Yes - 3rd grade English class. Wrote a short story from the point of view of an ant drowning in a birdbath. The English teacher liked it so much, she read it for her other classes. Some of my friends in the other classes told me about and how much they enjoyed it. Proof of positive reinforcement.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is my favorite part. I work from a very generic outline and have a good idea of what I want to accomplish in a book. Since I'm working in a series, some scenes get pushed to the next book.
Next I do a brain dump of everything I want to say into a draft. Occasionally I run into a wall, but usually walk away and come back the next day with a solution. This is the most creative part for me. Next I edit because the writing is really bad! (First 10 revisions) - Remove that's - Correct my use of then and than - Correct the words I used that sound like what I want (wonder and wander) - Repeated words or phrases Next hand off to my wife for additional editing/questions/contrarians - Additional fine tuning - is that the right word? Can't I use a stronger verb or more descriptive noun? - Repeat
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I loved all the old science fiction and fantasy writers - Isaac Asimov (Robots), Robert Heinlein (Moon is a Harsh Mistress), Ben Bova, Bester, Andre Norton (Beast master) and of course Verne, Wells and Tolkien (Hobbit & rings). I think I read every Sci-Fi/Fantasy in our school library in a year and had to make constant trips to Public Library.
As I got older loved the short stories of Hemingway, Novels of Steinbeck and Faulkner.
The first story I read that I really enjoyed was from Andre Norton "The Beast Master" novel. It took me to another place and time.
How do you approach cover design?
Get a good company from smashwords list. I went to ebook launch.com and gave the ideas about Annie (red hair and green eyes) and the Mothertree goddess (coming out of the tree) and they either nailed it or exceeded what I wanted.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
John Steinbeck's The Winter of our Discontent - the main character grabbed me and I understood the desperation, isolation and ethical dilemma as a14-year old. Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy & Burrough's Mars Series - the creation of such universe's and its ability to take me with it J K Rowling's Harry Potter series - what great books! Still re-read her books - descriptions, perfect Anne McCaffrey's Dragon series - How well thought out and pitch perfect. Michael Chabon's anything - more writing talent in his little finger than I'll ever have
What do you read for pleasure?
Michael Chabon's anything, Re-reading Asimov's foundation series, Jordans' Wheel of Time series, Sherwood Anderson Winesburg, Ohio; Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars series, historical biographies and Germs, Guns and Steel.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle and iBook.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
None that I know of. I am on a five year plan. I am not a good marketer, but I believe if you tell a good story, people will come.
Describe your desk
Extremely Messy - I collect paper, books, candles, water bottles.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a close knit blue collar Irish family where reading was the only form of entertainment, since we couldn't afford anything else. Mom always got us to the Library every two weeks. I loved the stories about new worlds and adventures.
When did you first start writing?
I initially started 20 years ago when I stayed home to raise my son and daughter.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Annie of Oxylos came out of my frustration with a lot of woman characters I have read who always appeared weak or flawed in the stories I read. Annie is a very strong woman. She has doubts but her heart is good and she is the real hero of the series.
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