Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I write novels in historical fiction and adventure/travel. My six novels have collectively won eight national awards. In my twenties, I completed ten, six-month trips abroad, and crossed close to 100 countries, during these years I wrote travel articles, poetry, and filled thirty journals. My writing career sprang out of that jumbled collection of words.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Sirens of Oak Creek came out of a desire to explain some of the myths of the Verde Valley (Arizona) and try to combine them with the recorded history. This historical mystery spans 1,200 years and is told through the eyes of eight different women.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I think about a book for at least a year before I write it. I like to get in a groove where I write a chapter each month, some months that’s barely enough, other months I find myself using the extra time to add things to the story.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Bruce Chatwin was the first author who really gripped me. He wrote about what he saw when traveling, and wasn’t your average tourist. Formerly, he was an art critic who woke up temporarily blinded. His doctor recommended looking at horizons, and he spent the rest of his life traveling with nomads.
What are you working on now?
A novella entitled, The Gaze of an Ape, which connects six different experiences I’ve had with apes, orangutans and gibbons.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Amazon and Kindle.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Live a big life and you’ll never lack for things to write about.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Learn to let criticism wash through you. Let it sit for a while, then try to pull out the useful aspects and ditch the rest.
What are you reading now?
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m doing a huge push of all six novels (over the next six months), and after that I want to focus on finding an agent while I work casually on a long novel.
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?
Okay, the smart answer would be books about survival, maybe how to build a boat from coconut trees or what to eat, but I think your talking about literature so you don’t go crazy. If that’s what you are asking: A collection of Whitman, one of Steinbeck, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
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