I’m a novelist and student of the imagination living in Honolulu. Fantasies, visions, hallucinations or whatever we call those irrational powers that illuminate our inner life fascinate me. I’m particularly intrigued by the creative intelligence that scripts our dreams. And I love carrying this soulful energy outside my mind, into the one form that most precisely defines who we are: story.
What inspires you to write?
The short answer is that I’m inspired by the mystery of reality.
And here’s a wordy reply (and more precise): We are all fugitives. We have always been fugitives from the void. Whatever comfort, whatever power we gain from outside of ourselves diminishes us – because comfort and power, unless they are won from the void inside of us, are illusions that make us forget the emptiness that carries us. When we forget that, we believe we deserve comfort and power and so are capable of any evil. We deserve nothing but what we make of ourselves. We deserve nothing else. And when we understand that, then nothing is enough. And the blank page is the ideal emblem for the mysterious void we face when we’re honest – and that inspires me to fill the page creatively!
Tell us about your writing process.
There is no typical process or method that I follow. Each creative writing project in my career has made unique claims on me. Consequently, I’ve produced a diverse, some would say hodgepodge, body of work! A dramatic example is how I worked on “Killing with the Edge of the Moon,” a contemporary fairy tale. I wrote only during twilight, outside under the sky, rain or shine, every dawn and dusk for seven years. I found it helpful to set a magical task for the writer-in-me as if I were actually composing the story from inside a fairy tale. After the first five or six months of getting into the daily habit of writing at dawn and dusk, it began to feel natural. Fiery script in the heavens occasionally suggested words and phrases. Sometimes useful imagery loomed in the gloaming. Mostly, though, I kept company with the moody turbulence of wind and light at those two extremes of the day. The result is a novel written on the porch of heaven.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes! The most salient fact about creative writing is that it really is all in our head. In that crazy place, nothing is easy – except what happens spontaneously. The part of the mind that makes up dreams, that naturally generates fantasy, is a major player in any imaginative endeavor but especially writing, because, unlike other art forms, text is purely noetic – all in our head. My experience is that whatever difficulty I confront with the material – the form, genre, voice, plot – is really a reminder to look around inside my mind for intrapsychic allies, the characters with whom I’m working and, especially, the dreamshaper, who creates the characters. Once we hook up, then it becomes a question of keeping up!
What advice would you give other writers?
The very best advice about writing creatively that I ever received came from Sin-liqe-unninni, the first author ever to affix his name to a written story, 3,800 years ago. He was a Mesopotamian exorcist and the author of “The Epic of Gilgamesh:” “Writing is a congress with the divine. The most vivid writing comes directly from copulating with the gods.”
The worst advice ever: Write what you know. There’s a fool’s errand! The psychiatrist R. D. Laing eloquently explains why: “What we think is less than what we know; what we know is less than what we love; what we love is so much less than what there is. And to that precise extent we are so much less than what we are.”
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I began publishing traditionally at the start of my literary career, thirty years ago, when online publishing did not yet exist. I have a lot of experience with traditional imprints, having published twenty-two novels with major publishers. Self-publishing is far and away better for the author than traditional publishing in every way, from royalties and control of content, cover art and subsidiary rights to marketing (which is so much more personal and effective). This is true if one’s goal as a writer is to be read and to earn a livelihood from one’s writing. For the glamour (aka vanity) of having one’s books appear (usually briefly) in a brick-and-mortar bookstore or on library shelves, traditional publishers have an edge, but for this privilege a writer pays a steep price in loss of profits and control.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of book publishing is firmly in the hands of the writer.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Young Adult.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print.