Article 15 Blog Tour Interview
November 4, 2019
How did you come up with your idea for your novel?
It’s weird how ideas ooze up out of a mental lava pit sometimes, spilling all over and generally making a mess. And it’s never just one thing with me. I had the opening line of Article 15 long before I had any characters, plot or a title: “She was one in a million and the day I met her I should have bought a lottery ticket instead.”
It all started with Lawrence Kasden’s amazing screenplay and movie: Body Heat. Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) was such an awesome character, I knew I had to go down that dark path at some point. But that line just hung out there for such a long, long time, until it somehow got blendered up with Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe, Vulture Capitalists, a dark corner of the Pentagon and Griff, an ex-Navy SEAL who maybe just might be a match for my femme fatale.
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
I warned one of my fellow authors, the amazing ne’er-do-well Jay Spencer Green, that I was going to plagiarize some of his interview comments where he said: “It’s not about writing what you know, but knowing what you write about.”
When I get into a story, I start Hoovering up as much information as I can about the people, places and events involved—and that can be from books, YouTube videos, podcasts…whatever. I’m sure that I leave 98% of my research back in my notes, but sometimes it’s the littlest details that really tell the tale.
What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
Maybe how boring I’ve become. I’ve had my share of traveling and adventures. Anymore, though, I’m happy sitting out back around the fire pit with the lovely and gracious Lola, staring at the lake, sipping wine, and gnawing on some animal flesh we have flame roasted.
As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Somehow I find myself backed into a corner with three sequels to three different series on my To-Do list. Jungleland is a long overdue follow-on to my very first book, My Brother’s Keeper, which follows the on-going aviating adventures of a former fighter pilot, this time fighting in the Congo Civil Wars. Then, Murder by Munchausen #4, Motherless Children, is on deck to continue the futuristic battle of Man vs A.I. Crime. And I do have an idea for the next story in the Griffith Crowe series: Outside the Wire.
Can you give us a sneak peek into this book?
If I took you backstage to show you some of the behind the scenes goings on, I’d first have to point out that Griff’s Kentucky lawyer, Johnny, is my humble way of honoring one of the great story tellers of our time, Elmore J. Leonard, and my all time favorite one of his stories, Justified. From the opening chapter where Griff’s buddy, Lance, is shown “baring his canines,” to Helena’s farewell scratch behind Griff’s ear, canine references and images are kind of important clues and cues to the male characters, as much as horse references are to the women. And, finally, all the flying stuff? Well, I’ve done most all of that in my years as a Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I’ve been in and out of a number of critiquing groups. I’m lucky to find myself in two for the past few years that have been extremely helpful: The Cleveland Writers Group and the Westside Writers Group. Unless a character gets particularly rebellious, I pretty much know everything that is going to happen in the story by the time I’m ready for folks to read it. What I find impossible to imagine is what the reader, traveling down this dark path of mine, sees out ahead, peering out into the headlights trying to figure out what might be coming next.
What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
I’ve found that most advice that unequivocally starts out with “always” or “never” is usually, shall we say, misguided—bless their little hearts. We’re artists, for crying out loud. We’re supposed to be breaking the rules, somewhere…somehow. It has a homogenizing effect that leads to, well, boring reading. It might not always work, but it has to be tried.
How do you maintain your creativity?
There is only one way: getting up every day, sitting my ass down, and writing. To paraphrase comedian Lewis Black, “If you’re thinking about it, or talking about it, or posting about it…you’re not doing it.”