Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
What makes writing your passion?
I enjoy entertaining readers and opening their minds to different viewpoints.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. And a celebration or two!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
They are an amalgam of my partner, myself, my daughters, and several people I have met and worked with throughout the world. In some cases, their genders, ethnicities, and races have been changed to tell my story.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Hmm. This could be a long answer, but my first and foremost issue is promotion. I've had almost a thousand reviews, and the overwhelming reaction is very positive, yet I can't crack the formula that moves my books up the bestseller lists.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
My writer's block is time. I have many interests, and simply getting the time to write is my main issue. Once my hands are on the keyboard, my imagination keeps me going.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I'll borrow Nike's slogan; "Just Do it!" There are plenty of ways to get started without spending money. It's not that hard. I learned how at 72 and have self-published three books in three formats. I'm happy to help people get started. Just send me a comment on my website.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Hmm. Another novella, at least! Read more and wide. Try new genres, different authors, and alternative viewpoints. I was lucky and by working and living in over 30 countries, I did a lot of that by accident.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes. It depends. If they complain about my comma placements, I ignore them. I truly believe that commas are an art form and should be used, first and foremost, to help get your meaning across. I try to write as I speak.
I take it constructively if someone has an issue with character development, plot flow, or something substantive.
And if a reader tells me that my fictional sci-fi situations aren't realistic, I chuckle.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Without a doubt, it feels good. I especially like the ones who "couldn't put the book down," "made them think," or "see things in a different way."
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Most of my friends who have read Final Notice feel that Vince and Trudi are really my partner and me. And the corgi, Miles, plays himself. Vince and Trudi are the main protagonists, so it was easier to establish a perspective that I was intimate with.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
In our digital world, I'm not sure about that. Very few readers comment on the cover. I think browsing is through keywords, as opposed to bookshelves. However, I do think it's an element to invest in.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I enjoy connecting with readers. I have a feeling, however, that they are disappointed. I'll tell an embarrassing story to illustrate why.
In high school, my interests were focused on sports and girls. Reading, writing, and math were things I did to be eligible to play sports. So, when we had to read Moby Dick, I was the first person the teacher called on to review it. I thought it was a story about a big white whale some guy was trying to catch. Symbolism was way above my head.
When I read some of my reviews or talk with a reader, they often have a lot loftier idea of what I was trying to say than I meant.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It feels good, but writing is a small part of my identity. I feel better when someone recognizes me as the guy who started the dog park.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
That's a tough one. There are so many, but if I had to choose one, it would be James Michener. I loved learning about history through his stories and outstanding research. In fact, he was an inspiration in my writing regarding research. Frequently I receive a compliment about my research and I thank him for that.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
My dream now is to adapt my books into a screenplay or two. There's been some interest, and I would love to see at least one of my books on the screen.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I would de-politicize Final Notice a bit, but otherwise, not really. I know that Final Notice is uncomfortable for readers of a particular political persuasion to read. And it also turns off some promotional opportunities.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Most of my favorites are either dead or my age, so let's just say any twenty-something author living in a democracy.
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 hope tomorrow is better for you." I actually feel sorry for them.
What would you say to your readers?
Read to enjoy, learn, and consider the ideas and perspectives.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My partner, Goldendoodle, and I live in Carpinteria, CA, a "throwback beach town." Before that, we lived in southwestern France, restoring a 500-year-old mill house. My "kids" have kids, and they are "rockin' it!"
What is your day job if you have one?
I'm mostly retired from my job as a management consultant.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Write, serve on a couple of non-profit boards, cook, and make my dog's life as good as I can!
Did you have a happy childhood?
Absolutely! Incredible freedom! Bikes, motor-scooters, motorcycles, and cars before there were traffic jams. Making our skateboards, making our own fun. Our own entertainment.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have a business book that's almost ready for editing and another work of fiction. The business book draws from my 50-plus years in business. Managing and consulting. The fiction one is a near-future thriller.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
1. Better and more accessible education for everyone, with affordable avenues to and through higher education.
2. More or better civics education. There are too many people who don't understand how our democracy works or should work.
3. Opportunities for more students to be exposed to the arts so we can discover new talent.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I guess world peace is for beauty contestants, but that has to be number one, followed by eliminating hunger and providing better education for all. That's all.
What is your favorite music?
Rock & roll, folk/Americana, classical, jazz, rap, and techno.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I'm the Cookie Monster!