frequently asked Questions
1. Q: Who was the inspiration for the Punkin character in Apocalyptic Lullaby?
A: Punkin Evelyn Brustah, like all the characters in my stories is an amalgam of many people. I had no one person in mind as her character evolved, but she most closely resembles my granddaughter, Deja, in personality. They even share a birthday. I hate to imagine Deja growing up alone in so horrid a setting, and the depth of my own emotional distress, at times, during the crafting of the Killshot Diaries series has no doubt been intensified by that similarity.
2. Q: Do you like snakes?
A: Actually, I’ve always been fascinated by reptiles and amphibians. As a boy, I often caught snakes and carried them around for a time before releasing them. Once they realized that the gigantic creature that caught them isn’t eating them, they got quite relaxed. Enough so, that I used to put them in my shirt, where they would curl up in the warmth against my belly and sleep.
3. Q: Have you always wanted to write?
A: Not at all, really. I remember once, as a teenager, during a long phone conversation with my high school girlfriend, thinking that I might have some talent for it, because of the surprisingly eloquent arguments I had with her. Another time, in junior high I believe, our English teacher had us write spontaneously, using our choice of three opening lines he had written on the board. Having been the last day before Christmas break, two of the three opening lines had holiday overtones, the third one was somewhat spooky. I chose that one. I was surprised that a vivid, three-page long short story came to me so easily. Even more so, that I had crafted the last page, as we raced the clock, so that the surprise ending fell just onto the fourth page, so that the reader couldn’t scan ahead and spoil it. Even so, the idea of being a writer really didn’t occur to me, then.
4. Q: Which inspires or excites you more, writing or illustrating your stories?
A: It’s somewhat of a tie, really. But several of my stories have come from artwork I had previously painted. I have adopted the habit of mocking-up covers before I start a new project. I find having the printed cover, wrapped around a blank journal, to look at makes the story all the more real for me as I sit and write.
5. Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A: Most of the time, the process of writing (at least the first draft) is an energizing, liberating, relaxing process. Edits and rewrites tend to be very much the opposite.
6. Q: Do you try to be original or give readers what they want?
A: Honestly, I just jump in and try to keep pace with the story, as it unfolds in my head. I hope for originality, of course, but never shoot for it. My guess is that trying to do so would yield the opposite result. As far as what readers want, I have very little idea what that might be, but I’m always curious to know. I’m guessing the same result as trying to be original would come from any such effort.
7. Q: Do you want your books to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: Currently, a handful of my stories stand alone. Most of them are part of what is now three ongoing series. As a voracious reader, I don’t even start a new book unless it’s part of a series. I find, in fantasy and science fiction stories, that by the time I’ve learned the intricacies of an author’s universe and characters, I’m ticked off to run out of story.
8. Q: How many hours a day do you write?
A: On average I write, first thing in the morning (after a brisk walk and an aerobic workout) for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Typically, I read back through what I just wrote, while I eat, beginning the editing process.
9. Q: How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
A: In the case of full-length novels, my average is 6 to 10 months. My shorter stories are generally written in 30 day marathon sessions. It was a practice I began with the online November Novel Writing Challenge, where we are encouraged to write daily for all 30 days of the month of November, with the target of 50,000 words by December 1. At present, ten of of my books have been created in that way. Three have required an extra few days to complete the first draft, but all 10 have reached the 50,000 word target on, or before, day 30.
10. Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
A: As to writing itself, shutting out the world (and the rest of day-to-day life) for several hours a day is the most difficult part. So long as I can arrange time and privacy, the stories seem to flow quite effortlessly. Other than that, I find edits, rewrites and marketing to be quite tedious and draining.
11. Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?
A: If, by support, you mean do they pay my bills — hell no! Who would? Seriously, I’m asking… Do you know anyone who would? If you mean emotional and intellectual support — absolutely! No one more so than my Linda, who remains my greatest fan — and my rock.