Hope. Dreams. Life…Love
Article 15 Blog Tour Interview
November 1, 2019
Did you always want to be an author?
Not really. I mean not for a long while anyway. You know, when I was a kid I was too busy being a kid, riding my bike, playing sandlot baseball and exploring the woods at the very fringes of suburbia—all unsupervised I’ll have you know—to see myself on a dust jacket. I’d fantasize about being a football hero or race car driver or a rockstar, maybe. Even when I got to college and moved into the English Department, I was really angling to be a better songwriter, working mainly in verse. Finally, when I was parked out in Colorado I had an idea for a book that I put to paper. Then another. And another. I suppose at that point I started seeing myself as an “author.” Maybe. But it wasn’t until I had started scribbling things down and actually having a book to sell. Like William Faulkner says, “Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing.”
Tell us about the publication of your first book.
When I moved back to Ohio from Colorado I had three and a half completed novels. By that time I had collected enough rejection slips to wallpaper a decent size family room—and not just from any old publishing houses. I was turned down by all the best and some of the not so best. Then eBooks were invented and I got one of the very first Sony Readers. Soon after, I found out about Smashwords and thought, “Hmmm, this could work out for me.” I did some serious study of the book covers of my favorite authors, like Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen and Joseph Heller; figured out what I wanted, then pulled the trigger and sent My Brother’s Keeper out into the world. Shortly after that I published Crossroads—which, by the way, is the very first novel with a soundtrack. I had labored for a while at the phone company supervising the Text Editing Center for prepping their manuals for print, so I was familiar with typesetting. Making the move to print wasn’t such a big deal for me and I got My Brother’s Keeper into paperback with IngramSpark. Then I just kept piling up more and more words into more and more books.
Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
One of the huge benefits of eBooks is that I was able to get back into my old habit of reading two or three books at the same time without putting a serious strain my my back muscles from carrying around bricks of paper. So, I went from a trickle of books to a steady stream and I’ve read so many great novels by some amazing authors like William Conescu, Jay Spencer Green, Caihm McDonnell, and Christopher Moore. But the guy I keep coming back to is Carl Hiaasen. To me, Tourist Season is just the best. And whenever a new one comes out from him, I’m there.
What’s the best part of being an author? The worst?
First of all, there just is no worst part about being a writer. You get to make it all up. And if it’s not right, well then, come on, you just make up more stuff. The best part is always ripping open the box from IngramSpark and holding the finished product in print. I don’t care that hundreds or thousands of eBooks get bought for every print book I sell. There’s something about having your book in print that is simply magic.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel called Jungleland. Remember that first book of mine, My Brother’s Keeper? It’s the long, long, long planned sequel. I always intended Hawk to be kind of an airport gigolo, who wanders aimlessly around from airport to airport having different flying adventures along the way. Needless to say, I got distracted by shiny things all literary and such, but I’ve finally gotten back to it. At the end of the first book he goes to Alaska to start a bush pilot operation. But I wrote Somethin’ for Nothin’ which has a similar kind of theme, so I skipped ahead to the 1960s where he finds himself in Congo, fighting in their civil war with the CIA, their Bay of Pigs leftover pilots and Mad Mike’s South African mercenaries. Did I mention there’s a woman involved, too? There always is, isn’t there.