My desk is covered with neat piles of ongoing projects, along with 5 or 6 books that I'm currently reading. And sitting front and center is my MacBook Air, which I love dearly. Hanging on the walls of my office are lots of family pictures. My book shelves are over-stuffed with books and small keepsakes from life and travel.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the family homestead (Emrich's since 1846) in east-central IL. The thing I miss most about the farm is the wide-open prairie sky, especially the night sky. Staring up at the endless Milky Way always invoked deep questions and a vivid imagination. For me, the sky encouraged me to think, explore, travel, and write.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing music my sophomore year in high school. I wrote many songs, recorded a few, and traveled for a season doing shows, etc. It wasn't until my 30's that I started to consider writing a book. My wife actually encouraged me to do so. I published my first print book in 2006. It did ok, but I didn't know how to market it. A couple of years later, I started blogging with a fellow author friend. We both honed our skills and learned how to get our work out on the internet. His postings eventually led to a book he recently published. And now, I'm doing the same, this time via ebook.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've always been fascinated by collective consciousness. My wife and I own a smoothie/herbal tea bar. And it always amazes me how people will come in independently from one another and often order the same flavor on the same day. One day we will make scads of #10's and the next day #26's and so on. It's like mangos are in there air one day, and peanut butter the next. My "behind the bar" people watching led me to look deeper into pop culture, both ancient and modern, for signs of something larger at work behind the scenes. I merged my observations together with my love for movies and music and came up the idea for Beyond the Rabbit Ears.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I tried the traditional publishing house approach once, and was really disappointed with what eventually was put into the marketplace. I had little control or influence in the process. And, I didn't get the opportunity to really develop a relationship with my readers. Taking the indie author route this time has allowed me to do everything I couldn't do the first time around. Live and learn!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy for me is the "birthing" or "fleshing out" of an idea. I love being carried along by the creative process. Editing is a buzz kill though... LOL!
What are you working on next?
Beyond the Rabbit Ears has led to a "Beyond" series - Beyond the Tree Topper (angels & spirits) & Beyond the Grave (NDE's, afterlife, resurrection, reincarnation, etc.)
Who are your favorite authors?
Richard Rohr, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Hafiz, Marcus Borg, Frank Capon
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wife and kids...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Patio time with family and friends, grilling, hiking, running, working in my nutrition club, traveling, speaking, reading, listening to music...
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mainly through recommendations.
What is your writing process?
I start by just writing until I have about 30 pages. Then I can see the direction it's going. At that point, I stop and invite feedback and input. From there, I sketch out the book, go back and rewrite what I've written and continue until it's finished. I usually will rewrite the entire book about six times until I'm satisfied.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a really good friend who's a great graphics designer. I search for ideas and put it all in his capable hands.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am so grateful to anyone and everyone who takes the time to read my blog postings and books. Writing is such a personal labor, and when others join me in the reading process, it fosters a closer connection. I love feedback and input from everyone!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't, but I'm sure my mom has something saved from grade school that's sure to be embarrassing...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's a hard question, because I'm always in love with the latest book I'm reading. However, I return to the poetry of Hafiz (13th century Sufi poet) the most. When I travel, I always carry a copy or two of his writings. His poetry is so deep and witty.
What do you read for pleasure?
Poetry, psychology, and physics.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook, blog, email, SurveyMonkey, LeadPages
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