made you want to write?
Real life just seemed too
boring. I wanted to liven it up a bit, without actually
having to exert
any real effort. That, and after reading
a book by Clive Cussler (Dragon) and being totally
taken in by it. I wanted to do that to someone else.
did you decide to truly pursue writing?
My senior year
of high school. I chose creative writing as an elective.
I wrote a story, a variation of
The Princess and the Pea
that had the entire class, including
the teacher, in stitches. I said to myself,
this is it. I was hooked. Addicted. It continued in college.
One professor would choose three stories
to read in class, and mine was always one of them. It's
almost like an actor or stand-up comedian
working the audience. And mine can't throw
tomatoes at me.
John Keegan, the main character in Soft Case, you?
I get this
one a lot. Maybe because I write in the first person.
The answer is no. Sure, Keegan and I
have some similarities, and he is a creation of my mind,
but it stops there. I'd read a lot about writers
being accused of this even before I wrote the book. I
didn't want that for myself. I made Keegan
say and do things that I obviously wouldn't. Unfortunately,
all that has done is made people think
I do those sort of things. It's funny.
made you write mysteries?
in my head. Well, actually, that's part of it. I started
writing espionage-type stuff, even
completed a full-length novel that was seriously
considered for publication. Looking back, that writing
was forced. I was trying to write like someone else. With
Soft Case, I
decided to write a book for myself.
I had no intentions of submitting it. I just had an idea
one day. A 'what if this happened' idea that turned
into the novel. I didn't plan on it being a mystery. It
was fascinating while it was happening. When it was done,
I read it, and impressed myself. I decided to submit,
and the rest, as they say, is history. Well, not yet.
is simple. Everyone can do it. I never do any work. I
just play around and something creates itself. Writing
is the biggest scam of mankind. That answer the question?
a book about time travel? What made you write Time
I've always been fascinated by time travel, particularly about being able
to relive parts of my past. I've thought about it countless
nights, lying in my bed, imagining what it would be like
to do some things over again. I know a lot of people have
thought about the same thing, so I figured it would be
great to write about it. I didn't want to make it a sci-fi
book, I just wanted to throw the time travel element in.
part is that Darren gets to right some of the wrongs in
my life. I won't say which ones, but it was gratifying
to carry them out on the page.
long does it take you to write a novel?
It takes about eight weeks of writing every
day to get from beginning to end. Then, there's a break.
Editing and changes take about another month. Final editing
takes one more month. So, about four months of constant
work. That's if I am firing on all cylinders.
certainly do seem to put a lot of yourself into your novels.
Is this intentional, accidental, or a little of both?
it all depends on how you look at it. People who know
me tend to think there is a lot more of myself in the
novels than there actually is. Some people can even see
themselves in characters that were created without even
the slightest thought of them coming to my mind. There
are maybe two characters based on people I know. Every
other character is based on a slew of people, say, 7 or
8. This is so heavily mixed that no single character trait
or history can be attributed to one person. I would never
want to write about someone I know, and I never intended
for people to see themselves in my characters. Now, my
life experiences certainly come into play, and someone
who has a history with me might see something similar.
Still, in my mind, it has been diluted to the point where
it really doesn't apply. To answer the question directly,
neither. If anything, I intentionally try to make sure
nothing is retained. I know that people will come to their
own conclusions. Have fun, that's what I say.
of your novels leave the reader with some questions. You
don't say whether John Keegan's partner actually set him
up, and you're not clear about whether or not Darren Camponi
really did go back in time. Why?
I like to be
a pain. Oh, and for the big-budget sequels. Actually,
I do this because I feel it truly reflects real life.
If you feel that you've been done wrong by someone, but
aren't sure, there's really no way you ever will be. Nothing
they say will ever make you feel better. There are few
things we can be sure of, so I make some things vague
in my books because that's how they'd be in real life.
With Darren going back in time, I left all the clues there.
The real answer lies with the reader, and dies with me.
advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. Keep aspiring. I don't portend to be
some guru or expert in this field. I'm just a lucky guy
who submitted the right bad novel at the right time. Keep
plugging away and understand it is a numbers game. No
one editor holds your destiny, and do not let anyone's
comments mold your future as a writer. Just as I would
advise not to let the actions of one moron change your
mood and ruin your day, don't let a rejection letter alter
the course of your career in a negative way. I have plenty
of rejection letters. They are a part of the business.
Anyone who doesn't have one is not a real writer.