What do you hope your obituary will day about you? That I was a good and simple man who tried hard to make a good difference in the lives of those around me, especially kids.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I grew up in Iowa and Minnesota in small, suburban areas bounded by endless farmland. Because of this, I longed for the adventure of the road trips west that my family would go on when I was young to scenic and historical places there, like the mountains, various national parks and monuments, and historical sites. Now I live in California, which I enjoy tremendously because of the wonderful climate and the endless variety of things that can be seen and done here, but I also detest the overcrowding, the traffic, and the bad air. It’s hard to know sometimes if the former is worth the latter.
How did you develop your writing? I am mostly self-taught (just reading and imitating good writing, using my own voice), though I took an online course in screenwriting from Screenwriting U (Professional Screenwriting Series) that gave me a great foundation in that area.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Lots of places—good books, good movies, interesting people and situations that I’m in, interesting places that I travel to, etc.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? Writing is definitely the easiest part. I do it well, and love to be immersed in my stories. Getting published is becoming a lot easier these days because of the vast increase in legitimate “new media” publishers who take advantage of technologies like ebooks and print-on-demand distributors to form legitimate small presses that may not hand out big advances, but get your work to the market sooooo much faster than “traditional” publishers, allow for much more flexibility, and pay royalties that would make traditionally published authors green with envy. Marketing, though, is always the biggest hurdle. Even with all the social media and whatnot, attracting an audience to your work is time-consuming, frequently expensive, and even somewhat of a mystery for someone like me who is not out there tooting his own horn all the time, or for those of us whom that doesn’t come naturally to. It’s frustrating to have this great book that you know people would love, but be completely flummoxed as to how to let them know about it and get them to buy it.
What marketing works for you? I’m not very good at marketing yet, but hope to get a lot better with this new book. I’m getting a lot of good ideas from my publisher—this book tour being one of them. I also have had a book trailer made, and will do several sale events on Amazon, and I also have a presence on several social media sites where I can communicate with fans, friends, family, and fellow writers. I still like doing personal appearances, though. That’s probably my favorite way of marketing.
Do you find it hard to share your work? No, not really. In fact, I’m usually eager to share my work, especially with people that I know will enjoy it and/or will give me constructive criticism on how it can be improved.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? My family lives a long way away and is scattered around the country, and I’m afraid is not a great source of support for me, though a couple of my sisters and a niece and a nephew really are proud of me and have made efforts to spread the word about my stuff. I find much more support in friends, particularly close friends and writer-friends who are learning the same ropes and hoeing the same rows as I. We all know how tough writing and marketing can be, and we help each other out a lot.
Do you plan to publish more books? Most definitely! I have another one coming out in July that is a middle-grade/YA historical fantasy, the third chapter of my three-part graphic novel series should be out by sometime this fall, and my publisher for MALLED has already requested that I turn a couple more of my screenplays into novels for her company. So lots going on.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time… What other jobs have you had in your life? I was fortunate to have a very long and satisfying career as a middle-grades teacher before becoming a writer full-time. I also coached youth runners, soccer players, and founded and directed a community children’s theater program at various times in the past. These things gave me a priceless wealth of experience with young people and families that helps me write relatably and realistically for this audience. It also allowed me to retire a couple years ago with a pension adequate enough to pay the bills, etc. and pursue writing on a full time basis rather than just on weekends, over holiday breaks, and in the summer. My writing career, both in novels and screenwriting, has really taken off since then.
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Genre – NeoGothic Horror / Thriller
Rating – R for violence & language