About the Author
At age 28 I was living in Germany, working as a business consultant. I had reached a level of success where, for the first time, I could actually look forward and see where I was probably going to be in ten, twenty years time. And the truth was, it bored me silly. I had a friend who was a jazz musician, barely making ends meet, and supplanting his income by designing music for television advertisements. I helped him and a friend put together a business plan for a recording studio, and found myself surrounded by artists of all kinds. It was an introduction to a different universe, people so passionate about their work that money - while important - was secondary to growing, developing, expanding, facing new challenges. I have been a reader all my life, right from the very earliest days of my childhood. Within two weeks of starting my first story, I knew this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Even so, I wrote for nine years and finished seven books before my first was accepted for publication.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Those early years of struggle - working sixty hour weeks and trying to fit in another twenty hours each week for the writing - are still with me, in a sense. For the past twenty-two years, ever since I became able to live from the craft, I have written a minimum of four full-length projects each year. For twelve years I was able to mask this output by co-authoring one or two books per year with Janette Oke and others. Janette's retirement was actually what prodded me to return to my first love as a reader - speculative fiction. And now there is another output through screenplays. I stay busy.
3. What does your writing process look like?
I generally start work around half past five. I do a minimum of two scenes per morning when I am first drafting. Then comes sport of some kind, followed by the daily dose of administrivia. Then I sketch. This sketching process is vital as far as I am concerned. It grants me a unique opportunity to revisit each scene at least twice. And by revisit, I mean writing the entire scene out again. The first time, this sketching, is all by hand. I fill fifteen to twenty notebooks with each first draft. This does not slow me down. It actually accelerates the process. The characters have a freshness, a new life, and the entire story flows more smoothly.
4. What are some of your favorite books/authors?
When I started writing, my first mentor was Arthur C Clarke, global bestselling author of science fiction. His works include 2001, A Space Odyssey, and Childhood's End, which is currently a mini-series on SyFy. His advice and counsel is something I carry with me to this day.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
My passion for all areas and topics swings with the winds of my current project. This includes history. I have been fascinated by the alternate-reality series currently being aired on Amazon, which has led to research on Churchill, a pivotal figure in keeping democracy alive in Europe.
6. When did you write your first novel? How old were you?
The first novel was a bear. I basically ran out of steam at five hundred pages. It was an emotional struggle that took me almost three years to complete. I began learning so many lessons in those early weeks and months. Discipline, character, dialogue, point of view, dramatic action, plot escalation...all of these moved from mere words to driving forces in my life.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
I wanted to be a professional competitive sailor, preferably ocean-going. Or a professional surfer. When those didn't work out, I studied economics and international finance, first in the US and then the UK. Perfect start to a writing career.
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Music. Surfing. Road cycling. Reading. Travel. Hiking. On and on they go.