Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
In Oklahoma City. I was an only child for seven years before my brother was born. When I was eight, my mom took me to a dollar store. There was an anthology for sale called Tales to Tremble By. I asked mom to buy it. She thought it was weird, (it had a very creepy cover) but she did get it for me. So, I grew up cutting my teeth on Edgar Alan Poe and others of his ilk. He’s one of the reasons I love horror. My hunger spread to H. P. Lovecraft and other classic horror writers.
When did you first start writing?
When I was in grade school, I wrote a silly little play about thirties-style gangsters who lose their loot. They try to find it and madcap mayhem ensues. In high school, I wrote a scary story about the end times. My writing teacher wanted to include it in the high school’s anthology, but it had religious undertones. In the 1970s, that was anathema
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's easier for me to list authors. I like to read Romance, Horror, Urban Fantasy, and Reference books, especially History. My favorites are Stephen King, especially The Dark Tower series, Black House and The Talismin (with Peter Straub). Dean Koontz. Robert R. McCammon, J.D. Robb, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, and Preston & Child (Agent Pendergast is a wonderful character). Of course Poe and Lovecraft.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Paperwhite. The backlight is great. I can even read in bed with the lamp turned off. It lets me set the size of the text and it holds a multitude of books. And it enables me to carry a lot of books with ease.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lots of Horror, romance and stories that uplift and help me to grow as a person. I believe Horror is a way of dealing with the scary things in life. Romance gives us hope and helps us learn how to deal with our own relationships. Writers should uplift and encourage one another, therefore I try to find books written by my Facebook friends. It's great fun to see what they've written.
Describe your desk
I have a desk set up in my office. The covers of my two published novels are framed and hanging on the walls, along with some awards I've won. Bookcases line the walls, along with a china cabinet that holds my collection of Universal Monsters. But right now I'm writing on my laptop while sitting in a recliner in the living room.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Taking an idea, or even only a title, and creating a world, peopling that world with interesting characters and bringing those characters to life. Watching those characters as the story plays out. And above all telling a story I'd want to read myself.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Sacrificial Lamb is a sequel to Blood Atonement. This one is set in Saint Augustine, Florida during the late 1840s. It incorporates slavery, voodoo, vampires, and a Seminole shape shifter. I get to deal with the fact that sometimes the humans are the monsters.
How do you approach cover design?
I know when looking for books to read, the cover attracts me first. The old chestnut "You can't judge a book by it's cover" may hold truth, but the cover is the author's first chance to pique the reader's interest. It should look professional and maybe a bit different from other books. And it should give the reader an idea of what to expect withing the pages.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social networking works, as well as attending conferences, meeting others who share my interests and being on panels. I like to create book trailers: besides being fun to make, they give the reader a visual and audible idea of what my books are about.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I heard about Smashwords at a writers' conference and the idea intrigued me. I know other authors who've have had success publishing independently, and I wanted to try it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm looking forward to finding that out.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are what keeps us going. It amazes me when I realize someone is holding my work in their hands, and my words are communicating with that reader, perhaps helping them or touching some emotion inside them.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If you’re a writer, never give up. Keep working at it, keep honing the craft. Then send it out there. Make contacts. Use things like Facebook to network. I’ve made many writing contacts through my Facebook site. And I like to believe I’ve made many friends. If you’re a reader, keep reading. We need the support.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.