Tell me what inspired you to write your (debut) novel?
My debut novel was some time ago, and was inspired b a colleague who worked with me at hospice. She is a nurse from Austria and had a very interesting story about falling in love with a man when she was young and in nursing school, and then later falling in love with his brother. It is called “Loving Annalise”.
What came first the characters or the world?
The characters always come first (in my stories), but the world they inhabit is neck and neck.
How hard was it to get your first (debut) book published?
My first published work was a short story about grief, of a young mother dying of AIDS, and didn’t take long to find a publisher.
How long did it take to write?
It took about 3-4 months to write.
How many publishers turned you down?
For the first book published, it was about 10 publishers that turned me down before finding the one that took it on.
What kind of reactions have you had to your book?
The reactions to A B.R.A.V.E. YEAR have been very gratifying, as people tend to find it to be helpful and supportive.
What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?
When someone says they “don’t believe in that stuff”, and then find that it works for them.
What can you tell us about your next book?
I’m not working on any book presently, but in the process of getting four screenplays I’ve written produced. One of them is a coming-of-age story (based on a friends book), about a young woman who tries to save turtles from oil spills and land developers on the Texas gulf, and takes place during the BP oil spill in 2010.
Do you take notice of online reviews?
All of the time. I appreciate anyone taking the time to read something and then leave a review of their reactions to it.
Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?
I don’t have any specific genre, so I’m always writing outside of it (or in it).
What did you do before (or still do) you became a writer?
I’ve been writing for over 30 years now, and worked in various organizations, hospitals, programs, and clinics, as a grief and trauma counselor (primarily at hospice).
Which author(s) inspire you?
It is endless. The most well known ones would be Bell Hooks, James Baldwin, Sarah Waters, Isabelle Allende, Zora Neal Hurston, Tara Brach, Amy Tan, McCall-Smith, Deena Metzger, William Stegner, Chitra Divakaruni, Barbara Klingsloffer, Toni Morrison, and Alice Munro.
Which genres do you read yourself?
Mostly literary, lesfic, romance, and historical fiction.
What is your biggest motivator?
The idea that something I’ve written has the possibility to entertain, enlighten, and/or improve, someone else’s life.
What will always distract you?
The cat, social media, and my beautiful wife whenever she walks by.
How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to collaborate on almost all of my book covers, accept for one, which was with a large publisher.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Not as a young child, but as a teen, I begin reading more and more.
What were your favourite childhood books?
Probably the ones I remember most are those we read to our children – Goodnight Moon, Winnie the Pooh, the Harry Potter series, The Dark Materials…
Do you have a favourite bookshop? If so, which?
Our local book store, Bookshop Santa Cruz, is one of the best anywhere and has been around for over 50 years now.
What books can you not resist buying?
I can resist buying any book, but usually choose not too.
Do you have any rituals when writing?
Before I write, I need to have everything in the house cleaned, put away, and other tasks all completed. If I don’t, I keep thinking about what I need to do later instead of being present to the writing at the moment.
How many books are in your own physical TBR pile?
Eight to ten.
What is your current or latest read?
Currently reading Affinity by Sarah Waters. Previous read was Anis Nin’s erotica.
Any plans or projects in the near future you can tell us about?
One script I wrote, has been turned into a series and is about to be pitched to a number of large studios. Another one (a short called “Yasodhara”) has one a number of screenwriting awards around the world and be made into a film.
and finally, what inspired you to write the genre you do?
In reference to the genre of nonfiction/self-help/health, it is an area I’ve been writing about for most of my adult life. What inspired me to do so, is when I discovered how much similar books helped me and what I was going through.
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