Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I don’t think I can claim to be a full-time writer. Although it does occupy a good part of my day, I am not writing 8 hours or more per day as one would in a full-time job. On the other hand, when I am not actually working at the keyboard I am still working out scenes in my head in preparation for the next session. The other tasks I perform during the day, whether gardening or doing my share of the housework, give me space to do this.
What are some day jobs you have held?
I spent over 40 years as a Mechanical Engineer, doing everything from machine design to project management. Along the way, I also had a number of part-time jobs, including farm work, bar work, retail sales and advertising sales. In addition, I served several years as an elected member in local government.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I do most of my writing in the morning. When I am fired up with a particular project, I will write for an hour before breakfast and maybe two more after breakfast. These days I find I also have to set aside time to follow up on notifications from Facebook and Twitter, engaging with potential readers.
What have you written so far?
I’ve self-published 4 novels and two collections of short stories. My short stories have also appeared in print in short-run anthologies.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
For me, coming to writing late in life, conventional isn’t really an option. Publishers and agents, when they invest in a so called emerging writer, are looking at the prospect for income over the long-term. It would be unrealistic of me to think that I could offer that.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep writing. Don’t let rejection put you off, remember some of the most successful authors were rejected many times before someone spotted their potential. Do seek out critiques of your work from one or more people whose opinions you value. Join a writer’s group; a flesh-and-blood one is best, but there are lots of on-line ones, too, that are well worth investigating.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
It relates an event that took place in 1974 and its repercussions forty years later for the participants who, in the intervening years, have become public figures.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Throughout 2013 and 2014, the news media were full of stories of sexual misconduct that took place in the 1970s and ’80s, where the victims were, at the time, either not believed or dismissed as fantasists. My mind kept going back to the laissez fair attitude to sexual activity that prevailed at the time. I couldn’t help thinking that, perhaps, this attitude helped create an environment in which men with certain proclivities could get away with behavior that would, in earlier times, and again today, be deemed unacceptable. I wanted to write a novel that highlighted these changing attitudes and how they might have effected certain individuals’ lives.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
He’s been a jobbing reporter, lacking the drive and ambition required to carve out a career in mainstream media. Now retired, he has written the biography of a soap star who also is the daughter of an elderly acquaintance of his. He is torn between his regard for the truth and loyalty to a friend whose career is unraveling.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
The main character’s aunt who becomes confidante and mentor to the soap star, helping her through various crises involving substance abuse and domestic violence.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
The main character’s friend. He is a voyeur, a misogynist and a bigot. He embodies aspects of my own character that I struggle to suppress.
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