Book Name and Description: I have over 45 out there and topics include dinosaurs, mash-ups, crime novels, apoc, zombies, and anything horror. Psychological horror and extreme.
What gave you the idea for (your book)?
I get ideas from just words or images that no one really notices, but they click with
me. I had one idea from the words “Iced coffee”, and it became a novel. I watch a lot of crime shows and horror and think “What if….” And sometimes I write from that. One novel came from a true story about a woman who was rescued by a man on a tractor, and it exploded in my head. I get entire books at once and then follow the characters and see where they go and what they do. Characters decide the endings, and I am not always happy, but what can I do?
One book…I was listening to Santana and Rob Thomas sing Smooth. I listened about 10 times and had the novel totally in my head, from start to almost finish. At the end of Smooth, I let the characters direct me. A song by Duran Duran got me into vampire westerns and a vampire Helen of Troy/Sparta.
When a word or image hits me, it is usually the entire book but lacking an ending. I like that because I never know how things will end, and it’s always a surprise. Characters can really mess with a book when they become alive.
What got you into writing horror?
My mom got books of the month and I devoured them. I discovered Ira Levin (Best known for Rosemary’s Baby) and then Dean Koontz. I found that within horror as a genre, I could write anything. It’s was wide open (and still is). I found that science and history worked into horror perfectly. I think horror picked me; I didn’t pick it.
How long have you been writing?
Seriously since I was about 13. Kids laughed at me for wanting to be a writer, but I guess I showed them! I needed time and wrote for years and years while I matured. I was published in my late forties. Severed Press took a 9 book series and contracted me for many more.
Tell us about your past books and stories?
I have a few shorts stories but they are difficult for me. Novels…I have written all kinds of books. My favorites are Alice and Friends, When We Were 8, and The Trident. In each, I deal with huge casts of characters and have been told that is one of my strengths. I have a fun crime series with a profiler named Virgil McLendon that I love. My dinosaurs cover two series; one is based on German scientists and Norse beliefs and the other is more Twilight Zone oriented. I have a mash up with Alice and Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno.
I have been known to act out certain scenes to get them right. I once fell out of a Jeep Wrangler at midnight so I could get the body positions right for my book. I never write miracles that save a character and at times, that is not what I planned, but they always get into trouble!
I did write a short story in memory of my father. It takes place at a supposedly haunted hotel that my brother stayed in. He told me his story and it became a short story that won a few things and is a favorite of mine. I also wrote for an anthology that wanted zombies, and I went with kittens as the theme and it is a favorite of mine as well. Then there is the Lovecraftian story of the werewolf…
What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like?
I either write thousands of words at one time or I skip days. It is feast or famine for me. When I am into a novel, I sometimes work 18 hours at a time. I once put out 7-8 books a year with a great team of editors, but now, I write less since I broke my shoulder and hand and had to learn to type all over again.
What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why?
Swan Song by McCammon, anything by Levin, Tryon, Jennings. I like historical horror.
What are you doing next?
Maybe a thriller that is very extreme; it will have a nasty turn for sure. And some backwoods-type guys. Fairly large cast of characters.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Find a traditional publisher. Wait until you are accepted no matter how long it takes. Be modest and kind. Brand your name in a positive way. If you are a jerk on social media, your name will be remembered in a bad way and you won’t sell books. Be an okay person. Don’t expect to get wealthy or write full time; that is often not possible.