I have fourteen novels out right now but I’ll choose my latest one, Sarah’s Secret. It was a difficult story for me to write mainly because it is so personal. Sarah was molested as a young girl. Her family refused to address the issue. I’ve been there so I wrote about it. If there is anything to be learned from Sarah’s story and my own it’s that one should never ignore the courage it takes for anyone, especially a child to come forward. It isn’t an easy thing. You need support. Sarah didn’t find it in her family and it made it more difficult to heal. Backlash from those who don’t know how to deal with such taboo issues only make it worse for the molested. The message is sent “We don’t care. Deal with it.” I realize it’s easier for people to live in denial and look the other way but it isn’t
easy for the person molested to live with it.
2. When did you take up writing?
I began writing song lyrics when I was six years old, short stories as a preteen. I wrote my first novel, Against All Odds: The Ruby Princess when I was fourteen years old. Once I began writing it was difficult to
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
I try to place my characters in settings that will force them to grow. For example, Elijah in Sarah’s Secret is angry with God because his family died. He is stuck in Afghanistan as a U.S. soldier. He is surrounded by death daily therefore he is forced to deal with his issue. If a character is missing someone I might write them resting under a willow tree, etc. Settings can make all the difference in the world.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Oh boy. Haha. That’s a toughie. Maybe Elijah Ryan. While I admire Sarah’s character and courage, Elijah is physically strong as well. He leads his troops in a hot desert yet he is essentially alone in the world. I admire our U.S. troops a lot. I wanted to join the service a few years ago and was disappointed when it didn’t follow through but I suppose God has his purpose for everything.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
That would be to quote my friend, artist, and children’s author, Mike P. Maness. “Publish yourself.” It was a revolutionary idea that I could publish independently instead of waiting for twenty plus years for a publisher’s offer or in hopes of an agent stumbling over me. Then again, author Ey Wade helped me by pointing me in the direction of other authors that have been where I am and come out solid. She also introduced me to publishing e-readers which has been a bigger success than my paperback copies.
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I try to handle regular day to day e-mails, contacts, marketing, etc. first thing in the morning. After that I read other works that I find inspirational. I’m one of those strange authors that can’t force myself to write. If the words hit me at 3 a.m. then I’ll be up for hours typing away on my HP otherwise it doesn’t do much good. I find the less I have to do in a day the freer my mind is and I am more able to write. For that reason I tend to be able to write on weekends.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
I develop the main plot before I write. As far as subplots go I generate those while I’m writing. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with ideas so I have to write them down quickly when that happens.
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
Tuck Everlasting, NatalieBabbitt
Somewhere in Time, Richard Matheson
The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks
The poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Funny how my favorite books don’t always match with the genres I write.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
The tentative title is “What Am I?” It’s about a man who remembers life in the Guelph (what the Jews refer to as the place of unborn souls) before his soul was sent to earth. He lives his life peacefully on earth but his soul longs for the home he remembers. He longs for one soul he knew while in the Guelph but doesn’t know how to find her. It’s a very challenging piece for me. There aren’t many published works similar to this one so I feel like it’s in a new field since it’s fiction.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
Pair up with other published authors. Train under them. Get to know them. Learn what works and what doesn’t.
Excerpt from Sarah’s Secret:
Elijah stilled himself. Once he had been eighteen years old. He
was just a kid full of ideas and dreams, dreams of a peaceful world. Ideas of
protecting home and making everyone he ever cared about proud. And they would
have been proud if they were still alive. Elijah swallowed hard as the memory of
home penetrated his senses. They were bittersweet memories of his father playing
catch with him. His mother was gone, killed by a drunk driver when she and his
father were bringing Elijah’s birthday cake home. Somehow his father managed to
survive. Elijah was seven years old. Guilt engulfed him just for a moment and
just like boot camp, Elijah pushed himself through the pain and focused on his
dad. He’d been bound to a wheelchair as a result of the accident. There wasn’t
happiness and smiles that day, no mother to share the birthday cake with. There
was just emptiness. It didn’t matter how many years passed since the day he lost
his mother. Elijah could still see the ache in his father’s eyes. He’d never
forget the look of desperation, not as long as he lived. It was something Elijah
grew accustomed to seeing in Afghanistan. Soldiers fighting for freedom,
fighting to protect the country they honored and the family they loved while
being racked with desperation to return to them. It was a desperation to
survive. Everyone in the desert had something to live for. The terrorists had
their dreams for murdering innocent lives in the name of their god. They were
determined to bring down the“infidel.” Elijah’s buddies had their dreams to get
the job done and return home to their wives and kids. But Elijah had no one to
go home to. And so he fought.
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