LIfe … I have a saying: It’s all material and I find each experience or relationship a possible tie to a story. With Weeping Mary it was a quick thought while reading the side of a church bus about 20 years before I started writing. Reading Church of the Weeping Mary I thought it would be a great title. Adding that to a friendship with a foster teen put the two together. House Guest came from a conversation with a guy who rented with me who shared a time when he hid in his girlfriend’s bedroom in her parents’ home. The idea for Monkey Love came from three Shiner beers and a meeting with my publisher. We were discussing a different project and I joked about the idea of a woman whose dead husband returns as a gorilla. Most of my ideas come this way.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters of your stories?
I’m not my characters in the sense of traits, but underlying emotions of each can be tied to me. Monkey Love was written while I dealt with my wife’s death. Gifted Trust centers on reincarnation, an idea that interests me. You can say that if one reads most of my stories you’ll know more about who I am.
How long does it take you to write a story?
Too long – I’m ADD and have terrible organization skills. Also I have a reading/writing disablity and have to write dozens of drafts in order to get them good enough for an editor. Besides all this, everything has to be right for me to work. Most of my writing is done on weekends when I wake about 5:30am, make coffee and begin. I’m picky about my surroundings – quiet with lots of coffee.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
As I mentioned, most start with a simple thought and though I might think I know what a story is about it always takes me in a different direction. I don’t use an outline (written or mental) and never know an ending until I’m typing it.
What do you want people to take with them after they finish reading one of your stories?
First, the Wow factor – I want a reader glad they took the time to read it. I want to “blow them away” not because I’ve crossed a line. Shocking topics are tools and I want readers to go beyond them. One of the best parts of talking to a reader is discovering they got something unexpected from a story.
What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?
Much – as I mentioned, I lost my wife six years ago and readers can follow my mindset through my stories from more difficult days to my rediscovery of life and love.
Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?
Lots of coffee – two or three pots are a must.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve convinced Biting Dog Pubs into putting out a revised version of my novel, Gifted Trust. Since the first release I’ve learned there was more of a story to tell. Ten thousand words were cut and just as many added with new material. This has been a five year project with other stories creeping out between edits.
Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?
Can’t remember who, but it was : You can’t be a good writer until you learn to cut words.
Where can people learn more about your books?
An official website is in the works, but right now the best place would be to visit facebook writer page: http://tinyurl.com/7dha8qf for details. If you check out the Notes section or read the wall you’ll see I also promote other writers. Others should feel free to share what they’ve got to offer and in turn pass the word on other websites.