What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Because I came to writing fiction from a long career as a trial attorney, my writing style sometimes lapses into a stiff, formal style that’s normal for writing such boring things as legal briefs, client reports and trial documents. When editing I stay alert to this tendency, and fix the verbiage where I find it unless the character – such as God in First Second Coming – has a formal manner of speech.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I don’t actually own an Ipod, but some of the most played songs in my iTunes library are Copperhead Road by Steve Earle; Unintended by Muse; Come Unto Me by the Mavericks; Dreamer by the Lil’ Band O’ Gold; Lend a Hand by Jakob Dylan; King of El Paso by Boz Scaggs; Furr by Blitzen Trapper; Chocolate Jesus, a cover of Tom Waite’s song done by Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart; Quizas, Quizas, Quizas by Gabi Moreno and Killybegs by The Chieftains. I listen to a fairly broad range of musical genres.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
During the time I was writing First Second Coming, I was part of two critique groups. One was a three-person group, including me. None of us were published. The other group consisted of eight, several of whom were already published. As part of First Second Coming’s pre-publication process I sent my manuscript to four beta readers and one sensitivity reader, the latter to make sure Brendali, my Latina main character, was realistic and not in any way stereotyped or inaccurate.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading the newly released novel by David Mitchell, one of my favorite authors. It’s called Utopia Avenue. I’m about 80% through it at this point and it’s very enjoyable, though so far only occasionally up to his usual “relentlessly brilliant” writing style. The quoted phrase belongs to Ursula K. Le Guin, herself a brilliant writer.
How did you start your writing career?
There comes a time in life when you look ahead to mull over what you’ll do in your free time during retirement. That time came for me in 2014. Because litigation is a very writing intensive profession, and I enjoyed the writing aspect of it, I concluded that doing something related to the written word would fit me well. And since I’m an avid reader, the idea of trying my hand at writing fiction made sense, too. I embarked on a self-imposed crash course to learn the craft by attending writers’ conferences, scouring the internet for online websites, and becoming friendly with writers and a few instructors I met at the conferences. I also bought books such as Stephen King’s On Writing and pored through them.
I’m working on two novels concurrently. One is the sequel to First Second Coming, which has a working title of Earth’s Peril. A spin-off called The Recycling Center is the second book. Earth’s Peril is probably the next release, but I’m in the early stages of both books so that could change.
About the Author