What’s your greatest character strength?
1. I believe being creative is my best strength. I have always thought “outside the box,” and this has led me to my life-long interest in journalism and writing. Making connections with the right hemisphere of the brain is a developed skill, and this is my forte. I now understand I need to develop a public “image,” and this will be useful to my progress as a genre writer.
2. I write fiction better than a lot of independent authors. Once again, I think it’s my almost shamanistic approach to creative endeavors. I like to follow a formula for the mystery, but I don’t like to plot out each action in every chapter. I let my character find his/her own way. I like the image of all fiction being conflict, and the protagonist the main magnate for all the conflicted characters.
I can also find my way around computers a lot better than other writers. I wrote a book in the late 90s called The Digital Scribe: A Writer’s Guide to Electronic Media, and it was a great experience in focus and research. I worked with an editor, and I grew a lot. I have also won a few grants as a college teacher to develop tools for teachers and students in the computer area and for online education.
3. I can do interviews with a focus on what the publication and/or journalist needs to pursue. I like working with other people to develop the best interest in both the topic of the program and my book.
I have also worked as an editor, so I can catch a lot of my own mistakes, but my wife, Ellen, is my editor par excellence. Together, we make an excellent indie team. I see many indie writers who don’t take this extra step to achieve grammatical excellence, and it shows. I’ve even noticed that Cormac McCarthy, a guy I love, has a lot of grammatical problems, but who’s going to argue with him? He tells such a damned good story!
I still believe in the “Amazon model” of allowing the public to judge the excellence of the story, however, and one must maintain a professional image on the page. I love to do this.
4. Others see me as a creative and hard worker who, as a professor, has high standards. This is something that is being lost (editorial opinion) in community colleges today because of a lot of factors. I am respected for my quality standards by students who understand what they need to transfer to university.
What’s your weakest character trait?
1. Sometimes I expect too much of my reader and others. I must understand and empathize more with the reader and be a good guide. I think I’ve overcome this weakness, especially with my latest mystery writing endeavor.
2. Competitors sell themselves better than I do. This is the main reason I hired a Publicity expert. Once I learn what to do, however, I think I can perform well enough to compete.
3. I am working on it. Using the technology in interesting ways to increase traffic to my site and to market my writer “image” better is my goal right now.
4. I am so dedicated that others often see me as too much of a loner. I do a lot of research in my work and even in my fiction, and others don’t respect that if they have a more “seat of the pants” approach to writing.
Why do you write?
To discover what I think about something. I believe Flannery O’Connor said that. I agree. I was inspired by an inner need to create with words, and I was an autodidact, as my immediate family did not have a writer in its midst. In high school, I was on the school newspaper and year book, and in college I majored in Radio and TV Communications. My Master’s Degree was in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. I write both genre and literary work, as well as non-fiction.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
When I have been “self-actualizing,” yes. When I have been “ego-tripping,” no. The mechanical aspect of composition is a literal “pain in the ass.” I can now understand why Philip Roth wrote while standing up.
By the way, I like this definition of “self-actualizing” best: the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world. That last little phrase, “grasp of the real world” always kicks my butt the most.
What motivates you to write?
Breathing. Oh boy, I suppose as long as I can think and breathe (like chewing gum, tapping your head, and rubbing your tummy) I will write. I just read the other day that one of my favorite, all-time, writers, Mr. Elmore Leonard, had a stroke at 86, and now he’s back at “it.” See what I mean?
Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery
Rating – PG13
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