Tim Powers, William Gibson, Glen Cook, GRR Martin, Stephen Hunter, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Jack Vance, and myself.
I'm not suggesting I'm anywhere near the same league as those I listed before me; I just enjoy my own work.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Every day is a gift. After decades in police work and its never-ending litany of the dead, I am keenly aware that the opportunity to have another day is precious.
Plus my wife needs new shoes. Not as in 'her shoes are worn out', but NEW shoes. Pretty shoes. Different shoes. Footgear of all sorts.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Thankfully, no one else ever will.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, shooting, training with battle-ready medieval weapons, dealing with my wife's willful and stubborn (but highly photogenic) animals, and trying to beat Matrix Games' endless series of military games.
Plus I have a career, a marriage to maintain, acreage to upkeep, and world peace to achieve.
Not all of it gets done.
When did you first start writing?
Age 4. It was horrible.
Describe your desk
Its actually two desks in an L shape, one very old and beat-up, the other a Wal Mart special. They face my racks of swords, axes, and other period weapons, and support my PC and two monitors. The desk surfaces are littered with notes on various projects, a couple pistols, a coffee cup full of pens & pencils, and often a cat.
What are you working on next?
I always have several projects underway, moving between them as inspiration ebbs and flows, but my current front-runners are a second zombie novel (unrelated to The Zone) and the editing of the fifth book in the Phantom Badger series (Dark Tide).
What do you read for pleasure?
Military history, fantasy, non-police/lawyer/spy novels, basically any fiction where there is action or drama but involving ordinary people. I don't like fiction where the entire worlds fate hangs in the balance, as that has been done to death and is boring. If the hero's life is in danger, that's his whole world, and reason enough to struggle to the utmost.
How do you approach cover design?
By using professionals. I have created two of my own covers, but that is something I do only if there is a time constraint or I cannot get an artist within the time limitations.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'm not technically inclined, and my wife won't share the Kindle, so I read on whatever device is handy
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North Dakota, where we had six months of winter and six months of poor snowmobiling. I grew up spending a great deal of time outdoors, and picked up the basics of a wide variety of wilderness skills. I hope this has been seen in my writing.
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