Being the author of 13 novels, new writers and readers ask me a lot of questions. I’ve listed the top 7 and my answers below.
1. Where do you get your ideas?
This is probably the most common question any author gets asked. Often an idea comes to me completely out of nowhere. Sometimes it might be a short string of dialogue. Or a new character emerges when I am writing a scene in a novel and stands out so much that this character is worthy to have his/her own book. Forrest Wollinsky came into being that way. He was a minor character that came unexpectedly two-thirds of the way in Succubus: Shadows of the Beast. He held a huge presence and now has his own series.
The Predators of Darkness Series started from the very opening sentence: “Dropping a cat from the top of a ten-story office building was not the best way to remain hidden, but it was necessary.” (To note, it’s not a normal cat and the fall doesn’t harm him. He has become a favorite amongst series fans) Anyway, that sentence came to me in 1996 right after I had gone to bed. I immediately wrote it down because of its uniqueness. A few minutes later, the next two paragraphs came to me. But, I didn’t have a plot, characters, or much else to go with. To date, five novels have been written in this series with at least two more planned and the series spawned from the one sentence.
For ideas, I’ve never really had a dry spell, and sometimes I am writing three different novels at the same time until one emerges as the strongest. Then I know I need to concentrate on it and set the others aside.
2. Who is your favorite author and has inspired you the most?
I have numerous favorite authors. I read hundreds of books in grade school. When I was about twelve years old, I discovered The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. I was pulled into Amber in an incredible way and loved the sorcery of the world. This inspired me to write fantasy.
In 1993, after I met my wife, Christal, she introduced me to Dean Koontz’s novels. I had never heard of him and immediately after reading The Servants of Twilight, I was hooked on his writing style and my passion to write was reignited.
I love Stephen King’s short stories. Anne Rice’s The Mummy is also another favorite of mine. Laurell K. Hamilton’ Anita Blake series (1st 5 books). The list goes on and on.
3. Why do you write dark creepy books?
When I was little, my father bought all kinds of scary comics. I loved to read them. They were early influences. My older brothers and sister used to sit around and tell scary tales. We read the comics, too. I think the curiosity of wondering what might be hiding in the dark shadows at night nurtured my imagination. And other things my oldest brother and I experienced in the strange woods behind our house many years ago. These are things I will share at a later date, but the eeriness never left me. My brother still talks about them to this day.
4. Are any of your characters based upon yourself?
Bits of my personality probably flow through some of my characters, but mostly the characters are unique and their voices are their own.
5. What are your political/religious views?
Both of these topics are personal and sacred to me as they are to every individual. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to hold the highest respect for others in what they hold dear. It isn’t my place to alter anyone’s religious or political views. I won’t push my convictions on others, and likewise I appreciate the same in kind.
A lot of readers have drawn the conclusion of what I believe based upon what I write, and sadly, they are wrong. Never judge an author’s beliefs based upon characters or storylines because those are fictional and aren’t a mirror image of what we are.
6. If you could be any author, who would you be and why?
The first time I was asked this question, I thought it an odd question. I still do. I have no desire to be any other author or anyone except myself. I don’t envy other authors or covet their success. I am content with my writing abilities and the characters/novels I have been gifted to share with readers around the world.
7. Will you PLE-EE-AASE read my novel and give me feedback?
Um, no. I simply don’t have the spare time, especially when I am working on other paid projects as well as my own works.
A few years ago an author on Facebook contacted me out of the blue. The contact began as a ‘friend request’ and after I accepted, she wanted me to write a blurb for her book. A book I had not read. After I politely replied that I had not read the book, she promptly sent a PDF. The book needed a lot of editing and in the end I had to decline. I simply couldn’t write a review, and she took offense even though I politely explained why. However, she didn’t want critical advice. She wanted praise and acknowledgement and quickly turned a deaf ear and a blind eye while ‘unfriending’ me. Afterwards, it has become my unwritten policy that I do not accept unsolicited books.
Now, if you’re looking to hire an editor, that’s a different situation altogether. Do note, I am very selective in the projects I accept. One must submit a ten-page sample, so I can critique the author’s mastery level of grammar and syntax. At least if one is looking to hire an editor, he/she should be prepared to accept a critical analysis. After all, that’s what editors do and why writers seek them.
So these are some of the most common questions I get as an author. If you have any questions, please ask, and I’ll try to answer them.