Jerry Hanel lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his beautiful wife and his dog. During the day, he solves mundane office problems for a local engineering firm. But at night, he spins the world into chaos, then magically brings his heroes to save the day.
While Jerry and his lovely wife hope to travel the world some day, they are home-bodies at the moment, enjoying time with each other and serving their community.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Wow... Yes. I was twelve or thirteen in Mr. Young's English class. (Hi, Mr. Young!!). He asked us to write a piece of creative writing. It could be over anything we wanted. ANYTHING! Aliens invading. Our favorite truck. Baking a cake. The one rule was that it had to be fiction... not a recap of what we had for dinner. it needed to have a plot, a main fictional character, and had to address one of the three types of conflict. (Or are there four? I forget. Sorry, Mr. Young.) It could be as long or as short as we wanted to make it.
I hand-wrote my story on sheets of notebook paper. It was about a hiker that got lost in Antarctica and found a cave for protection. But in that cave he encountered a puma (Hey! I was a kid. Cut me some slack.) I never even gave my main character a name. He was just "He". Anyway, He had to choose to fight or befriend the puma, if such a thing were even possible. In the end, he offered the puma some food, because it was lost and hungry, too. They became friends, and the puma helped the man find his way home.
What's sad, is my explanation of the story is about half the length of the total story itself. It wasn't much, and was incredibly terrible in terms of writing standards. But it was my start. Mr. Young was so impressed by the story, he asked to take it and make a copy and keep it. (I'd like my original back some day, Mr. Young.)
I have always had an active imagination, so finding an outlet for that had me hooked. It took me years to decide to publish my imaginations, but that was the day I knew that I could do this.
What is your writing process?
I sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard and let it go. I know that's probably not the answer you're looking for, so I'll try to define it a bit more than that. But in all honesty, that's pretty close.
I have a rough idea in my head and I get it out. Even as I'm typing, I'm thinking of all of the other chapters I've written (No, I don't always write the chapters in order) to make sure I'm not creating plot holes. I research places and famous people. For Fort Reiley, I had to dig a little deeper, researching anti-parasitic drugs, pain-killers, etc. I had to find out what dosages would be helpful and what dosages would be harmful. I also had to find different kinds of blood disorders, their treatments and their risks. And most importantly, I did a ton of research on the human brain, which sections handle which responsibilities of the human body.
In the end, it's more a chaotic jumble of steps that eventually produce the story that's stuck in my head until that story is no longer stuck, but fully fleshed out on paper. Once the concept is out (as messy as that process is), I then take it to a local critique group where they lovingly tear it to shreds. I then rewrite major sections (basically the whole thing). Once that rewrite is done, I can send it to an editor or two. While the editor has it, I read through it myself, plugging any gaping holes, cleaning up unclear scenes, etc. When it comes back from the editor, I merge her work with my own. And finally, I put the final draft on my computer and have it read it back to me in a monotone voice. That voice greatly magnifies misplaced words and typos, making them easier to spot. Even the best editor can't catch everything. Once the "robotic read-through" is finished, it's ready for advanced readers to weigh in while I get everything wrapped up for release.
By the time it reaches you, my fans, I have not just written the story from my head, but I've read it through at least five complete times cover-to-cover... not including the editor(s).