How often do you write? And when do you write?
I try to write two sessions a day, two hours each—that’s about as long as I can concentrate without my writing degrading. Morning is best . . . or after a nap.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
I usually conceive of a new book as a series of scenes, daydreaming about them while I finish work on the prior novel. I maintain a file for the new novel and do a rough draft of these scenes—a very rough draft, what some people call “riff writing” like improvisation in jazz. The file can get pretty chaotic. Every now and then I make a feeble attempt to organize it (when I’m finishing up a novel, I try to avoid distractions and stay focused on getting it out to the publisher). By the time I’m ready to start the new novel, I usually have about 20,000 words of loosely connected prose—20-25% of the eventual word count but probably 80% of the novel’s essence. I take a couple of months to read, edit and organize that file into a dense plot outline. Then I start a new file from scratch, cutting and pasting prose as appropriate.
It’s pretty messy in the early going, but I feel I need that amount of writing to get to know the characters and live in the story.
As far as a schedule, I like to set deadlines to complete a draft. I only make them about half the time, but they still help motivate me.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?
Motivating myself to write is easy when the ideas are flowing. Editing takes more persistence, an intense stubbornness to get the words right.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
We may or may not write stories about everyday people, but all successful novels write about a time in the protagonist’s life that is most intense—something in the real world we experience only a few instants in a lifetime. I call these moments the “Rocky moments”, where at the end of the second movie after Rocky finally defeats Apollo Creed, he shouts out: “Next to the birth of my son, this is the greatest moment of my life.” People identify with a character because they want to go along for that ride. By reading a good book, we can experience that intensity far more often—the sense of living life to its fullest—than we ever could in the real world.
Are you a city slicker or a country lover?
I was born and raised in the city but have always loved hiking in the outdoors. So I’d have to say both.
WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Book 2013 Bronze Award Winner, Drama Category -Fiction
A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…
The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse–and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.
In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission–a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory–and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.
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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG