My love of books, and especially historical novels, began as a child, exploring my parents well-stocked library — Thomas Costain, Baroness Orczy, Kenneth Roberts, Samuel Shellabarger, C.S. Forester, Alexandre Dumas, and Raphael Sabatini – such treasures! I followed that love into a teaching career, picking up an M.A. in American Literature and a Ph.D. in Renaissance English Literature along the way. In 1980, I switched careers to corporate training and consulting, retiring in 2010 having served managers and executives from Fortune 500 multinational companies throughout the U.S. and in 15 different countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East. My business book, The Tao of Sales: The Easy Way to Sell in Tough Times was published in 1997 and re-issued in 2007. Since 2010, I’ve devoted myself full-time to writing. Three novels, Blood Brothers (2011) – Bronze Medal Winner Military Writers of America Prize, The Most Bold and Daring Act of the Age (2016) – shortlisted, New Publisher’s Weekly Book Life Prize, and Doppelganger: An American Spy in World War II France (2017), and a biography of Miller Bugliari, America’s most successful and revered high school soccer coach (2015). For 2019, I’m planning a series of six self-help books centering on my professional work over the past 20 years in relationship and team building. Personal – historic home restoration; whitewater canoeing; backpacking; bluegrass banjo; blessed with a loving marriage and wonderful kids and grand kids.
What inspires you to write?
I care about characters with a deep well of personal courage that causes them to take tough stands against fear and injustice, and stories in which their courage in the face of their own vulnerabilities is severely tested. Hemingway was right: a writer's first job is to tell the truth.
Tell us about your writing process.
I mind-map stories and continuously revise the mind map as new connections appear. I create fully detailed character sketches as I get to know the characters. Following a great tip from James Patterson, I outline each chapter as a cell in a word table, focusing on the key action in each chapter. That way, as the plot evolves (which it inevitably does), I can easily move the structure around to adapt to the evolving plot.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters absolutely come to life in my subconscious and talk to me – a lot. Sometimes they're downright bossy!
Who are your favorite authors?
Within the genre, Alan Furst, Ken Follet. Because I'm busy researching/writing, I don't read a lot for pleasure. But I always make time for the latest from Louise Penny, Donna Leone, Donna Morrissey, and Alan Furst.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book, The Tao of Sales, was conventionally published. Terrible experience. It's now indie published through Amazon KDP. After a gazillion query rejections for Blood Brothers, I went with Amazon Create Space. After checking out people like Chandler Bolt (self-publishing school) and Nick Stephenson (10K subscribers), I've became an Indie convert.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
My crystal ball, sadly is broken. Traditional publishing has a lot of built-in obstacles that turn books into commodities, like aging cauliflower in a supermarket. Indie publishing means that lots of "non-writers" (who always wanted to write a book in the worst possible way) now are able to do it. The combination of Indie publishing and social media marketing is changing all the "rules." My hope is that the "market" will find a reasonable balance that allows readers to easily and cheaply find books they want to read.
What genres do you write?
historical fiction; self-help/personal and relationship well-being
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
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