Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am someone who finally completed a novel after many years. I named my book “The Twilight Tsunami” before the popular book “Twilight” was ever heard of. And I named my main character “Grey” before “Shades of Grey” ever came out. I was shocked by the ensuing similarities, but I learned an important lesson: You cannot sit on your creativity and mull over your need for perfection or your need to overcome self-douts. Creativity moves like a river, always flowing, going by other places and other people. Everyone is entitled to draw from it.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
So, I told you about THE TWILIGHT TSUNAMI. But did I tell you how I came up with the title? I was looking over the ocean as the sun started to lower one evening. It was such an intimate moment for me, and I had a vision of my book. Besides, I have always loved the word “twilight.” It has a mystical, serene quality to it. Anyway, when the book TWILIGHT came out, I was shocked. Everything became twilight everywhere. And good for Stephenie Meyer for writing a blockbuster. She had no way of knowing that I felt like I had been hit over the head. But she taught me a lot about procrastination when TWILIGHT soared on the best selling lists. You have to keep moving forward with your creativity instead of sitting on it.
Now you know what inspired my title, but I didn’t tell you what inspired my book. I have worked with foster children, foster parents, and agencies referred by Child Protective Services. I have friends who worked in the Child Welfare system and I saw the enormous stress the system exerts on everyone in it. I felt it was my responsibility to write about it. But I wanted to do so in a fictional form like Charles Dickens did when he wrote about families that got put in prison after they couldn’t pay their debts. Of course, when anyone writes fiction, they need to sprinkle their writing with adventure, romance, fun, and a happy ending. I’ll admit, parts of my book are disturbing, but life is disturbing, especially when children are removed from their parents.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Oh my gosh, writing is like doing drugs without the side effects. I go to other worlds. I get to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, I get to correct things that are wrong in the world, and I get to live out fantasies that begin and end in my mind. I finally get to be a hero. The only problem is, like any addiction, it is hard to come back to reality. I forget to cook dinner for my family, I let the grass grow over my head on the front lawn, and I run out of milk without caring. I might need a twelve-step program soon.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My hero is Charles Dickens. But there are so many great writers that have inspired me. I think when anyone reads a good book, they integrate some of the writing. That is the power of good writers. I have been deeply influenced by Somerset Maugham, William Faulkner, Virginia Wolf, Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemmingway, Anne Sexton, and Leo Tolstoy. I cannot forget Dostoevsky, who had a bone-chilling, terrifying effect on me as a teenager. As a result of my trauma, I see his influence in my writing. I think part of his power as a writer was reaching into the subconscious of his readers and triggering primal fears about existence. He was the Stephen King of Russia. He disturbed generations with his indomitable genius.
What are you working on now?
I have completed a book of short stories. I was going to name it THE BULLS IN HOUSTON.
However, I changed the title to ESCAPING A BLUE BLOOD MOON. The book is full of stories about hitchhiking, jumping freight trains, working in Spain, hunting down sex-traffickers, and fleeing dangers all over the world.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Reaching out to supportive places like this site helps. For me, trying to promote my book is like walking around in a maze with a blindfold on. I’m still bumping into things.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes, join with other writers for support. Writing can be lonely, and often, writers are not understood by mainstream society, although that is changing. Go to conferences, visit writers’ blogs, join Facebook groups and trade skills with other writers.
I have two writers’ Facebook groups: Global Writers for World Peace and The Writers Exchange Board. You are welcome to join them. Promote your book on the global peace site and ask for what you need on the exchange board. My biggest advice to you is: don’t be afraid to ask. I just saw a great saying somewhere: “The life you dream of is lying just beyond your fears.”
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t take it personally.
What are you reading now?
I have been reviewing books lately. I like to help writers when I can. I just finished DARKER DEMONS by Beth McCue and MY SUPERNATURAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE ORANGE BEING by Hayley Bi. They are both fun books. I think the greatest respect you can give writers is to read their books.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Do we ever really know what is next? Hopefully, more books. I just started a book about a young person who gets trapped by his search for a life full of money in New York. Often, such a search can lead to wrong turns, wrong deeds, and the consequences of corruption, especially in New York, where the pressure to be somebody is so strong. Finally, when this young person realizes after years of glitz and gambling that he really wants a life of simplicity, to wake up to a life of true passion, fate steps in to steer his course according to the actions of his life at that point.
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?
Heck with that. I would take a laptop and keep downloading kindle unlimited books. If no internet were available on that island, I would write my own damn book on palm fronds.