Can you tell us about yourself?
I love dogs. I make the best homemade pizza you’ve ever had, and that’s as humbly as I know how to put it. Beer crust from scratch, the old family marinara sauce recipe, fresh toppings. People who visit and have it think they died and went to pizzeria heaven.
I grew up in Northeastern Iowa and Northwestern Wyoming. That makes me a couple of things in many people’s eyes.
1) A hick.
2) A Northerner through and through.
I’m really not much of a hick (I lived in Los Angeles for eight years, and now Denver for fifteen). I really do miss the mountains of Wyoming, and even the lush cornfields of Iowa. The pig farms I am pleased to say I don’t miss at all.
A Northerner, I am. Heat, humidity, and bugs. Don’t like ‘em, don’t want ‘em, don’t have any use for ‘em.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and published author?
It’s so hard to say. I didn’t start seriously writing fiction (i.e. with an eye toward publishing) until college. But when I was 10-11 years old my best friend and I were making comic books in our basements—dreaming of publishing them one day. I realized even then that he had the talent of the artist and I was more the wordsmith. (Ironically, we have reconnected on Facebook and he is doing some artwork for my next book!)
Who is your favorite author?
Naming one favorite author for me is like naming a favorite movie. I can narrow it down to a top ten, but after that, ranking them is pretty darn difficult. Stephen King was my childhood idol, and probably did more to influence my writing that any other author. John D. MacDonald is one of King’s favorite authors, and he’s one of mine, too. You can’t write in the Mystery genre, in my opinion, and not have read MacDonald’s books. Particularly the Travis McGee series. One of the most influential books for me has always been Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
What is your writing routine like? Do you like to listen to music? Work in complete silence?
I like to listen to music. Mood music, actually. If I am writing something softer, I want softer music. If the scene is dramatic, full of suspense, then I need something faster. I love music. I wish I’d had the talent to do that, actually. Music is a part of almost every aspect of my life.
What is Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay about?
At its core, my book is about life. Good versus evil. The choices we make and how those collisions between what we know is right and what we really want affect us as humans. I write character-driven fiction and I always will. Black Beast is about a Denver detective who discovers that his career may have been somewhat preordained by a family history he never knew he had. It contains a very strong theme of light and darkness, on several levels. It’s also a book about a hero rising. What great story isn’t?
If you had to pick a theme song for Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay, what would it be?
That’s actually a really easy question. The song I picked for the book’s trailer: Papa Roach’s Forever. The beat, the lyrics, the melody. It just fits perfectly. I’ve had so many people tell me they love that song, particularly in relation to the book and trailer.
When I found the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald, and then later the Dave Robicheaux and Hackberry Holland characters created by James Lee Burke, I fell in love with the recurring character books. What better way to write memorable characters with whom the reader can connect than a series, where you can bring the favorites back again and again? Detective Bobby Mac had been in my mind for decades. I started writing him in Seattle and in Portland and in L.A. When I settled in Denver, so did Mac. Then I had to write him into a book.
Which character in your novel do you relate most with?
Bobby Mac, of course. I have to believe that most writers relate at some level to their protagonist. I’m not sure how I could write him if I didn’t feel that way. Plus, it’s a lot of fun (and a little therapeutic) to be able to let your character do some of the walking, talking, fighting, and all around heroism that a writer doesn’t have a chance at every day!
All of the novels in the Holiday Sirens event deal with crime. Do you have a background of working in law enforcement or did you do research specifically for your book?
All my LEO experience comes from reading it, watching it, and researching. A writer takes on an even greater responsibility when writing about something they haven’t done themselves. I actually emailed the DPD to ask them if I could interview some of their detectives. They never responded, but you would be surprised how much information you can dig up online.
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Book (Amazon): http://ow.ly/7x0Nz
Stop by the Holiday Sirens event for more interviews and books to choose from for the holidays! Load up that new Kindle, and have a very “Siren-y” Christmas!