- Guest Author -
Today, I interview an interesting author who was once a submariner.
Welcome, John ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I come from a family of English teachers as both my mother and grandmother were English majors in college, and encouraged all the family members to read and write as an enjoyable outlet. I was a storyteller from about 5 years old, and was always considered the “dreamer”.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
For the past 10 or so years I’ve had several stories in my head and now at the grand middle age of 58 I decided it was time to share some of them with the world
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
Mostly shoot from the hip. To me a story needs to be fluid, it needs to flow and change during the writing as you become more connected to the characters.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Absolutely love creating characters from scratch. I love knowing every detail of their backstory (even when the reader may not). I think it’s absolutely imperative to know every nuance of a character you create, otherwise that character can lose his (her) genuine appeal
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I hate to see my characters suffer. I hate to see them in pain, I hate to see them suffer extreme emotional trauma, even though I know they must.
I also find it difficult on options on a storyline. The right answer ALWAYS comes un-expectantly while I’m driving, half asleep, or enaged in an activity with no access to a pen or paper. It never comes when I’m in fromt of a keyboard or when I have a pen in hand.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
A Submariner. My first career after college was joining the Navy and serving on Nuclear Submarines. After 6 years in the Navy, I spend the largest part of my career in Nuclear Chemistry. About 20 years ago I also started a business buying and selling precious gemstones called www.SimplySapphires.com , which has given me wonderful opportunities to travel the globe from the Opal mines of the Outback near Winton, Australia, to the cutting houses of Thailand, to the mining sites near Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The last few years I started volunteering my skills as a Mediator and Arbitrator in the New York State Courts.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
The Reflection of Innocence 125K word book that I completed this year, it’s a Military Thriller that weaves Paranormal with Historical Fiction, and uses my background as a submarine sailor, as the characters safe zone
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Promotion for The Reflection of Innocence and putting together an outline for a an idea I have about absolute power corrupts absolutely
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My dreams, my dreams tell me stories almost every night
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I love military thrillers with a twist
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
The best advice was a piece my mother gave me “The only thing that stops you from accomplishing ANYTHING in life is you, you can do ANYTHING if you put your mind to it”, and she literally meant anything
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No, I have so many stories in my head
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I wish I was more disciplined in that regard, but I am like a water faucet with no regulator, once I start it flows beautifully
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Sitting at my desk watching the dogs and they beg for my attention
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Letters and emails from people that connect to a character or story or principle
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I think Tom Clancy, I loved his ability to capture technical detail in a story. I could see the vision of what he out on paper clearer than any movie could ever show me. I felt connected with many of his characters not just one or two.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I never felt so connected to a character, I almost felt like I was intruding on his privacy reading your book
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I think you droned on too much about what a drunk he was (the reader was right by the way)
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes, I never felt like I fit in. I think it’s a feeling shared by every person in the world, and many of us use as a tool for self destructive behaviour. For me it led me to years of isolation, lonliness, and way too much relief from alcohol (sober about 20 years now)
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Love art (surrealism), Music, My two dogs, and absolutely love to travel and meet readers
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes I did
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
It would have to during a holiday as then I could sleep to 9 AM (never happens at home though, since my doberman’s internal clock wakes up at 5AM), shower, and watch the waves on the beach for the day. I cherish seeing children and their parents playing
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Anyone but a Kardashian. If I had to pick, probably Anderson Cooper, seems bright and funny
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Stop playing to the audience and do what is right, rather than what is the flavor of the day
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Travel more, I have visited about 50 countries and want to at least double that
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I hope so, just made one
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes, its typical big business, no one looks at the essence, only the cover
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Never, I never give up
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I only wrote one, so it would have to be The Reflection of Innocence
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Understanding the pain and joy about the people and things your write about
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I want them to see things they might not of before. I want them to question things and not just accept things at face value. To know that the world is not black/white unless they choose it to be
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I would love it
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
To me, I need a cover to help me create. We designed the cover about half way through the story, and it really helped facilitate my wring
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
People asking me to sign a book for them at Barnes & Noble in NYC
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I think social media is the key to marketing any book these days. The big publishers seem to exist to publish celebrity bios, and like the movie industry seems to have isolated themselves from anything new
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Charming, Funny, Stubborn, Generous, and Gay
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People talking on their phones while they drive
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant EXCELLENT BOOK
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
He tried his best
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Very fortunate, and very grateful for every day I live
Clancy's comment: Thanks, John. Interesting cover. Keep going. Get cracking on that next book.