I have always been a tremendously huge fan of the 1940's era Hollywood Film Noir and of course the corresponding literature. The grit within the stories is something that I find will suck the reader in, although sometimes in a more subtle manner than others. The stories were always about the true human nature with no wondrous adventures or amazing super powers to contend with. Often they were pure raw emotions with a very real human functioning as the detective. My latest novel, Darkest Vow, looks to recreate that experience. Detective Joseph Riley is no Sherlock Holmes. He is much more the Sam Spade or the Philip Marlowe. His task seems easy, solve a simple kidnapping case, but as many of us learn in life curveballs are hard to hit. Riley is served up a major curveball in this thriller. You definitely have to check it out.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Maryland suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C. At an early age the school system I was enrolled in really providing the gentle push into the world of books. I fondly remember library time in which every week we, the students, would be able to pick out a new book from the library for pleasure reading. As I got older the classed started to incorporate what most students referred to as the dreaded book reports but I took pleasure in them because they allowed me to delve deeper into the world the author was creating. By the time I reached high school I was elated to find that creative writing had become a major part of the English courses. I remember a time in my senior year of high school when a creative writing assignment required a mashup assignment in which I had to take two of our required reading items and writing a comparison/contrast report as well as a poem that pulled elements from them. The outcome of my mashup of a A Brave New World and The Raven is still one of my proudest creative writing accomplishments.
When did you first start writing?
I supposed I first started writing seriously in the 6th grade when we were asked to compose a short story. I crafted my story based on a Civil War family that was torn apart at the start of the war. When the assignment was over I continued to expand the story until by the end of the school year the short story had engulfed an entire marble composition notebook.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the concept of the indie author. Traditional publication is awesome, don't get me wrong, but it is very difficult to break through. The competition out there is fierce and the market is very subjective. The industry is looking for the next thing that often has already come along and there's nothing wrong with that. For me the indie route allows any author the opportunity to be creative without having to attempt to be the next big thing. The author can merely be who they are and write what they feel. That's the beauty of this industry. Writing the product that comes from it is very subjective and will not please everyone but the key is to remember that an audience does exist for your work. You just have to find them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That's a simple one - the creation of the story. I love to sit and think of the main character, the sub-characters, and the basic plot. Then, for me, the wonder of writing kicks in and I get to create a world for others to enjoy.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the best and they become friends and family. When I hear from someone who has read my work and enjoyed it or got the point I was trying to make it is like opening a present on Christmas morning. Without the fans the work would go undiscovered and I believe that every writer has a story to tell and it should be heard. All I can say is bless the fans! They are truly magnificent.
What are you working on next?
Actually I am working on a follow up to Darkest Vow. Not a sequel in the traditional sense of the word but rather another story, another case, for Joseph Riley. I am still storyboarding the concepts but I hope that I will be able to complete the story within the next year but I don't want to rush it. The story has to be right, the concept sound, and the world I put Riley in must work not only for him but for me and the fans as well.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many it's very hard to begin to put a full list together. My tastes in books varies across all genres but if I had to pick a top 5 list this is who I would tend to seek new titles from: 1. Dan Brown 2. Clive Barker 3. Raymond Chandler 4. Stephen King 5. Jeff Shaara
The guys are not ranked in any particular order and I actually feel bad that others I read frequently didn't make this cut. Ask me again in 6 months and the list may change.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. Short and sweet. I love life and everything that goes with it, even the bad times makes you feel alive. I truly am a blessed man and look forward to each and every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend most of my time with my beautiful wife. We love to travel, see shows and concerts, and hit amusement parks where I have been known to be a bit of a roller coaster fanatic. When we are at home I love to relax with a good movie, work on cars, and my all time favorite passion - hitting the gym. As a former personal trainer I have not lost the drive for bodybuilding, it truly is addictive. Beyond that I love to get lost in music. Like the books I read my tastes are varied and I like to think I listen to just about anything there is. Unlike the books I read there is a definite favorite. I am a huge, absolutely out of this world, Elvis Presley fan. No one man has changed pop culture more than he has.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
This is my first experience with Smashwords so I would love to say yes but we will have to wait and see. I am anxiously hoping that the wonderful experience I have had so far continues to blossom.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.