Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and raised in Texas and am a fifth generation Texan. I am married and have four children and two grand children. I am a graduate of Sam Houston State University. After graduating from college with a Bachelors Degree, I made a career in law enforcement. After 30 years of policing, I knew it was time to retire. I have always been interested in writing, but never seemed to have the time. I didn’t take the plunge into creative writing until a couple of years ago. So I guess, as the old saying goes, it’s never too late. I recently completed my first novel and feel as if it is the culmination of all I have dreamed of. I have so many more ideas I want to explore and can hardly wait to complete my next project.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Secrets of Time” is my first novel. I consider it literary fiction, using modern realism. There is a mystery that draws the reader in but I also try to touch on many of the social issues that are so prevalent in society today. Much of the story and the characters within it were developed from personal experiences. I feel like there is a piece of me in all the characters of my book.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
It’s interesting how I wrote “Secrets of Time”. I just sat down one day in front of my computer, feeling the stirring of my creative juices, so to speak. I started to write and the story just flowed out of me. Strangely enough, it wasn’t even what I had originally planned to write. Each day, I would wake up and begin a new chapter, not even knowing for sure what was going to happen. I can remember feeling excited at the start of each day, wondering what would become of my characters and where the story would take me next. The rough draft of the manuscript was literally completed in a few weeks. The painful rewrites and self-editing took much longer. When I finally felt as though there was nothing else I could add or change, I took the next intimidating and nerve-racking step and had it published.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have been heavily influenced by the old classics and the great authors of the time. I suppose some of my favorites are Hemingway and Steinbeck. I like the down to earth characters and hardscrabble realism portrayed in their stories. Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird is an obvious influence. And, W. Somerset Maugham’s “The Razors Edge” is probably one of my most memorable reads. It tells the story of a man struggling to understand the true purpose of life while dismissing what others expect of him. I also like story tellers, like Louis L’amour. A prolific writer, his work seems simple and straightforward and yet his stories are enjoyable and give us a glimpse into America’s past. Another genre I favor is the spy novels from authors like Ludlum and John le Carré, who were marvelous at suspense. To summarize, I suppose I tend to gravitate towards the traditional classics because that is what I grew up with, and the great authors of that time set the standards that all of us are judged by today .
What are you working on now?
I have written a short story that has yet to be published. I have dabbled with some poetry and even submitted some work to writing competitions. However, I find that I am not completely comfortable with free verse, which does seem to dominate the contemporary landscape. Not to offend any poets, but I have to say, I am somewhat sympathetic to the words of the great Robert Frost, who once said, “I would as soon play tennis without a net as write free verse.”
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
As a new author, I feel comfortable saying, I have found that getting my book into the hands of the reader has been a much more difficult undertaking than I could ever have imagined. In some ways, it is even more challenging than writing a book. I came into the business from a very naive standpoint. It never dawned on me, how difficult the marketing piece would be. I am still struggling with this and have not yet come up with a viable solution that does not cost a great deal of money.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t try too hard. Let the story flow. Once you have it down on paper you can always make the changes later.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
A quote from Flannery O’Connor, “”I write to discover what I know.”
What are you reading now?
I am a history buff and I just finished, “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. It is a subject that we hear and read very little about. The book is written in a straightforward manner and gives a great perspective on how and why our country created its navy.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a couple of ideas for another book and a short story or two. I hope to get a project underway soon.
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?
Anything that can capture my interest and pull me into the story and the lives of the characters. I like books that provide food for thought and artful ways to look at issues from a new prospective. History and suspense are what I usually search for first. There is a wide variety of works I have already read and any of them would do. As far as anything I haven’t read, there is so much out there, I would be hard-pressed to choose.