Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
Not until I was forty.
What makes writing your passion?
It's wonderful to escape into your own fiction. Even more wonderful if someone publishes it and people read and enjoy it. But the real joy is disappearing into that made up abyss.
How long have you been writing?
Well, if I told you that you'd know how old I am, wouldn't you?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I was excited beyond belief. I had written my first book and my agent got me a tao book deal. I remember thinking, "Holy crap! I've got to write a second book."
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
All of my characters are based on people I know or have met along the way. I find it amazing that no one ever seems to recognize themselves... Which is a good thing.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I'm sure, as with most writers and artists in general, it's self promotion. You just want to do the work and hope it flies on its own; but it doesn't.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
You can't just think, think, think. You need to write. Write the first word of a sentence and the second word will follow. Even if it's junk, you can always go back and change things, and 95% of the time you do.
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 the creative process too much to stop. Even in the days when I needed a "day job" I found a way to make it creative; thus it never became boring.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Tragically, my younger self never listened to anybody. That said, I might tell my younger self, "Don't join the Marine Corps. People are going to shoot at you with real bullets."
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read them, even the bad ones. The bad ones are always good for a laugh. I almost always start book events with, "Okay, this book isn't for everyone..."
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
As with the bad reviews, everything is subjective. It's always nice to get a good review, but it's always from the eye of the beholder.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Hah, almost everything I write is a takeoff from something I've witnessed or something in which I've participated. Of course you change the names, the settings, the stakes, but it all needs to be true to life.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
In my latest novel, "Careless Love," I can honestly say there's a piece of me in all the male characters; from the evil Ray, to the happy-go-luck Ronnie. They all reflect emotions that have at least floated through my head, though not necessarily acted out.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Well, hopefully the cover gives the reader some insight as to what they're going find in the book. But if the cover doesn't pop a reader isn't going to look at the inside.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking with readers, but to be fair, I love talking to anyone. I walk through life posting this disclaimer - Be careful what you say, you may end up in a book some day.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I was an actor for many years. I've been in shows where fans wait outside the stage door asking for autographs. I find that a little unsettling. I don't wan't people to think I'm any different than they are.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Tom Wolfe. I admire the research he puts into his books, and his writing is flawless. Though I have to admit I'm a big fan of writers who interject a healthy dose of humor into their work, Carl Hiaasen, Elmore leonard, Donald Westlake, etc.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
After a book is published I really feel no ownership. It's out there, it's on its own, and I've moved onto something else. I have a removed relationship with the past. You can't change it so leave it alone.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Maybe my wife; it would be interesting to see how her brain works.
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.
I have to admit I haven't had much experience with that. But again, I just laugh at that kind of thing. Get a life.
What would you say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy my books, but I totally understand that it may not be your thing.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I now live in Philadelphia, but as an actor I spent many years in New York & L.A. I'm married to the author, Cordelia Frances Biddle, have three grown step-children, and the current dog is a rescue named Pearlie.
What is your day job if you have one?
From my website - Over the years I have worked professionally at the following occupations:
Actor, Bartender, Brick Layer, Bus Boy, Cab Driver, Carpenter, Car Wash Guy, Court Deposition Reader, Crossword Puzzle Creator, Darkroom Technician, Director, Dishwasher, Doorman, Election Day Clerk, Film P.A., Film A.D., Jackhammer Operator, Landscape Designer, Maitre d', Model, Motorcycle Salesman, Painter, Photographer, Pot-washer, Short Order Cook, Stage Manager, Telemarketer, Tour Guide, U. S. Marine, Voice-over Artist, Waiter, Wallpaper Hanger, Welder, and Writer.
Currently, though it's not really a "day job," I give school groups tours of Historic Philadelphia.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Write & walk the dog.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I grew up above the family restaurant; country inn really. It was a crazy place; lots of drinking, people shacking up, larger than life characters strolling through on a daily basis. Every day it was something new. There was no structure; I love it.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Although I didn't start writing until twenty years after the fact, my combat experience as a Marine in Vietnam had always been boiling to get out. With "Careless Love" I was finally able to express what I'd been feeling for decades.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Nothing unpublished, but I have a new book due in 2023, "Piece of Cake." It's a thriller set in Panama in 1999 as the U.S. is preparing to torn the canal over to the Panamanians. It will also be published by Vine Leaves Pesss.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Grab 'em while they're young. Early education is critical.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Peace on earth.
An end to poverty.
Equality to all.
(Not too much)
What is your favorite music?
I'm kinda stuck in the 70's, though I do love the Philadelphia Orchestra and attend this performances regularly.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I have a tattoo of a snake that can only be seen if I remove my shorts. Not a real secret; my wife know it's there.