Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My bio says that I grew up in the sleepy wilds of Ballard, Washington in a haunted house. That's true, though our ghost may have been due to old hinges and the peculiarities of an old home. The front door would open by itself from time to time, and my dad would laugh and say, "Oh, our friendly ghost is back!"
My father is a big influence in my life. He and I would watch the old horror movies together, then The Twilight Zone and the X-Files. We always found something to watch that was a bit macabre.
Describe your desk
I can describe my desk in two words: public chaos. Yes, you heard me. I used to have a beautiful office, with a giant wall calendar that I painted myself, high desk so I could sit or stand - depending on how I felt... and then my son moved back from his first year at university. Now my desk is a round table tucked in a corner of my living room. I wouldn't recommend it. No, really, I wouldn't.
When did you first start writing?
I started telling stories before I could write them down. I guess, in a way, I was born to it. I do come from a long line of storytellers (some published in magazines) and so it passed along to me. I used to think that completing a novel would be unattainable for me because I do tend to have a short attention span. But, then, I joined a critique group and had to have material to share each week. That helped me to type The End on two novellas!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest book is really the first book in the series, but the second book came out before... are you confused yet?
Sweet Life of Dead Duane is my favorite story in the universe. It has love, loss, zombies, road rage, paparazzi - it even has a ticking clock! It would make a great graphic novel and may still become one, but for now, it's in editing. Again.
It's a story about how one guy will do anything for the gal he loves, even come back from the grave. Here's the spiel:
An accidental zombie races to Mexico City to find Aztec gold and a Hoodoo man - in under 30 hours to reverse his dead status and marry the girl he loves. He absorbs people – taking on their personalities as a side effect in order to stop decomposing – until his girlfriend finds out.
Who are your favorite authors?
I'm all over the place with author loves. Here's my list in no particular order, except for the first...: Alexandar Boldizar - he's my newest favorite Robert Frost J.R.R. Tolkien George R.R. Martin Cormac McCarthy Mark Souza & Lisa Souza (they write separately - different genres) Sarah Van Arsdale Egar Allen Poe Steve King Christopher Moore J.K. Rawlings Heidi M. Thomas oh, there are so many, many more!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was called Little Skuddler Learns a Lesson. It was about a little pig who was warned not to leave the farm, but left anyway (because wouldn't it be boring if nothing happened in a story?) and ran into some trouble. Luckily for the little pig, he met all sorts of animals that were kind and told him he should go home. Only when he came across a meat packing plant, did he turn tail and retrace his steps to the safety of his little pig pen. A rather naughty pig, if you ask me.
What is your writing process?
For fiction, I sit down and I write. Sometimes I have a vague idea where I'm going, but initially, I write as fast and as long as I possibly can, then look to see if there is anything I can use. Once I get going - once the characters come alive and the plots thicken, I like to make an outline.
For non-fiction, I come up with an idea, search for a magazine that might like it, then write the article according to what the magazine needs. It's a different process, but rewarding as well.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
T.H. White's The Once and Future King changed my world. Rich in prose and satirical humor, I began going at it hard after that. Also, Shakespeare's plays - I could often be found under the covers reading the plays by flashlight. I didn't get a lot of sleep in secondary school...
How do you approach cover design?
I hire a professional who understands iconography.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a challenge!
Alexander Boldizar's The Ugly - It's existential, containing satirical wordplay with a bit of theater of the absurd thrown in for good measure. It comes with a high recommendation from me.
J.R.R. Tolkien's LOR books - The epicenter of everything I love. Fascinating and timeless.
T.H. White's The Once and Future King - sets the standard (for me) of all things Arthurian. I know others cite Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, but I'm sticking with White.
Kipling's The Jungle Book - This is incredibly rich and literally jumps off the pages at you. I love this story because it teaches us all what it truly means to be human.
Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse - This is a difficult book to stick with - admittedly. But it's worth the effort. Rich, changing pace and tension, character development is absolutely stunning. It's a study of novel writing in and of itself and I think that's why I love it so much.
What do you read for pleasure?
Dear Abby letters. They crack me up...
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