I was born and raised in Michigan, graduating from Lawrence Technological University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. With the Vietnam War hot at the time I went straight to Officer Candidate School, was commissioned as an Ensign, and began my career in Naval Intelligence. After a short stint on active duty, I moved to Maryland and pursued duel careers as a Naval Reserve Intelligence analyst and as a national intelligence technical analyst working at various agencies over my career such as the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. For thirty-six years my writing was confined to technical documents, position papers and contract proposals, not exactly the stuff of fiction. My urge to write fiction was kept on the “back burner” until my retirement in 2007, when looking for something to do with my time, I was inspired by a proposal by the state of North Carolina. They proposed to build a deep-sea port between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear arms depot, which to many seemed to be present an ideal terrorist target. The next six years were devoted to research and honing my fiction writing skills, and my first book was born.
What inspires you to write?
Wondering what would happen and exploring possible outcomes. Like what would happen if a port were built and a terrorist would take advantage of its vulnerable location. As an engineer you are always wondering how things fit together, what cause generates what effect, and with a very active imagination, it is easy to move from the examination of the physical to the metaphysical.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process starts when I come across a contemporary event, a potential conflict or central issue being argued, but currently in a static state. I then pull on the idea, examining what might or could have preceded it, what could possibly follow it. These ideas become plot points which I record in outline fashion. I research various suppositions to see where the story might possibly go. I will work on three or four story lines at a time. When I am satisfied with the story line, a rough road map of where I want to go, I develop characters to bring the story to life. I will build a synopsis of the story, and from that work on plot points to advance the story along the path I have mapped out. As I sketch the plot points I discover the characters involved in the story and will fall into a cycle of expanding the characters to fit the story and revising the story path to better fit the characters as they come to life. After I have outlined the entire story, sketching the objectives of each plot point, I write each scene letting the characters drive how each objective is to be met. Frequently I end up taking side trips and discover new sub-plots, but knowing where I need to go I can keep from getting trapped in my own plot.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I first establish a framework of profile and background for the main characters to match the story line. Minor characters are filled in as needed. However, as I more fully develop each character they have more and more impact on each scene much like a film actor would when interpreting their character. So it becomes a cyclic process, and when I write each scene in detail, I let the characters live their lives and drive the outcome.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write. If you can’t figure out where you want a story to go, just write the story will emerge. If you outline in detail at some point you must just let the story tell itself, so there again, just write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Being a first time writer with no platform, I did not see the point in frustrating myself with trying to find an agent and/or a publisher. So I self-published and am no struggling with the marketing, which I would have had to to in any case. If I can succeed in establishing myself, then I may try a traditional publisher, but I will still have to be convinced of the advantage. I believe that a publisher will have to convince me as to why I should use them as much as I will have to convince them that my work has a market and will sell.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think book publishing will become increasingly the domain of self published authors and that the competition for market visibility will be the driving factor for success. The great author of the future will not be defined by their writing ability but by their social savvy skills.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print