I never doubted my writing until I left my day-job as an attorney to write full-time. As a successful lawyer, no more than a day or two would go by without receiving positive feedback from others – whether a favorable court ruling or a thanks from a grateful client - and those good feelings carried over to my writing. As a full-time author, on the other hand, it’s months before getting any feedback on the work I do today and a year before the readers see it at all. The doubts crept in and paralyzed me for awhile, but it forced me to trust myself more. I step back from my work when I think it’s great and read it more objectively. If I think it’s just okay, then I work on it more. If I think it’s good or more than good, and then I accept the validity of my own opinion. So far, I’ve been fortunate that others agree.
What scares you the most?
Spiders. Terrified of them. Not fond of nuclear or chemical warfare, either.
What makes you happiest?
Helping others. Sappy, I know, but very true.
What’s your greatest character strength?
Optimism, but not in the foolish, everything-will-be-perfect sense. Few things in life are as I want them to be. The key to optimism is to accept what is rather than dwelling on what is not, and look for the unexpected benefits and opportunities real life provides.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Remembering facts. My brain works on concepts and ideas, not facts. After talking to someone for a few minutes, I may remember that she is devoted to her family, a go-getter in her career, an active athlete, and whether she was uptight and guarded, or confident and forthcoming. But I will not remember her name, how many kids she has, where she works or what sport she plays. Seriously. You can ask me facts from my own novels, and I will have to look them up.
Why do you write?
I could answer this on many levels - from the spiritual need to create, to enhancing the biochemical production of serotonin – but all of that is geekier than anyone wants to hear. So let me give you a straight-forward answer: I love fiction that I can get lost in and forget I’m reading. I also love fiction that makes me think about something in a way I haven’t thought about it before. I don’t think there’s enough fiction out there that does both. There’s a need. I am filling the need. Quite frankly, I can’t write any other kind of story. If I try to write novels that are either fun but superficial or deep but with little action, I get bored.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
My love of writing and storytelling extends back further than I can remember. My dad says that as a toddler, I collected earthworms and acted out stories of the Worm Family.This past year, I cleaned out my childhood home, finding the only item I kept from grammar school: a series of ghost stories I wrote and illustrated in fifth grade for extra credit. I’d say writing has always been part of me.
What motivates you to write?
From a day-to-day perspective, the people in my head make me write. Once I create them, they are rather demanding and don’t like being left either without any conflicts to resolve or in the midst of a cliffhanger scene. From a broader perspective, I have a gift that I can use to bring people enjoyment. I need to use it.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
My son. At an early age, he demonstrated the ability to think independently of the rules society imposes. It makes life more difficult for him at times because people don’t understand that he takes positions out of a sense of fairness and personal integrity, while his peers may take the same positions out of youthful rebellion. But I observe a lot about human nature and society watching his struggles and triumphs and am very proud of him.
What books did you love growing up?
Old science fiction – the stories of ideas. Isaac Asimov. Ursula K. Le Guin. Ray Bradbury – I wore out my brother’s copies of Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, and The Martian Chronicles.
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Genre - Science, Fantasy, Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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