I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was seven years old. I created my first picture book titled, “The War to End All Wars,” complete with stick figures and poorly drawn Russian and American tanks with a sentence, sometimes two, that described the action. It was my first lesson: I had zero talent in the area of telling stories through my own artwork. In high school I wrote a ton of poetry and read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on. Clive Barker and Dean Koontz were a couple of other influences early on as well. I did some prose writing, but mainly just dreamed of becoming the next great horror storyteller. Due to life throwing me its share of curveballs it would take years, in fact decades, to get back to my dream of wanting to become a writer.
I owe everything to my wife for realizing my dream. Her support and sacrifice made it possible. Of course, combined with the one thing that was missing and took some time for me to figure out; all it takes to be a writer is to… wait for it… write. That was my wife. She has become what Stephen King calls my IR (Ideal Reader). I needed that one person that had faith in me to pursue writing.
What inspired your book?
“Eyes of Payne” was born out of my full length novel, Lazarus Rising. The whole project started with a dream I had about my daughter. She was being forced to denounce her father for his beliefs and his resistance to the future government of the United States. Many of my own fears of where we are headed as a nation played a role in my first novel. From the backstory of all my characters comes my latest release.
“Eyes of Payne” takes place on September 11th, 2001. The main character, Jack Payne, loses his wife in the attacks. Left with a burning desire for revenge and being thrusted into single parenthood is really what the story is all about. Given my own ties to 9/11 it wasn’t easy to write about that day, but I received more than just a short story from the process; I was also able to face some of my own heartbreak and heal.
How long have you been publishing your work?
My first novel, Lazarus Rising, was released on October 27th, 2014. That’s also my mom’s birthday. “Eyes of Payne” is my second published work that I released in March of this year.
What’s your writing environment like?
It’s funny to be asked that as I sit next to my wife listening to music as I answer all these questions. We do a lot of traveling by car in South Dakota. I do a portion of my writing from the passenger’s seat. Usually when I finish a scene I read it to my wife and we discuss what works and what needs some help.
My main environment is at the kitchen table. I get up around seven thirtyish in the am and sit there until I have written at least 1500 words. I don’t allow myself to check email, Facebook, or any other ‘distraction’ until I have hit my word count for the day. I’m just getting ready to up the count to 2000 words this week. I have learned, so long as I can keep myself disciplined, that I can write in many different environments. I have with my busy schedule. It’s funny how I thought now that I teach for a living that I would actually have the summer’s off… I know some teacher out there is laughing with me right now (or at me).
What projects are you currently working on?
I am about 25,000 words into my next book or novella. I’m not sure how long it will take to get to the ending I already have planned. My logline: A young teenager discovers the path of Christianity is more difficult than his former life as a bully. I have titled it, Pivot Point.
And just in an effort to really throw you off I am also working on a horror story I started to write when I was a teenager. I have finished the first scene and experimenting with first person.
Yes, these two stories have completely different audiences. I don’t really put myself in one category as an author, or maybe it just hasn’t been revealed yet. Either way, both of these tales are fun to write. I plan to take what I have written with this story to a writer’s workshop my wife signed me up for in October.
Anthony D. Flores lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife, youngest daughter, and two dogs. Born and raised in California, he moved to the beautiful Black Hills in 2004. He dreamed as a kid about becoming a teacher and writer. In 2006, he went back to college to make those dreams come true. Anthony earned his degree in Writing and Literature from Union Institute & University before attending Black Hills State University to achieve his teaching credentials. Currently he teaches 8th grade Social Studies and Writing at St. Thomas More Middle School. Lazarus Rising fulfills the other half of his dream and is his debut novel. In March of 2015, he released a prequel short story to Lazarus Rising titled, “Eyes of Payne.” He spends his down time in the summer studying American history, reading historical and science fiction, and writing his next book.
Author page on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1dkaZz8