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Rated: 13+ · Interview · Writing · #2007769
Another site I am a member of does interviews with it's members every couple of weeks.
Thank you for joining us. Please tell us about yourself.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

I am 45 (almost) years old. I have two incredible kids. My daughter Danielle is soon to be 23 and my son Gabriel, whom you can see as a 6 month old in my avatar and also in my profile picture, is 3. I also have a 3 year old grandson named Rylan. Trust me when I tell you it was difficult to wrap my head around having my girlfriend Rachael tell me she was pregnant, then a month or so later having my daughter tell me SHE was as well. I also have three wonderful soon-to-be stepchildren. Colton is 17, Hope is nearly 14 and Trevan is 7. I love them as much as my own.

Describe where you are and what’s around you right now.

Right now, I am perched on the end of one of our couches. There is an end table/lamp to my immediate left and the light is on because I am getting old and can't see well in the dark. Trevan is sleeping on my right.

Now describe your ideal writing atmosphere.

That is pretty much it. I occasionally like to go out on the porch with my laptop, or just put my earbuds in and listen to some music when I write. I am pretty flexible about it depending on my mood.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I don't want to sound like a whiner or anything so I'll just say this...my childhood pretty much sucked. I started reading everything I could get my hands on as soon as I learned to read. I used reading to escape the crap that was going on around me. There were quite a few of my family members who couldn't stand the idea of me being able to get away, so I got all kinds of verbal and physical abuse for, at times, nothing more than picking up a book. That was the basic root of my writing interest.

When and why did you begin writing?

Because of what I mentioned above, I was always looking for a way to get away. Writing, for me, became just another way to keep the bad folks in my family at bay. They couldn't touch me (and I don't mean anything nasty) and I couldn't hear them berating me when I was writing. Again, they weren't too keen on that particular idea either, so I took a lot of crap about it. But I simply didn't care. I knew there was only so much they could do to me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not that I consciously set out to use. A lot of my stuff is on the lighter side, though. I have read lots of books that were “heavy” or “dense” and I really don't want to do that in my own work. I wanted something that would be easy for people to read, with a few characters that they could, perhaps, relate to.

Is there a genre or type of writing that you would feel intimidated to write?

Romance. I don't know if it would be intimidation,necessarily, as much as it would be nearly impossible to write some of the necessary scenes with a straight face. I would have too much of the smart alec side of me come through, I think.

“Robert” she said breathlessly “I want you to make mad, passionate love to me.”
“You'll have to give me a minute, darling. I've dropped the jelly and can't find it in the dark.”
“Well, hurry up will you? I'm aching for you.”
“Okay, I've got it. DAMMIT!! I've dropped it again. I got some of it on my hands and now it's all slippery.”


Really wouldn't make for a very good Harlequin moment, methinks.

Do you plan before writing or figure things out as you go along?

This is one that gets people all kinds of riled up on the forums at times. I never have a plan. I have tried it and it just doesn't work for me. I recall having made out a character profile once. I put quite a lot of work into it. Let's just say that when I started writing, the character basically flipped me the proverbial bird and went on his merry way doing things and acting in ways he simply shouldn't have.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?

Making sure that each character's voice is unique is something that I usually have a bit of trouble with. I'm not sure why that is.

How does the creative process work for you—where do you get your ideas?

I have mentioned a couple of times here on the forums that ideas are sometimes (honestly, most of the time) hard for me to come by. Usually, when I do get them, it's the result of the music I happen to be listening to at any given time. My novel project was a direct result of me listening to the lyrics of The Last In Line by Dio. Other times, I'll be discussing an idea I had with either my brother or my girlfriend, and they will say something, sometimes it's just the smallest thing, that will give me another idea for something almost completely unrelated to what we are talking about.

What makes for the best antagonist(s), in your opinion?

For me, and I guess this comes from all the Clive Cussler novels I have read, the antagonist has to BE an antagonist. I don't want him/her to be “nice in their own way” or “misunderstood.” Make the antagonist evil, and make it blatant. I know Cussler isn't exactly high end literature, but it doesn't matter to me because his books are just plain fun. I want the bad guy to be the bad guy and I want the good guy to go kick his ass.

What makes for an appealing main character, in your opinion?

He/she needs to be easy to relate to. Plain and simple.

Do you ever experience writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?

I actually hate the term “writer's block.” Sometimes, I get stuck. That's it. What I usually do when I am stuck is what I did a couple of weeks ago. I talk to the people around me. Sometimes, it's my brother, sometimes it's my girlfriend. This last time, it was the people here. I got past the part I was stuck on and added 1500 words or so to my project a couple of nights ago.

What books or works have most influenced your life?

Not to be evasive, but...all of them. Every single book I have read, has influenced me in one way or another. When I was much younger, it was because of their help in the face of a bad family situation. Now, it's because they help me see what works for me and what doesn't when it comes to reading. That, in turn, helps me be a better writer.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

This is an exceptionally tough one for me. Before the hiatus I took from writing, I would have said someone like Bradbury or Asimov. In the time since I have started writing again, I would consider guys like Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman...Piers Anthony....Adams...even Harlen Coben. The writers that can write about a serious subject and add a serious dash of humor are the ones I aspire to write like.

What book or works are you reading right now?

I am currently reading the second book in the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Any of the authors I mentioned above could be considered my “favorites”. Their ability to tell a damn good story is what strikes me. That's all I really need from any book I read. Give me a damn good story and I am a happy camper.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I'm not really sure how “new” he is, but he's new to me..Brent Weeks. Other than his penchant for throwing random apostrophes in the middle of names (him and damn near every other fantasy writer I have read lately, it drives me bananas) he has a really nice style. He's not overly verbose in his descriptions and he keeps things moving along nicely.

What are your current projects?

Currently, I am working on a novel called Side Worlds in which a normal everyday Joe gets pulled into another world and told that he is the only one who can save that world. Oh, yeah. He's also told that he can never go home again.

I also have a couple of short stories I am working on. One is a side story involving a couple of characters from the novel and the other involves Charon, the Ferryman Of The Underworld, getting tired of the job and looking for a replacement.

Name someone or something that you feel has helped you outside of family members.

Well...as you all have probably gathered, I didn't get any help at all from anyone other than my little brother as far as my family went. The only other person, other than Rachael, (my rock in the middle of turbulent seas) is someone who, at the time, I thought was no better than my family. That person is Mrs. Evans. She was my freshman year (high school) English teacher.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure. But be warned, this is still in first draft, so it's rather rough.

With a sigh, Alistor looked at him and shook his head. “Sythren, your arrogance has always outweighed your good sense. No matter what happens from this point on, do not ever say you were not warned.“

Laughing in derision, Sythren said “Warned of what, Alistor? Warned about whom? You, perhaps? I have no fear of you. “

“It’s not me that you should concern yourself with, you fool! Keep your tongue in your head for a change. It may just save your life. “

“My life? I see no one here who would be a threat to my life. Krager doesn’t have the power to stand against another Wizard. Besides, even if he did, it is against our laws. He couldn’t fight me even if he did want to. “

Then, Callie’s soft voice spoke up. “It is not Krager or Alistor that you need fear.“

Sythren, unable or unwilling to see the threat before him, snorted a laugh and said, “Then it is you that I should be afraid of?“

“You would if you had an ounce of sense in your head. Unfortunately, it seems that you do not.“

“And what of it? What can you possibly do to me? “

Alistor coughed and said, “Again. Don’t say you weren’t warned, Sythren. “

“Oh, be quiet, you old fool. I have had just about enough of your blathering. I have nothing to fear here. Least of all two broken down old wizards and a woman. “

Krager, having stood motionless through the entire exchange, finally looked at Alistor, shrugged, then glanced back to Sythren and said, “There you are mistaken, you foolish child. Not only should you fear both of the ‘broken down old wizards ‘, but the woman you seem so eager to dismiss…well…”

“I’ll tell him myself, thank you, Krager” Callie said with a smile. “I have been wanting to take him down a rung or two for quite some time now. “ Turning to Sythren, she grinned what could only be described as the grin of a cat about to snack on a canary and spoke softly. “You seem so sure of yourself, Sythren. Are you so powerful that you can now afford to dismiss anyone who comes into your presence? “

“Of course not” he replied testily. “I simply know when there is no one near who would have enough power to challenge me.“

“Really? That’s very interesting. Tell me, what do you know of the Ancients?“

“The Ancients? “ He looked at her with narrowed eyes. “What reason would you have to speak of them?“

“My reasons are my concern.“

Still slow to catch on, he said, “What I know is that they haven’t been active in the world for hundreds of years. They seem, for the most part, too busy exploring the world or changing bodies, or fighting amongst themselves to be concerned with much of anything these days.“

Callie nodded slowly, digesting what she was hearing. “I would like you to do me a favor, Sythren. Stand, please.“

“For what purpose?“

“Humor me. Just stand up.“

“And if I refuse? “

“I have asked twice. One thing you will learn is that I do not ask a third time. “ With that, Callie pointed a finger at Sythren. Making a few small gestures with her other hand and saying a few words under her breath, she slowly raised her hand. As she did, he rose as well. At first, just enough to be standing. Arms stiff at his sides as if tied in place, further up he rose. Now clearing the table with his feet, Callie floated him over the table, into the area where she and the two wizards stood. There was not a single sound from the rest of the Council as she held Sythren in place a few feet above the floor.


Do you see writing as a career?

Not yet. I think I have a relatively good chance of selling something I have written. But not until I get a whole lot better at it. If, at some point, I make a few bucks, maybe pay off a few bills because of it, that's just gravy. I just love to write.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Here is where I hope you all don't mind if I get up on my soapbox a bit. Remember the teacher who I said I didn't think was any help at the time? You also remember the stuff about my family....

When I was young, I never had any confidence in my own abilities. I never had any confidence in my own worth. In my freshman year of high school,I did something that I had never done before, and hadn't done since until last month's LM competition. I entered a contest. I won the contest in High School and I beat a fella who had won it the 3 previous years. I was feeling pretty good about myself. So I showed another, unrelated piece to someone I respected in hopes that she would give me an honest opinion. That is exactly what I asked her for, her opinion of my story. I wasn't asking for it to be graded and she knew that. But, being a teacher, she just couldn't help herself, I guess. She wrote just a few words on the paper that I had handed her. In bold, red letters were the words “IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE PROPER ENGLISH?!!!??” Any confidence or good feelings were crushed by those words. I put down my proverbial pen that day and didn't pick it up again for over 20 years.

My advice for any new writer would be to never, EVER allow someone to take away your dream of writing. I did and it's one of the single biggest mistakes I have ever made.

If I opened your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

A bunch of leftovers and miscellaneous other stuff.

How many hats do you have in your home?

Only two. I have my golfing hat, a Nike breathable, and my work hat.

The final words are yours.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to bore everyone for a few minutes.

Seriously, I do thank you for thinking I may be interesting enough to be the subject of an interview such as this. I would also like to thank Cran and the others for having this place be available to writers of all kinds. The support one can get here is beyond valuable. I'm glad I came across this site in my travels and I always recommend it to the people I know who write.
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