What inspired you the most to write? I enjoy watching crime dramas on television. The plots are interesting, but you rarely hear about what happens once the characters leave the office. In one series, the main character's wife is killed, yet they never really showed his emotional reactions, etc. To answer my own question about what was never shown, I wrote a short story about it. After I wrote it, I decided to try expanding that into a novel. I enjoyed that so much, I thought it would be fun to write crime novels which also show the other parts of the lives of the detectives and police officers.
Where do you get your ideas for stories? Most of the ideas I've already included in books or have written down for other books popped into my head when I was talking to people about news stories, politics, or religion. Some of the other parts come from unlikely places. For Detective Jake: Phantoms, I worked toward the surprise ending because of a story my brother, Keith, told me. In the novel I'm writing now, part of the criminal's M.O. is based on a drawing one of my co-workers drew as a doodle.
Do you have to conduct research for any of the detail in your books and if so, from which sources? I've never worked in law enforcement so I research the procedures and terminology. Most of that is done by finding professional law enforcement sites on the internet. If I can't find an answer, I'll use the contact email link so I can get the information from real police officers and detectives.
Do you read a lot of books? If so, what is your favorite genre? I try to read at least one book a month. Sometimes I read more, sometimes less. This will sound funny, but even though I write crime fiction, my favorite genres are horror and psychological thrillers.
Who is your favorite author and why? Wow! This is a hard one to answer because I enjoy books by a lot of authors. To name a well-known author, I would say Frank Peretti. His books revolve around spiritual warfare and issues faced by Christians. He weaves interesting plots and subplots together and they revolve around believable characters. By the end of the book, I've learned something about myself.
How many books do you currently have published? What are their titles? Four novels and one work of non-fiction. The Detective Jake series includes Detective Jake: The Search for Truth, Detective Jake: Ripped, Detective Jake: Phantoms, and Detective Jake: Second Chances. My non-fiction book is titled The World or the Word.
Do you have any books that are coming out soon? When? I'm currently working on the first novel in a new series. My working title is Skulls of Hatred and I'm aiming at getting it published by early next year.
What advice do you have for those who are just beginning to write? There are two things to remember. The first is to have fun and be yourself. Write what you want, when you want. The second thing is not to become discouraged when you share parts of your story with other people and they don't like it, especially when you get rejection letters from agents. Listen carefully to constructive criticism; ignore the people who are only trying to tear you down.
Would you like to see any of your books become a movie? That would be cool. The main reason I'd like that to happen is because quite a few people I've asked to buy my books have told me "I don't read, but if they ever make a movie, I'll be the first one in line".
What are the highlights of being an Indie author? How about the drawbacks? The best part about being an independent author is that I'm my own boss. I don't have anyone telling me what I should write, there are no deadlines, I can publish my books as soon as I finish writing them, and I don't have to split my earnings with an agent. The main drawback is I don't have a huge marketing team to help me sell books.
Do you have any book signings or events coming up? No.
Is there any way for the public to get an autographed copy of your books? I'm still working on this one. I'll probably run some contests at my website. I'm also trying to figure out the best way to sell autographed copies via my website.
On a personal note…
Where are you from? New Sewickley, Pennsylvania
What are your hobbies and/or what do you do in your spare time? I like to have fun, although some people probably wouldn't see some of the stuff as fun. I like to draw, read, and watch natural disaster movies. Although I took a break this year, I bowl on a non-sanctioned bowling league. When the weather is nice, I enjoy walking in the woods or just sitting outside where I watch wildlife. Pets aren't really hobbies, but I always enjoy sitting quietly with my two cats or watching their crazy antics as they play with each other or their toys.
Is there anything you would like to add? Although I think my answers to these questions are too serious, I'm not serious all of the time. I'll share one of my mottos ... Life is too short to be serious all of the time. Thanks Elizabeth for including me as one of the people you interviewed. Thanks to everyone who read through all of my boring answers.
Thank you, Sheila! (Your answers are far from boring)!