IHM: In Ten Words or less, tell us about your most recent book.
TT: Dude’s gotta use mysterious energy to protect against interdimensional invaders. (Okay, so I slightly cheated).
IHM: Uh, no, you were just creative. We heart creative. So tell us, why are you a writer instead of a car salesman or a shrink or a teacher or any other profession?
TT: Actually, I’m most of those other things too. No! I’m kidding. But I am an illustrator too, and cameo at a very left brained grown up job. I’m an illustrator and artist for all kinds of reasons, most of them revolving around a need to get the visual images of all these cool things out of my head. I enjoy creating and seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see something I’ve made—well, more when they like it, than not. Those reasons all apply to my writing too, but the one reason beyond that is this: pictures (though they may tell a thousand words) are static. I drew my worlds and stuff for so many years without ever really telling the stories that come with it. One day, about ten years ago now, I just decided I’d better start telling those stories before I’m dead. Eh, not that I expect that to happen any time soon, but you never know.
IHM: For sure, you never know. So, who is your most interesting character never published in the series (yet)?
TT: Upgrader books are super-fast reads, so we try not to jam them with too many characters. I finished up the second book recently, so it won’t be long before she’s published, but Vera’s cool. She’s one of the only new characters introduced after the first book. I like the uncertainty you have about where here loyalties lie, and how kick-butt she is with her long rifle and vegi-ammo. I don’t want to spoil too much else about her. I expect you’ll like her too though.
IHM: Who is your hero?
TT: That’d be eighteen year old Dylan Kent. He wears a lot of black shirts, is into techno and trance music, and loves zombie movies and comics. But he’s also found that he’s pretty good at baseball and is on his high school baseball team—you know, to keep grounded and stuff. Overall, he’s just your standard teenager trying to make it through his senior year without anything too freaky happening. And he totally blows that. He finds the Sunsoul and has to improvise his way through saving his little town from Icarion’s seekers and an interdimensional invasion.
(Wait.... did you mean my personal hero, not my Main-Character?)
IHM: Well, yeah, but that's okay. Main Characters can double as heroes too, right? So, tell us the message you want readers to gain from your work?
TT: Reading is fun. Reading can be action packed—even for those comic book and manga readers. These stories are fast paced and really cool. I want readers of all ages to pick up Upgrader and, after the first sentence, dig in ‘till the end.
You can buy Upgrader at Amazon in either paperback or e-book version. Both affordable at $7.50 and $2.99 respectively. He's also the author of a YA fantasy released in 2009, Armageddon – The Battle of Darkening Skies (of which I own a signed copy, whee!), and works as an animation in-betweener on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
And as a side note I have actually met him in person. Phoenix Comicon 2010: