They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if they started mucking around with the affairs of "lessers" (that is, those humans not able to match their powers)?
During the height of the Cold War, Michael Vaughan is a rogue without a guild. He survives by working for the CIA as NOC (Non-Official Cover). Shortly after the funeral of President Joe Kennedy, Jr., he is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. There he finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with adepts working for Fidel.
How did you start your writing career?
Around the age of 12, my sister brought home her typing instruction book on how to "touch type" on a typewriter. I used it to teach myself to type. This was decades before home computers so I first started typing on an old electric Smith Corona typewriter. And I started writing. But the stuff I wrote probably wasn't very well written or very good (and I was and still am a lousy speller). Because of "Star Trek," I became interested in science fiction and started reading and writing it. Again, my stories weren't done very well. I kept writing all my life, though college (twice), my four-year stint in the military, and my 20 years as a business owner/operator. I say I have to write like I have to breathe. And now I write full time and have signed to do three books with World Castle Publishing, including Agent of Artifice.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Yes. For Agent of Artifice I traveled to San Francisco, Seattle, Key West, Miami, and Chicago (luckily, most of those were business trips that I was able to extend). The one place I didn't get to travel to is
. I love exploring new places and seeing how I can integrate them into my novels. It really helps to have the ambience of the location and be able to tell that in the story. Havana, Cuba
Tell us about your current release.
Agent of Artifice is a novel set in a slightly different universe from ours. There, some people who have the intelligence, ambition, and talent to do so, are able to manipulate the elements of nature, people, and animals. These talented folks are called "adepts" and they form guilds for mutual protection and camaraderie. Michael Vaughan is an adept who spends his time enjoying the good life in pre-revolution
. But both the revolution and a civil war in his guild end his playboy days and send him on the run. To survive, he sells his skills to the CIA, which gets him back involved in Havana Cuba just as the is trying to over-throw the Castro regime. U.S.
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
The publisher of a local business journal has taken me under her wing and helped me with my non-fiction writing. She also gives me monthly paid assignments which are fun and challenging and allow me to expand my writing skill. But I'll never forget how she first worked with me on my first story for her to make sure I wrote the best story possible.
What was your first sale as an author?
I was talking to the publisher of a local business journal who was trying to sell me an ad for my business in an upcoming issue. And she said she was very busy and had to go to a restaurant and hotel to write a review. I said I'd just stayed at that hotel and ate in the restaurant and could write a review for her. I could hear the trepidation in her voice as she agreed to read what I could come up with. So that night, after work, I sat down and wrote a review. And she liked it and published it. After I stopped working full time I called her and offered her my services. She's had something for me to do every month since then.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Coming up with the basic idea, first. Once I have an idea of a story (with maybe a twist or two), then the fun part starts: writing the story. But coming up with that original, fun and interesting idea is such a challenge. It's why there's not a third book in the "Adepts" series, yet. I'm still working on a new idea.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
When I was a kid, 8 or 9 years old, the family tradition was to have ice cream for dessert after dinner. And the ice cream was kept in the freezer in the basement of our small tract house. One dark, winter night it was my turn to take the ice cream back to the freezer. The freezer has an orange light on it that indicated it was running so I didn't bother turning on the lights in the basement but used that orange light to guide me to my goal. As I was walking toward the freezer in the inky darkness of the basement, a white face appeared in front of me, floating. It was roundish like the moon and just as white. I remember screaming and scrambling back up the stairs to the safety of the bright and warm upper floors. I don't remember what happened to the ice cream container. I probably dropped it onto the concrete floor.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Classical: Bach, Mozart, Handel. Either that or Led Zeppelin.
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