Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Midwest, unfortunately suffering from all of the allergy and sinus ailments afflicting those who live at the mercy of the ever unpredictable weather Jet Stream. The area in which I grew up could see temperature changes of 70 degrees within a few hours. Sunny and warm in the morning, snowy and cold in evening. This is the curse of living in the Midwest. Even so, I considered myself blessed to be able to enjoy all four seasons, fall being my favorite.
I primarily write and publish non-fiction which is influenced solely by my experiences or the experiences of others with whom I have relationships. The Midwest is a place where generations are born, live and die. Many never leave the Midwest. It is also a place that does not see a lot of migration from other areas of the country or world. People who migrate to the Midwest from other areas typically do so due to employment. It is usually not due to marriage as Midwesterner's usually stay in their hometown and marry other Midwesterners. I, myself, grew up my entire life in the same home. This fact about the Midwest makes for some interesting dynamics as it allows for building trustworthy relationships. Trust builds intimacy and intimacy leads to sharing. People become vulnerable when they trust you and allow you to see inside their soul. To learn about who they are. When I see someone I don't know, I always ask myself, "What is their story?" No matter what their story, I'm interested, not out of some morbid curiosity, but because their story is different from mine. Hearing other people's stories leads to tremendous personal growth for any human being.
The Midwest has no mountains, no beaches and no impressive scenery. It has corn and a muddy river...and people. People rich in history and mystery. The people are the scenery that inspires the artists of the Midwest.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in elementary school, 5th grade.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is my story. It is biographical in nature, less about me though, and more about my surroundings.
Tell me about your next writing project.
I have several projects planned for 2014 but my next project is Part II of The Haunting Remembrance. It is important that I provide a conclusion to the story, that I wrap it up. The Haunting Remembrance Book I was intended to leave the reader with a lot of unanswered questions regarding the true nature of the paranormal. I believe the world and the modern media lies to us about the paranormal in order to convince us to lower our defenses. This makes us more vulnerable to some very bad things. The Haunting Remembrance Book II is more of my story but is also somewhat of a research project that I hope informs and equips people to better deal with the paranormal. It is strictly written from a Judeo-Christian perspective. I believe this perspective is intentionally neglected when it comes to the paranormal. I intend to change that.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck and Edgar Allan Poe, just to name a few. I love Lewis' non-fiction and fiction, equally. Tolkien, incredible. Steinbeck, I fell in love with his gritty realism in high school and the love affair continues today. Poe's A Telltale Heart is one of my favorite short stories. I also like playwright, Arthur Miller's work, Nathaniel Hawthorne's, A Scarlet Letter and Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I love period writing that takes me to an era where technology is non-existent. No matter the story, it is a simpler life.
What is your writing process?
First, I attempt to put myself in the place of the reader. I read a lot and just fulfilled my dream of having my own library in my home. I ask myself if I would want to read what I am writing. Would I be interested? If so, then I start to draw on my experiences or the experiences of others. I want to attract readers and then tell them a story, something that when they are reading, they become so engrossed that the world around them seems non-existent. When my reader is finished with the book I want them to feel a hint of sadness that it is over.
Second, I engross myself in research. I want to make sure that what I present to readers is factual and can be documented. This is an integrity issue. All I have is my name and reputation. If I have no integrity then I have nothing as an author.
Third, I surround myself with a great team. I have an excellent editor, eBook formatter and publisher. Without them, I would never see my projects come to fruition.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Bible. I am one of the rare type B personality people who reads instructions. The Bible provides the instructions for every facet of human existence. It is my "go to" source for everything.
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. I never thought any story could be better than "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", but I was mistaken! Finding out the origin of The Wardrobe pretty much filled a void in my life.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Probably the most intelligent and creative book ever written. I get a copy and then give it away. I have gone through so many copies that I should buy them in bulk so I always have a spare. As of this date, all of my copies have found new homes and I am sans Screwtape.
Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This is a self-help book. Sadly, not all people can be trusted and at times we, ourselves, are not to be trusted. This book has helped me aspire to be a safer person and to stop attaching myself to unsafe people. Like Screwtape Letters, I have owned and given away about nine copies of this book and I am currently sans Safe People.
Four of a Kind by Erma Bombeck. This is a compilation of four of her greatest books. She was one of my late mother's favorite authors and I started reading her as a child. My face literally hurts from laughing when I read her stuff. Can't say enough. If you haven't read her...do it!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love nature so I spend a lot time outdoors hiking, biking and exploring. I also love snorkeling in clear rivers and Hawaii, but especially the reefs surrounding Cozumel, Mexico. I love the mountains, climbing and hiking and this invariably leads me to white water. I love the adrenaline rush that white water rafting offers.
I also have two four-legged kids. A Brittany Spaniel named Paco and an Australian Shepherd named Shasta, after Mt. Shasta in California. They keep me on my toes. I recently purchased my second Jeep Wrangler and loading up the "kids" and taking them on adventures with me is a dream come true.
I read a lot of books not related to my writing. My favorites are anthropology, history, world affairs and government. I became interested in world affairs and history during high school. I was in an Honors History class and we did extensive research on the Cold War. I've been a world affairs/government junky ever since. In fact, recently, while on vacation on a secluded island, I had the opportunity to meet a world leader that most people would not recognize if they saw him face to face. I owe this incredible experience to the teachers who turned me on to history and world affairs. It stuck with me and this leader was stunned that an American would recognize him. He had such a commanding presence that for the first time in my life, I was speechless. It also caused me to be followed by his secret police for several blocks after we parted but it was a fantastic experience, secret police and all.
For twenty years I have also acted in, directed, written and produced live theatre for large Protestant Churches and large school districts. I am equally passionate about written media, theatre and film. I still try to involve myself in theatre and film whenever possible
Prayer. I try to spend as much time in prayer as possible. I want to stay on track and finish well the race that God has set before me.
What motivated you to become an Indie author?
I believe that being an Indie author allows me to do what I want, what I feel led to do, without the influence of those who may attempt to set parameters for my writing. Creative people tend to color outside the lines a bit more and I value that freedom. I believe for several years the societal trend has been to move towards Indie books and Indie films. I think we all have something inside us that causes us to want to root for the 'little guy'. I'm the 'little guy' and I am more than okay with that.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I feel two areas of joy pertaining to my writing. The finished product brings me joy. Once the product is finished and the editing process is completed, the feeling is indescribable. The first time hitting that "publish" button was fantastic.
Positive personal feedback from my readers definitely brings me the most joy. When creative people write, paint, create a film, it is about everyone else. It is for others. If it weren't, they would keep their creations to themselves. As much as many people think artists and writers do it for ego or self-promotion, that couldn't be further from the truth for most people involved in the indie book or indie film industry. We don't do it for the applause of men, we do it for the benefit of sharing an idea, concept or emotion in a creative manner.
What can you tell your fans about your five year plan?
I plan on completing A Haunting Remembrance Book II prior to 2014. In 2014, I have two non-fiction works in progress. One is called Good Cop, Bad Cop and the other is called The Prodigal's Parent.
Good Cop, Bad Cop will explore the evolution of American Law Enforcement through the past three decades and how and why everyday, law abiding citizens have begun to resent the people who are sworn to serve and protect them. I am keeping a lot of the details of this book under wraps. However, I can promise readers that this book will be nothing less than explosive.
The Prodigal's Parent will explore the pain of parents rejected by their adult children. This phenomenon is epidemic in the United States of America, even in the churches. When one loses a child through death, there is support and empathy for them. When a child is lost through the sin of dishonoring the parent, there is little to no support for the parent from friends or family, even in the Christian community. Parents are silently, emotionally dying all over America as their adult children commit emotional murder against them. It is just one area leading to the complete breakdown of American society.
In addition to writing, God willing, I will be working with an established and reputable film maker from South Africa on three Indie film projects. So, when I am home, I will be writing Indie books. When I am not home, I will be living an Indie film dream. Either way, Indie will be my life for the next five years.
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