Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing songs when I was twelve, and that same year I wrote and published a sports newspaper. I wrote a play at 15 and film scripts in college, all the while continuing to write songs. Throughout my life I've written newspaper & magazine articles and columns, but it wasn't until I was 77 years old that my first novel was published.
What makes writing your passion?
I enjoy the process of writing and I love to interact with the characters who I "meet" when they and the story they are in play out in my brain like a movie. Writing is something I find to be enjoyable, and it comes somewhat easily to me.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was twelve, but I started writing fiction in 2005 when I was 61 years old.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It was very much the same feeling I had when records I produced were released.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
They just appear in my head and they, and the story, play out like a movie which I then capture for a reader on my computer. Often I will not have the specific characters but rather the story, and then I go and flesh out the characters and who they are.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I rarely have it, but when I do, I walk away from whatever I'm writing and start writing something else. Then I come back to whatever I had the block about and see if it's even worth continuing or if the block was because there was no good place to go with the story.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I keep going because I continually have stories playing in my head that I want to capture, and because I enjoy the process of writing. My advice is: write, write and write more. Writers write. Also, hone your craft, find your "voice" and write what you're good at writing.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read them all. When there is a bad review, I read it to see if I can learn something from it that will make me a better writer, and then I never read it again. I find it easy to deal with bad reviews knowing that there's no book that everyone has universally liked, and that some of the biggest books had some bad reviews. Also, some bad reviews are from trolls who probably do it just because they're not very nice people.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Elation. Confirmation. Happiness. Pleasure.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. For example I won a crossbow competition at a British castle in the mid-nineties, and have incorporated a crossbow into the second Scorbion novel that I just finished writing. I have incorporated some other real life events in other unpublished novels I've written too.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I based none of my characters on me, but there's a bit of me in Scorbion (problem solving, fairness, lover of art) and in Thelma Smith, the bookshop owner in the Scorbion books (unconventional, well read lover of books, involved in social causes).
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
No. The book cover is extremely important but if the book inside isn't as good as the cover then it's a bigger problem than if it was the other way around.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I connect with most through social media and email. I have chats and general conversations. I am open to speaking with my readers, but mostly it's through the written word.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's very satisfying and gratifying. I'm not yet at a level where I'm being recognized in public for my writing, but a lot of people have praised and appreciated my works - and that feels great!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I don't have just one. Historically I have loved Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Chester Himes, Robert B. Parker, Clive Cussler, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Garner, Carlos Riuiz Zafron, Ian Fleming. I like mystery, humor and action.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Any of the mystery greats. Pick one.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I have done some rewriting of books I've written that are unpublished as of yet, but I'm perfectly happy with Scorbion.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
No one. I like who I am and what I'm writing. The series I wish I had written was Spenser For Hire by Robert B. Parker.
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, a*hole.
What would you say to your readers?
I truly hope that you like what I've written, and I hope that you were able to escape from the stresses of today's world while reading the book and being taken back to a kinder, gentler time with likable characters, interesting mysteries and humor.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in Ashland, Oregon since 2003. Before that I lived in the NYC area all my life. I am married, have two sons, two grandkids, and a Havanese dog. I'm 77 years old (78 in July).
What is your day job if you have one?
I am head of new business development for Blackstone Publishing & Audio.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Write, play and record music. Read. Play video games. Watch TV & film. Get together with friends. Read.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Mostly. I am an only child, my parents doted on me, and were supportive of everything I did. I had good close friends, and loved playing in bands.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Nope. Writing just came to me one day and I did it.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Lucky Lenny & Hector Go To Vegas is a magical realism story about a road trip two friends take to Las Vegas to win enough money for one of them to be able to buy a house. They meet some interesting characters along the way, including a hippie-like young woman who claims to be able to "read" cards from their backs.
Tourists From The 26th Dimension is a science fiction story about two aliens who come to Earth from a different dimension (for a vacation) and interact with a human telling him about what life is like in the other dimensions while they are being pursued by a governmental agency.
The Eye of Jupiter is a science fiction musical; that I've co-written and is currently being shopped by my agent. It's about an Earthling who tries to defeat a savage intergalactic overlord who has invaded our solar system and taken all humans prisoner (at least those left alive after he slaughtered most of them). It's somewhat like what Star Wars might be as a musical.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Common sense, impartiality, music and literature education.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Good health for me, my wife and our extended family. A world at peace in which everyone was treated the same (with respect and dignity). Fame as an author.
What is your favorite music?
Rock and Roll, followed by the blues. I do love world music and symphonic music too.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I'm inherently shy, but do a good job of covering that up.