Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a psychologist who has lived and worked in the U.S, Canada, England and Africa. I’ve lived life as an adventure, and had some unique experiences, good and bad, as a result. Including two years in a monastery and staring down the wrong end of an AK-47. I live in a little village in the boonies of snowy Western New York , where there are more cows than people. I write science fiction about what might be, to challenge readers’ fixed ideas in a way that will make them consider other possibilities, particularly about sentience, free will, and life after death.
And much of what I write is about things that are not what they seem, but might be. Psionics, multi-sensory human beings, telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, clairsentience, energy medicine, awareness and ongoing communication between the living and the dead as a fact of daily life, and how that might affect the life and philosophy of a world. (This may be the part where I say I have one piece of paper that says I’m a psychologist, and another that says I’m a medium).
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, Alvar’s Spear, asks the questions, “What if planets were the bodies of sentient beings?” It was inspired by what I saw as a great lack of awareness that sentience is more widespread than we appear to believe. And Carl Jung’s words, “The way out is through.” It’s about a sentient moon-planet who tasks a hybrid being, to become Alvar’s Spear, and save her from being turned into a fetid swamp by insectoid mutants. Meanwhile, the sentient spirits of his world and of its flora and fauna communicate with him about his destiny as Alvar’s Spear. Gar makes a perilous journey into the Forbidden Mountains with a pack of snow wolves–by going through what the staid Antal society considers crazy, he emerges as Alvar’s Spear. And does what he will.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have a unique writing method. I begin with an idea, flesh it out, do a plot sketch and (usually) a bare bones, one or two sentence, chapter by chapter outline, and then let the creative juices take me where they will.
The unique part is that I’m often actively involved with individuals from the other side of the veil called death in the process. So, with a little help from my friends, I write science fiction with a distinctly spiritualist theme.
I’m not trying to write best sellers, but meaningful, entertaining science fiction that gives you more than you bargained for. More than just an exciting page turner. Without any preaching, I weave in concepts of spiritualism and responsibility for one’s own actions that will be both interesting and thought-provoking.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh boy, I could go on and on. I devour books. And I owe much of what I learned to love to an astute New York City Librarian, who saw an eight-year old trying to take out adult books, sat me down, asked me to read to her, and discuss what I’d been reading,and promptly issued me and adult card.
But to create a short list that I will later regret leaving some favorite authors off: Evelyn Waugh, Thomas Merton, Rumi, e.e. cummings, Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Rimbaud, Ezra Pound, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Roger Zelazny, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein, Cordwainer Smith, Virginia Woolf, Robert Silverberg, A.E. Van Vogt, Joan Vinge, Walter M. MIller Jr.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a book called Witches’ Gambit, the prequel to the two books I’ve published. It’s about Aidan Ray, a high-powered attorney –and secret sixth-generation medium–in a dystopic, ultra-right wing America of the near future, who is visited by a deceased alien, Vitok. He tells her earth is about to be sent back to the biologic period, where slime will be the dominant species, by the Krieg. And told to make the hazardous journey by quantum intrusion to the planet Narr to defend earth in the Council Of The Seven Worlds.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use Goodreads and Facebook, and my own website to promote my books. I agree with the professionals who say Goodreads is the one mandatory site for writers. (It’s all readers). If you’re a reader as well as a writer—and you should be—you will find a world of new and old writing discussed there.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I believe self-publishing is a wave of the present that will become a tsunami. But it requires entirely more self-discipline than traditional publishing. I review Indie books professionally—have for four years now—and I have seen a great improvement in the general quality of the books I’m being asked to review. The wealth of unique ideas and approaches is, I believe, the Indie world’s greatest asset. Thoughts that would never make it past the hurdles of traditional publishing. Of course, there are also still too many slap-dash, poorly written, awfully edited books coming out.
So, first and foremost, hone your writing skills. Learn to write well. Then learn to write better. Read the books on technique. Find a writer’s group that writes more than it talks about writing—and ruthlessly harpoons any bloated whales you put on paper. Better to get constructive criticism from them than from readers who have plunked down their hard-earned money on your books and been disappointed by a lack of craftsmanship.
And, like it or not, Indie writers must learn how to market their books. To my mind this does not mean you need to be something you are not. In my experience, most fiction writers are introverts. So you have to find a way to remain who you are while getting the word out about your writing –
Preferably in a way you will be proud of when this short life on earth ends.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Stephen King is only one of the great authors who has said if you want to be a good writer you must become a great reader. I will add this—I believe the level of your writing raises or lowers to the level of your reading. If you want to write better, read masterful writing.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading an Indie book (that has to remain unnamed) for BlueInk Reviews. I’m also reading Bob Lee’s The Attempt, Lyra Shanti’s Shiva XIV, E.P. Clark’s The Midnight Land, and Christina McMullin’s A S[pace Girl From Earth.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I will go on to write the rest of the Seven Worlds Series, spending time on each of the seven planets.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
This is a terrifying question. I can only say, it would probably be classical science fiction and one Thomas Merton book.