Frequently Asked Questions
Q: “How do you come up with your stories?”
A: My answer is that my story lines can come from anywhere. Sometimes I hear something, or I see something is my everyday life, just like you do, and I say to myself, “That would make a great story line.” If I get serious about it, I start to work up a plot line and outline the conflict in the story, and the characters follow from there.
Q: “Where do your characters come from?”
A: My characters come from real life, not in the sense that they are real people, but they are usually pieced together from people I know. I often visualize the physical appearance, but the personality is based on someone I’ve done business with, or worked with, or dated (or wished I had), or even lived with. This is especially true with the smart-assed, sarcastic characters. I guess I know a lot of smart-assed, sarcastic people.
Q: “How long does it take to write a novel?”
A: The actual writing can be as little as a few months, but correcting or adjusting the plot line, and reviewing drafts of the manuscript can take two or three times that long. Making changes in the plot line is like throwing a stone into the middle of a pond: the ripple effect can be as big as the pond. Once you make a change, you have to make sure it is carried through to the end of the story. It’s better to get it right the first time.
Q: “Is anything in your stories biographical?”
A: Hardly. I’d like to be as noble and brave as my heroes. Actually, my heroes aren’t always brave in the sense of being fearless. Usually they’re scared shitless, or angry, and they just react to circumstances that cause them great pain, or grief, or some other great discomfort. I am consistent with one thing, though. All my heroes are just everyday people, with everyday jobs, and everyday worries, that are thrust into unexpected circumstances, and they rise to the occasion just as all of us imagine we would if we were in that situation.
Q: “Your settings are so real. Have you been to all these places?”
A: Only to the ones that are not very glamorous. My settings are real because I make a conscious effort to get the reader’s senses into the story. You can make a setting real by describing sounds, and smells, and by describing how something feels. And, you can do this by not using too many words. When I need the reader to know what time it is, I don’t need to tell them how to make the watch first.