Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Growing up in southern Ontario in Canada six miles from the St. Clair River dividing Canada and the United States among farmers' fields, factories, American boating tourists, Catholicism, a Native American reserve, and on the Underground Railway Trail. Complicating my youth was the fact that I was an introvert also living among highly extroverted relations. My experiences and subsequent research resulted in my developing a concept to transform respect from a value to a principle in order for all people, not some people, to be valued ... respected.
When did you first start writing?
I have been a storyteller as long as I can remember, but it is only now that I recall at age eight I knew I wanted to be a writer, but the culture I grew up did not believe writing could be a real job.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. A lot of my childhood memories were and still are blocked because of the traumas I experienced because of my personality type and subsequent experiences, including my quitting school on my sixteenth birthday to leave an environment that was adding to my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I later acquired my GED, went to a private school for business administration (received Honours) at age twenty-nine, but it was during my first year of university in my late thirties I read several books that opened my mind and rekindled my squashed curiosity. "To Kill A Mockingbird" still resonates deeply because of my own experience and Alice Miller's work as a forerunner in understanding the effects of abuse on children serves as a key foundational element in my own work of transforming respect from a discretionary value to a global principle.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to finally honour my unique talents and developing skills, plus the wonder of creating something from nothing, whether with words or visually.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I recall writing was an essay for a junior high English class. Unsurprisingly, the story was about horses, not just because I like horses and riding, but because of what they did and still do represent to me: power, beauty, grace, freedom, and vulnerability. My ebook, Dark Horses, uses horses as a metaphor to share a story of abandonment and the struggle to choose life or death.
What is your writing process?
Depends on what I'm writing. Non-fiction is driven by the message I want to convey. Research, news stories, and experiences fuel the message's direction, then longhand writing ideas to get a feel for where it's going and later organizing the structure, then the actual writing begins. Fiction to-date has been more of an outpouring as it was with both my short story Dark Horses and my Little Jack , children's series, but I imagine that may or may not change as I work on longer fiction works.Time will tell.
Have you won any awards?
Yes though only a few because I have not entered many contests. Early writing resulted in an Honorable Mention, Literature, adjudicated by a university English professor for an early short story and a few contests for poetry, though it is only now I acknowledge myself as a serious writer and therefore continuously work to enrich my skills.
What are you working on next?
Primarily working on the "Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle" family of books for various age groups and various environments, including schools, the social service, and correction system, plus for parents and the general public. Yet I continue to write poetry and look forward to writing more fiction, including additional stories for my children's Little Jack series. For a different kind of creative fun, when I have the right space, I enjoy creating my unusual relief artwork.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Driving the creation of the family of books for the "Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle" is the philosophy that every person should be entitled to be respected ... valued ... simply for being a life as a compassionate, logical, and practical solution to address personal, social, business, economic, and environmental challenges.
Describe your desk
Currently I am living in a loft with a three-piece bathroom and a counter filled with electrical appliances to cook on. The top of a four-draw dresser holds my personal computer I do my writing on and the 24 x 36 inch folding table serves as my dining table, plus as my laptop and work desk. Another portable table holds my printer. It is challenging to keep things as neat and organized as I prefer.
My future ideal workspace includes a spacious, organized space overlooking open land/water with an expansive surface for all my writing, study, research, and design materials.
What do you read for pleasure?
Now spending so much time on writing and building a social business venture, I read a lot of writing, business, and personal development books, including the Bible. For relaxation and for future reference as a writer and director, I enjoy watching movies and series.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with my loved ones, creative cooking, art making, personal and professional development, plus getting outdoors to walk, hike, cycle, horseback ride, motorcycle, swim, surf, stand-up paddle board, and yoga ... which I have either done, do, or look forward to doing.
What do your fans mean to you?
I write to help people ... to encourage, to inspire, and hopefully, when appropriate, to entertain.
Who are your favorite authors?
Harper Lee, Alice Miller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Shakespeare, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Anthony Robbins come to mind right now.
How do you approach cover design?
With an open mind supported by design, communications, and visual art studies.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hope, wonder, passion, and now feeling unconditionally loved by God.
Do you create the artwork for your book covers or do you hire someone else?
As a professional visual artist, designer, and merchandiser I enjoy working on the visual parts of a book, mostly the book covers at this time, though I do expect to contract an illustrator.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am revisiting book marketing techniques.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The diversity of my writing, plus the choice to retain control and rights, especially of the family of "Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle" books, products, and services that will financially support the social business venture of the same name and the future foundation.
Why have you chosen to self-publish your books as ebooks?
To tap into another important readers' market.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords provides a wealth of knowledge, assistance, and opportunity. Plus, when readers buy ebooks through Smashwords, a higher rate of return of profit for authors also results.
What makes you a specialist?
My specialty is simplifying the complex by research, study, analysis, design, and development to make information and knowledge more accessible to and effective for people and organizations. My unusual personality type, estimated to be five to eight percent of the American population, plus my experiences from being so different from the majority of people provides fresh insights into the realities of humanity's challenges, plus the talent to develop effective ways to raise the standard of living and quality of life of all people.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.