As a teenager, I lived in the suburbs of Boston. After graduating high school, I moved west and continued my education at the University of Oregon finishing with BSc. degrees in Psychology and Geology. I then went to Arizona to pursue a career in exploration geology, but ended up a Land Surveyor. Since college, I have lived and worked in Arizona’s Mohave Desert, raising two boys along the way. One of them has autism and I draw heavily on this experience with the character of John in The Josephine Key.
About a year ago I began working in the science lab at Mohave Community College and the experience has influenced my plans for future novels. While I would like to write a series of Oliver Stanton books, I’m interested in bringing adventure books to younger readers which show how useful science can be.
What inspires you to write?
I enjoy telling stories, hearing stories. One of my greatest pleasures is sitting around a campfire in the desert, swapping stories of ridiculous things done in youth. I remember the stories my dad would tell of the adventures he and his brothers had growing up in Idaho. I want to bring stories to kids that capture their imagination with real adventures, show them that life is worth living if you get out and do it.
Tell us about your writing process.
Often it starts when I’m out for a run. I get an idea for a scene, hash it out for a couple miles and when I get a few spare hours, I hammer it out. I don’t worry about the ‘right’ word or whatever rules should be applied, I want to get the idea down on the page. I’ll go through the whole book this way. Usually I write chronologically, but if I have an idea for the end, or some climactic fight, I put it down with it’s own file to be inserted where appropriate. Once it’s there, organized and complete in concept, I go through and start making it pretty. I watch for word echoes, rule violations, etc. I may do this a few times then I put it out to the Internet Writer’s Workshop. These brilliant people give it an eagle’s eye and offer suggestions to correct the errors one can’t see for one’s self. I learned more from them about writing than I ever did in college. Then it’s time for a few more edits and when those are done, the real work begins. Synopsis, queries, submissions all are practically harder than writing the novel is.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do! Specially when I’m editing. I read as if I’m a particular character so I can look for things that could have been missed or need to be brought out more, without losing the perspective of the character whose voice is being used. Is there a reaction that a supporting character would have that the main character needs to be aware of?
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t forget to live life for real. Nothing is as valuable to a scene than actual experience. Travel, go outside, maybe even get in a fight, fall in love, do things away from that computer as much as possible. I find that time writing is much more productive if I do my mulling over away from the computer. My computer is for writing and research, if I’m not doing either of these, I leave.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Well that decision was made for me. I tried for a couple years to find an agent and go the traditional route. I finally decided I’d do it on my own. I’d seen many friends find success this way so I looked at KDP and Create Space. Either way, its a good idea to do a lot of research in marketing your book before you launch it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The options for writers are increasing at an incredible rate. With all the tools out there it’s easy to get a book out to the public. Unfortunately that also means quality writing has to fight to get noticed by a buy market that is becoming jaded by inferior product. So while the options are great, the competition is fierce.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Fiction Action/Adventure middle grade, Classic SF, YA
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print