How long have you been writing for and how much of that time have you spent writing fiction?
Had to teach myself how to write and develop stories with the help of Larry Brook’s books and guidance. Started seriously about 2011. I’ve been researching the background material since being introduced to the field in 1991.
What’s the average word count for the books you write and how long does it take you to write your average book?
I’ve just written the one novel which has 680 printed pages at 6×9 inches. Most of the time was learning how to write and design stories. I work fulltime so I don’t have the time to really write as spending too much time at the computer makes me too sore in the neck, back. This is becoming an epidemic problem in society.
What is your writing routine (Do you have a daily word count goal? Do you write whenever the spirit moves you?)
When I’m writing, I will force myself to start. I will engage during that time. Sometimes ideas pop in and I’ll write the down.
How much do you research for a book before you start writing?
Due to what I write about…tons. I create a story amongst the research.
What do you find most difficult about writing a book?
One, the time. Working full time and writing…unless you have a young body, forgetaboutit. I develop a story and entail to keep all the scenes RELEVANT to the story and to the four-part structure of a story. How one comes to their story (pantsing, plotting) doesn’t matter, but the story must make sense.
Real stories aren’t episodic “what I did on vacation” recitals. Even the pros don’t write fabulously due to they don’t seem to be aware of what works and doesn’t work. It’s amazing how much out there is boring, gets stuck, just isn’t relevant.
There’s a major disconnect between psychology and writing fiction–most think anything goes. Sure, tell yourself that but nobody will stay reading it.
Which of your books are you most proud of and why?
I wrote Descendants of Atlantis. Took about 1.5 years of serious writing and editing by my wife (you can’t edit your own stuff–what’s in your head isn’t the same as the words you wrote. Someone else has to edit it for that reason).
I’ve been told the novel was an amazingly great piece of work, a thriller, and made them think.
Which of your books was the most difficult to write and why?
Same novel. First time, so that’s why. Also this novel is very complicated, not a simple romance or crime story.
Which self-publishing platform do you like the most and why?
I use Amazon because I’m a nobody–the publisher racket is a racket. Unless you’re Bono, they’re not interested. Plus the word on the publishing street is the publishers no longer market books (seasoned authors tell me this).
Would you publish with a traditional publisher if they contacted you? Why?
Only if we sign an agreement they promote the novel, and actively do promote it within a short period of time, say a year. The industry is full of sharks taking your money and doing nothing. Even the big names have become rotten. A friend had a strong deal going with WD. They got bought out and the new guy did nothing to promote it.
How many unfinished or unpublished works do you have?
working on book 2
Do you prefer creating stand-alone books or series?
I create to wake people up, hence the series. We’ll see how it goes in this “New Normal” of destruction.
What’s one character you wish you would have created? What do you find compelling or interesting about this character?
If you mean, a famous character? Harry Dresden. Because I wouldn’t have screwed that series up. Sorry Jim, but I had to say it. **If a wizard lives to 350 years old, his knees aren’t wearing out at 40 years old. Authors need to respect their own story physics. Such a creature wouldn’t even be slowing down at 100 years old.
What book do you wish you would have written? Why?
Jurassic Park. I loved Michael Crichton. He was a great whistleblower through fiction.
Do you find it challenging to write characters of a different gender, race, or culture than you? Do you do any special research for these characters?
I try to put myself into the head of the character and have them act real. Most authors fail at this, having the characters make mistakes that a civilian would, not a seasoned psycho criminal for example.
“Advancing the plot through character errors” is a LAZY and pathetic way to write, yet we see it all the time today, especially in the latest WOKE garbage. Seasoned detectives sleep with their gun, they don’t forget to load it.
What does success as a writer look like for you?
Being able to make money selling the books so I don’t have to work a job. Plus the novels are actually great.
Writing can be a lonely job. Do you take any special steps to ensure you remain part of the world?
hahahahahah. Seriously asking that question in today’s New Normal where we are treated like Animal Farm, lab rats in an experiment? Psychological warfare daily?
Constantly sitting and writing can be physically debilitating. How do you take care of yourself, physically?
I can’t write as much. Posture is key.
Do you read your reviews? How do you deal with bad ones?
Don’t have many. A friend tried to battle bad reviews on Amazon which was allowing ridiculous trolling reviews at the time. Depends upon what you mean by bad. You can’t let trolls get to you.
What books have you read that were particularly inspiring?
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers is one of my favorites. I read fiction to escape the hell of this New Normal. I used to read for adventure. Tim Powers Last Call is great.
Jim Butcher’s early Dresden Files was very good until he clearly lost his passion for it. Not knocking him…one can get bored of a long series.
Kim Harrison’s Witch series is great fun.
Anything Michael Crichton. Early John Grisham–later work is like someone else wrote it.
**anything you read can teach you a lot about what works and doesn’t. Notice the parts that you skim, makes you wonder where it’s going, or you get confused.
Also dialogue is annotated poorly. Put in a “Bob said, Sally said” more often. The big names, Baldachi for example, half the time I lose track who is talking because there’s no “Bob said” and I have to guess. If I’m counting backwards over who said what, I’m WAY out of the story and am getting close to dumping it. (this should be caught by editors)
Editors: seem to be unable to edit for the above or have a sense of story. Seems it’s all punctuation and spellcheck anymore…you can get Grammarly for that.
Do you have a favourite author? A favourite book?
Do you plot your stories in great detail before starting to write, or fly by the seat of your pants?
I use Scrivener and plot titles of scenes before writing them. I imagine how things go for the character before writing the scene.
The scenes are to act out the scene. Pantsing requires major editing and I save time by understanding story structure. Big name authors who pants become very evident with stories that go off the rail or fall apart.
Of all the characters in your stories, which is your favourite?
Agrona was the most fun to write. Janus is fun. Danu is fun. Arduinna is the professor.
Have you based any characters on real people? If they found out, how did they respond?
What’s the best thing about being an independent author? The worst?
Best–I own everything.
Worst – I do everything (wife edits). **You need a book to be marketed.
Do you make a living selling your books?
What advice would you give to a new author?
Understand that a story = the multi character viewpoint of figuring out a problem. You need to understand how the mind works. A story is about something happening–thus you write about what is RELEVANT and nothing else.
storyfix.com aka Larry Brook’s how-to books. (you can’t write anything you want and call it a story and expect people to actually read it).
I use Scrivener for writing. Word is junk. I use Grammarly for basic editing. You must have an editor that has a story sense.
You need to know the difference between a Concept and a Premise. You must understand the four act parts of a story.
If you dismiss the above, then don’t waste your time.