other world at bay. It is an amazingly imaginative tree. I imagine it as a great Hawaiian Banyan tree. When the Ellcrys gets sick, a new Ellcrys must be born. Amberle, part of a slight love triangle between Wil Ohmsford and the gypsy-like Rover Eretria, gives up her chance at love to become the new Ellcrys.

What is the one writing tool you couldn’t live without?

Wow, there are so many important software tools that make being an author today awesome. Character profiles are very important to me. I keep them in text files and have multiple open at a time in Notepad++. Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar check is second to none. Find and replace. If you aren’t a Find and Replace expert, you should become one.

What are you looking forward to at Comic Con?

Having fun. Last time I was tied to my Author booth the whole time. With so many authors joining together to form the UFA Book Store, I expect to have time to take the kids and really enjoy myself.

When did you know you were a writer?

Junior year in High School. I was asked to write a short story for English class. My mind created a entire epic fantasy world. It was a little overkill for a short story. I’ll probably publish a short story from that world, but I doubt I’ll ever publish the novel from that world that I wrote between ages 16 and 19.

If you could be any character in one of your stories, who would it be and why?

What do you mean? I am all the characters in my stories already. 😉

What path did you take to publication?

While I could have gone small press, I decided to write a quality story and self-publish. I feel we are entering into a post-publisher era. Unfortunately, this has opened the publishing world up to include poorly written and poorly edited stories. One of the biggest complaints about self-published authors is quality. I solved that issue by creating a writing standard, a certificate of quality. I didn’t publish until I met that standard. If you want to self-publish but you want to separate yourself from low quality writing out there, check out this standard.

How long have you been writing?

I started at age 16, so over twenty years, but it hasn’t all been fiction. Even when it wasn’t fiction, I’ve been a writer. In my college years it was mostly poetry. I’ve written many whitepapers for the companies I’ve worked for. I’ve also written for my technical blogs for years. It is time I started publishing good fiction.

Favorite author who inspired you?

Terry Brooks in my early years with Shannara, Magic Kingdom, and Running with the Demon. Jim Butcher in my later years. I am huge fan of the Dresden Files.

Favorite read in the last six months?

Jim Butcher’s Skin Game. I can’t get enough of the Dresden Files.

Which of your characters would you expect someone to dress up as during Comic Con?

Alexis. Since Fire Light is a contemporary fantasy, she is the only main character that dresses out of the norm. However, the Nightwalkers would be fun to dress as, too.

What books will you be selling at Comic Con?

Fire Light – Trinity of Mind Book 1. It is my debut novel. I wanted to write a story in which a young man learns he is a druid, can cast magic, and actually casts the infamous magic missile. So far, the fans are loving the story.

How do you organize your thoughts into a cohesive storyline?

I am a target scene writer. I have target scenes (awesome scene ideas) I want to write and I write toward those. I don’t outline but I have a small list of high level steps to get to my target scenes just below where I am typing. For example, my first target scene was Jake getting shot. My second target scene was the first time he cast a magic missile. The next target scenes were the betrayal (I don’t want to give too much away) and then the final battle. When I explained it to one person, they called it an excellent hybrid between discovery writing and outlining. My character profiles are vastly important as well. The characters just have to be themselves throughout it all.

What inspired you to write?

I believe imagination is what lead me to read. Reading flexes the imagination’s proverbial muscles. Then the joy of using my imagination to create a story has just taken over.

Would you consider writing a fan as a character in one of your books?

Yes. In fact, I might do a Kickstarter to help fund the publishing of book two. If I do, I’ll let one of my fans buy in as a character.

When can fans expect your next book?

Sometime in the third quarter of 2015. I know everyone wants it sooner, but I write as a second job because I love it. Still, even though I love it, it will take me more time than other authors. I have a day job as a Senior Software Developer and a family. That is also the benefit of self-publishing. It isn’t a job with deadlines for me. It is just something I do out of pure enjoyment.

J. Abram Barneck
I write two things: Code and Fiction