Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I began writing professionally in the 1990s, as a features writer for Gig Magazine. My first book, “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents,” won six national awards, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named it a “Top Ten Green Book.” My second book, “Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico,” won four national awards. I am also a popular college speaker. I have performed the stage-show version of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet on hundreds of campuses, in forty-five states. My latest book, “Time Is Irreverent,” is a science-fiction political-comedy. The switch in genres doesn’t mean a switch in ideals. Like all of my books, they reflect my values of protecting human rights and the environment—and I try to do it with a wry sense of humor.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, “Time Is Irreverent” was published on February 8, 2018. The book was inspired (hmm . . . is the the correct word?) by the election of Donald Trump. Getting lost in my writing was my way of escaping much of the depression that came from that election. I could hide out in my book, as my characters took over and tried to undo “President Handley’s” election via time travel. It was also a way for me to show what a future United States might look like if the far-right accomplished the most radical aspects of their agenda.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I often write twelve or more hours a day. I have a special writing room, with a beautiful view of the mountains. Then, at night, I turn off the lights and write by candlelight. My lighted computer keyboard makes that possible. I type amazingly fast, using only a few fingers at a time.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Rick Gualtieri’s “Bill The Vampire” series cracks me up. He’s helped me release my inner snark. Another favorite is Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”
What are you working on now?
I am 15,000 words into the sequel to “Time Is Irreverent.”
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The best thing I ever did was turn my first book, “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents” into a live stage show that I perform at colleges. I am in my eleventh year of doing that and have sold countless books after my shows. Because my new book, “Time Is Irreverent,” is fiction, I’m changing my promotion methods and doing much more on-line, buying ads, working social media, etc.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Hire an experienced editor. This is especially important if you want to get a publishing deal. Don’t send anything out that hasn’t been edited first. You must assume that no one at a publishing company has the ability to think outside-the-box and imagine just how good your book will be once it’s edited. And if you publish independently, you must have a professional edit your work. A poorly edited book reflects not only on yourself, but on other indie authors as well.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Fucked ’em! They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading “Let’s Get Digital” by David Gaughran. It’s one of the few indie publishing advice books that I can recommend. I also appreciated that the author didn’t just use his book to sell something else.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The sequel to “Time Is Irreverent”
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?
That’s a tough question, because I seldom re-read books and am always discovering new authors.