I’ve always been a big fan of mysteries so that’s always a big part of what I write. I’m a music junkie, with tastes that range from jazz, blues, classical, soul and rock. So whether I'm writing or cooking, it’s not uncommon for music to be accompanying me. It seems that I’m always writing or thinking about writing, whether at a party, working out or taking a hike through the woods. Sometimes I will work on dialogue out loud, which can be unnerving to some people when the see me talking to myself. I’ve been married to my sweetheart for almost thirty years and we have two adult sons who are our pride and joy.
While I would write the occasional short stories in elementary school, I didn’t seriously begin writing until I took a creative writing course in college. The instructor kept encouraging me to submit some of my work to a literary magazine. They accepted a short story and that was like tasting your first piece of chocolate. You always crave more. What is difficult for me is finding the time to write, with a full time job and family commitments. There’s just never enough time.
I hear you! Time is always the hardest thing to find. :)
I write because I’ve got stories to tell and want to share them with others. It’s the reaction I get from readers that proves to me I can entertain you, even for a little while, as the characters I’ve created stop by for a visit. My favorite part is when my characters take the idea I have for a story and run with it in a different direction, something I may not have realized would work so well. I don’t work from an outline. I start with some basic ideas and my main characters and just let the ideas flow from there. Of course, it’s always a blast to hear from someone who has read my books and enjoyed them.
I love it when characters do that!
News articles about the amazing things ordinary people often do can inspire me. Many of the novels I read growing up, such as the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald, inspired me to write. I devoured all of his work as a kid and still read them. There are also great authors like Elmore Leonard, James Rollins, Robert Crais, Harlan Coben, Greg Iles and James W. Hall. Their works can captivate you. Recently I’ve also discovered M S Spencer, John Sanford and Morgan Wyatt. They are great storytellers. I want to get the readers so engrossed in the story they don’t want it to end because they are enjoying it so much. When the readers can identify with the characters, you know you’ve done well.
I published a number of short stories in small press magazines years ago, but getting a novel published was always an elusive dream. In 2009, my son Travis told me about a new eBook publisher looking for novels. I submitted one and they jumped at it. Unfortunately they have since gone out of business but that encouraged me to keep writing. I found a new publisher (Secret Cravings Publishing) for two romance/mysteries and self published two mysteries on Amazon. In July this year, “Devious” became available in print. Seeing one of my books in that format was definitely a dream come true. So that’s motivating me to keep writing.
Mark, funny you should mention the reality of paperback. I just received 50 copies of my novel and just to finally hold my book in my hands... it's amazing. My sister was even more excited than I was! And I must congratulate you on your achievements. :) Seems like you've been able to find some time after all hehe. Well done!
Marketing and promoting. It’s not enough to write a good story and get a publisher to accept it. You also have to constantly promote your work, with blogs and websites and social media. It takes away from the time you have to write, but it is an important part of the process. The more people you reach, the more chances you have of someone buying your works.
Many people struggle with the new marketing age. No one is alone in that boat. :)
Learn to accept constructive criticism. Find a group of other writers that you can workshop with, or take a creative writing class. Feedback from others can be very helpful, particularly if they are serious about writing. Submit your work and don’t let rejections get you down. It’s like dating. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince (or princess) as the case may be. Don’t give up and don’t stop writing.
Now that, is some quality advice. You've got to have a thick skin in this industry and an open mind.
Jamie’s best friend is kidnapped by a stalker. Game on.
Malone is the man in Jamie’s life. They are still getting to know each other and he takes a stronger role in their romance. There is still some mystery about him, which adds to Jamie’s confusion about their relationship. And he’s still trying to come to grips with her stubbornness. But the man has soul and can be just as stubborn if the situation warrants it.
I have finished the first draft of a mystery about a serial killer, whose victims are all found in room 319 of different hotels around a metropolitan area. I’m hoping to find a new publisher for that one. I’m also working on the third book in the Jamie Richmond series, which will involve priceless art work, rekindle old love interests and have a bit of intrigue and suspense.
How exciting! Can't wait to hear more. And now, we get to the fun side of our interview...
My muse is female. She is a blend of two young women who I dated many, many years ago. She has a musical laugh, which is similar to glass wind chimes on a gentle breeze. She has an inquisitive nature and when I’m working on a story, she will poke me with a comment like “a real woman wouldn’t do that” or “the carpet and drapes are supposed to match”. And she’s a bit of a smartass, poking fun at me when I’m trying to be serious.
Haha, bet she's always right too hehe. I love what you've said about her. She sounds like a girl I'd like to meet. :)
Warning: This novel “Vanishing Act” contains numerous romantic scenes, including a May-December couple, intrigue, danger, touches of violence, a stubborn redheaded heroine and a flash of the risqué.
Now, for all writers, there’s something magical about creating a novel. What is your favourite part of creating a novel? Are you a Happily-Ever-After kind of writer, a cheeky black moment maker, or a first-sight-and-first-kiss kind of writer?
Since most of my writing is in the mystery genre, my favorite part is when the protagonist figures out ‘who done it’. While they may not have all the answers to the puzzle, there is something magical when it comes together. Since I don’t write from an outline, I’ve actually changed the villain a number of times in my stories, based on what’s going on with the characters. Sometimes, even I’m surprised at who the villain is.