Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, but I do remember that my earliest recreational readings were comic books. This was not a choice but a consequence of circumstance. There were no books in my home and there was no public library available to me. There was, however, a shack in the woods near my house that was crammed with moldy comic books. I read these over and over again. I think they paved the way to true reading fluency for me.
What is your writing process?
Writing for me is a comfortable way to communicate. Usually I start with an idea that I think deserves attention, or a subject that I'd like to know more about. Research is always the first step. As I read and explore I decide whether or not the topic deserves as much attention as it will require. There have been biographies I've contemplated writing but decided, after becoming acquainted with the subject, that the individual was too unpleasant to spend a lot of time with. Once I'm involved in a project, I pretty much spend most of my day working at it. Even when I'm not working, it's in my head. The most unpleasant part of the process is discovering mistakes. This happens more than I'd like. The benefit of self-publishing is I can pull down a book and correct the error with little fuss.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Well, that's a hard one. It's almost like asking me to choose between my children. I have such great affection for good books that I couldn't say. What I will say is that once I had access to a library I fell in love with the Russians, especially Dostoyevsky. Dickens was an early influence. I consumed his novels the way some people snack on potato chips.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly nonfiction, large tomes that are well-researched. I also have a preference for nineteenth-century novels, though I think I've gone through most of the significant classics from that period.
Describe your desk
Messy, but not hopeless.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Up until the age of eleven, I lived in a rural environment. It was a difficult childhood that taught me to fight for what I want. I never give up. When I have an idea, I hold onto it and keep plugging, no matter how improbable success may seem.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a song with my sister when I was about ten.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Art Literacy, came from a desire to help children with little means, especially immigrant children. There was a time, in my earliest school years, when people despaired of my ability to learn. Time proved them wrong. I'd like to reach children who are in a similar situation. Art can be an accessible path to literacy for children with limited verbal skills. This book is attractive, engaging and eductational.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was an accessible path to a writing career.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I love Smashwords. It offers a pathway to vendors that would otherwise be closed to me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That is a difficult question to answer. It's sort of like trying to describe why I like chocolate. Writing exercises my intellectual and creative faculties as no other activity does. It offers the opportunity to communicate. It demands discipline.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There is the day. That is the most persuasive invitation.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.