I wrote the draft of my first book (Remembrances) almost 30 years ago, back in the day when you'd send your manuscript to publishers and sit back and wait for the rejection letters. At the time, I was working full-time, and when no one seemed interested, I put the manuscript away and forgot about it.
When I got laid off a while back, I had lunch with an old friend who is also a reverend and author. She reminded me about Remembrances and asked me to send it to a friend of hers who is also a indie publisher. I ended up rewriting most of the book, but they were able to help me get it published. Since then, the job market for older men has not improved, and so I've been writing full time. Thankfully, I have a gift of gab and love to tell stories. Now, seven books later, I can't imagine doing anything else, although a steady paycheck would be nice.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is "The Old House: An Everlasting Love Story". It is the story of two souls who come together in life after life. Simon and Cassandra have been together for thousands of years, always drawn to the old house, or at least parts of it. The current Simon Peter Carter is a young man who finds he is about to inherit his family's vast fortune. To get it, all he as to do is live in his great-grandfather's old house for two years. It seemed all too simple until he walked in the front door.
As he investigates his new home, he is visited by the ghost of his great-grandfather, also named Simon Peter Carter. The old man helps him come to grips with his past lives, and to face a terrible evil. His nemesis has followed Simon and Cassandra throughout the centuries, desperate to kill them and succeeding in many lives. Now the evil one is back, also within the walls of the old house.
Simon must now stop the cycle that has continued for two thousand years, so he and his soulmate can finally live in peace. The only thing he knows for certain is that the answers are all hidden within the old house.
At the core, this story is about love; a family's love for each other, his uncles love for the money, and most of all, Simon's love for Cassandra. Let's hope they survive.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I am a stream of conscious writer, which means I just start typing and see where the story takes me. Sometimes I do get an idea for how a book might end, but most often, I look at my screen, reread the last chapter or so, and just start typing.
I love writing dialogue, with two people chatting or arguing about what has or is about to happen. The interplay between the individuals is a lot of fun. I also like putting my heroes in really terrible situations and seeing how they overcome adversity. To be frank, my books have happy endings and the good guys always win. But the strengthening of relationships in hard times and people fighting to win is something I relish to explore. When the battle is over and good has conquered evil again, I feel warm inside and maybe a little teary eyed.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are the greatest! I'm still a new writer and I don't have that many fans, but it is a wonderful feeling to know that someone out there thinks my stories are good. When someone writes a review and says they love stories like mine, it helps remind me why I'm doing this in the first place.
Obviously, I like good reviews better than bad ones, but if the reviewer is being honest, then I need to accept and be grateful they took the time to tell me what they didn't like. It's like when you're a small child and your parents tell you how smart and attractive you are. You are the perfect child. Then you go to school and learn to deal with reality.
I've always been a bit of an introvert, and having fans is a new experience for me. But I will continue to write my very best stories, because I don't want to let them down.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sci-fi is my favorite genre, and I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury among others. I also crave books about cosmology and quantum mechanics. Brian Green, Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking are my favorites there. When I was younger, I read everything James Clavell wrote, starting with Shogun, which blew my mind. My all time favorite book is "Illusions" by Richard Bach, who probably inspires the spirituality hidden in my work. I am a political conservative, so I must mention Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee and my dog, Chachis. But I've never been the type to lie around in bed. Once my eyes open, my brain is going two hundred miles an hour. That first half hour of the day is when I get my best ideas on what to write that day. By two or so in the afternoon, all the writing ambition has ebbed and it's time to get away from the keyboard.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I belong to a few groups on Goodreads.com where they announce a new book to read each month. I will admit to surfing Amazon for giveaways as well. I have my favorite genres and try to stay in those categories, which are: sci-fi, cosmology, quantum mechanics, and political histories. Recently, I've read some incredible books written by soldiers returning from Iran and Afghanistan. I believe we owe it to these brave people to listen to their experience and honor them for it.
How do you approach cover design?
I have been very fortunate to find two excellent designers. After I've written the manuscript, I think about the various scenes in the book and pick the one I think best exemplifies the message of the book. For my sci-fi books, I love to invent new alien species and stick them on the cover. When the idea for an alien first pops into my head, I'm usually surprised that I thought of it. It is that sense of mystery and surprise that I want a prospective reader to sense when they look at the cover.
Then I'll write down a description of the cover and send it to my designer. I used to meet him in person, but he had to move out of town. He'll come up with a sketch and then we'll go back and forth until it looks best. Then he colorizes it and I'm done. His designs are amazing and I believe his talent is a great asset.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my iPad. It's from the first generation, but it still is a beautiful thing. I also have a paper-white Kindle (one of the first ones made), but it's a single use machine. Unfortunately, my eyes are not as young as they used to be, so my iPhone is out of the running. To be totally honest, I'm old enough to relish the feel of a physical book, but the world has changed and I'm learning to deal with it.
Describe your desk
No desk! I generally work on my laptop on a small table that works with my couch well. I used to work at a table, but my dogs got too stressed out (wanting more attention). The table has a small side stand where I can keep my coffee cup or can of Diet Coke, iPhone and house phone for those pesky telemarketers to call. My books come right off the top of my head, so I don't need other papers or things around me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
That's a tough one. My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved around a lot. Before graduating college, I never lived anywhere for more than 4 years. I think that life style had a big impact on my writing. Besides being introverted and moving all the time, I had a difficult family life which all together made me internally focused. I lived inside my own brain and developed a very active imagination, which I hope shows in my books.
What are you working on next?
After writing several supernatural stories, I have decided to focus on reality for a while, although this reality is a nightmare. The first book of this series is tentatively titled, "2121: Twilight's Last Gleaming". As the title notes, it is set in a dystopian not-too-distant future. Continued massive deficits and over-taxation have led to the collapse of the global economy. Failed nations turned to war as modern society collapsed under debt and currency devaluation. With no money or tax base, all government subsidies ended. The surviving political elites built domes over their cities, and leave the rest to fend for themselves in massive tenement slums and outer cities and the countryside infested with gangs and terrorists.
Jack Kennedy is a fourteen year-old boy living in an Iowa farming co-operative named M-125. He and his neighbors live a peaceful existence within the forty-foot thick walls that surround the village. Outside, Jack and his friends must stand guard over their parents as they work the crops. An IRS armored personnel carrier appears outside the walls with its lights flashing, which is a sign that the occupants are either incapacitated or gone. Jack's friend Tom, a former agent, volunteers to visit the nearby Ottumwa Free City to learn what happened, and Jack hitches a ride without Tom's knowledge.
What they will find in that city will change all of their lives forever, and start a chain of events that leads them to abandon their homes and make a desperate run for the West Coast, and hopefully safety. Along the road, they will face every sort of villain and the wrath of the incredibly corrupt US government. Understanding the horrors that people now face every day, they hope to find a place to rebuild, and hopefully one day retake their country.
This tale is violent and dark. They will face impossible odds in order to survive. You will cheer Jack on he faces evil and fights back with the honor and spirit of a true American hero.
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