He worked as a journalist in Washington and Europe, where he covered economics for the International Herald Tribune and edited a business magazine. After a business career in Sarasota, he spends his days working on his future books – The new one, Last Stop: Paris, was published Dec 1, 2015. It is a sequel to Treasure of Saint-Lazare.
Last Stop: Paris was a finalist in Shelf Unbound Magazine’s “Best Indie Book of the Year” competition. Treasure of Saint-Lazare was chosen the best historical mystery of 2014 in the Readers’ Favorite contest.
For several months each year, John and his wife Jan live in Paris, walk its streets, and chase down interesting settings for future books and his blog, PartTimeParisian.com. They lived earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, which gave him valuable insights for several of the scenes in Last Stop: Paris.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve been a writer, in one form or another, for a lot of years. Retirement gave me the freedom to pull together the experiences of the time I’ve spent in Germany and France and to use them to create stories, which then turned into books.
My main inspiration is Paris, my second home. Every time I go there, I find a new spot or story to work into the next novel.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’d like to be an outliner but I generally wind up being a pantser, because the process of writing sparks off many of the ideas that wind up in the finished work.
My main tool for information-gathering is Evernote. I tuck factoids about places, people, and things in it, organize them by book and character, then turn the notes into my rather detailed sketches. I keep those in Scrivener.
When I’m ready to write, I use an outliner (usually Tree, a neat horizontal outliner for Mac) or Scapple, the mind-map app from Scrivener. From there I start the writing process.
The first draft is longhand, but thereafter the manuscript lives in Scrivener. I edited on double-spaced printouts.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have to listen to my characters. They may start off as mine but they take on a life of their own and I ignore their voices at my peril.
What advice would you give other writers?
Place butt in chair. Write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I like the freedom of self-publishing, especially now that there’s a support universe. My editor has worked for both major publishers and self-publishers. My cover designer ditto. While the idea of a publisher’s support is attractive, the reality of it is less so.
It helps that I’m comfortable with the technical tools of self-publishing, such as Vellum for creating ebooks and Joel Friedlander’s book design templates, which make formatting paperbacks easy.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t see much risk that the public’s desire for good stories will go away. I expect it to shift more toward genre fiction and away from long literary works, although I hope the market for those survives.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: mystery and thrillers
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.