I’d describe myself as a mezzo – extrovert (although I’m told mezzo – introvert is more accurate), lover of music, golf, my daughters, a good friend, the fermented grape, the original SNL, the written word and one woman. I can be irreverent, have a droll sense of humor and am handy around the house. I’m a former corporate executive with an MBA from the University of Texas as Austin.
The consensus is that I am from this solar system, possibly Mars, however my earliest memories place me in the West Virginia panhandle. I was born in Steubenville, OH, and grew up in Weirton, WV, steel mill factory towns along the Ohio. Maturity came along in small doses – what can I say, it’s a process.
As a kid, I became fascinated with The Tower Treasure, and the Hardy Boys mysteries. Those adventures planted the desire to create my own stories. That dormant desire finally surfaced. Time has granted me the opportunity to breathe life into imperfect characters, each with a weird twist. The result is the Stone Chronicles series, and two short story anthologies called Devil’s Coffee and Melange. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed crafting them.
I’m often asked what inspires me to write. Ideas for a story are everywhere. It’s impossible to write them all. Something has to grab you, focus your imagination; when that happens, the characters will write it for you. That’s the interesting thing about imagination, there are no rules. It makes writing fiction fun. If you can’t hear the characters’ voices, understand how they think, anticipate their reactions, you won’t be able to write it effectively.
“Do you write yourself into your favorite characters?”
My characters are flawed, they have observable and occasionally hidden faults – just like in life. At times, they remind me of mine. An interesting thing happens in the process of developing a character – the characters speak to the writer. I have a Zen-like approach to writing. It’s all in there, the characters bring it out.
“What do you read?”
Whatever happens to strike my fancy. Fiction is entertainment, a way to expand your concepts. Its interesting to see how other writers make it work. Non-fiction stimulates the learning process, broadens your perspectives. Guess it depends on what interests me at the time. I do have a rule about fiction; I try not to read it when I’m actively writing a story. Writers are impressionable, and I want my characters to write their own story.
“What advice would you offer to a new writer?”
Be patient and be yourself. Writing is both an art form and a skill. To do it well takes a bit of both. I couldn’t paint a picture with oil and canvas, but I can do it with words. Write poetry, short stories or essays. Let your style come out. Malcolm Gladwell said it takes ten-thousand hours to master something. For most of us, I believe it applies to writing. My first novel drafted out at 109,000 words. The final manuscript trimmed down to 90,000 and it says more than the draft. There’s a lot of information and advice about writing. Read it, but mostly dig in. There’s no learning curve as powerful as the one you experience from mistakes you’ve written.
I’d be delighted to hear from you.