What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
That’s a tricky question. Of my three full length novels (http://goo.gl/VyXf2j), I have sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery, but I don’t write high fantasy or high sci-fi. I blur the lines because most of the action in the sci-fi book is military and police based. It has plenty of hi-tech, but the actual sci-fi isn’t revealed until late in the book. The fantasy is a magical realism story with magic but no vampires or werewolves or any magical creatures. It also has mercenaries bent on destroying the heroine. The mystery is a crime drama. I also have a serialized novel where I release a chapter every month (http://goo.gl/UCICqY). It is about life around 10,000 B.C. and I have marketed it as a fantasy. So, I mostly write intrigue and adventure with a sci-fi or fantasy backdrop.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
- I usually work on one full length manuscript and the monthly installment at the same time. I work a scene in the monthly installment, then work some scenes in the full length. (Every morning.) I do several revisions (I don’t release my books very quickly) and when I’m editing with my editor, that’s one more manuscript I’ll work on at the same time. I also have a couple manuscripts that I have started and shelved when I have a great idea for one of my series, in fact, I’m on the verge of returning to one of those now. I also release a poem of the month which I also work in parallel. Eventually, these will find themselves together in a book.
I did for a while, but not anymore. In the beginning I found their ideas and insight to be illuminating, but in the end, I discovered myself incorporating too many ideas from other authors. In retrospect, some of their ideas did not meet the greatest response from actual readers (in reviews.) I am not against doing it again, and have reached out on Facebook to find like-minded authors who might be interested, but response has been disappointing.
Can you remember your first reading book?
I don’t remember exactly what the book was, but I got a book from the library branch that was just a block and a half away from home. I remember picking out the story titles that I thought were more interesting and after about five stories, I came to the remarkable conclusion that they were meant to be read in order. It was my introduction to chapters.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
Not as a rule. It’s hard to type with snack food on my fingers, but, since I usually write around 5am every morning, I generally do have a caffeinated diet soda on hand.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
- As I respond to these questions, I can count ten empty soda cans, three or four cd’s and cases plus a pile of receipts and assorted papers. My computer and my monitors, however, are immaculate. I’m not quite sure what that means, but there you are.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.
I’m self-published. My journey started about forty years ago when I began writing stories in school. My writings were well received by both teachers and classmates. I was never without a creative writing class throughout high school and college, and even continued at night after college. But my journey was interrupted when I discovered two things. First, I had an inborn knack for computers and computer programming, which was a very lucrative and seducing career. Second, I also had a knack for music and started playing music in bands and ended up working with some of the finest legendary Latin Rock musicians of our generation. My writing was replaced with writing software and music. It was thirty years later, after retiring from music, that I began writing again. I was still writing software, but I was on the road, consulting, with little to do on my own time. I remember literally asking myself if I was capable of writing anything over twelve thousand words. One hundred and sixty thousand words later, I learned how difficult it can be to find a publisher with such a large manuscript. After hundreds of unsuccessful query letters, I delved into self-publishing. Would I accept a contract with a traditional publisher? Absolutely. In a heartbeat, but until that day, I will continue writing, publishing, and building my brand.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
There are so many, it is hard to choose three. Any list I make might change slightly depending on my mood, but Arthur C. Clarke would be at the very top of the list every time. I discovered him in high school and soaked up his writing like a sponge. I would also include Michael Crichton. I discovered him later in life but quickly found that his writing style touched me in a personal way. I don’t know if my readers would agree, but I tend to think that my style is very similar to his. Strangely enough, I would say John Grisham. Once I read one of his books, I eagerly looked for another. (Lucky for me, my wife was collecting them at the time. On another day, I might include Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Ray Bradbury, both of whom were major influences when I was younger.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
First, I would say that writing is a craft. When I first started releasing a poem a month, a young writer told me he was releasing one a day. I asked him how he ever had time to polish it in a day and he said they were perfect the first time. I would tell anyone who wants to be any kind of writer to revise, revise, revise. Sculptors don’t remove the excess wood or stone with a single blow. They don’t form clay in a single squeeze. Work your words, then work them again. Some authors prefer to write prolifically then go back and trim out the excess fat. I prefer to write what I feel then go back and fill in the pretty touches. Never think it is right the first time. Eventually you will find that you are not making many changes to it, and it might be ready.
Next, I would advise this about hiring editors. For the maximum quality, you will want a second pair of eyes, but if you are looking to profit, it is very hard to make money when you raise your expenses. I have recently started working with an editor. But without the backing of a publishing house, and without a full time marketing arm, I could not have profited from my current books if I had paid an editor up front. If you are going to self-edit, study the rules of writing and plan on dozens of passes. (I probably made three dozen editing passes before I was satisfied.)
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
Unfortunately, the characters in my mind may be too old for the parts by the time that ever comes, but I pictured Jimmy Smits and Michaela Conlin (http://goo.gl/OrmPjN) for two of the leads when I was writing one of my books. I would be thrilled, however, if Ron Howard directed.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
I have a short story, Soccer with the Birds, (http://goo.gl/bf0Rrz,) which is about as close as I get to every day.