After a career as a journalist, educator and entrepreneur, I retired in 2007 to write fiction. Since then, I’ve published The Expendable Man (2011) a suspense that tells the story of a man framed by a high-ranking government official, Making the Grade (2012) a police procedural involving a female protagonist, and Last Stop on Desolation Ridge (2013) another suspense story. This one involves a man who is suffering from amnesia, but knows someone is out to kill him.
What inspires you to write?
I write because the stories floating around in my head want to see the light of day and because I believe they need to be told. I hope they are entertaining, but more than that, they represent my core values concerning what it means to be a human being. They are about the obstacles we face–many of which are not of our own making–and how we go about overcoming them.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process varies somewhat depending on the book I’m working on. I’ve self-published three short novels and expect to publish a fourth this year, but in between I’ve been working on a multi-volume fantasy. As I gain experience I find the more time I spend thinking through my stories and getting them down in outline and supporting documents the better. The supporting documents I compose include a plot summary, descriptions of the characters physically and what motivates them, the names and places in my story and background research. If I’ve prepared adequately, I’m not forced to stop in the middle of writing to figure out where I’m going or whether a protagonist is short or tall, etc. I try to write every day, but of course life interferes. I’m not a slave to a schedule. When I do write, I always start by editing what I wrote the previous session even if I’m ready to move to a new chapter or part of the book.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It’s rare for me to talk to my characters. More often when I think about them, I’m seeing them in a crucial situation and see what they are doing and/or hear what they are saying.
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s hard to give advice to anyone unless they ask a specific question. In general, my advice to writers is to read actively the best writers in your field. Study how they write and try to understand what has made them successful–not so that you can copy what they do, but so you can better understand the market you are planning to sell into and so you can place your writing in your genre’s pantheon. For example, if you write horror fiction, you should know how your writing compares with Stephen King’s and the other stars of that field. Your writing should be your own, but you do not write in a vacuum.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published my first book because I truly didn’t think my writing was good enough to deserve traditional publishing. Self-publishing has given me a chance to test the market while continuing to learn the trade. The feedback I’ve gotten from my three novels has been positive and that’s nice, but I know I’ve still more to learn. My goal is to get good enough to find an agent and a publisher, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll continue to self-publish. I don’t need the income from book sales to live. That also impacts my decision in favor of self-publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
P.O.D. and ebook readers have been a tremendous boon to writers and readers. Those technologies have expanded the possibilities. That’s a good thing. There will always be glitches in the system. Right now it’s not easy for self-published authors to gain visibility and selling self-published books to libraries is a problem, but the positives outweigh the negatives. I’m not worried about Barnes & Noble or the consolidation of traditional publishers. I have no control over what happens to them, but I am confident writers who want to publish their works or find publishers will continue to have options.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
suspense, mystery and fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print