When I get an idea for a story, I first make a list of the major characters, followed by a quick bio of each. Then I outline the book by chapters. Once I have that done, I break each chapter into different scenes, which I outline as well. All of this helps keep me organized and helps with continuity.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first thing I read was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss. I was three years old and it surprised me that I actually understood the words. From there, I began reading everything. I was hooked on reading and I didn't care what it was that I read. Even soup cans, if it had words, I was focused on it.
How do you approach cover design?
I picture an important scene in the story and give my illustrator detailed information about the scene. Depending on the story, my favorite designs are reminiscent of the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew covers.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favorite books are by unknown and independent authors. When you find a good story by someone no one else has heard of, it's like finding a vein of gold where no one ever travels.
What do you read for pleasure?
Although I frequently pick up just about any fantasy or science fiction book, I really love the classics. Just recently, I picked up a copy of Treasure Island and found myself getting lost in the adventure just like I did the first time I read it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own a Kindle Fire (first edition) I love it since I can read Kindle e-pubs as well as other document formats.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I much prefer this as it tells me that people enjoy my books enough to share them with their friends. For me, a major marketing campaign seems a little desperate.
Describe your desk
Cluttered. There is a mess here that barely leaves room for my keyboard and mouse. My wife mistakenly cleaned it once, and it took me weeks to find everything and put it back.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Ohio and West Virginia. I learned that if I want to appeal to the majority of readers, I couldn't write a story as if I were writing a dissertation. Most of my fans understand contractions and slang better than professional writing.
When did you first start writing?
When I was five, I would grab a pencil and piece of paper and write short stories about my favorite TV shows. I would write how I felt a particular episode should have progressed. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I learned there was a word for this. My first work seen by others was a piece of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter series.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My granddaughter is autistic. After seeing how some of the neighborhood children interacted with her, I decided to write a children's book explaining to them how my granddaughter sees the world.
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