Updated: May 11
Hi! I'm Isaac. After wanting to be an author for all my life, I finally wrote a book. There will be more!
Like many children, I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian. My degree ended up being in business administration. Currently, I work as an IT administrator at a college. I have always wanted to tell stories.
My first novel is The King’s Sun, and it is about a young Prince Kitsune, who is banished from his kingdom for his choice of bedmates. To regain favor with the king, he must kill the son of a neighboring monarch. Along his journey to carry out his father’s wishes, Kitsune discovers magical abilities, a dark family history, and the enigmatic, dark-haired man called Myobu. As the prince’s new powers grow stronger, he wonders if he can use them to slay his target or if they will end up destroying all that he loves.
The King’s Sun is the first of a trilogy called The Brass Machine.
When did you realize that you wanted to write and publish a book?
Writing is something I have been passionate about as early as elementary school. I wrote and illustrated a story about a sick dog, and the school librarian was kind enough to put it on the shelves for other students to check out. My high school studies coincided with my first attempt at a novel. It was a continuation of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park stories. I was obsessed with those books! It was not publishable (or good), but it was entertaining to both my friends and myself. The desire to publish and share my imagination with others took root. I started many writing projects throughout my college years, sometimes to the detriment of my studies. A few of those are still on the back burner. One of them turned into The King's Sun.
Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start? Research? A scene that came to you? A character that you dreamed up? Tell us what got the ball rolling.
The initial inspiration for The King's Sun came from two sources. The first was Laura Simm's children's book The Bone Man, in which the antagonist hides his heart in his pinky. This made it easy for the creature to defeat and devour those who fought him. The second source was James Blunt's album Back to Bedlam, which was released in 2004 during my last year in college. His music made me think about the consequences and costs of both love and war. These two different mediums helped form the climactic scene of The King's Sun, which I carried around in my mind for years before finally sending Prince Kitsune off on a journey to arrive there.
Once you had started, how long did the process take?
The first two chapters of The King's Sun were written around 2009 as part of a 'page a day' writing experiment. Career aspirations distracted me, as did World of Warcraft, and I did not return to the material until 2013. The book finally came out in 2018, fourteen years after the story's initial conception.
What were the things along the way that both helped and hindered you during the writing of this book?
I strive to be successful in all things that I undertake. When I put pen to paper again in 2013, I knew the ink would not stop flowing until Kitsune's story was told. However, that drive within me also pertained to my career in Information Technology, the relationships I have been in, and various DIY home projects. While it gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction and joy to benefit from the energy put into something, I am definitely guilty of tackling too many ventures at one time. Doing so can make each undertaking suffer, including the writing.
Did the process of writing this book come naturally to you? Did it run smoothly? Or was it an uphill battle?
Despite the obstacles that fell before me (or were put there by my own doing), the actual process of writing was quite natural and fluid. At the beginning, I did not know the entire cast of characters or all the locations they would visit. Many were created on the fly as needed. For me, that was part of the fun and adventure of building the story. My biggest battle, something that resulted from the disjointed periods of writing, was accidentally making a big reveal multiple times. It makes for many face-palms and even more phases of editing.
Set the scene. When you sat down to write, where were you? What did you need to help you? Did you have a routine with your writing? Tell us what was conducive to a successful writing session.
Back when I first got my driver's license, I started going to a writing group. It was an incredibly valuable way to spend a few hours a month, as I took away lessons and stories that have stuck with me over decades. The one piece of advice that I always remember is that inspiration can strike anytime and anywhere, so a writer must be prepared to write anytime and anywhere. The King's Sun was written in the morning, afternoon, and night. It was written at a desk, in a park, and at work (during breaks, of course). I specifically remember drafting the entire epilogue while waiting for an oil change and tire rotation. Each session had one thing in common that ensured the successful completion of the book: a goal. Would I get 100 words done or 1000? Would I start on Chapter 2's editing or start writing Chapter 8? Perhaps I would just contemplate on character motivation. Having small, achievable goals allows me to celebrate multiple successes, which raises my self-esteem and provides fuel for pushing forward.
What parts of the story did you find the hardest to write?
It was important to me that the story include strong, independent women. Not just as background characters, such as members of a city guard, but as fully realized people with import to the story. As the book revolves around two men on a fairly lonely journey, it was initially difficult. I had to think harder about the Lady of the Mountain, the Harbinger, and Veranda, about who they were and why they were present. In the end, I think that they not only brought life and color to the story, but also made the story. Without their inclusion and participation, the book simply would not have happened. Their actions not only propel the story forward, but also will have ramifications and importance in the following volumes.
Did you enjoy the process and is it something that you plan to do again?
I really do enjoy the whole process of writing and publishing a book. Even the editing process, where I continue to detect my own bad writing habits and learn to avoid them in the future. Having written nearly all my life, it is exciting to have actually published a book, to have it out in the wild and read by strangers! No way am I going to stop now. The first draft of the follow up novel to The King's Sun is nearing completion, with a long list of notes on how to structure the third. Once the trilogy is completed, I have many ideas on what to tackle next.
Whilst you were writing the book, what inspired you? What made you keep at it and not push delete?
For me, the greatest sources of inspiration are reading other books and watching movies and television. So many great stories and enthralling characters inhabit all kinds of media, and it is thrilling to think--to know--that I am a part of that. By paying attention to what I consume, I learn about plotting, pacing, and character development. All the rules by which to tell a story, and all the fantastic ways in which to break them. I loved the 'story within a story... within yet another story' concept found in Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, and I strove to include elements of that in The King's Sun. The banter between Dante and Blays in Edward W. Robertson's Cycle of Arawn made me laugh hysterically, and I wanted to include similar tones in Book 2. Also, once you start telling people that you are writing a book, they eventually expect to be able to read something!
Now the book is written, finished and published, is there anything looking back that you would have done differently?
At long last, the book is done and out in the world for anyone and everyone to read. I am ecstatic that it finally happened, and that it happened now. If I could do anything differently, if I could go back and tell myself something, it would be to not wait. Not to have waited for more time, for more money, for a better mood, for George R. R. Martin to release his next Song of Ice and Fire novel. Waiting never gets anything accomplished. Completing and publishing a book has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Waiting only postponed that dream.
Did you find the cover design part of the process difficult or enjoyable? And what were the feelings and emotions of handing your creation over to someone else to have the cover designed?
Countless articles exist that contain advice for those who are self-publishing in any form. One of the most consistent recommendations is to have the cover design professionally created. This was a no-brainer for me. I know the limits of my artistic talents. Anything I would have drew up would have repelled potential readers. It was with a kind of relief that I found Tim Barber, and I was happy to give him the unenviable task of transforming my vague thoughts and ideas into something eye-catching and beautiful. Working with Tim was incredibly easy. He is so friendly, patient, and willing to put in all the effort and time needed to produce the perfect design. His rough drafts astounded me. They were even better than I had hoped for in a finished product. I cannot wait to work with him again for Book 2!
Is there any advice that you would like to offer anybody reading this who is currently writing, or thinking of writing a book?
To just write! If you think you have a story in you, then tell it. You are never too young or too old to tell a tale. Whatever your goals are or whoever the audience is—it could be for the world, family and friends, or even just yourself—release the stories. You will feel better and be better for it.
Check out the amazing debut novel by Isaac Grisham. A truly stunning read that will keep you engrossed from start to finish!
You can follow Isaac Grisham at
Cover designed by DISSECT DESIGNS
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