A: I grew up with the first TV invented, so to speak, and even in black and white, I fell in love with dramatic storytelling, humor, all of it on the small screen, but previous to that, I had an Uncle John who told the greatest stories ever told; he was a natural born storyteller - all oral. He was an Alabama native and for a couple of years during high school, I lived with him and his family--my cousins--and Aunt Sadie (who also could tell a tall tale). I knew I wanted to be a storyteller above all else. I read voracious, especially authors like Twain, Poe, Steinbeck, Jack London, Dickens, Doyle, Dumas, and all the great short story classics. I wanted to learn from the best. However, I also loved anything unusual like Twilight Zone and science fiction as well as horror so long as it was a great story, especially if it had a twist, surprise ending like any good O'Henry tale. But the greatest influence bar none was on reading Tom Sawyer and its sequel Huckleberry Finn. My first effort at the novel was to write a sequel to Huck Finn, my Daniel Webster Jackson & The Wrongway Railway. Early on, I wanted to write books that made people think, possibly disturb their complacency even if a little...to have an affect on readers.
2) You've penned novels that vary in terms of genres... do you have a favorite genre, and are there any genres you wouldn't care to write?
A: As you can surmise from my reply to question #1, I love all manner of genres or storytelling. My reading is all over the place just as the classics are all over the place. How dull it would be if every author used the same setting or authorial voice or style. My interest is first in the power of the story and so it matters not if it is a comedy or a tragedy (I love seeing Shakespeare performed!). Look at the range of storytelling in Shakespeare--historical plays, comic plays, tragic plays. Mark Twain as well goes from newspaper reportage in Roughing It and fantastical humor in the same book, then goes and writes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but he also wrote the Prince & the Pauper as well as the nonfiction title Life on the Mississippi. I have always admired such range in an author, and the fact is every author seems to have wanted to try his hand at the supernatural or ghost story. So I love a romance, a horror tale, a seagoing adventure, a crime novel, science fiction, and thus I will often create a novel filled with all of the above -- for instance my Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic or Bismarkc 2013. Just completed a young adult historical romance set in the Viking era -- Ragnar & The Battlestormer.
3) What stands out on important advice you would give beginning writers?
A: Read like a writer must read to learn from the masters. Read extensively and study closely any paragraphs the bring you to an emotional high, a real cry, a heart-wrenching moment, a gasp of internal terror, a laugh out loud, or a spiritual awakening AND read it over and over until you see the seams of precisely how that page of black ink marks on white background moved you to tears or to laughter. In other words, how'd She or He -- the author -- do that? It is also a great exercise to attempt to write a page, a scene, a chapter in the exact style of a favorite author as the doing of it teaches a young writer so much that it cannot be overstated. They say in Running that the athlete must run through the pain...but it takes a lot of effort and running to get to the point of pain before you even run through it. So yeah, writing requires you to write through the pain.
4) Who are some of your favorite authors?
I've already mentioned a number above. Top of the list are the real masters--Twain, Shakespeare, Steinbeck - true storytellers. You must include a long list but I would like to add Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Michael Crichton, Martin Cruz Smith and a few nonfiction authors: Thomas Thompson (Blood & Money, Serpentine) and a veterinarian storyteller James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small) and a scientist named Carl Zimmer (Parasite Rex).
5) Tell us about your novels and where they may be purchased.
A: I have a crazy number of Series--if you count 3 vol. novels as series, and if you count 2-book related titles as series. Most of my series run 4-book length, 1 is at 5 titles, another is at 13 titles. Most of my series are crime novels, medical examiners as heroes as in the Instinct Series, or detectives as in the Edge Series. I have an actor hero in my Decoy Series, and I have an archeologist hero in my horror series - Bloodscreams. Seafarers are heroes in Titanic 2012 & Bismarck 2013, while a ecumenical spy is the hero in Children of Salem, and the daughter of John Brown is the heroine of Annie's War. In my YA history series, boys and girls coming of age play the hero.
All of these titles are found on Amazon.com's Kindle Store in a Netherhood on your corner or via the Kindle app. Many are also on Audible.com I have my City for Ransom titles still in paperback from HarperCollins and they are also available either way on Amazon. Ten or so titles are in paperback via Createspace as well.
6) Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know?
A: When I craft scenes, I triangulate as many of the 5 senses as I can rope into a given moment, and as often as I can, I try to splurge with the 6th sense as well. I strive to create a moving and mind-blowing experience for the reader that rivals any film with special effects. I load on the sound effects, the textures, the layers, the odors, and the double entendre. I throw it all in for the reason that I want my novels to have a lasting effect on readers.
Thanks for having me visit with you!