I have resided in and have visited many places in the world, all of which have contributed in some way to my own published writing. I have literally traveled throughout the world, on numerous occasions. I have lived in Finland, Germany, Thailand, Saudi Arabia (where COVERT DREAMS is set), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (where DEADLY EYES is set). I gained the wanderlust to see the world, to experience other cultures, at an early age, and this desire has never left me. If anything, it has only gained in intensity as I have aged. I try to travel internationally at least once a year. In the interim, I spend lots of time traveling around both my home state of California and other nearby states.
I spent my early years in the small town of Lone Pine, California, the home of almost every western movie, in addition to a wide variety of other genres, made in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. In fact, Hollywood still films parts of big-time movies there today. My dad, the town’s lifeguard at the time, personally knew John Wayne, Lloyd Bridges, and Lee Marvin, all of whom came to the town’s pool, the Memorial Plunge, at times to cool off after a hectic day of working in the sun. I was even an extra in a movie filmed there in 1957, MONOLITH MONSTERS, a B-cult favorite even today. I was ten years old at the time. Even though I resided in a small town hours from the big city, I was exposed to the excitement of action and heroes at a formative age, and, thus, my interest in writing novels of suspense such as COVERT DREAMS and DEADLY EYES was born. I am particularly proud of the fact that these two international suspense thrillers are rated #1 and #2 on the Goodreads Recommended Thriller/Suspense list.
As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, I now live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two adorable rescue cats.
What inspires you to write?
I have always been fascinated with words. For instance, when a cashier at a store wants to swipe my card, I become alarmed. Why would I want someone to swipe my card when I am swiping it? If you are going to come visit me, are you coming or going? The possibilities are endless. My Master’s thesis was on categorizing two-word verbs. There is a huge difference between snap to and snap at. Language is all-powerful. I love the magic of words, of creating scenes and dialogue that will get the reader’s rapt attention.
I am a keen observer of people, for one thing. I can sit on a bar stool and easily converse with a person who might diametrically oppose everything that I believe politically or religiously, and yet we can get along. We can communicate. I know how to listen, and I pick my words carefully. I enjoy seeing how people interact with others, how they cope with what life deals them. Bits and pieces of what I have observed and heard appear in both the dialogue and scenes that I have created.
I have always been fascinated by the human brain. I like to try to reconstruct what must have been going through a person’s mind at the moment of some great tragedy or some wonderfully unexpected event. What must have General Custer been thinking the very second he saw his own death? What went through Captain Smith’s mind the second he realized that his Titanic was doomed? I like to imagine shouting out to historical figures way before tragedy strikes and tell them, “No, don’t forge ahead! No, don’t ignore the ice warnings!” The very act of creating people and being in complete charge of their thinking processes, and then putting them into a situation where they must act—this sort of thing appeals greatly to me, and, thus, I am a writer.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am an early morning person, so I like to get to work right after breakfast. I walk for about an hour six days a week, and on that walk, just before breakfast, while exercising my body, I am also exercising my brain by coming up with ideas for that morning’s writing session. I sometimes find myself having to hurry home just to be able to jot down a note or two before I lose the idea. I generally like to write for several hours a day, but every once in a while the skies turn dark without my even knowing it since I have been on such a roll at my computer, and the day simply got away from me.
I am retired English professor. I devote my time now to my family, to my writing, to reading, and to travel, both nationally and internationally. I love to travel. I have lived abroad many times, and there are few countries in the world that I have not had the privilege to visit. My international travels have helped me become a better person and a better writer. When I decide to write, I do so. I am not out to make a lot of profit. I want to have fun, and creating plots and characters in the exotic places I have lived is very enjoyable. The minute my mind has to struggle with what is to come next, I promptly get up from my computer and do something else. I want to ensure that writing is always pleasurable for me instead of being hard work. I am like a reader as I write, never quite knowing what will happen next, which makes the process very exciting.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
A writer writes about what he/she experiences and/or observes, and I am no different in that respect. Bits and pieces of my real life experiences, in one form or another, have made it into my books, but the plots and the characters are all my own creation. I am a keen observer of people. After I have learned, to my own satisfaction, what each character’s personality is, I then let him or her lead the way. They often develop in ways I never imagined, simply because something suddenly popped into my mind and then off they go in a new direction. What is so exciting to me is that I am like a reader when I write, never quite knowing how things will move forward, let alone end. My characters are real people to me. I love interacting with them as they help me create them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write, write, and write. A writer is a person who writes. It is that simple, but be sure to enjoy yourself as you do so. Make it a pleasurable thing, not drudgery, for life is way too short as it is.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the highly acclaimed international author, often complained of having to change parts of his books, especially endings, to satisfy his publishers. He is not, by far, the only author who has had to adhere to someone else’s editing in order to be published. In my case, the case of a self-published novelist on Amazon Kindle, I have complete control over every single aspect of my book, every word, every punctuation mark, and even to the appearance of the cover. It is my choice, and mine alone, how to begin and how to end my own book. I have complete control over all of my characters’ actions, thoughts, and words. In a nutshell, as a self-published author, I am the true writer of my own work. No editor has had a hand in changing even a single word of my original work. The book is mine, and mine alone, and it is presented to the reading public exactly as I want it to be, nothing changed to satisfy a publisher’s whim.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am very excited about the future. There is no telling what will come next. People want to be informed, and they want to be entertained. Reading can provide both so very well.
What genres do you write?
Mysteries, thrillers, suspense, humorous fiction, contemporary fiction, memoirs, non-fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
Link To Author Page On Amazon