What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I do extensive research because the books reflect the contemporary international environment. I use the facts and events of the real world and insert my characters as participants. I also include a list of references at the end of each book.
Do you see writing as a career?
I am retired and not doing much else, so writing qualifies as a late career.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It sucks. Amazon dominates it, and authors have no choice but to comply with them.
Do you read yourself, and if so, what is your favorite genre?
Serious novels, biography, and history.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I write with Bach in the background. It helps to develop a mental rhythm that propels my writing.
Do you write one book at a time, or do you have several going at a time?
I write one book at a time because I don’t know where I am going. Once I achieve momentum, I have to say with it.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
The computer is the greatest tool for authors. I have a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen that I used to write my business books and articles way back. I keep the pen as a relic and haven’t used it in years. I keep thinking of the novelists and authors of the past, and how difficult it must have been to make revisions. I believe Balzac paid for printing various drafts, and because of that expense, he hardly made any money at all by the time the novels were published.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Claudine Bisson. She is a killer violinist and leads the Valkyries Squadron in war games against the American Air Force. Like Tess, she is gorgeous, fierce, relentless, and unlike Tess, she has a wicked sense of humor and could charm the pants off anyone. The problem is that she is in love with Jake and creates havoc with the single-minded pursuit of her goal, which unfortunately involves attempts to undermine and compromise Tess by capitalizing on her weakness for Vaughn Wentworth, the conductor.
What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision?
At this time in my life, being an author fulfills a long-term goal. It is the right decision.
What advice would you give new authors?
Don’t listen to naysayers. Just write, write, write until you find your voice.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Writing about women is fraught with peril because no man can decode what is in their mind. Women always surprise me.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I don’t rush and let the stories develop at their own pace until the result makes sense. I usually take six months to write a book.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t know any writer that hasn’t experienced writer’s block at various times. I hate to finish a book because then I have to think of another story to tell. Sometimes, it takes a year to find a direction.
Are your characters based on real people, or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
My characters are based on real people that I had the privilege of knowing during my career. I took literary license, but I believe I have done an excellent job of portraying remarkable individuals, good and bad. I just speculated what they would do when faced with the challenges in the stories.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
My characters absolutely hijacked the stories as my writing progressed.
Convince us why you feel your books are a must-read.
I believe that I have created remarkable characters and great stories that transport readers to fantastic locales. Themes of the novels include action, intrigue, deceit, obsession, sensuality, the use of wealth to achieve one's goals and highlight the eternal struggle between good and evil.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
What did you edit out of this book?
Some sensual scenes were controversial and unnecessary to propel the narrative.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to have met Umberto Eco, the author of The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum, and other history-based esoteric titles. His erudition is astounding, and I always learned much from it.