I was born in Independence, MO right around the corner from Harry Truman’s house. But then, at the time, everything there was right around the corner from Harry Truman’s house. Right now I live in Sandpoint, Idaho with my wife.
I wrote my first short story at age of 12 and went to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age of 17. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy and studied physics later at UC Irvine. The lure of writing soon outweighed everything, though.
What inspires you to write?
I want readers to see in my work the view that life can be good, that we can flourish, and our thoughtful choices have a huge influence on whether or not we do. Sheer persistence in the face of obstacles over a long, often difficult period are what make great drama — and a fulfilling life, in my view. Typically, in life as opposed to literature, those hurdles are not big, dramatic one-time events. More often, they’re the day-to-day inertia of wet human cotton balls, to use a horribly mixed metaphor. Those barricades are usually held in place by small souls who, paraphrasing Mencken, fear that someone, somewhere may be happy. At heart, I’m a romantic writer – but in the 19th century sense of that term.
Tell us about your writing process.
I always do lengthy research before even starting an outline. Then I outline scene by scene, the way one might write a screenplay. I use Scrivener to keep everything organized. I do create character sketches before starting but they are quite sketchy. They develop during the first draft.
I’m not sure what useful advice I could give to other writers here. Everyone is so different in how they think, how they create, how they approach their work. If there’s any one thing that must be common in order to have any hope of creating something good it would be simple, old-fashioned persistence. There’s no substitute for working hard at it everyday, even if that means only an hour per day.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I create their values and goals, place them in a setting, and then let them do what they will. Somehow, they work out what happens.
What advice would you give other writers?
Well there is the trite but true: write every day, as many hours as you can. As importantly, I’d say: try to lead an interesting life and be a careful observer as you go. I’ve had many adventures over the years and it has helped shaped my mind and values. That can’t help but bleed into your writing.
It’s not enough to be a good writer. You must write something interesting, and to do that you have to make good selections of what to write and how. Any novel is made up of dozens of such choices. Good novels are made of good choices.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-publishing was born of necessity. I simply could not, after years of trying, get a mainstream publisher interested. These days, I can’t see any advantage to a traditional publisher unless they offer — and you have reason to believe they’ll follow through with — a healthy advertising budget. Anything else they do can be hired by independents: proofreading, editing, cover creation, and so forth.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t have a clue about that other than the obvious: self-publishing is clearly here to stay. Whether traditional publishing will is anyone’s guess. Whether it deserves to survive is a different, and to me more interesting, question.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Historical fiction, mystery, adventure. That said, I don’t really think about genre in developing a story. I just write about what interests me and hope it will interest readers, too.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print