I still have a craftily bound storybook I made (with my mother's help) in the second grade. It is compilation of stories each student was required to write throughout the course of the school year. The first story in the book was about a man who lived inside a raindrop. As one might imagine, it was rather short.
What is your writing process?
I flesh out stories in my head. They are always bouncing around, and I'll sometimes write notes about specific stories if I feel I might forget the newest development. When I am ready to start a novel, however, I begin with an outline. I make sure the events flow and proceed in a way that connects the dots fluidly. Once the outline is established, I follow it in a linear fashion until I have my first draft. I'll edit this, and rewrite portions four or five times, often setting the work down, and reading anew later. For my final rewrite, I make hand written notes and corrections on the manuscript, and transcribe that back to soft copy. After a few more edits and formatting sweeps, I have my finished product.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Aside from the "Dick and Jane" readers, the first story I recall enjoying was during first grade. It was "Not Like That, Armadillo," written by Ida Luttrell. She visited our class and read the story for us, engaging in a question and answer session afterward. She also signed my copy. I enjoyed writing, even then, so I was fascinated by the fact that she was there, sitting right in front of me. It made writing real for me at a very young age. It made it a tangible process, and author's names went from simply being words on a spine or page, to being those of real flesh and blood people. I wrote many, many things in the years that followed, but that one story, that single encounter, gave me a belief that I could write for others if I chose to do so.
How do you approach cover design?
If I am spending months, or years on a project, I have a pretty solid idea of the imagery I want associated with it. Thankfully, I've worked with software for decades, so the "how" part is covered. The only question I have to answer is whether or not the vision I have in my mind is translating in a graphic context. If the answer to that is "no," there is no ego standing in the way of considering outsourcing the project. It simply has to look right, regardless of who designs it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My laptop. I have all the other devices' e-reading software, so am not limited to a specific device when I find something I am interested in.
Describe your desk
While we have a couple of desks in my home, I do not write at them, or on them. I prefer to take my laptop to a quiet spot, preferably one that's comfortable.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I think being the first American born son of my Edinburgh born mother influenced my writing more than the city I grew up in. We spent much of our vacation time visiting family, and many of those trips imprinted upon my world view. That said, I was born on the coast of Texas, and raised close to the coast of Texas. If I think about the amount of time I spent on the beach, it's hard not to make the case for influence over the subtitle of my first novel.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing stories at age five, shortly after I learned to write. I began to write seriously, with hopes of sharing my work, around 1999.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is a story I originally wrote to give to my eldest son. It was meant as a legacy item that he would always have, long after I am gone. I wanted to give him a story that encourages imagination, speaks to the strength of human spirit, and demonstrates that he can truly do anything he chooses in life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing landscape has changed dramatically over the last ten years or so. I felt that if were capable of putting together offerings that resonate with readers, I would eventually be able to build a readership that could facilitate a career. The best part was, I didn't need anyone else's permission to do it. I also didn't need to beat down a thousand doors hoping some stranger would agree to represent me in an attempt to get that permission.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
So far, the greatest joy occurs when readers excitedly ask when the next volume is going to be released. You know you've reached them, and I can't think of anything better as a builder of stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans aren't mine. They might be fans of the series, but they aren't fans of me, personally. They are loyal readers. Without them, my stories would not come to life, so loyal readers mean everything.
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