I grew up in Southern California in the 60s, a very exciting and somewhat turbulent time. After one year of college I entered the US Army and served in Germany for two years. While most of my friends were fighting in Southeast Asia in the early 70s, I was posing a threat to the Soviets, at times almost on their doorstep. Since they never invaded Germany, at least not while I was there, I must surmise that they took my menacing proximity not lightly.
After my hitch in the Army, I met my beautiful wife, Ingrid, and together we started our family. A couple of years later our one and only (and perfect) child was born. Lisa Christine McManus (now Lisa Schomas) - an associate producer on the TV show “Castle” - lives in “The Valley” and has a young family of her own. One of the joys in life is to have a wonderful partner with whom you can make babies and then watch them grow. A great portion of my life has been dedicated to that end.
Along the way I found spare moments, hours and even days to write. My experiences with the written word started with ghost stories and tales about rocket ships when I was a teen, and meandered into poetry and short stories about young love when I entered adulthood. Somewhere after my fortieth birthday I began writing novels. There have been five in all, two of which I have published. I hope there are many more. The greatest gift one can give to another is entertainment, diversion from the rote of normal life. If I can give a few moments distraction to someone, with possibly a smile or a tear, I have met my goal. My treasure is my storytelling. May you all be my heirs.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in several places, and each one of them affected something in my stories. I was born in a small town on Lake Erie, named Ashtabula, Ohio. The “lake effect” snow in our town is at times severe. I actually lived out one of the scenes from my first book, where the main character and her guardian are trying to escape through a blizzard, inching their way through the storm, only to have to return on foot to their point of origin. I spent most of the summers in my youth on a farm that was much like the one in that first story, which is set in central Michigan. My descriptions of the places in that story are from my memories of those summer days. My second book is set in Orange County, California, my home for more than fifty years. I think it is natural for a writer to locate his stories in familiar places. The mystery I am working on now is set in the mountains of Central California, where I have a second home.
When did you first start writing?
I was probably ten or eleven when I got the idea to write a science fiction tale about a group of boys who encounter aliens. I probably still have the original draft of that story in the garage somewhere, along with other attempts at writing the great American novel. I got a little more serious about writing in my late twenties, when I wrote a novel, called “The Silver Colony”. It was about a group of space pioneers who tried to establish a colony on the Moon. Another novel from those days was a murder mystery called “It Started with Fire”. There was one more story in that era that I never finished. I didn’t even give it a title. You could probably say that the true genesis of my writing was in my late forties, when I started to have more time for artistic endeavors. After completing my fourth novel, I went through the process of finding an agent and/or a publisher. My first rejection letter from that effort is framed and stares at me from the other side of my office. The many other rejection letters were destroyed as they were received. After several months of trying, I gave up. I continued to write, however, even though I knew that I had many years ahead of me before I could dedicate enough time to make it the central part of my life. Then along came “indie” publishing. I can now say I am a writer, since many people have read my books.