I’ve spent most of my life writing non-fiction magazine articles and books, on far-ranging subjects including UFOs, genealogy, medicine, and coin collecting. I have a passion for learning about new things and have been fortunate enough to be able to write about many of them.
I live in a small cottage with a Ragdoll cat and shelves loaded with books. There’s a fountain just out my “office” window and flowers galore. Hummingbirds frequently buzz by, seemingly welcoming me into my day.
When I travel, my journeys take me to the historic sites of the frontier west; to date I’ve visited about 160 sites and one day hope to write about many of them. It’s interesting, isn’t it that the one subject I love more than any (history) is the one subject about which I’ve written the least! Hmmm . . . now I have something new to think about!
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and an archaeologist, however my education took me to the writing side of the board. One day, I realized that wanting to write and wanting to “do” archaeology came from the same place inside: my desire to capture something that’s hidden and bring it to light. Almost everything I’ve written falls into the how-to genre, which is seems logical, given that how-to articles and books give me the opportunity to research an unknown and then share it with others.
Bottom line – I can’t stand the thought of an idea or a person’s life being forgotten. When I write, I keep things alive.
Tell us about your writing process.
Because my writing is primarily non-fiction, outlining is a must. However, before I ever sit down to outline, I research and research and research. Until I have the information at hand, I couldn’t even begin to outline or write. Once the research is completed, I jot down a rough outline based on the number of words in my project.
Next, I write the opening paragraph. If I don’t have that paragraph firmly in my mind – and then on paper – it’s impossible for me to move forward. Once it’s fixed, I can write the rest of the piece fairly quickly. What I discovered about myself years ago is that before I actually write one word, I’m composing inside my head. I may go around for weeks writing in my head; that’s probably why once I get started, the writing goes quickly.
What advice would you give other writers?
My most valuable piece of advice is to persevere. Don’t let anyone else throw cold water on your passion, don’t let a zillion rejection notes stop you. If you want to be a writer, write and then write some more and then keep writing. You WILL succeed.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first two books were co-authored astronomy books that were traditionally published. At the time I felt it was important to have at least one traditionally published book under my belt to give me credibility as an author – and to some extent I still feel that way. Although I have several traditionally published books in print, today I do mostly self-publishing.
Like many other authors, I like the control over the project that self-publishing gives me. Of course, if you self-publish you need to become proficient at marketing or it will be difficult to make a living. If you’re just getting started, I would explore self-publishing and marketing – just to see if it’s a world you enjoy and in which you can be successful.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the publishing world is on its ear, thanks to self-publishing. Honestly, I don’t think any publishing house has figured out how to be successful in this brave new world. It feels like they’re scrambling to find a new and workable business model – but in my opinion none have really succeeded in that quest.
The downside of self-publishing (which is currently riding a tidal wave of success) is a proliferation of poorly written books that are glutting the market. I suspect the pendulum will swing the other way and we’ll see the biggies like Amazon and Nook start doing a major weed-out of poorly performing and poorly rated books. One thing I’ve learned from history is that the pendulum may take wild swings but it likes staying on the middle ground.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print