I'm great at beginnings. I get the thing going and develop the characters and try to define the main theme of the story. Once that's done the book seems to write itself; I feel the characters and imagine their way of speaking and their motives. When I'm writing a book my characters are, temporarily, my best friends!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
"Knights of the Round Table." It inspired me to write about the characters of heroes or people caught in unusual circumstances.
What are your five favorite books or genres, and why?
'To Kill a Mockingbird' - it represents sheer beauty in writing. The Nero Wolfe series of books - sheer fun with wonderfully clear characters, fun as well as drama! John Le Carre - no doubt the best writer when it comes to building suspense. Donald E. Westlake - for laughs he is tops! His characters are sympathetic and anti-heroic as possible. Isaac Asimov - for sci-fi purists (like me) he's the best!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPad mini - I can use Kobo, iBooks, and Amazon all on one device!
Describe your desk and work area.
A tiny bit cluttered, but it possesses an underlying order. Like many people I can't work without some background noise; I choose public TV to run in the background.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a child of the 60's in the western United States; so my influences included a far-reaching optimism for the future (thanks to John F. Kennedy), a taste for rebellion (thanks to Mohammed Ali), and a deep suspicion of all things secretive (thanks to the CIA).
When did you first start writing?
As a child . . . I wrote a journal throughout my childhood and young adulthood, but it was lost in the Teton Dam disaster on 1976. My journals now begin after 1977 and continue through to today. In the ultimate act of hubris I've begun my autobiography and detailed my wishes for my funeral. I think that writing a journal hones your talents at self-evaluation and helps you begin to write well. Obviously, the other thing you need to do to learn to write . . . is to READ!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Building characters with interest, dialogue with snap, and stories to hold the reader's attention.
How does writing make you feel?
I find myself transported to another world; it's almost like the story just comes along of its own accord. Since I write for relaxation, it obviously relaxes me! I've cared for patients in a number of psychiatric settings; from state hospitals to jail; and the one thing that helps me calm down after a stressful shift is to lose myself in another world I'm inventing!
Name some interesting factoids about yourself.
I lived in Japan and learned Japanese as a young man. I love history and have a collection of historically-based films. I also collect film versions of 'A Christmas Carol.'
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