What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
We all believe love is boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. I believe true love is only possible when a couple faces adversity together and manage to come out still wanting to be together. That is the basis of my series of romance novels.
Is writing book series more challenging?
Excellent question. My answer is YES. A series has to have continuity from book to book but must also stand alone because the reader may not have read any of the other books in the series. In The Danielle and Friends Series, Danielle and Nick appear in every book, but how much information about them do you put in the book. If the reader has read the other books in the series, they know all about these two people. But, if The Front Porch is the only book they’ve read, I have to tell the reader who these people are. It’s a delicate balance
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?
In 1973, after my wife and I separated, I sat down at an IBM Selectric typewriter to start the great American novel. I soon gave up. Every change I made to the story required retyping pages and pages. In 2013, after I retired, I decided to give it another try on a word processor. Now, I am completing my ninth book.
Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?
Definitely! Nick Amonti. Of course, first, we have to take away his multi-billion dollar Capital Finance Company, his drop-dead gorgeous wife, his fleet of jets, His rich and influential friends and a few other things associated with him. But, his background and personality are me. And some of the scenes in my books happened. For instance, when I met my second wife’s granddaughter for the first time, she did ask me: “Are you Grandma’s Yankee friend?”
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who only writes when they feel inspired?
I tried the schedule thing. You can’t make it happen. It has to come on its own. I have gone weeks without writing a word on a story in progress, and then spent twenty hours a day putting it all together.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I usually start with a general plot idea and expand it as I write. For instance, in The Front Porch, I started with the idea of two sisters living together. One young and still in school and the other older and a mentor to her younger sibling.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Both. I proof my books over and over again as I write and again when I’m done. I also check for grammar. When I’m satisfied, I use a beta reader and a grammar editor to check my work. Then, I proof it again.
If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, which one would it be and why?
All of them! I don’t think I’ll ever be complete satisfied with my work.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Write. Nothing will improve your craft more than practicing. Don’t hate rejection. Use it as a tool to improve.
Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?
Never. My problem is finding the point to end the story. When does a romance novel end? When they get engaged? When they get married? When they have children? When do I say this is enough about this particular couple.
Do you read any of your own work?
Read and re-read and re-read. Always looking for improvement in my style. I also re-read sections after I receive a particular comment from a reader.
Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
One of the characters in The Front Porch will soon have her own series, The Adventures of Riley. That series will be more romantic mystery, than straight romance.
If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
Where do I start? Almost anything can be improved. I think with each new book; I grow a little as a writer. I’d love to rewrite everything I’ve done in the past.
Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Probably true, but it doesn’t have to be a person. I am in love with love, so I guess that’s my muse.
Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?
Do you consider living on a Social Security check being wealthy? I knew a few writers, including myself who survive on that. For most of us, writing will never make us rich. It would even cover the basic bills.
How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
Since I don’t make a living from writing, you have to consider it a hobby. But, I am passionate about it, so maybe we can call it a Passionate Hobby!
Is it true that anyone can be a writer?
Writing requires discipline and a strong sense of self-worth. You must follow the rules and be able to deal with rejection.
Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
All of them, if you mean traditional publishers. Of course, vanity publishers are more than willing to take your money and publish anything you want to put out there.
How does it feel when you don’t get the recognition you deserve?
Do I deserve recognition? That’s in the eye of the beholder. I may like what I write, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. That’s your decision to make.
Have you ever taken any help from other writers?
Yes, but you have to be careful. Just because someone writes a book, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. My beta reader is also a writer, and I take her advice very seriously.
Are you satisfied with your success?
Of course not! Anyone who is satisfied has given up.
Given the chance to live your life again, what would you change about yourself?
I’d be about six inches taller…:)
What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author?
I’ll answer this when it happens!
What does the word ‘retirement’ mean to you? Do writers ever retire?
To me, retirement simply means I am not required to keep to a schedule. I have the freedom to plan my time as I wish. I will retire from writing when my eyes or my fingers no longer work.
How critical are you in your evaluation when you are reviewing someone’s work?
Very! The purpose of a review is to help the author improve. If I’m going to take the time to review a book, I’m going to give them my honest opinion. But, always remember, it’s only my opinion.