I’m long-time happily married to my biggest fan, and together we raised two incredible sons who married wonderful women. And I get to play with three brilliant grandkids and two goofy dogs.
What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything. I’ll hear a news story, a snippet of gossip, or someone will share a funny anecdote from their life, and my imagination immediately gets carried away with all the “what ifs”.
Tell us about your writing process.
I keep a file of story ideas, but generally the story just percolates in my head until it’s time to get to work on it. For the Murder Blog Mysteries, I have extensive bios for all the characters, including photos. I know what their houses look like, what cars they drive, what foods they like…
I have big, calendar white boards on the wall, and I use Scrivener for Mac.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I do. My characters are very real to me. But I know I’m not completely crazy because my family talks about them too. It’s as if the characters are extended family. They make me laugh and cry, and very often surprise me.
What advice would you give other writers?
1. This is very cliché, I know, but my advice is to write. Don’t talk about how much you want to write. Don’t spend months and years compiling volumes of research for the book you plan to write. If you really want to be a writer, start writing.
2. Write every day. Treat it like a job, because it is. You have to show up and clock in. Set yourself a writing schedule, and then stick to it. No cheating!
3. Dialog Tip: Sit in a coffee shop (example) by yourself and tune into the conversations swirling around you. Not to eavesdrop (although you might get a great story idea) but to hear to how people communicate. The nuances of voice, dialect, slang.
4. Make sure your peer group is diverse. Old, young, serious, witty. If you are elderly, don’t just hang out with people your age, because your writing will reflect that. Same goes for young writers.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish for several reasons. Here is the short answer:
After I wrote, “Dead Girls Don’t Blog, I got an agent interested. She loved the characters; saw tremendous commercial potential, etc. Then I waited and waited. During that long wait, I researched the self-publishing idea and decided that I should take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
I also realized I did not want my work owned by others. I wanted to have control over cover design, editing, story development, pricing, and digital rights.
Six months came and went before that agent got back to me, and when she did, she told me to take the humor out. The very thing she had said she loved in the first go-around. Go figure.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Obviously, there has been an enormous shift in the book industry. Amazon and ereaders have hurt traditional publishing, just like iTunes did to the music industry. But even before this happened, the big publishers were gobbling up the smaller ones, making it more difficult for new authors to get a foot in the door.
Lately, I’ve been hearing about new small bookstores starting to pop up around the country again, after being driven out by the big box bookstores. This makes me happy. Maybe this will mean a resurgence of print books. Digital books have given me an incredible opportunity, but will my ebooks be readable in the distant future? No. Paper lasts.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print