Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No, not at all. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but the idea of writing a book didn’t occur to me until after I retired from teaching. I tried a couple of books aimed at middle-school readers, and then my wife suggested I write a book for adults. As usual, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.
Are there any authors whose works just grabbed you at first reading?
Three names come to mind. When I was about sixteen, my father introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves novels, and I couldn’t get enough of those characters. Then in 1974, I came across The Beowulf Manuscript, the first Spenser novel. I was immediately hooked on anything by Robert B. Parker. Finally, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes was so beautifully written, I was sure I would love anything else he wrote, which turned out to be exactly the case.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I pretty much zipped through The Backup Husband in about six months, and Small Talk, my serial killer novel, which will be available on Amazon very soon, took just a bit longer. Most of my other books, however, come in at about a year or so.
Are you a disciplined writer, one who wants to write so many words or pages per day?
I’m a very organized person, but not necessarily disciplined in that way. Some days, I’ll write a whole chapter, which in my books is usually around 1200 words, but then I might not write another chapter for several days. However, one thing I’m always doing is making notes about characters, settings, dialogue, etc. My wife is incredibly understanding about being awakened at two in the morning when I turn on the light to get something down before I forget it.
Do you always know how a book will end when you begin writing it?
Unfortunately, no. Sometimes I start out with an ending in mind, but as I get deeper into my plot, I’ll realize that that ending won’t work. Sometimes, as was the case with The Backup Husband, the ending I envisioned works, but I’ll have to change the setting. And sometimes I simply have no idea how I’ll end a book. I just start writing and trust that somewhere along the way I’ll figure it out.
Any advice for new writers?
During the years I taught high school English, I had a poster on my classroom wall that read There is no such thing as good writing, just good rewriting. I think that’s excellent advice for all writers, new or otherwise.