Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I grow old. I grow old . . . No, not really, but I do honk at those rascal kids who drive like the world revolves around them; so yes, I’m a bit crotchety. I like to think of it as experienced, like I’ve got something to write about. Writing, I’ve always wanted to do it, claimed it early, like Dixon Ticonderoga yellow #2 on wide ruled paper early. I’ve pounded the manual keys of a Smith-Corona that Raymond Chandler might have used. I remember getting an electric – that was so cool – and I totally went nerd boy over a Brother Word Processor. Then I popped two-and-a-half large on an IBM and wow. You kids with your hundred dollar solid-state laptops – and do you want to know what totally impressed me the most? It was in House of Cards, season one where Zoe actually typed her stories on an IPhone, now that’s something. (But I digress.) Not to give off that I’m this total Luddite, I can text (but not a whole story) and I have a computer science degree that I earned in midlife by doing my HW at 3:00 in the morning. That’s how I pay the mortgages and stuff. In six to ten years I’ll be quitting the day job.
As to how many books I have written. As this wasn’t qualified by “good books” or “published books,” I’ve written a ton. My hard drive, or actually, my One Drive, is full of them. A few aren’t all that bad either. I hope to go through them now that I have more experience and see about putting some out there.
I write because I want to leave something behind when I check out; that is, something other than a messy garage and some half-finished home improvement projects. So, as long as the bus doesn’t hit me, there should be quite a few stories forthcoming, both new and revised from the past. But of course, some will never see the light of day, and that’s a blessing for all.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest at the time of this writing is also my first release, MURDEROUS JUSTICE, a full length crime thriller. What inspired it are the westerns I grew up reading and the ton of action, adventure, and suspense novels I’ve read since. James Patterson is a huge influencer, as noted by the short chapters. I like the flow of the pop, pop, pop. The theme in this work is about the nature of justice. Does vengeance equal justice, and if so, at what cost? And there lies the problem, right? A theme? Zane Gray wrote a book about revenge (actually, a huge trope in westerns) and in that one the guy is wronged by a group and he spends the rest of the novel going around killing them off. That was the basis for this, but as the story progressed – as is my problem – that nagging theme crept in. So this story, more than being a remake of a mindless revenge plot, comes with a twist I didn’t see coming until I wrote it. I assume my audience will either love it or hate it. If the book gives you an emotion, please share whichever one that is on Amazon. Thanks.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Unusual? I write hanging upside down like a bat. (kidding.) Unusual? I write early in the morning, like 5:00 o’clock early. I don’t think that’s too unusual though. Most writers with a day job have to find the time somewhere, and I’m shot in the evening. Of interest, I’m still in a dream state at this time, and I usually don’t remember my dreams; so later, when I go through to read a draft, I’m totally surprised – seriously, like whoa, I didn’t see that coming. I’m reading my own writing, and in addition to wondering what is going to happen next, occasionally, I’m kind of impressed by this guy.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My first influencer was Whinny the Pooh. I heard the author wrote stories about his son’s stuffed toys, so I wrote about my Teddy Bear. Other early inputs were the Hardy Boys (love those cliff hanger chapter endings) and then the westerns. Back in the 90s, when Grisham came onto the scene like a storm, he got me up in the middle of the night to read on. He was great in the day, as addictive as peanuts. I find him to be immensely readable, so I diagrammed some of his writing to see; and surprising to me, he’s boringly English 101, topic sentence and support it. Crazy, but maybe there’s really something to what my teachers were saying.
What are you working on now?
I have several thriller and crime genre novellas I’m in the process of finishing up for publication. 2018 should be a prolific year. Wrong Guy is about an alcoholic building contractor who becomes a target for spies. Girl With a Gun is about a passive-aggressive woman whose anger finally pops her cork – and flows through the barrel of a twenty-two. Runaway is the first in a series of three novellas about an urban cowboy hired to round up strays from the street, and he finds a special case. I am writing novellas now because I like the length. Fast, quick, to the point, plenty of action but still enough space for some characterization: this length can be read in a few hours. Whenever I look at an 800 page tome I think, I want to read a book, not marry it. Commitment issues, no doubt.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
awesomegang.com of course!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I don’t feel qualified to be handing out advice. Anything I might say isn’t original and can be found in any book on the subject: write every day, don’t self-edit your first draft, love words for their cadence and beauty, enjoy what you’re doing, it’s all about process, results may or may not come. And don’t forget to live life. You can’t write about the beauty of a sunset if you haven’t sat and enjoyed one. Be brave, put yourself into your work, say what you think. Don’t be shy. And, you know, stuff like that.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I’ve heard is: Stay Healthy
(not the same as stay thirsty, my friend.)
Especially important for writers because so many were wrecks in their personal life. Drinking and depression, let’s be real. Kerouac literally died with a whisky glass in hand at age 47. Fitzgerald, another life-long drinker, died at 44. Both Hemingway and Hunter S Thompson committed suicide. At least Steinbeck made it to 66 years old, not bad for a chronic smoker (but who didn’t smoke back in the day?)
Not to be morbid, but being the kind of artist that makes a name for himself can be unhealthy. So, eat right, limit the booze and cigs, and go for a jog now and then.
What are you reading now?
Right now my reading list rotates around a Kindle book about marketing, and the style guide, Sin and Syntax, which I five-starred at Amazon. What a great book about crafting real sentences. Of course, when I say a style guide is great, keep in mind I crush on Grammar Girl. (It’s herglasses.) I’m also reading a pulp from Hard Case Crime, and a Batman graphic novel. You didn’t ask about my TV, but I’m binging IZombie right now.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I wrote 50,000 words toward a zombie in space book for NaNoWriMo. That’s why I started watching IZombie, by the way. I grew up with Star Trek and have written a few books set in space with various forms of aliens. I will branch out from crime to space adventure as well, I think.
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?
If I were to be stranded on a desert island with only a few books . . . hmm . . . kind of like what would I choose for my last meal? Answer to that, a buffet. Or what’s your favorite beer? Answer to that, the one in hand.
But for the books, I’d have to choose things that could be read over and over and over again. Definitely would want the collected works of T.S. Eliot. That dude’s got rhythm. Let us go then, you and I, et al.
And then also something from the Bard. I’m sure I’d have time to digest the words as only time can allow. Why not go for the Oxford Complete Works, edited by Gary Taylor of FSU, the same folks who taught me computer science so well.
And then finally, something from Hemingway, the shorts. The man knew his business in short fiction.
And then finally (this time for real), a graphic novel. Tough decision, but I like looking at the pictures. Probably Arkham Asylum.
That being said, I’m glad I don’t have to decide; though, being stuck on a desert island is the only way I’d get to that overwhelming reading list – so not all bad.