1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
a. The very first story I wrote was in the third grade. We were asked to write a two-page story – I wrote, “Cars Go 120!” I got huge laughs from the class, won first-place, and the story was posted in the school display case – I was hooked.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
a. Well, my niche is really in short-story telling. Most of the stories are written in a week or less. One of my stories, “The Peace of Pi,” literally came to me in a dream – really! I got up in the middle of the night, rushed to my computer and pounded it out in about thirty minutes. It was the quickest work I’ve produced.
3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
a. There is no specific schedule for me. I have written at all times of the day and all of the days of the week. I will say that some of my best work seems to come from writing in the middle of the night – must be all that uninterupted quiet.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
a. I am letting this go public for the first time so, Owl Branch gets the exclusive. While writing dialogue I become the characters and act out their scenes. I do it physically and verbally; whether male or female, adult or child. I want to make sure it works! Oy, I’m so embarrassed.
5. How do your books get published?
a. I have worked with a small publishing house who published and marketed my first book, “Now Boarding: Confessions of a stowaway,” a full-length, non-fiction book. Some of my short stories have been published by another small publisher. I have also used Createspace, and KDP.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
a. Some ideas are exaggerated real-life experiences. Unbelievably, a couple of the stories appeared to me quite vividly, in dreams, sort of like movies.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
a. My first full-length book was published when I was 50, seven years ago. Though some of my industry-related writing was previously published in trade and corporate magazines, over twenty years ago.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
a. I absolutely love to fly…as a passenger, I mean. There is nothing like the freedom of flight. I worked in the airline industry for over twenty-five years. I took advantage of flight privileges. I soon blended my love of aviation and writing by writing while I fly. That little window to the sky provides thought provoking inspiration that demands to be penned!
9. Wheat does your family think of your writing?
a. My mother, who passed away only a few months ago, had a great, great, aunt, Dinah Mulock, who was a famous author, and when I began writing professionally she was really proud to say that her son was an author. She would call all of her friends to announce my new works. I recently honored her with my newest story, “Splinter,” by using her hometown in North Dakota, as the setting. My sister is also very supportive, she reads all of my work.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
a. That I could do it. I call myself a “10 percenter.” 90 percent of the crazy things I set out to do, fail. But it’s the 10 percent that succeeds that makes it all worthwhile.
11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
a. I have around twenty finished pieces, eight are currently published and two are retired. My newest story, “Splinter,” has quickly become my favorite. I enjoyed writing the race-against-time element.
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
a. Yes, absolutely. Anyone who writes has probably heard the phrase, “Write what you know.” That’s utter nonesense since you’d be closing almost every door to the imagination. With the world literally at our fingertips by way of the internet, there’s almost nothing that you can’t “know.” I certainly know nothing of 19th Century England…nothing! Yet my story, “The Peace of Pi,” which was written in that setting was well received. One reviewer wrote to tell me that I wrote as if I had been there. Through research, not only will you be able to write what you “newly” know, but you will learn a great deal more about places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met, and a time you didn’t live in. How awesome is that?
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
a. Yes, I have heard from readers reguarding several pieces. In particular, I’ve heard the most feedback from female readers reguarding, “The Peace of Pi.” Many are sad about its ending. Some have said that while said, it told such a beautiful tale of love and devotion.
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
a. I do. I’m almost certain that if I began writing for kids, I would likely send them into therapy at an early age!
15. What do you think makes a good story?
a. I think that the main idea, or concept, has to be written in a way that is explained. In other words, the reader cannot just be told that the characters are transported from one place to another by walking through a door. There has to be some kind of explanation, even one sentence that says, “it isn’t known why, but we’re able to do this.” That let’s the reader close the question in their mind and continue reading, without the prodding of wonder.
16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
a. I only ever wanted to work for an airline. I just wanted to be close to airports, and airplanes. As I said earlier, I have this inordinate love of aviation.
17. Any books in the works?
a. Yes, there are three that are in the works, likely to be published this summer.
18. What are your plans for the future?
a. Writing and traveling. I have also begun my preliminary homework on moving from the Chicago area to Nevada – a move I hope to be making within the next four or five years. And now, I’m off to continue with my work. I would like to leave you with this: “I was one of the greatest child liars that ever was, and isn’t