Frequently Asked Questi0ns
Why did you choose the broad spectrum of Speculative Fiction as your preferred genre?
I didn't choose it, it chose me.
I can't be defined by one specific genre. When I have a story to tell, I allow the story to dictate the genre, instead of trying to take a great idea and make it fit a certain genre.
When I started writing, none of my stories fit squarely into one category. Several genres fall under the umbrella of Spec-Fic and this allows me to not only write stories that are thought-provoking and speculative in nature, but it also allows me to write in a greater variety of genres.
Is it true you've hidden references to The Twilight Zone in all of your stories?
Yes. People call those hidden references in a book or movie, "Easter Eggs," and they derive great pleasure in finding them.
The reason I do it is to pay homage to that influential show, plus it's fun for Twilight Zone fans to find them. I also tip my hat to George Orwell's 1984 by placing several Easter Eggs in my first short fiction work, The Visitor.
Your stories contain very minimal violence, zero sex scenes, and no profanity. That is rare for books in today's world. Why have you chosen to break from the norm?
There is no need for sex and profanity to fill the pages of a book if your story is good. The substance of your story, and the quality of your storytelling, should stand on their own. There once was a time in books, television, and movies where, if a touchy scene was necessary for the story, it would be implied without the need to go into explicit detail. I am a strong proponent of less is more, and I want even my kids to be able to read what I write without blushing.
What are the best compliments you've received regarding your writings?
There are three types of reviews that I especially appreciate: 1). When someone says the book is well written.
The indie author market receives a significant amount of criticism for poorly written books and bad, or non-existent, editing. I take pride in putting out a quality book, so being told my stories are well written makes me feel as if I accomplished what I set out to do.
2). When my stories are compared to The Twilight Zone, and when I am compared to the show's creator, Rod Serling. That show had a great influence on me as a kid and I'm thrilled that readers recognize the The Twilight Zone in my stories.
3). When someone says one of my stories made them think. I love having the ability to leave impressions on the reader long after they've put the book down. I feel an author has wasted my time if, after reading his book, I can forget all about it. Good books are entertaining, but better books are not only entertaining, they challenge you to think deeply. My goal is to always write those "better" books.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
Totally a pantser. Without question. Outlining stifles my creativity.
Are you a morning writer, a middle-of-the day writer, or a late night writer?
All of the above. I write when I can and opportunities present themselves at different times of the day. I have no routine.
When writing, do you prefer silence or music? If the latter, what do you listen to when writing?
I can write in silence and with music, although I find myself most often using tunes to drown out ambient background sounds (especially since there's rarely ever true silence in my house). I can listen to just about any genre of music, but I gravitate toward solo piano and film scores, the latter often inspires me more than any other genre.
What's the greatest piece of writing advice you've ever received?
Write now, edit later. I used to write the first paragraph to a story then edit it incessantly until all my creativity was gone. After weeks (or months) I would still only have a paragraph at the top of a blank page.
What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
Marketing. I hate trying to convince people to buy my books. And it's not just because it makes me feel like a sleazy, used car salesman; the process takes so much time away from writing.
Now that you've published three stories, are there any warnings you would give to aspiring authors?
Not to be a downer, but brace yourself for the inevitable fact that after you publish your book, no one besides family and friends will care, and for some, even that's not a given. Oh, and repeat this discouraging feeling after each and every book you release. It doesn't get better.
What resources would you recommend to new writers?
A weekly dose of the Writing Excuses podcast and a subscription to Writer's Digest magazine.
If you could tell you readers anything you wanted, what would it be?
I'd first tell them thank you for reading my books. I'd also tell them to please not forget to leave me a review. Getting reviews from readers is so important, yet it's the one thing that's most neglected. It's the best way to tell an author thank you.
What can readers expect from you next?
I'm working on an anthology of short stories. Think: 21st Century Twilight Zone kind of stuff.
When not writing, what are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing Catan, fishing, and being in, on, and around bodies of water.
And finally, the most important question: Coffee or tea?