The same types of books I write. Those and non-fiction. I've tried romance and sic-fi, but I rarely get past the first few chapters.
I look for smart dialogue and good flow in a narrative, and I demand technical accuracy. If you have those elements, and believable characters, it's hard to put a book down.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Interesting question. I use an iPad which also lets me read Kindle books. I'm a confirmed Apple devotee and now with the new OS, I can read the same book on my iPhone, iPad, and computers.
I still tend toward paperback for thrillers, and e-books for books I use in research, but for recreational reading it's about 50/50 now. Most of it is driven by convenience and impulse purchasing.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Still working on this one. I've adopted an approach of sending free copies to those I perceive to be "influential readers" and otherwise depending on website and Facebook.
I've found Facebook to limit out around 100 likes so far, and most website readers to be other aspiring authors. Retail sales in indie bookstores has been a bust with most owners too impressed with their self ascribed purity to stock a "self-published" book. I'm trying to do some author fairs, but the attendees seemed to be skewed away from what I consider to be my target audience.
Describe your desk
Hah! Sitting at it now.
I'm fortunate to have a writing table where I keep all the clutter. Behind it, and in front of a very large floor to ceiling window is a credenza where my computer resides. It looks out onto a landscape waterfall and then across the road to the woods and marsh beyond. I can lose myself for hours there.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm a fifth generation Floridian, and I've lived, at some point in my life, just about everywhere in the state. I do consider myself a Coastal Southerner as distinct from a typical Deep Southerner, a distinction with historical basis. So, I suppose genetically those cultural sensibilities come through in my writing.
But, I've also lived and traveled extensively in the Bahamas, Latin America, and the Middle East, which comes through in Transplant and also my second book.
When did you first start writing?
My first writing award was in high school.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love the Crichton mindset of technology gone wrong, and the Clancy attention to technical detail. I want the story to be so plausible and so accurate that I fully expect the authorities to show up in the black Suburbans at anytime.
And, I believe the villain should be as despicable as the hero is lovable.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Frustration. And, the attitude of little people, with a little power, acting rudely. Yes, agents, I'm talking about you. Why should I grovel for a bottom tier agent I know nothing about?
The old paradigm is over, folks. Unfortunately, that goes for indie bookstores, too.
You just have to believe in yourself AND turn out a product of high quality in every way, and wait. It will happen.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's made getting the book to outlets other than Kindle easy to do and let me concentrate on writing and revising. And I love the marketing suggestions and research.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
All of it. But, most importantly, when a reader says "I couldn't put t down."
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. After me, they are who I write for. Without them, there's no reason to take the story from my dreams and make it readable.
What are you working on next?
The working title is Powder. It takes place all over the world -- again -- but mostly in South America and South Florida. The villain is a psychotic drug lord with an MBA from Wharton, and one of the protagonists is an independent thinking DEA agent from the Keys. Of course, Doc Lamb and Isaiah are there along with some new folks.
The first draft is done, and I'm working on a few tweaks and changes (characters do evolve, you know!) as well as intra-manuscript continuity and continuity with Transplant before sending to the concept/continuity editor.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, Lord. In no particular order: Crichton, Clancy, Ian Fleming, John D MacDonald, Hemingway and on and on.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love being alive. I loved being an orthopedic surgeon helping people, then a part time orthopedic surgeon and writer, and now a full time writer. Life is good. To paraphrase Carlos Santana, "the best part of life isn't yet to come, it's now!"
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about the book I'm working on, or non-writing tasks associated with it. Or fishing. Or flying. Or reading.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth or "other readers also bought" which is the same thing, I guess.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first one I told. I think I was five.
In the South, if you tell it rather than write it down, it's a "whopper." If you write it down, it's a story. My Aunt Tookie has always said, "If it isn't true, it should have been."
What is your writing process?
I start with an idea, then tend to write mostly dialogue, in what can be disconnected scenes. Once I've written enough, I start working on an outline, which is really far more dynamic than static. As I near the end, the outline becomes more static, with scenes sketched in fairly rigidly.
Once I start revisions, I go back and catalogue the characters and physical locations as a guide, but the revision process is very free form, with the number of words ebbing and flowing. I tend to start the next manuscript when I finish the first draft of the one before it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yeah. It was about two kids who traveled through the Everglades in a life-size, animatronic elephant. It was crazy, but I still remember bits of it.
How do you approach cover design?
I farm it out, but with some ideas of my own as to what it should be. The process is very collaborative with the graphic artist.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway: So concise, and so accurate. I've been locked up with big marlin and it truly can be a test of wills. And, writing dialogue with one character? C'mon man.
2. Casino Royale. Ian Fleming: This is where spy novels started. Bond is suave and lethal. It's when a novella was a major work.
3. The Travis Magee series by John D. MacDonald. Again, the prototype of the noir genre. How do you write a constant stream of thought consciousness in the first person without losing your reader?
4. Clear and Present Danger, Clancy: How did he keep all those story lines straight? As I dissected the book, I realized, you write the outline backwards! Genius. And, I use his research books liberally. Remember, campers, his attention to detail was achieved largely before the web.
5. State of Fear. Crichton: Maybe not his best, but attention to technical detail and "this could actually happen" drive the book. I shy a little way from overt graphic gore like the cannibal slicing off the living victim's cheek and eating it in front of him, but hey, some folks like it, some folks like it left a little more to imagination. Count me in with the second group.
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