Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Oh, southern Alberta, Canada and the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, alternately. Maybe they are cultured places, but I think the combination of a lot of moving back and forth, seeing many things, and finally having a good run of teachers and then editors during my first journalism jobs taught me what I know so far.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is the story of what happens to a man who goes back to school at a late age to get his university degree. I write personal experience adventure tales, so it is about my life two years ago when I went overseas to be an international exchange student at age 48 with a whole bunch of 20-something foreign students. I had one year of university left to finish and no financial means to do it in my home country (Canada), but a German university offered me a scholarship, so I jumped at it. The trials and tribulations of packing up my life in Canada and going overseas for a year and what happens then are what make up the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have been a writer for a long time, first as a newspaper journalist, then a magazine writer, and finally the author of four traditionally published books. I worked in marketing communications, advertising, and public relations for the last 17 years and had no time to write new books. Now that I have been a student for the past two years, I have found time again.
What are you working on next?
A new book about building a new home and a new life after major life changes. I just went overseas at age 48 to finish university, and got my degree at age 49. Now I am a new, debt-free graduate, newly remarried, newly restarting building my own debt-free home, and will write about all those processes of starting a new life, or restarting one possibly.
What is your writing process?
I like old things. I have a collection of fountain pens, and I usually make notes with one of them on paper. Obviously, I have a collection of paper, too. I then have a collection of portable or travel typewriters I just start writing on. I am not much for outlining. I always know what the book is about, and I always have the title in mind long before I start. I can't seem to do anything without the title in hand. I can write a chapter in a morning or a day, then edit it for days and days afterwards by retyping and retyping it. All the chapters go in order in a paper folder together, and eventually they end up separated again in the computer and then finally all together in one file. They each get edited dozens of times along the way and finally sound something like what I want the story to be about. And then I am still editing up to the second where I submit a book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Strangely, no. Having been asked the question now, I am sure wondering what it was.
How do you approach cover design?
I have an idea or two for it, then leave it up to a professional. I like to tell the professional my idea or two, though. Nobody else can be as helpful; they just aren't in the design/communication business. I have had an idea for a cover for my new book for over a year now and have told lots of people what it would be. Just last night, my wife said she doesn't think it is a good idea. Hopefully, a professional will tell you a lot sooner than that.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. It is ridiculous, really. Maybe not a lot of technical books, psychology or medicine, chick lit, romances, or children's books, but pretty much everything else.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have the Kobo.
Describe your desk
I have a different desk in each place I write. They share a trend, though: most of them open, and they are all small and don't have much tabletop space. They store a lot of stuff but only have room on top for one portable typewriter, really. One is an old student desk with a top that tips up, for instance, and one is secretary where the front tips down and you write on that.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Not writing, that is for sure. But just knowing there are things to do, and people have been getting out of bed for, what, 7.5 million years now, or longer? I am reading a book right now that talks about the history of mankind, and I can't remember the number. If the things I have to do have to do with writing books, fine. I do them.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Doing all sorts of things. Reading, for sure. Fixing old cars. Riding my motorcycles. Building things out of wood (boats are a favourite). Doing business. Building my house. Doing anything with my family. Drinking coffee in various locations. Teaching university, I shouldn't forget that one so often.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Just that it is the way I relate to the world, or at least the way I relate to the world best. I started out as a photographer, and I quickly realized that being a photographer is actually just a way of fitting yourself into the world and the lives of everybody in it (the ones you come across, anyway). Writing eventually proved itself to be exactly the same thing, so I do it now, too.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have no fans. I guess they would mean something to me if I did. But what would that be?
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