Friday, August 27, 2010

The Mail Bag (Part One)

I have received lots of questions lately about the book and all things related. Really appreciate the interest and feedback (keep 'em coming!) Many questions had a common theme, so I attempted to group the most commonly asked ones together and answer them here at the blog:

How did you become a writer? Did you always want to do it?

I'm still not sure I'm a writer. More like a storyteller who happens to use this format as a way to tell the story. I've had an "overactive imagination" since I was a little kid, so I've been coming up with stories and creating interesting (at least I think so) characters since as long as I can remember. But only in the recent past did that turn into writing fiction novels, which became a great hobby that I love doing. But the idea of having one of my books published for all to read seemed like a crazy (and scary) idea to me, so it isn't something I always wanted to do, but so far it's been a great experience!

Where do you get your ideas? Where did you get the idea for Painless?

As mentioned in first question, the "overactive imagination" thing is what drives the ideas for my stories - and no matter how hard I try, it never happens when I attempt to come up with one. The good news (for me) is I'm getting better at writing the ideas down when they do pop into the head, so I spend less time racking my brain for the "brilliant" idea I can't remember for the life of me. Funny how all the ideas I've lost are brilliant, yet the ones I do remember, not so much (-: In the case of Painless, I was on an airplane reading one of those inflight magazines stuffed in the seat pocket and there was a story about a kid who had the "issue" in which Carolyn has in the story. From there, the overactive imagination took over.

I love the character Carolyn Whitcomb - how did you come up with her? And is the ____ she has a real thing?

The most common questions I get concern the Carolyn character, and I'm going to do a full blog entry on in the near future. So I'll answer that question there - stay tuned. But yes, the ____ she has is a real thing. Very rare - less than 100 in the US.

When is the next book coming out?

I take this question as a huge compliment, and it sure beats the more expected - how can I get my money back?! The answer is: I have been so focused on trying to get people to read Painless that I haven't been able to focus on a next book. But I have written others and this has been a fun experience, so I'm really looking forward to putting more out there in the future. I will update the blog when there is any news.

What are your other books about?

Like Painless, most of my other books are at their core, mystery/thrillers - stand alones that usually feature everyday people who get caught up in the unthinkable and then the mayhem begins - but also I like to mix a bunch of different genres together. For example, The Trials of Max Q has legal thriller elements in it. The Heritage Paper is features some DaVinciCode-esque conspiracy theories about the Nazis. The Jack Hammer is about some people who come across a former Soviet spy spending his post cold war days in the US, sort of a modern day spy novel (sorry, she's not in it). So I guess the best answer is - much different subjects, but similar style.

I've written/am writing a book, do you have any advice? Writing tips?
I'm the new guy myself just trying to figure things out. So I'm really not qualified to be giving advice. A good place I found for advice were writer's conferences, and I would recommend the Marymount Manhattan WC - I went a few years ago and thought it was great.

So my only piece of advice is: write for yourself - and if you write a book that you like, there is probably someone out there who likes the same things you do. And with the Internet, ebooks, social media, POD publishing, and whatever technology is probably being invented while I'm writing this, there are a lot of vehicles to reach those people that weren't available even a couple years ago, so I think it's a good time to be a writer. Good luck!