“As I’ve told just about everyone, there is usually a sizable delay in my writing, as far as when I first write it and when it finally becomes something available for everyone to read. When I first wrote the Mask and the Sword, for example, I was still in high school but it wasn’t published until nearly six years later. The same is true of Volume II-A Wicked Storm, which was written in my earlier college years—during the George W. Bush administration. Now [the novel was released in 2012], it’s finally coming out. Not surprisingly, much of my second novel has a backdrop of war and human rights violations.
“There are several reasons for the delay but the main culprit is shopping the manuscript to different publishers and agents. I ultimately ended up sticking with my original publisher so you can rest assured that everything in the new book was intended to be there and wasn’t changed to please a special market.
“Volume II-A Wicked Storm takes on a slightly darker and more serious tone than the first book. Not so serious that you’re not having fun with it, but noticeably heavier with the content. This is when the villain, Dmitri von Calvin, becomes the sadistic monster that everyone only hinted and warned about in the first book. Likewise, this is when Cassidy’s commitments as a hero are tested and she must quickly become the woman that saves the day even when it’s the hard and nearly impossible thing to do.
“My basic writing style has not changed very much and you will recognize my voice, but it has improved. I’d like to say that I’m getting better at writing. I’m learning some tricks, trying out some new things and I’ve personally had more life experiences to draw on. The language and dialogue is smoother this time and the stakes are higher for our heroine. I also feel that this is the book about Cassidy that I intended to write all along. I even wrote it so that prospective new readers could jump in at this point if they really want to. The book was also edited by a professional writer, editor and producer of literary and theatrical works—a perfect match in my opinion. This is someone who clearly sought and understood my vision better than most.
“Going into the content, this second installment truly develops the dragon archetype and runs with it far beyond what we typically encounter in Fantasy and what the first book ever could have accomplished. The dragons in Legend of the Dark Messiah are much more personified than the snarling beasts we’ve grown to expect and they have goals other than being greedy lizards that sit on piles of gold. I rarely see them explored beyond this basic form in literature and I’d like to say I’m doing something about that.”