Welcome! Thanks for taking this time for a short Q&A and allowing me to host you so readers can find out a little more about you and your work. How did you start your writing career?
I had always been pretty good with words, so I started dabbling in writing, sending off occasional short stories that would get rejected. In my heart I had always wanted to write a novel, so I finally decided, “You know what? If my short stories are just going to get rejected, I might as well write a novel. At least I’ll be getting something rejected that I really wanted to write.” Then Amazon came along with their self-publishing program, and I jumped on it.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I have to mention two things: First is keeping all the research and things I want to include organized so I can quickly find it. I’ve tried Scrivener and all kinds of methods, but I still spend far too much time searching for some juicy thing I want to include in the book, whether it be some unknown fact or some bit of information that needs to be included. I mean, if you’re a horror novelist writing about something mysterious going on in the ocean, and you read somewhere that toxic waste has started creating mutated fish, where do you file that information? I’m forever tweaking the way that I file to try to make finding stuff easier. As far as the actual writing, although I enjoy the entire process of weaving a tale, the hardest part for me is description, where you have to describe things accurately to make the scene richer for the reader. So depending on what you’re writing, you have to accurately describe something that you don’t even know what it’s called, so you have to do the research. Here’s an example from my novel, Dracula Lives. Among other things I was trying to capture the Gothic feel of the haunted castle movies I love, like Fall of the House of Usher with Vincent Price. I wanted to have the eccentric owner of the castle going down a dark passage with his guest, and, to give them more light, leading them along with a candle in one of those fancy candleholders. But you can’t write: “He led them down the gloomy passage with one of those fancy candleholders.” So you’ve got to look it up. I did and found out they were called chamberstick holders, and that’s what I went with.
Do you listen to music while you write?
No. I tried it but I would get too caught up in the music and couldn’t concentrate on the writing. I need peace and quiet when I’m writing. I know Stephen King listens to music while he’s writing, but I just can’t do it. The thing about writing is that everybody develops their own way of doing it. I’ve tried a lot of different ways of going about it, based on well-meaning advice in books and articles about how to write, and though you might occasionally glean a helpful nugget, there simply is no one-size-fits-all method. You have to decide what works for you. Here’s an example. One of the biggest issues that’s eternally debated about how to write a novel is: to outline or not to outline? Jeffrey Deaver, one of the most successful writers of thrillers, when asked if he outlines, said, “Absolutely.” Michael Connolly, one of the most successful and critically acclaimed writers of crime novels (featuring Harry Bosch) says he never commits as word to paper before writing the novel. All of our brains are hard-wired to process information a certain way, and you have to decide what works for you.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Perhaps that I have a great sense of humor. I guess the stereotype of someone who writes horror is that they might be rather morbid or grim, but I dabbled in stand-up comedy years ago, and love to laugh and make others laugh.
What is your favorite color?
Blue, but I also like orange when it’s the wrapper on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Cheeseburger and fries.
I agree! For me a Hamburger is the perfect meal. Lol! Chocolate or Gummy Bears?
I loves me some chocolate. I could eat a whole bag of Hershey’s miniatures or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I don’t eat the whole bag, because it would be wrong on so many levels, so, with a twinge of sadness, I force myself to stop, even though I am lusting to have more.