Q & A Tuesday
In what genre(s) do you write? I write just about anything that comes into my head. I’m not good at Sci-Fi stuff, so I let other authors (such as yourself and Terry R. Hill) tackle that tough genre. However, I’ve written romance, erotica, psychological thriller/suspense, crime drama, horror, and I have a couple of upcoming projects that took me to a dystopian world. Then, another is a fantastical, sci-fi type story about a different type of sleep study. So, there is never any boundaries. If a story interests me and it plays out, I’ll try it.
What’s your favorite book you’ve read? It’s a toss-up between Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Both of those stories have always touched me. I cry like a baby and I get so mad. I fell in love with those stories. I like to read anything I can “feel.”
What’s the favorite book you’ve written? Oh, here we go! This is so difficult. I love every one of them because every one of them has a story of its own. Each book takes on a personality. You form an attachment because of what you go through, “together” during the creation. Lock Creek – One Year’s Time will always be my favorite because it was the first one. In Their Own Time will always be a favorite because that cliff hanger was so much fun! That was the one that showed me how many people truly were following this story. Derrick’s Time is a favorite because I love him and this is his own story. Time of Death is a favorite because that was emotional. I was driving down the road, listening to a song on the radio and all of these mental images just started popping in my head. I saw that story playing out as I was driving. It was so emotional, I was a blathering mess. I was practically hysterical because those characters become real, in a sense. You love them, just the same as you love real people. When they come to you and tell you their time is done and they show you how it happens, that’s tough to take. So, that is a favorite because I saw – and felt – my own attachment in a very big way for the very first time. Then, there’s Threshold. It’s a favorite because my son was thirteen at the time and he wanted a ghost story. So, he asked me to write him one. We worked on that one, together, so it was truly special. What He’s Done is a favorite because that one tested my own mental stability. There are some disturbing things in that book. While some of it is based on a real life “Sully,” the way I wrote it – from inside his head – insured I’d have to fabricate, speculate, and create the things in his mind. It is unnerving when you see yourself creating these horrible thoughts for this guy. That book freaked me out and I’d have to step away for a bit, just to ground myself and get out of Sully’s head, but to get him out of my head, as well. That book tested me in big ways. The Roses of Dawn Arbor is a short story that was originally part of an anthology. It was a fundraising piece for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Many people wanted that story as a stand-alone, once the fundraiser was done. While it is not related to or involving cystic fibrosis, the story is like a warm, sunny hug. The legacy is mentioned at the beginning of the short story. Due to the reason the book came to be, I often offer that story as a “free download,” to introduce new readers to my work. That one is a wholesome story that I will always be proud of. I’m happy to have participated in the anthology and I’m honored that people wanted me to make it available when the project completed. Finally, the last release was Ripples. That is a favorite because it is very personal. In many ways, this was therapeutic and cathartic. Sometimes, you carry deeply embedded scars and you can’t bury scars and move on. It’s just not that easy. So, you can take pain and turn certain aspects into art. When you can create something people relate to and enjoy, born from you own internal pain, those scars begin to heal. When you find a way to capture your pain, take it from within yourself, lock it up in the pages of a morally questionable story, and then end that pain, symbolically, it’s pretty powerful. I set myself free from a lot of chains with that one. So, every book I’ve published is a favorite. Honestly!
Would you pinpoint the biggest challenge you faced as an author? Accepting that this what I was meant to do. I was in denial. Others in my life kept pushing me to write a book. That always sounded like the very last thing I wanted to do. After hearing it enough, you tend to stop blowing it off, laughing. You start listening and questioning why everyone says that. What do they see? Then, when you actually hear them - that you should be a writer, when you do it, I think you find yourself. I know I did, anyway. I’ve always loved writing in some capacity. I just never thought writing a book would be my slice of life. I’ve gotta do things the hard way, I guess.
Mark's note: There's more, but I'll save that for when Laney comes back again.