This is me. I’m an Aries, born in Wisconsin in 1981, a husband and father of four, and a practicing attorney licensed in the State of California, where I currently live with my wife and children. I’m also a United States Air Force retiree/veteran with service in Afghanistan and the Republic of Korea. I have a chronic illness as a result of my military service. After debating whether and how much to go public with it, I published a fairly lengthy and exhaustive account of my health struggles here.
Since I was a teenager, it has always been my dream to write. I’m not talking news articles or law reviews–I’m talking creative writing: novels and/or screenplays. For me, reading and writing creative works is a sanctuary and an escape. Some of my favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr).
I also love film. What directors like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Tim Burton, and many others do is, in my humble opinion, nothing short of magic. I love watching their visions brought to life on the silver screen.
I started writing short stories, often in collaboration with friends, as early as 1st Grade. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing my entire life. In fact, the genesis of my first published novel, “Hoffnungslose Ziele,” came from a NaNoWriMo challenge issued by my best friend back in 2014. The short story I wrote had very little to do with “Hoffnungslose Ziele,” but marked the first time I experimented with the epistolary novel format (albeit exclusively diary entries by a single character). I immediately fell in love with the format.
For “Hoffnungslose Ziele,” my first published novel, I took Bram Stoker’s Dracula along with several vivid and recurring dreams as my primary inspiration, and wrote entirely from the perspective of six characters penning diary entries and the occasional letters to each other. It’s a very interesting format, giving the reader a first person perspective, without limiting that perspective to the mind of a single protagonist. I was also deeply interested in Central European (especially Prussian) folklore, which is why “Hoffnungslose Ziele” dispenses with many of the 20th Century conceptions of such creatures as werewolves and vampires, hearkening back instead to 19th century folklore about these creatures with a healthy dose of my own imagination mixed in.
I intended for “Hoffnungslose Ziele” to be a standalone novel, but due to the insistence of a few very persistent readers, decided to dive back in and further explore that world and how the characters deal with the aftermath of their coming of age adventures once they reached middle age. The result is “Hoffnungslose Ziele II.” In particular, I felt that Anna had a lot of unfinished business and deserved the opportunity to tie up those loose ends.
I also happen to be a Veller, Gauger, Rhode, Strehl, Gomoll, and Ehlers descendant, which gives my first two published novels a bit of a personal touch. Anna and Gustav in particular embody thoughts, feelings, and ideals I harbored when I was roughly their ages. I believe every writer puts a bit of his or her self into her/his writing, and I am no exception. I’m just calling out directly which characters I find particularly “relatable” based on my own personality and life experiences. My favorite character, though, is Metia. I don’t know if I’m supposed to have favorites (I know as a parent I’m not), but that’s my confession related to “Hoffnungslose Ziele.” I believe that’s because if I were on such an adventure, she’s the one I’d most want to have by my side, and represents many things I’m either not, or wish I were.
Personality-wise, I’m an INFP, “the mediator,” according to the Myers-Briggs personality types, although interestingly before my illness started dominating my life I was an ESFP, “the entertainer” (albeit just 1% over the line from Introvert to Extravert, and 1% over the line from Intuition to Sensing, so I carried traits of my present personality even when I was still more outgoing and adventurous), so make of that what you will. I personally find the INFP label to be a closer fit for me, but occasionally catch glimpses of ESFP still peeking out (mostly when engrossed in conversation). You can find more info on the Myers-Briggs types and take a personality test yourself here or here. I recently took the Enneagram Test as well after feeling inspired to do so by one of my favorite bloggers, Nikki Albert, and her post on getting to know her. My Enneagram Type is 2, “the helper.”
So that’s a bit about me!