Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I was born in North Carolina, but moved to Maryland with my family when I became a teenager. At the tender age of seventeen, I fall in love with my wife. Not having a lick of sense, we were married two years later. In the next decade I graduated from the University of Maryland with an Engineering degree and obtained a Masters in Operations Research. In the years that followed, we raised two terrific sons and I supported my family with various jobs in the military and intelligence sector.
After three decades of the typical tensions and frustration associated with a career, I decided it was time to transition to the next phase of my life: retirement. I really missed the personality of the south and its wonderful people. We searched for two years and finally discovered our sanctuary. We moved to beautiful Southern Virginia and began enjoying our time together in the serenity and breathtaking vistas of the Piedmont region, but I was faced with a new challenge. What to do with all that free time?
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Eric Emerson, from Tainted Hero. Why? Eric is an extremely compassionate and protective person, but with a ton of dark memories from his past. The women in his life form his foundation, and when that source of strength is threatened, it reaps havoc on his existence, rips at his soul, and sends him down a path of conflict between his training and code as a decorated Army Ranger, and the moral conflicts in modern society. He is driven to do things that are out of kilter with the civilized world, until finally he is forced to made the most difficult decision any one person as even been asked to bare. His strength as a independent assured man is monumental, but his sensitivity and dependence on the women he loves causes great vulnerability, until he is saved by one woman with her own demons. I relate to that image a lot.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I enjoy thrillers (not horror) and SCIFI, especially when they have a romantic core. All the stories I write are hybrids, a little of this, a little of that, were ever the story needs to go. They blend romance, suspense, political elements, military components, some technology, anything that make a spell binding story that can envelope the reader into an intriguing and emotional stimulating story. The only genres I don't venture into are horror and fantasy, just not my style.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
My second novel, entitled FORGOTTEN CHILDREN, will be released in June 08. Yes, there's still a romantic core, but this one's a medical thriller, one that will scare the willies out of you, given its based on technology that's just around the corner. The story I recently completed is called BLIND CONSENT, but it's different. Sure, there's always romance, but this time, it's a reflection of my memories of southern life as a boy, the simple times, the wonderful struggling people, but with a new twist. In the small forgotten town of Tanglewood Falls, a secret is buried in their past, one that has affected everyone's life.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm trying to decide which of six ideas I should tackle next. It's down to three: Megan's Dream, Double edge, and Rim Fire
What do you do for inspiration?
I watch the world: people struggling with modern life, friends and family that touched my heart, dreams (not the juicy ones), and experiences from my past. I get my ideas when I walk in the woods (which I do a lot), when I'm humping stumps on my farm, when I see two people at the final stage of life still eternally in love, when I observe my grand daughter growing up, there are so many wonderful things around us everyday, if we just watch.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I do a lot of research of places, environment, and the way things work. If there's any science involved, I make sure it's realistic. When I reference objects, houses, tress, animals, everything that exists in the world, I try to back sure I describe it with words and imagery that makes the story real to the reader. There's a happy balance between too much and too little detail, and I use my wife as my barometer (she reads about a book every two days). But I don't do my research until I have a raw draft, then I go back and fill in. Otherwise, it derails me from the evolving storyline.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
For the first two books, I did set personal deadlines, but I learned creativity evolves at its own pace. Now, I write without deadlines, I don't rush; I just go as the story takes me.
What would you like to tell your readers?
How much I enjoy writing and the thrill I get when they make the characters come to life. I get chills when someone looks into my eyes and shares how much they enjoyed the story, how it made them feel, think about thinks in a new way, what more could you want.
What to do with all that free time?
I remained physically active with tons of honey dos and working on our farm, but I missed the mental stimulus. Often, during the course of my adult life, I pondered what might have been if I had taken a different path, one I had fantasized about, but never had time to approach: writing stories. I had tried on several occasions, but some family emergency or crisis at work redirected my energies. I was able to accumulate a ton of ideas for storylines over the years, so I thought, "Why not try and share them with others? You've got the time now, there's no excuse anymore." Great thought, but I really under estimated the difficulty and complexity of starting a new career in the field of fiction writing.
After two false starts, I evolved my "writing voice" in the political thriller, TAINTED HERO (released by Champagnebooks in Dec 07). I was fortunate to find a publisher that saw what I tried to pour into the story: a gut wrenching struggle between two people, each faced with fears and demons from their past, but able to overcome the extreme challenges that only a few encounter in their lifetime.