Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I majored in English at Columbia, went on to medical school at Northwestern and always wanted to write. I’m an academic physician, spending most of my career at Stony Brook, on Long Island, where I rose to the rank of Professor and Vice-Chairman for Administration, Department of Anesthesiology.
My first book was Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future. It was published in 2001 and received excellent reviews from Science Fiction Chronicle, InfinityPlus, Scavenger’s Newsletter and many others. I followed Edward Maret with Surgical Risk, the first in the Kurtz and Barent mystery series. To date, I have published two science fiction novels, three science fiction short stories and three mystery novels. The Game Players of Meridien is the first in what is projected to be a seven book science fiction series, The Chronicles of the Second Interstellar Empire of Mankind. It will be published on December 16, 2017. The second book in the series is entitled The City of Ashes and will be released in January, 2018.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Game Players of Meridien: Chronicles of the Second Empire. It was inspired by the books that I’ve loved the most by authors such as Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and Robert Reed.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nope. I write pretty regularly, basically every morning. I’ve been programmed from a lifetime of getting up early and having to be in an OR by 7 AM. I’m still up before seven, though I no longer have to. I make a cup of coffee or tea and sit down at the computer. I’ve taken the advice of such authors as Lawrence Block and Robert B. Parker to heart. Don’t get up until you’ve written your quota for the day. For me, that’s 500 words. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m always thinking of what comes next, so when I sit down to write, it usually flows pretty easily. 500 words a day comes to at least two novels a year, which is pretty decent production.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The first author I loved as a kid was Edgar Rice Burroughs. I went on to read Burrough’s contemporaries, like Otis Adelbert Kline and Edwin Arnold. Later, it was all the sci fi greats, particularly E. E. “Doc” Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, A. E. Van Vogt, James Schmitz and John W. Campbell. Later, it was Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dorothy Dunnett, Robert B. Parker, John Sandford and a bunch of others.
What are you working on now?
The Chronicles of the Second Interstellar Empire of Mankind. The first is complete, the second, third and fourth are almost complete. I’m finishing up the fourth in the Kurtz and Barent mystery series, The Chairmen, and after that, I plan on completing the science fiction series and then writing more mysteries.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Despite the fact that I’ve been writing and publishing for many years, I’ve only gotten into epublication in the last year, so I’m still feeling my way. I’ve had good result with Amazon ads (AMS). I’m doing what I can on Facebook and I’m now exploring promotional sites like Awesome Gang and Speculative Fiction Showcase.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Treat it like a craft, not a calling. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Do it on a regular basis on a schedule that works for you. Don’t make excuses.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It’s probably the advice that I gave above. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the whole thing. Novels don’t get written in a day. You have to write on a regular basis, not necessarily every day, but you have to do it. Don’t sit down and write for a set period of time, because it’s too easy to sit there and produce nothing if the muse doesn’t make an appearance that day. Sit down and determine in advance that you’re not going to get up until you’ve completed a minimum amount of work. For Lawrence Block, it was 5 pages a day. I believe Robert B. Parker also wrote 5 pages a day. For me, it’s only 500 words, but that’s enough to produce at least two books a year if you stick at it.
What are you reading now?
Right now, I love Ilona Andrews, Ben Aaronovitch, Daniel O’Malley and a bunch of others. I’ve read and re-read The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett and I love Guy Gavriel Kay.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Keep doing what I’m doing. Write, publish and try to build a readership. Science fiction, mysteries and possibly fantasy in the future.
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?
Are we talking entertainment, writing, or survival? W. H. Auden said the Dictionary. I’ll go along with him on that. For the rest, a field guide to edible plants or how to catch fish with my bare hands. If I’m talking entertainment, the collected works of Roger Zelazny and the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett would keep me going for a long time.