Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a writer, speaker and consultant living in the Chicago area. I”m also a former stand-up comedian and corporate drone who now runs a successful consulting business and writes fiction to save his sanity. Needless to say, I’m a history geek, whose motto is “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Those who remember can’t do anything about it, but get to smile smugly and say ‘told you so’.”
In addition to my first novel, “The Count of the Sahara,” I’ve written 7 non-fiction books with riveting titles such as “6 Weeks to a Great Webinar,” and “Meet Like You Mean It- a Leader’s Guide to Painless and Productive Virtual Meetings,” and speak at conferences around the world.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My new novel is “The Count of the Sahara.” For years, I’ve been fascinated with the lead character, Count Byron de Prorok (google it, it’s worth the trip.) I’m sure a psychologist could tell you why I’m so fascinated with historical figures who have all the tools for greatness, and manage to screw everything up but I won’t dwell on it. I came across Byron’s books some years ago, and the story of his rise and fall has haunted me ever since.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to write in white hot sessions, cranking out a lot of pages at a time. My favorite thing is to write the chapter or scene in my head while doing something mundane like mowing the lawn or doing dishes, then when it’s all there dash to the computer to crank it out. I also do that by taking naps. Often my wife will find me laying down with my eyes closed, and I have to explain that I’m not napping… I’m getting Willy away from the Pinkertons. She looks at me like you just did.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The first book I was obsessed with was The Three Musketeers, then Kim and Treasure Island. When I read Hunter S Thompson in High School, though, it was all over.
What are you working on now?
Besides schlepping the new book, I’m working on an adventure story set during the second Crusade. If you know your history you can guess it doesn’t work out well for my characters.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
If I knew that, I’m sure I’d be doing it instead of talking to you! I have found Goodreads is a fine place to start, and Facebook allows me to cross-promote to my nonfiction audience.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just finish the first draft. Too many people have things half-started. I wrote The Count of the Sahara in 90 days or so…..well, the first draft anyway. Rewriting for me is way easier when you have a complete first draft to work from, otherwise you’re just reworking the same pages over and over again and not making progress.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
My old man taught me that 3 rights make a left too. Sometimes the obvious way isn’t the only way to get where you’re going. That’s true of writing as well. Does that sound sage enough?
What are you reading now?
I’m reading Galloglass part 1 by Seamus O’Griffin. Is that the coolest author name ever or what?
What’s next for you as a writer?
Continuing to blog and write in the business arena on Management-Issues.com and other places, and trying to finish my next 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?
Wow…. The Three Musketeers by Dumas, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, The Great White Shark Hunt by Hunter Thompson, and Infinite Jest, in case I need to club something to eat.
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