Please tell us about your latest book.
"His Father's Blood" is the second book in the Legends of the Family Dyer series. It follows Moll Dyer's descendant John Dyer as he confronts the demon that's plagued his family for generations. It has historical significance (as did Sister Witch (Book 1)), ghostly spirits, shapeshifters, shamans as well as a romantic element. There's a strong social conscience woven in that the series is known for.
What can we expect from you in the future?
At least one more in the Dyer series. Book 3 is in rough draft form and I've become temporarily sidetracked by a post apocalyptic thriller introducing a new vigilante hero.
How do we find out about you and your books?
Why did you decide to write dark fiction novels?
It seemed natural--as it's what I read and watch in movies. I think it helps folks to see their lives aren't as dark as they thought. Nothing gets our blood flowing like a shot of raw fear/horror. It reminds us we are alive!
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot- but not always actual experiences. I often look at things that have happened to me (or were done to me) and question what might have happened if this had really turned bad. As to personality, I believe we all have elements of dark and light within us. Who we are is determined by which side of ourselves we allow to rule...but the other side will still slip out occasionally.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
Moll Dyer is a historical figure, but her story is one of myth and legend. After over 300 years, her tale morphed into a well defined oral tradition that is especially prevalent in my part of the world. Hers was a tragic life, spun of bigotry and fear. It is a legend that has pulled at my heart strings for as long as I can remember. I felt it was time she saw some justice, even if posthumously. After I wrote and rewrote Sister Witch, I submitted it to a few publishers. I received rejections, but one was nice enough to suggest changes. I incorporated the changes--mostly with the intro--but then I essentially shelved it, put it on hold... My mom came to me in a dream about a year later and told me it was time to resubmit. I sent it to 3 publishers and all three came back with either a contract offer or a request for the full manuscript.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
About a year with a book like Sister Witch that involved a lot of historical research. Perhaps 6 months for stories that are primarily my fantasy.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
Life is so complicated. I often write for hours a day (or all day) for a week and then step away for a few days-- especially when polishing my first draft.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
It depends on the day. LOL I'm rather single-minded when engaged in a project. If they didn't interrupt when I'm on a roll I might not eat for a few days.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
Kayaking (flat water rivers), hiking, family gatherings...I'm also a wood carver and wine maker.
What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
The cathartic feeling that only comes from creation.
Where do your ideas come from?
Personal experiences, snippets of overheard conversation. The answer to the question "But what if?" that I always ask myself.
Do you feel humor is important in dark fiction and why?
In every genre, a humorous touch is often used to lighten the mood or to relax the reader prior to unveiling the "monster-under-the-bed."
What kind of research do you do?
A lot, some say too much! I like to know the setting pretty well prior to any writing. That place's history and people require research. if I am writing about a different time period, I like to know the slang used-at least those terms that would be understandable by a modern reader. Language explains a lot about a culture's views and values.
Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
That's why I define what I write as dark fiction. It encompasses many genres. Everything is improved with a bit of shadow! My WIC is Sci-Fi though and will be a new limb of the tree for me.
What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
She enjoys it very much (or so she tells me!).
Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
All the time- especially for a female perspective on actions and dialog.
Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I am the second son and fourth child in a family of 5 siblings. We are blessed to all live in the same county in Southern Maryland. I wish the same could be said for my children and grands! We have three most excellent kids. Two live here with 7 of my 12 grandchildren. One is a Navy wife and we see her and her wonderful family all too seldom. I went to the University of Maryland, University College for a long time! My degree was earned while serving with the US Army in Georgia, Germany and finally back home in Maryland.
Fill in the blank favorites -
City- Loveville, Md!
Type of hero. Superhero- Batman. Regular hero- a father
Type of heroine. Strong, capable, never fawning. Independent but able to accept help when necessary
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
Too many, I love to read! Thoreau, Tolkien, Vonnegut, Poe, Camus and the list goes on...
What do you think of critique groups in general?
What do you think of critique groups in general?
So far my critique group has been limited to my beta readers. In other phases of my life, I've seen too much negativism associated with such groups.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully alive and healthy
How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
I think my first story was Dick and Jane fan fiction! I have always written and now find myself in a position where I have the time and energy to devote to longer tales.
How many books have you written, how many have been published?
Written 5. I have a third about to be published "His Father's Blood.. that follows "Sister Witch." "Julianna's Choice" is a paranormal romance published under the pseudonym Davina Guy.
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
Both, nothing like the feeling of having your book in your hands!
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
Moll Dyer has been a part of my life (and fantasy life) forever. I suspect she and her story will remain my favorites for some time to come.
What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
Hardest- His Father's Blood
Easiest/Most fun- Julianna's Choice
Most rewarding - Sister Witch
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Characters- definitely. You have to have a certain character type with characteristics that can make the story happen. The setting influences and helps create the character, but for me, the story evolves around the character.
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
The rough draft is the easiest, allowing the story to flow from my imaginings to the document. Editing is the worst. Ripping and slashing away at some of your favorite scenes that no longer make sense or aren't necessary to move the story along.
Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Only short term. I've hit roadblocks in my story line. I've just stepped away...a little distance allows my subconscious (what some call their muse, but I consider my character's voice) to straighten me out.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
As a admitted introvert, it allows a freedom of expression that I cannot experience any other way.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Wood carving, my other creative pursuit
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Keep at it- reading, writing and polishing. Don't be afraid to bare chunks of your soul! Ignore naysayers.