When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
My path to becoming an author was a very circuitous one. From a young age, I was initially fascinated by the visual arts and I pursued that career vigorously. I found success in Hollywood as a camera operator, director of photography and director.
After a couple of decades of honing my craft and working on some interesting projects (everything from Richard Simmons exercise videos to filming deadly animals for Discovery Channel––and even a stunt feature film), circumstances eventually necessitated that I find a new set of creative tools. (This is covered quite candidly in my debut novel, THE OTHER CHEEK, which is entirely biographical...ahem.)
In recent years, I decided to heed my dear mother's advice because she used to say, "You should be a writer!"
And now, with two novels under my belt, I have officially become one. I wish she could have lived long enough to see me realize that.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I've written two books, and it seems that they have each taken about two years. My debut novel, THE OTHER CHEEK, took several years of bouncing around in my head, as it is based on personal experiences that were quite painful. I wasn't sure I wanted to revisit that unpleasantness, and if I wanted to pick off the scabs in order to "go there", but I felt compelled to share that story. Once I finally decided to tackle it, it took a couple of years and, as a new author, I had to learn how to navigate the publishing landscape.
My follow-up novel, LEAVING PHOENIX, unfolded quite naturally. The initial germ of an idea came to me in a dream, and it started as a very specific vision of the protagonist. I wanted to create a strong female character this time out, and the underlying theme became one of female empowerment. Once I started into creating her backstory––and it's a doozy!––I started dealing her some very, very bad cards, and then it became my mission to create a dynamic and believable journey to overcome those very real obstacles I'd put in her way. I'm quite happy with the plotting and character arc. As it's a period piece, spanning twenty-five years, I had to do a great deal of research. Also, this project had a great deal of music references, and securing publishing rights was exhaustive. So, yes...about two years!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I have a great knack for it! Coming from a visual background as a Hollywood camera guy, I found that it's helped me describe things very visually. Also, the pacing of my books is very much like watching a movie, and people have responded well to that. Both of my books would be outstanding thriller movies, and I'm actually in the process of adapting LEAVING PHOENIX into a screenplay at the moment!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from my readers quite often. Sometimes it's in the form of a review, but also it can be in the form of very personal messages I've received. I love hearing from readers, and I love that my books seem to touch them on a personal level. As I'm not afraid to take on challenging themes and subject matter, I think my readers appreciate that. I'm not a formulaic writer, and I don't have a publisher to answer to. This affords me complete freedom to write from the heart and to infuse my stories with something more. I take that responsibility seriously, and I'm unapologetically proud of my books!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to come from a place of originality. As I'd mentioned, I'm an Indie author and don't have to be constrained to publishing company mandates. I write from the heart, and I'm not afraid to "stir the pot" a little, if the story needs it. I won't rush an ending, nor will I leave holes in the plot. I won't release a book into the world until I'm satisfied that it's the best I can bring. I respect the reader too much to deliver pablum, and I'll take my time to make sure I leave the reader saying, "Wow..."
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?
Having authored two well-received novels, I think I can now call myself a writer. When I released my debut novel, THE OTHER CHEEK, I thought maybe that was it. It was a book I "had" to write, and once that was out there, I thought it was "Mission Accomplished." It was a reader that asked me, "So, what's next?" That was initially a head-scratcher for me to answer, but once the story for LEAVING PHOENIX started coming to me––often in snippets at three o'clock in the morning––I knew I had to run with it. And I'm glad I did...I'm extremely proud of this one! It's a great story, if I do say so myself! Now that I've seen LEAVING PHOENIX safely out of the harbor, I'm ruminating about what my next book will be. It may be another thriller or, as a friend has suggested, it may be a memoir! Stay tuned...
What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
How much research did you need to do for your book?
Tell us more about your book/s?