My good friend Shannon Noel Brady at Pointing Telescopes nominated me for this, and asked me to answer a few questions. I’ll do my best to not sound like a blithering idiot, and that should keep the eye-rolling to a minimum.
What was the first story you ever wrote?
It’s been about 20 years, but I think the first thing I ever wrote was a short story called Bugs, about a germophobe whose condition steadily worsens until he sees everyone around him as giant cockroaches. Naturally, his cheese slips off his cracker, and there’s a big bloody climax.
What book have you read the most times?
It’s probably a tie. The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell; The Stand, by Stephen King; The Dragonlance Chronicles, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher.
What are your favorite kinds of characters to write?
Flawed wiseasses with a heart of gold, and smart women.
How about your favorite kinds of scenes? (Action, steamy, tragic death, etc…)
Depends on my mood, what music I’m listening to, etc. As long as I’m happy with it when I sit back and reread it, and it doesn’t make another hair turn gray while I think about editing it, it’s a good scene.
Describe what your writing space looks like?
It’s an end table next to my couch. I can see the TV, I can kick out the recliner, and I can sit cross-legged and bang on the keys til my foot falls asleep.
What do you struggle with the most as a writer?
Confidence and impatience. I have a hard time convincing myself a piece is good enough for publication, and an even harder time not just sharing it and saying ‘to Hell with it – the next one’.
Any recommendations for good music to write to?
Depends on what I’m writing. If it’s a melancholy piece, I’ll listen to music with a lot of acoustic sounds and strings and usually down tempo. Anything from Tom Waits to Fort Atlantic to John Mayer. If it’s action, I’ll throw on some driving rock – stuff like Foo Fighters, Seether, Three Days Grace, etc.
What is the most age-worn, tattered and battered book on your shelf?
My Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have the paperbacks from the Sixties, and the covers are off, the middles are loose, and the pages dogeared and worn, and I still dig them out every few years to reread them.
What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Probably The Shawshank Redemption (I’ve seen it so many times I think even Stephen King and Frank Darabont are embarrased for me), though for pure fun, Stardust and the Princess Bride are right up there.
Do you have a notes system for on-the-go ideas? If so, share with us the most random note you’ve jotted down, even if it only makes sense to you.
I keep notes for story ideas and titles and sometimes just fragments of ideas. Most random? Probably:
Zombie/Cyborg/Steampunk Abraham Lincoln kept as pet
Virus that uses its victims of a network to crack a code. As it progresses, victims begin to share writing and speech.