Q. A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
MLW: Some authors can be a bit introverted, including myself, but many have day jobs that require them to interact with the public. Several author acquaintances are very outgoing, type A personalities.
Q. Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?
MLW: No, many are not at all. But, it helps to be comfortable enough with grammar so an editor does not have to “red mark” every other sentence.
Q. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
MLW: Dune. Because this was one of the first novel’s that inspired my love of science fiction.
Q. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
MLW: I love how science fiction can take you to other fantastic worlds. It allows a tremendous flow of imagination.
Q. How important is research to you when writing a book?
MLW: Research is very important. It helps with location description, background info, character names, even title names.
Q. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
MLW. Computer. Can’t fathom using any other method.
Q. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
MLW: Probably in junior high when I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Q. What inspires you to write?
MLW: When an idea pops into my head it sort of forces itself out into a story.
Q. How often do you write?
MLW: Daily is an ideal goal to shoot for but it’s funny how life likes to get in the way with family and other obligations. I write as often I can set aside a block of time. When actively in the middle of a project, hopefully 5 or 6 days a week.
Q. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
MLW: If you write when only you feel the call of the muse, then you will never get anything done. Sometimes you just have to sit your butt down and write something — anything. I try to reserve 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or so with a lunch break of course.
Q. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
MLW: I was a journalist for about 40 years so did not have the luxury of suffering from literary angst.
Q. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
MLW: If I can get anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 words done in my set block of time, I’m happy.
Q. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
MLW: I think you have to have some rough idea of a plot before you start. With that being said, I am letting my newest fantasy project organically grow and seeing where it takes me.
Q. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
MLW: Finding the time when they are the other responsibilities and/or commitments tugging at you.
Q. What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
MLW: The act of writing itself.
Q. Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?
MLW: Sometimes you just don’t feel into it. I try not let it take over.
Q. Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
MLW: I read the last segment I just wrote. That usually kicks in the muse. If not, take a break. Go for a walk. Do something else. Just don’t stress about it.
Q. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
MLW: When writing, my reading time dwindles. My favorite authors are Vonnegut, Frank Herbert, Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert. I now am trying to find the time to read the work of friends who are local authors.
Q. Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
MLW: Even though I was an editor, I do not proof read my own work. I pay a developmental editor and then have two professional proof readers go over it at least two more times and then I go over it again.
Q. Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
MLW: Yes, I did not touch book one and book two in my current sci-fi for several years after writing them.
Q. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
MLW: A good cover and title are very import to the success of the book. Anything to make a potential buyer stop and take a look is a good thing.
Q. Do you attend literary lunches or events?
MLW: Yes, I try to attend as many signings, readings and other events as I can. It helps to meet other authors as well as get exposure for your work.
Q. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
This just happened during a convention. Another author and myself were scheduled against a well-known author. No one came. It pisses you off for a bit but you have to act as a professional and not let it bother you.