Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My bio kind of mentions where I grew up...near the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. The 1960's, what a great time to have lived there. We were going to the moon...exciting. It looked nothing like what Hollywood showed everyone on "I Dream Of Jeannie". Obviously, "The Prodigal Planet" was heavily inspired by my exposure to our space program, but it included the fusion of my Christian faith as well. "The Building Of Joe" injects divine intervention and God's providence at the beginning of the story...but "Control Freaks", taking place thirty years from now in the United States, leans on science fiction, social commentary, and the plight of Believers as influenced by events in the news today.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's about our future as I see it developing on the present course. I'm an optimistic person by nature...but the outlook appears to be rather gloomy on the whole. Being a Christian, I know these things are going to happen; it is how the end of the End Times ends. But I find solace in my faith...and want to bring as many with me down the narrow path as is possible. Hopefully, my stories will help some in that aspect. The story I'm finishing-up is called "Control Freaks" and takes place about 30 years from now. The main character is like a modern St. Paul, once a persecutor of the Church, but becomes a staunch defender.
What do you read for pleasure?
Non-fiction primarily, books on spiritual growth and moral theology. Since being re-introduced to my Catholic faith, I've a thirst for this kind of knowledge and wisdom. If we are truthful to ourselves, the quest for truth is unquenchable. But I also enjoy reading about distant places, history, influential people, science and trends about the future.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The Kindle application for PC's...I spend a great deal of time there. Actually, I don't even own a tablet or have a smart phone, which is a bit odd for someone in the IT field. However, I am strongly considering a Windows 8 laptop that can act as a tablet for consuming, but still have the power of a PC for creating.
Describe your desk
It's kind of a mess, I hate to admit. (Where does all this paper come from?) But I do know where everything is. Currently, I compose on a Acer desktop running Windows XP Pro using MS Word 2007. I've pictures of my family nearby and a hand-written sign that reads "Remember, Heaven is your goal" pinned next to the monitor.
When did you first start writing?
I've always enjoyed writing; it comes easy to me. Writing my stories only started around 2009 though. I had these stories inside me, brewing, fermenting, and wanting to come out. It's like I wrote the stories I wanted to read because I couldn't find them elsewhere, but you know, other activities took a priority, like raising a family, paying bills, fixing stuff, yada, yada, yada. I am a computer programmer by training so my writing style appears to follow that kind of approach, like writing programming code, be efficient and robust. Do as much as you can with as little coding as possible. Make each word count...people are busy these days, don't add fluff for the sake of fluff.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I am able to convey an idea into a scene as I see it being played-out in my mind...I just have to do a victory lap around the house. But before that happens I often find my initial idea doesn't really work the way I thought, or other ideas come to mind and the scrutiny of the scene against real life makes me have to re-arrange it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Actually, it was Smashwords. The site makes it so easy for us independent creators; why not?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords leveled the playing field by allowing those without established networks and, or, monetary means, to get our work into the marketplace. It is capitalism at its finest.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Simple things really, like always mentioning my previous works at the end of stories, providing the table of contents on my Smashwords book long descriptions and creating interesting covers. I am going to use the new pre-order capability for my next story; that looks to be a really effective option available to us authors (here on Smashwords).
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm personally touched by them because to be able to affect someone with something I've created is the best; that they share and understand where it is I'm coming from and relate is a wonderful feeling to experience for an author.
Who are your favorite authors?
Fiction...I like Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury & C.S. Lewis.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life in this world is shorter then the blink of an eye...don't waste a moment.
What are you working on next?
The final story of what will become a trilogy which includes The Building Of Joe and Control Freaks already. It will be a convergence of four of the main people in the previous stories, at the end of the End Times. Initially, I did not intend to link the first two stories, but you know, things just happened. Such a final story might begin like this:
“Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? I tell you, he will judge in their favor and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?” Jesus the Christ, Luke 18: 7-8
“In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (in 1931), German theologian, author, spy and martyr
Part 1 Chapter 1 - Prophet In The Lion's Den
The archaic looking Boeing 797, call-sign Papa 1, rolled slowly across the tarmac at Kennedy International on a cold and bleak winter morning slowing down as it approached an extended boarding ramp protruding from the terminal like a tentacle. John Paul the Third, formally known as Cardinal Joseph Johnson of Boston, has arrived home since being elected the first American pontiff several years ago by his fellow colleagues in the College of Cardinals. Most secular Americans see his election as simply a political ploy by the Vatican, to show the United States it cannot stymie its faithful after the outlawing of Catholicism there and pushing the American Church underground. The faithful world-wide however, reason Cardinal Johnson as the only man capable of leading the Church during its most challenging era since the days of the first Christian martyrs. With the Great Apostasy at its height, that he could come back home under the formal protection and protocols of a head of state speaks to the civility and rule of law that still remains for the Vatican.
John Paul stared out the window as the terminal grew larger and larger as if to grasp him but he remained deep in thought. Finally, the aircraft came to an abrupt stop, jolting the pope slightly in his seat.
“Your holiness” said his attending Monsignor softly in an Italian accent. The monsignor paused and waited for a response as the jet engines whined-down. Finally, John Paul turned, looking up at him with a resigned expression fixed on his face, like that of a husband having to finally acknowledge to his wife that he was let go at work.
“Welcome home your Holiness” said the Monsignor smiling back reading the tension in the Pope’s face.
“Thank you. I only wonder how welcome I’ll be out there” said John Paul tilting his head towards the glass while breaking into a little smile that brought his friendly face back. Only within his most trusted inner circle would John Paul express anything that might resemble doubt. In years past, a Papal visit to New York summoned a big affair, with the mayor and other dignitaries meeting the pontiff at the bottom of a portable staircase as he descended from the aircraft’s main cabin door. Today’s reality however, means no elected official will place them self anywhere near the Pope for fear of being caught in a photo with him, let alone a photo welcoming him into the United States, that would be tantamount to political suicide.
“I understand, your Holiness. Your country has changed dramatically since you lived here last.”
“That is why I am here” he said and began unbuckling his seat belt. “The faithful need their shepherd; come Monsignor, let us get to the task of feeding the sheep.” John Paul stood-up briskly, letting his white cassock fall into place and while passing the Monsignor, patted him on the forearm in a gesture of reassurance.
Being in his early fifties, extremely young for a pope, John Paul walked with confidence and emitted an aura of vitality. When the front of his entourage emerged from the narrow boarding ramp into the gate area, a loud ruckus commenced that John Paul heard while still inside the tunnel-like ramp. That commotion grew louder and more vibrant when John Paul appeared to a waiting crowd being held-back by airport security. The crowd consisted of the media and the faithful, but the biggest source of noise came from those opposed to not only the Pope, but what his church teaches.
“Religion Is Dead So God Is Dead!”, “Go Back, We Don’t Need You”, and “Church = Oppression” read just a few of the many signs being hoisted by agitated protesters that John Paul quickly saw, but he maintained his friendly face and politely waved to them, prominently displaying as it hung over the middle of his chest by a thick chain, his own sign of God’s perfect love for humanity, a silver crucifix.
The author holds all rights to this work.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my family...and in prayer, talking and listening to my friend Jesus.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
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