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Write what you know. I know me and I'm talking to you, reader, in the first person, not the anonymous third person, because when I write I write about me and the world that thrives around me.
I wrote decent poetry in college, I couldn’t get the hang of short stories. I finished my first novel so many years ago writers were still sending their works to publishers instead of agents. My first novel was rejected by everyone I sent it to. The most useful rejection, by a Miss Kelly at Little, Brown, said something like this: “You write beautifully, but you don’t know how to tell a story.” Since then I've concentrated on learning to tell a good story. The writing isn’t quite so beautiful but it will do.
Life intervened. Like the typical Berkeley graduate, I went through five careers and three marriages. Since the last I've been writing like there’s no tomorrow. I have turned out twelve novels, a smattering of short stories and a little poetry. My latest novel is the third in a series about a man who is not my alter ego, he’s pure fiction, but everyone he interacts with, including the women, are me. My title for this trilogy is The Libertine.
Writers who have influenced me include Thomas Mann, Elmore Leonard, Albert Camus, Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut and Willa Cather. I don’t write like any of them, but I wish I did.
I'm currently gearing up to pay attention to marketing. Archery isn’t complete if there’s no target. I've neglected readers because I've been compulsive about putting words down on paper.
Today the balance shifts.