A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
Personally I believe this to be true. Unless of course you put a group of authors together in one room. Then boy do things heat up. Authors are a strange bunch. Perhaps because we are students of human nature and tend to observe everything and then what we observe has to rumble around in our brains for a while. That causes us to be a little inept around other people. This is especially true for me. I’m quiet and reserved most of the time but when I get a chance to pop out of my shell look out.
What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
First of all I don’t read horror or watch horror movies but when it came time to actually put words on a page and create a novel horror is what came out. At the time, I had a lot of built up anger and I discovered by killing fictional characters in my novel I no longer wanted to kill anyone in real life. My personal anger was gone.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Dictation would be fantastic since my hands can’t keep up with my thoughts on the computer. Unfortunately, it gets too expensive hiring someone to type for you so for now I stick with my computer.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
It never “dawned” on me that I wanted to be a writer. It was just something I was born with. I wrote stories in grade school and my first “novel” in Junior High. Writing is a big part of who and what I am. If I couldn’t write I don’t know where my brain would travel too. Writing is an outlet, it is just inherent in my nature.
What inspires you to write?
It is life and the progression of life that inspires me. How can you watch a sunrise or sunset without being impressed enough to go write about it? Loving life is all that is required to inspire one to get your backside in the seat and write about all that you have seen, experienced, and loved.
How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
That would depend on the day. Some days the words come so fast that my fingers can’t keep up with them. Other days nothing gets my butt in the seat to do some writing and on those days, I struggle with writer’s block in a big way. Still if I keep going and forcing myself to write something anything the block usually goes away. Remember that it is fear that keeps us away from our writing. Fear that we aren’t good enough, fear that no one will read our work. Well I tell myself that we will never be good enough if we don’t try. And certainly no one will read our work if we don’t write it.
Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
I can’t speak for all writers but this is especially true for me. Maybe in part because I am an only child, or maybe because of how I think, but I am a loner. For me I think it is that old fear of rejection that always rears its ugly head. If you are afraid you tend not to do as much or push yourself into group situations. Again this is true for me and I’m sure for a few others out there.
Do you think writers have a normal life like others?
Of course we live normal lives. The difference comes in the fact that unique situations in our life tend to make it into our novels at one time or another. People we meet might find portions of themselves in a character we write about. Most certainly world events play a large part in our novels.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Outlining has never been my strong suit. I do however work out my plot in terms of major moments so I know where I am going from one chapter to the next. However, sometimes I find that my characters rebel and end up taking me somewhere else rather than what I planned. And that place is usually better than what I had in mind in the first place. I have even had character suddenly show up in a chapter they weren’t suppose to be in.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing has to be that fear of rejection. The feeling that no one will like what you have worked so hard to accomplish. It rules everything that I do and I have to fight it on a regular basis.
Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?
Actually, I suffer with this constantly. Even if I sit down and begin to write something then the fear creeps in and I can’t do much more than a sentence or two. It can be quite terrifying to have this happen to you. Especially if you are just beginning your career. All I can tell you from experience is to dive in to something. Write a letter to a friend, write a journal entry. Put some words down on paper and the writer’s block will life a bit. If you ever get into one of those periods where you can’t write then take time away but read, read, read anything and everything. I find that reading a good book encourages me to write when I’m blocked.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I am an avid reader and I thank God for Kindle Unlimited. Reading three books a week is a slow week for me. My favorite authors include Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Steve Barry, Kay Hooper, Gary Gygax, Bob Meyer, Iris Johansen and Kathy Reich. I’m probably forgetting several.
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
In my opinion when you read a book you should be able to see it in your mind’s eye. Almost as if you were in a movie theater. You should feel the characters come to life, and you should feel for them when they are in trouble or when they win.
Have you ever designed your own book cover?
The short answer is yes, I have. The better answer is don’t do it unless you have the graphic or artistic experience to pull it off. Currently I have been publishing my works on Amazon and they have a basic cover creator which puts out a decent but uninspired cover for your book. I would love to find someone to design my covers for me but so far haven’t done that.
How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
This happened to me. Last December I was invited to the local library for an author festival. They would provide tables and chairs for all the authors. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a terrible day. Really rainy and very cold with wind thrown in. I showed up and was the only author who did. While a few people came over to chat with me curious about what I was doing, no one wanted a book much less a signed one. It took me several weeks of doubt to get over this one and with enough time I now look on it and I can smile at how silly it turned out. Not so sure I would respond the same way in other circumstances though.
Which book inspired you to begin writing?
Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, which I read when I was around eleven. I knew then that someday I wanted to create a world just as alive and thrilling.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Absolutely everything, which is why I fear rejection. When a novel is finished it is just as big a deal to me as when I gave birth to my sons. Each novel represents some individual facet of who I am as a person.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes, there are things that have happened to me in each of my novels. Characters I create are composites of people I have known or observed in my life. I select bits and pieces as I need them. I also find that setting I have been to are the ones I go to as I write.
Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?
Just finished Steve Berry’s the Last Order and have started Kathy Reichs’s Speaking in Bones. Both authors create characters that live through multiple books and just come alive. They are people you would love to have lunch with or invite over to dinner. And both of them are movies in my mind as I work through the stories.
Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Right now I am working on the second novel of my World’s End Trilogy. It follows the novel, Toast to the End. It continues the journey of the Clarke family as they deal with alien abduction and perhaps the end of the world as we know it. In my spare time, I am working on a sequel to my story collection, Bedtime Stories for Christmas. Yes I know, I write both horror and children’s stories.
Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?
Writers live too much in their heads. It’s the way our minds work. We see not just one step ahead but two, three, four steps to what we believe is an inevitable conclusion. This process can be a blessing, a gift from God if it’s used properly, but sometimes it can become a curse when you get so far down one possibility and fail to see anything else. That’s when you can find yourself turning to suicide unless you have help.
They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think?
The producer of the movie is always going to have a different vision of the movie than that author did of the book. This leads to all kinds of problems and changes from one to the other. Sometimes if you are fortunate you can find a movie adaptation that is a good credit to the book. This is something that all authors fear. What are they going to do to my book?