Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written over a dozen books, all available on Amazon. They include young adult/teen novels, fantasy novels, a science fiction novel, short stories in the horror genre, and historical novels–a Viking saga, “The Flame of the Sea”; an historical mystery set in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, “Death in the Old Dominion”; and a series of Westerns, An Adventure of the Old West, which, at present, includes “Good with a Gun” and “The Valley of the Shadow.”
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest novel is “The Valley of the Shadow,” which continues the saga of Bane Messenger, a bounty hunter-turned-sheriff. It is the second book in a projected three-volume series, An Adventure of the Old West. I was inspired to write this series in memory of my father, who was a devout Western fan who enjoyed both novels and movies in this genre. I also enjoy Westerns, especially the movies “The Shootist, “Pale Rider,” and “Tombstone” and the books of Louis L’Amour.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I probably stay at the keyboard too long.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve been influenced by many authors, including Paula Darnell, author of the DIY Diva Mysteries series (cozies); Louis L’Amour (Westerns); William Shakespeare (plays and poetry); Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, H. G. Wells (fantasy, science fiction, and horror); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie (mystery); O. Henry, Mark Twain, and Erma Bombeck (humor); Sherwood Anderson and Joyce Carol Oates (literary novels and short stories); James Patterson, Bentley Little, Stephen King, Dean Koontz (horror and thrillers); Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy (Christian novels).
What are you working on now?
Presently, I am plotting the third novel of my trilogy, An Adventure of the Old West. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but it will involve silver mining and end with a BANG! (unless I change everything before I start writing it).
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
So far, Twitter has worked fairly well. I am hoping that Awesome Gang and similar websites will help to increase my recognition and sales. (Thanks, by the way, for your FANTASTIC service!)
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Show, don’t tell. Make sure the incidents of your plot connect through cause-and-effect. Make each incident serve multiple functions, whenever possible. Interweave action, characterization, and character development.
Keep the action going. Minimize description. Keep dialogue tight and crisp. Never leave a dull moment; if your main character is by him- or herself, use this time to (briefly) share his or her thoughts and feelings about an important aspect of the plot with the reader. Minimize or eliminate flashbacks. End each chapter on a cliffhanger.
Structure your plot (check out Gustav Freytag and Vladimir Propp.) Read Mark Twain’s essay “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses. Study Aristotle’s “Poetics” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Philosophy of Composition.”
Proofread, edit, and revise at least three times, using a printed copy of your manuscript. Read both classic, literary authors and popular writers, past and present (and future).
Remember you are an entertainer, so entertain!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Probably “show, don’t tell” or “connect plot incidents through cause and effect.”
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading “Death by Design,” the second book in DIY Diva Mysteries series (cozies), which is SUPERB! I also enjoyed reading “The Last Gunfight,” a non-fiction examination of the Shootout at the O. K. Corral by Jeff Guinn–AWESOME!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I will finish my series, An Adventure in the Old West, before starting a new Western series with a new setting, a new cast of characters, and, of course, new plots. I may also launch a newsletter. There may be a humorous novel in there, too, somewhere, about office workers of 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?
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque by Edgar Allan Poe
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
The Riverside Edition of the Collected Works of William Shakespeare
Gary Pullman’s Social Media Links