- Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
I play the drums, play a little guitar, and watch my grandchildren
- How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
My job on Capitol Hill involved a lot of writing. While up there, I also wrote my dissertation for my doctorate. I completed three manuscripts after I retired and put them away, until last year when I finished watching my grandchildren full-time. I decided to get Felling Big Trees professionally edited last year. It’s a novel about a congressman and his life after he leaves office. I decided to donate proceeds from the sale of the book to WhyHunger, a non-profit in New York City that I have worked with for quite some time. As you’ll see from my website, my theme is writing for change—in this instance, hunger. In the future, the other manuscripts could focus on other issues, such as homelessness. It’s an attempt to raise awareness to some of the critical problems we face as a society.
- What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
At the time I began writing these novels, I was reading a lot of John Irving and Stephen King. Their novels have great character development and what can be quirky plot lines. My time on Capitol Hill and how lives are lived there also had a significant impact on me.
- Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
I’ve just finished an article about Christmas in a homeless camp and am also beginning to review/edit my earlier manuscripts. I had earlier finished an obit-in-waiting for my former boss on Capitol Hill, who died on December 17. I also prepared remarks, which was really tough for his wife to use at his service.
- How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I used a trifold, one of those large cardboards you use for a science project, for my first novel to develop characters, plots lines, settings, etc. I came across it the other day, and I had forgotten how many papers and post-its I had attached to that board.
- What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength?
I’m most pleased with the way I develop characters.
Your weakness? Trying to find the best way to tell the reader just enough without having my thoughts interfere with their ability to form their own conclusions. I believe I’m getting better at it.
- After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
This being my debut novel, I’ve tried to read as much as possible. I’ve learned a lot along the way and that things don’t always go according to what you’ve read. I’ve tried to be patient and flexible.
- What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
Something a well-known author told me when I first started: Never Give Up. I have that email taped above my desk.
Continue following the Felling Big Trees blog tour tomorrow with BookMarketingBuzzBlog!