Yes, my book is in almost all U.S. and Canadian bookstores, and in some other countries as well.
Harken is a supernatural conspiracy theory story. It’s my first YA book. You can find out a lot more at ReadHarken.com.
No, the graffiti was already there when we were taking photos, and I thought it was so mysterious that I put it in the book afterward. I’m not sure if it’s still there.
I wanted a place where no story had been set before but that was close to Los Angeles, where I was living when I started writing the book. I did a lot of searching and liked the name Arleta.
After I wrote a lot of the book, I drove down to the city and was shocked to find that it was very similar to how I was describing it in the book. So I kept it! Arleta is a place where no one would really expect something mysterious to happen, so that makes it the PERFECT place for a mystery.
Please contact my publicist, details on the contact page.
I am weeks behind on book reviews. By the time I get to an ARC, it is usually already out, on and off lists and on a classics shelf. But if you’re willing for a few months reading time, email me. Unfortunately, I can only read books being put out by a publisher or writers already represented by a literary agent– I love reading people’s writing, so this is for purely legal reasons, and nothing against other writers.
Anything by Lemony Snicket or John Green, as well as Artemis Fowl, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Frankenstein, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Mrs. Frisbee And The Rats Of NIMH. I also loved If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
I use Cubase Studio 5 and a huge collection of virtual (VST) instruments I have amassed over the years, with a M-Audio KeyRig 49 keyboard. My favorite VST instruments are Nexus, Massive, FM8, and the Plugsound libraries, which almost always make an appearance in my music.
My mom forced me to write my first story when I was 9. I say forced, because I hated writing back then. I still have my first story, which was about a guy named President Kaleb who took a submarine under the North Pole and found aliens. Definitely bestseller quality there.
My mom forced me to write one page a week, and very soon I came to realize how much I enjoyed writing. After my first story, I wrote a long series about a guy named Tyralak, which was really more of Star Wars fan fiction. I wrote hundreds of pages on that before straying into a bunch of varying stories, many of which were predecessors to Bran Hambric in a type of high-fantasy setting. Sewey Wilomas, in The Farfield Curse, existed in many forms for years before Bran Hambric ever came into being, as well as Balder (who was formerly two characters, Balder and Nasier).
Kaleb Krew was my radio name for my countdown show The Top 5. In radio, host are encouraged to take on fake names to separate their personal lives from their professional (and oftentimes public) personalities.
As recently exposed by my brother, Tyralak was a character in a very old story I wrote when I was younger. He was a space captain in a pseudo-Star-Wars world who was searching for his brother, who the space Emperor had tortured and sentenced to exile. The story was developed through hundreds of pages, which I divided into multiple books. It was my first experience writing a series (albeit, a conceptually distorted one).
Even though I loved hosting my radio show, it had reached a point by 2008 where I wanted to focus more on other things, especially YouTube. Since I was also a full-time college student, doing a show every week took up all of my time, and I needed that time to work on new projects.
I post about this here.
I post about this here.
Since I spend extensive amounts of time plotting (almost to the point of my plotting counting for first drafts of the book) I don’t usually get stuck with writer’s block. So if you have trouble with that I’d suggest plotting (perhaps not as obsessively as me though, my plotting notes for the Bran Hambric sequel are over 70 pages right now).
I do however suffer from what some writers call “Dark Days” when I want to write but feel that I have no energy or real desire to. After bearing this for five years, I discovered the cure is to go on Youtube, and watch videos of other writers at a book signing (search Stephenie Meyer Book Signing), or a documentary on a writer (A Year In The Life Of JK Rowling). For some reason, seeing another writer at work reawakens the dream to write more and better. Following my suggestion of this, I have received responses from a half-dozen writers already who all say it has worked for them.
My favorite writing music is movie scores, especially the ones for Lemony Snicket, Gone Baby Gone, Finding Neverland, The Professional and Twilight. I tried listening to rock music while writing for more energy, but it just didn’t work because the words distracted me: the only bands I can consistently listen to while writing are Anberlin and Shiny Toy Guns, because I have their music so memorized it fades into the background.
Since 2013, I’ve used a Canon 5D Mkii. Before that I used a Canon T2i. In my older videos I used a Flip Mino HD or a Flip Ultra, and sometimes a Canon Vixia HF200.
Sony Vegas Pro.
I was 14.
I was awake late at night on 3/3/03, and had a sudden idea of a boy and a banker on a roof, waiting for a burglar to come. I immediately knew it was a fantasy story set in a modern setting, and yet in a type of alternate world very similar to our own. I also knew the back story of the burglar and the boy, and that the banker had a rusty car that he drove recklessly.
The very first, original image I saw that night was of Bran and Sewey on the roof, with the sun almost set behind the house, and both of them sitting against the chimney. I don’t know how this led to the plot for six books, but somehow it was so interesting that each of the characters immediately had stories. Curiously enough, in the original idea, there was a penguin sitting on the roof not far away. I have no clue where this came from, but unfortunately the penguin doesn’t appear in the book.
(ADDED: this unidentified penguin might be a result of fuzzy memory. It could have been a penguin-shaped pipe or something. All I remember is this penguin shape, though he didn’t move, and there’s no ice around Dunce, nor any real way for a penguin to get onto the roof unless he was dropped there. I blame my irrational subconscious)
Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse went through many titles, including Bran Hambric and Bran Hambric: The Farfield Plot. I changed the title in 2008 after having The Farfield Plot for years. I had just gotten the book deal, and my agent and publishers had to change the title on the contracts, since they hadn’t even been signed yet!
A wonderful artist named Brandon Dorman.
Because I started writing the book on the night of 3/3/03.
I didn’t write the book with a 9-12 age group in mind: most books that are written from a sudden idea like I had aren’t formed towards any certain audience. It just happens as it’s written.
That said, I wrote Bran Hambric when I was ages 14 – 20, and I certainly wouldn’t have written anything that bored me at those ages. While the book is appropriate for a 9 – 12 audience, there is nothing in the book that will make older readers feel they’ve been conned.
I wasn’t planning on making a soundtrack for the book, but after I really got into making music inspired by The Farfield Curse, I suddenly ended up with an album-length set of songs. There was enough fan interest in a soundtrack, so I decided to finish up the tracks and make a CD.
The magic in the book can be done in a variety of ways, so it is sometimes just a matter of personal preference as to how a mage does it, or depending on which magic it is, one might be more powerful when done with words as opposed to just using their mind.
There is a detailed tutorial on this here.
We don’t have a way of selling the necklace yet but I’m working on it. The only way to get them now is to win them in contests.
I would like to. But my tours and book signings are handled by my publishers, so I go where they tell me. It would take one of my foreign publishers to set up a tour overseas.
As of writing this, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse will be translated into Russian and Portugese.
Not sure. When I wrote the book, I originally used the name Bran Hambric as a placeholder, so that I could go back when I was finished and replace it with something cooler, like “Martin McAwesome”. But by the time I had finished writing the book, the name had already meshed with Bran’s character, and it stayed.
There is a scene in Disney’s Lady And The Tramp where a woman in the background shouts “And bring me some chopped suey!” which is type of food. When I heard the Suey part, I instantly had the name for Sewey. I’m not sure where the Wilomas part came from.
Getting noticed takes a very long time. What many people fail to notice is that I’ve been blogging for many years, and only since 2008 did anyone even care about what I wrote. Creating a blog that has a lot of readers mainly requires a unique voice, an interesting subject and lots of dedication, especially through that time when only two or three members of your family actually read you. As you blog though, you will slowly build a group of dedicated readers who will keep coming back.