Tell us a little bit about yourself, so the readers can get to know you. The Reader’s Digest version please:
I was born and raised in Connecticut, attended college in New York and received a Master’s Degree at Wesleyan University. I spent about 20 years working in higher education marketing and public relations and public relations consulting before being able to focus 100 percent of my energy on creative writing. I’ve been with my wife for over 16 years but we just got married officially two years ago. We live in Connecticut and have a little beach house in Provincetown, MA and share our lives with our beloved fur babies which right now includes two Labrador retrievers (one black and one white) and a Burmese cat.
What’s the name of your book, and how did you come up with that title?
My newest book is entitled In the Direction of the Sun. I’ve always been a summer person and find myself turning toward the sun whenever I can. There is a Weepies’ song entitled “I Was Made for Sunny Days.” That’s me. There is something hopeful and optimistic about the sun and turning towards it. That's what I wanted to convey with the title.
What are the names of your characters?
Alex MacKenzie and Cate Conrad
Do they have any significance either to you personally, or to how you’d like them perceived?
Hmm. Yes they are significant to me personally because I grow to fall in love with all my characters. They are not me so they will say and do things differently than I might in the same situation, but I do love them both for their faults and for their gifts.
What has been the biggest challenge to writing this book?
This book was challenging because both characters were in such different places physically and emotionally.
What have been the biggest surprises?
Without giving anything away, I was surprised by the turn Cate’s life takes.
Do you find writing difficult or does it come fairly easy to do?
This is a trick question! Once I get down to actually writing, it comes fairly easy. But the point getting me to my desk and focused can be a little like wrassling cats
Do you have any personal routines that you follow when you write?
My desk must be completely cleared and clean. I always write at my desk. I can’t work at a coffee shop or a random space.
What does your writing environment look like?
Here’s a picture!
How long does it take you to finish a book?
The research phase can take me a while – say six months. Once I sit down and start writing, I can usually finish the manuscript within two-to-three months.
Is that from start to finish, from idea and concept, to the final period In the book?
Yes outlined above.
What’s been the most important piece of advice someone has given you?
The best advice I ever received was from my friend and former neighbor, Toni Morrison. She told me very simply, “writers write.” It sounds so simple
What kind of advice would you give someone thinking about taking up writing??
Writing is like any other discipline: it takes practice and hard work to improve. You can say you want to be a writer but you have to work at it each and every day.
What are some of your pet peeves?
It drives me bonkers when:
- folks leave their Christmas decorations up after January.
- people walk their dogs but don’t pick up the poop.
- people wash their hands but leave water all around the sink.
So here are a few rapid-fire questions for you so that the reader can get to know you better
- coffee or tea? Both! Why choose one?
- Finish the sentence I like to write when the idea has gelled in my mind.
- my favorite food is grilled porterhouse steak
- dress-up or jeans and T-shirt? Jeans and a t-shirt
- Thesaurus or synonym dictionary? Thesaurus
- Writing by hand, dictation, or on the computer? Never dictation. Notes by hand, writing on the computer
- Favorite vacation spot? Any beach anywhere.
- Early bird or night owl? I used to be a night owl but as I get older I’m thinking early bird, especially when it comes to writing. I’m better in the morning!
Can you share something with the reader they would never have guessed about you?
That I love to smoke cigars.
Is there a genre you haven’t tackled?
There are many genres I haven’t tackled including mystery, sci-fi, paranormal.
What genre are you just dying to try out?
That’s not really how I look at genres or writing. For me, it starts with the story. The story will dictate the genre, not the author.
What’s next on your writing agenda?
I’m working on a feature film script about America’s first female spy during the Revolutionary War. After that, I have plans for a literary fiction story about a Native American girl called Wind Song Girl.
You can get her latest release, In the Direction of th Sun now. If you're in the U.K. get it here.