Q: Where do you get your ideas? Do you ever experience writer’s block? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A: This question can be daunting because it has two answers and both are elusive.
Sometimes ideas just happen. I see something, or hear something and a story forms. For instance, a short story I wrote called “The Newspaper”, is about a guy who reads an article in the newspaper covering a story about three women being killed by a truck in front of a hotel at a conference, only to read two days later that the same conference is just starting. He thinks he saw the future two days before and races to the hotel to save these women only to discover another truth. This story won 6th place in the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest out of thousands of entries. That story came to me when I was reading the newspaper and thought I saw something days before.
Another story idea I got reading the paper was about a man who reads his own obituary and panics. I’ve seen my name in the obits and thought, what a great story. So sometimes, just living my life and doing day to day routines, the stories will form.
Other times I create them. I imagine the theme, what I want to tell and then form circumstances around that idea and create a plausible story. Years ago I wanted to write a story about reincarnation. It turned into “Jacob and Mark”, which is about a five year old boy who insists his mother call him Jacob, even though his name is Mark. Later in the story he directs his parents to where he used to live in the 1930’s, along with the tree where he inscribed his initials. This family had never been to this town before, so naturally the parents are spooked. Then the mother realizes another truth about reincarnation that shocks her to tears about who her son really is.
Writer’s block? No, I have never experienced it. I wrote a guest post for “The Urban Muse” website called, “Writer’s Block is a Lie”, which talks about writer’s block and how it creeps up when you’re writing something you’re not passionate about. I tend to only write what I love, so I never experience it.
I choose to free write. I take a pen and paper and jot a couple notes when an idea hits me, but then I apply fingers to keyboard and just start to type. The story and the characters take on a life of their own and off the story goes. I have never written a complete outline for any piece of work.
Q: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
A: I’d have to say Stephen King did. I’ve been reading Stephen King since “Cujo” came out when I was in grade six. I read “The Stand” in grade eight and decided that I wanted to be a writer. I had teachers throughout the years push me in that direction, but fresh out of high school I started a retail business and built it up. It wasn’t until Stephen King’s book, “On Writing” came out over ten years ago that I decided to start getting serious about writing again. I officially started my first novel in 2001.
I started “Paranormal Precognitions” in 2003.
Q: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
A: No, because the three books I have written are all lined up to be published in the near future, with “Paranormal Precognitions” being the first, so every book I wrote will be available in due time as I’m working on two other novels, editing one and writing another.
Q: You’ve been writing for a number of years and now have your debut novel published. How difficult was that journey for you?
A: Very difficult. Sorry, I don’t want to scare anyone, but it has been a long journey and a lot of money. I went to numerous conferences over the years, hired a freelance editor, Lisa Rector-Maass, Donald Maass’ wife and laboured for years over my query letter. Too many rejections to count, which I also wrote a guest post for “Write To Done” website called, “Rejection Letters Are Great”, which talks about how getting more rejections just means you’re one step closer to a request, so enjoy them and move on. I’d say my journey started 10 years ago and is only now showing results.
Q: Tell us about your book Paranormal Precognitions and where readers can buy it. What audience is it geared toward?
A: Paranormal Precognitions is about a girl named Sarah Roberts who is an Automatic Writer. She has blackouts at random and wakes moments later to notes scrawled by her hand. These messages are future events that she decides to alter. She saves a girl from being kidnapped and steps in at the right time to save an accident victim. Then a message comes through for her, but she misinterprets it and ends up in grave danger as she becomes a victim herself. The police get a hold of her notebook and want to question her in regards to the details of the crimes committed in them. So while she needs police help, they’re after her for an altogether different reason.
People can purchase it as an e-book from Smashwords.com and Amazon.com. It’s available for every e-book reader on the market.
The novel would appeal to readers of thrillers, and paranormal thrillers.
Q: Have you had experience with the paranormal yourself? Or is the topic something which has always intrigued you?
A: I’ve had a few experiences. Among the half a dozen things that have happened to me, the strongest one was when I lived in a home where an earth-bound entity acted up. This “ghost” would move things around, shuffle papers on my desk and turn lights on and off. Multiple witnesses saw these phenomena happen at different times of the day. I think for me, it’s more about interest. I grew quite interested in the other side and all that encompasses many, many years ago. I studied Near Death Experiences, Astral Body Projection and many other paranormal activities until I decided that when people say, “write what you know”, I realized this subject was what I know most about.
Q: I’ve had the pleasure of reading your blog, can you share with other writers the importance of marketing yourself and your work? Which marketing strategies have you found to be the most beneficial?
A: Super important. But you need to be careful how you do it. It can’t always be me, me, me. Social media means just that; social. This equates to being social through a medium such as Twitter or Facebook. So, re-tweet interesting things, give a plug for someone else’s book release and play nice. People will remember you when your time comes. When approached, my wife and I offered advice to another person on Twitter who then went on to set up a website based on that advice. Others have thanked us for motivating them to continue writing.
My blog’s theme is inspirational for writers as I feel we’ve all got a story to tell but not a lot of time in our lives to be writing so I like to get people juiced about dipping their keyboards into their inkwells and writing.
You’ve got to market yourself. No one else will do it for you. Traditionally published or self-published: both have to market themselves.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Yes: write. That’s it. Write. You can’t edit a blank page. Even if you’re stuck. Just sit down in front of the keyboard and start writing. Write about a man throwing a stick for his dog. Who knows, the dog could become vicious or it may be a love story and the dog facilitates a meeting with a pretty girl.
The point is, you just have to write. Nothing else to it. Just write.
Q: What projects are you working on now? More short stories or another book? Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
A: I’ve got a lot going on. I’m currently writing book 2 of Paranormal Precognitions. I’m bringing Sarah Roberts back as a 22-year-old. She’s stronger, meaner and understands her precognitions better, but of course there’s trouble as she tries to find a murderer in a cold case that has turned personal. Things go wrong fast involving the police and people she knows nothing about, but they know her.
I’m working on editing my short stories as they’re being published in collections later this year along with a non-fiction book about publishing called, “The Sedore Report”. I have three other short stories that were accepted for two different anthologies that are being published this year.
Once all that is caught up by January, I’ll be reopening the file on a book I wrote eight years ago called, “Bad Vibes” and starting to rework it so it can also move towards publication.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
A: Read and read and read more. There, that’s it.
No, seriously, there is one thing I’d like to say to readers: write reviews. If there was anything I would want to specifically say to readers is; please do reviews of the novels you read. If you like or even love someone’s writing, go to Amazon and tell others how you feel. Join Goodreads, rate the work and let others know. We love to tell people how we feel, don’t we?
Other than that, I would say thank you. Thank you for being a reader and thank you for reading this.
Finally, thank you Jennifer Wylie, for asking me to do this and taking the time to make it a pleasure. You’re an asset to any aspiring author and for that I applaud you. Thanks.