On this first Friday in December, I pick up this week’s featured author and hope we’re going someplace warm. Florida. The Yucatan. Arizona.
“Nope, put on some sweats, we’re going for a run,” he says.
“Uh, okay. Where are we going to run.”
“Along Lake Michigan near Burnham Harbor.”
“Chicago? In December? Listen, I hear New Orleans is just about perfect. We could run along the riverwalk by the Mississippi, eat soft shelled crab…” I sigh, because I know I’m going to be jogging in Chicago.
At least I’m able to get in a great interview…
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’m hardly the MOST fascinating person, since I live in Fredericksburg, VA, an historic Civil War town resting on the banks of the Rappahannock River. Over the years, George Washington and other luminaries have called this city home. Presently, many VIPs call Fred (as it’s known locally) home. And while I’ve lived an interesting life—to wit, former military, Chicago police officer, and FBI agent, it doesn’t elevate me to the level of most fascinating.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was nearly killed in a shooting on Friday the 13th.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as an Arctic explorer?
For one, the Arctic is much too cold for me. Becoming a writer was an extension of my experiences in law enforcement. I had so many stories floating around in my mind that it seemed natural to put them to paper. I don’t write LE stories exclusively, however, it seems the police always have a part in the stories I write—including short stories and poetry.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Their experiences with Christ are the basis for mankind’s faith, hope, and love.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book be great company?
My latest offering, The Storm, is a compelling read that features a woman who is struck by lightning while out for a run. Although not critically injured, it does cause her to lose her memory, including that of her husband, relatives, and friends. Little does she realize that before the incident she was about to make a major decision regarding her ten year marriage.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I’m a panster (I write by the seat of my pants). While I do write a synopsis of my intended story, as well as a beginning list of my protagonist(s) and antagonist, I more fully develop the story and add additional characters as needed. I use both real venues and imaginary ones. Rarely do I have to Google locations since I have been to 45 states in our nation.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
If someone came to me with that question, my advice is to start writing. When you continue to procrastinate, the task becomes exponentially more arduous and daunting, leaving you to throw your hands up in the air and abandon the project. Put words on paper, and the story will likely unfold in front of you.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Ideas are the stepping-stone to happiness and success—but only if you take the next step. Some ideas are brilliant; other ideas lack merit. However, if you fail to follow through you will never know which is which.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I stay busy with writing book reviews for the New York Journal of Books, and video scripts for The William McLain Foundation, honoring fallen first responders and military. I also write short stories and poetry, some of which have been published in anthologies. I’m also a freelance writer and photographer.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?