Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
In 2011, while working as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice.
What makes writing your passion?
A thirty-year career as a prosecutor gave me dozens of plot lines to explore as a mystery and legal thriller writer.
How long have you been writing?
Over ten years now.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Somewhat apprehensive, but it was well-received enough to earn a #1 bestseller badge in Amazon’s kindle store for mystery series novels. That has certainly kep me going, and the fifth book in the series won 1st place in Top Shelf Magazine in 2019 for general fiction.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
The lead character is somewhat autobiographical, and the ensemble is based upon detectives and agents with whom I worked over the years.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The bias by “traditional” houses and agents against self-published authors. If they had any vision, they’d treat self-published writers like the baseball scouts treat the minor leagues. It’s an untapped resource that would save them from reading query letters and taking gambles on unproven talent, bu they seem to be stuck with their 19th century methodology.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I’ve never had one.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I enjoy bringing realism to the crime drama genre. No Hollywood stunts in my books. As for new authors, the old advice of write what you know still rings true, and if you don’t know the subject matter, research it until you do and can address it with credibility.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Patience, kid, patience.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I glance at them. If there’s constructive criticism to be found in a negative one, I try to grow from it. If it’s just a hit piece because of bias or ignorance, I ignore it.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
The best feeling I get is when I get a review from another law enforcement professional saying, “Finally! Someone got it right!” That’s when I feel like I’ve done my job. Thankfully, I’ve gotten a lot of those.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
There’s something real and historical in almost every one of my books. I use real cases, real investigations, even real trial transcripts in them, changing the names, of course, to protect the innocent (and the guilty).
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Jeff Trask is an autobiographical character, to a degree. We share a lot of experiences. I just wish I’d been as good as he is. He seems to have learned from my mistakes.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
It certainly can be. While a good cover can attract a potential reader, it’s just as likely that a bad or cartoonish cover can repel one.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Happy to do both.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Michael Connelly and W.E.B. Griffin write books that appeal to me, both for their writing ability and the realism in their novels.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
John Grisham was a classmate in law school. I don’t have to be that big. Owning half of Virginia would probably be a burden.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
A lot of them are younger. That could be a plus. Body parts seem to be running out of warranty.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Get a life
What would you say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy and learn from the series.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
Married, livin in the northwestern U.S. with my wife and three rescue pups. Two daughters and six grandchildren.
What is your day job if you have one?
Retired (except for writing).
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Silly old guy (senior) softball, and skiing.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Mostly. I was a small, sick kid, and got bullied a bit. I learned and grew from that, too.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not a singular one. I just kept coming home with war sories from work, and my wife kept telling me to write a book about them.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Focus and discipline. Kids should be challenged, not treated as fungible minds to be molded in a nationally-standardized, cookie cutter system.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Freedom, peace, and happiness for all.
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
No. It wouldn’t be a secret after that, would it?