Thank you so much for being here, Mike.
1: First up, standard question, what genre do you write?
In fiction, I write young reader and middle grade. In my non-fiction writing, I write science, sports coaching and training/conditioning articles.
2: Ah, a duel author. How long have you been writing?
Off and on for about twenty years. I have been writing fiction seriously for the past three years.
3: A question people often ask me -What do you like the most and least about writing?
A. Why I Write (My list of the things I like most about writing from my entry on Figment.com’s Why I Write event).
1. There are stories and ideas rattling about my head that need to come out. Writing puts these into a logical form.
2. To exchange ideas. To learn things I don’t know and to pass along things I do know.
3. Creating a piece makes me happy. Seriously, it does. It also makes me happy to see people of all ages reading and it makes me REALLY happy when they read my stories.
4. The excitement, the fear, the anxiety and the hope I feel every time I post or submit a piece of work. Nothing like it.
5. There are an infinite number of stories out there, some written already and some waiting to be written. I want a few of those stories to be mine.
6. Everything flows through reading and writing. The world opens to the Narnia’s and the Middle Earths, it opens to the dragons and the little hungry caterpillars, the battles for good and evil and everything between the Nightmares on Elm Street and the Midsummer’s Night Dream.
B. What I like least about writing
Not enough time and so many stories. I don’t work fast enough to write all the stories I want to write.
4: Good answers. Tell us, what do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
Family, sports, reading and my dogs.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
Rick Bass, Edgar Allen Poe, Neil Gaiman, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Roald Dahl, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Steven Gould, Arthur C. Clarke, Terry Pratchett, Harper Lee, Karina Fabian, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Jon Scieszka, Chris Van Allsburg and probably at least a dozen others I am forgetting about.
6: Something a little personal -What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
A tie between the facts I love being a dad and being loyal to a fault.
7: Great answers, so tell us about your current novel, where we can find it?
THE YOUNGER DAYS is my debut novel, due for a February 2012 release from MuseItUp Publishing. It is an upper middle grade historical fiction rooted in the aftermath of the bloody Kansas/Missouri Border War post-Civil War. Here’s the blurb:
The Younger Days
In the beginning, Boy Smyth has hard working, down-to-earth, devoutly religious parents, a too dull southwest Missouri farm life and a burning desire to be an outlaw like his hero, Cole Younger.
In the end, Boy Smyth has five dead bodies and two burning buildings at his farm, a life turned over on itself, and one of the most feared men in the United States of America sobbing by a huge rock outside the front gate. Oh, and that desire for the outlaw life? It’s purged completely from his system.
8: Wow, sounds great. I bet my grandsons would like it. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
1. Hard work is the magic.
2. Never give up.
3. The Four P’s: Purpose, pride, passion and persistence.
9: Fantastic advice. Another question I’m often asked, Do you base your characters on real-life people?
Not directly, but I probably mash-up characteristics of real-life people into my fictional characters.
10: I think we all do that. So how did you come up with the idea for this book?
About 20 years ago, an in-law noticed me reading a book on Cole Younger, the outlaw. He said his great uncle used to tell a story about how Cole Younger and his brother spent the night on their farm in Missouri while on the run after a robbery. I wrote a short story about it then put it away and forgot about it for years. After I quit coaching, I started writing again to replace the energy of coaching football, so I dug up the story. The idea began to grow and grow until it became my first novel. I guess it built itself in my head brick by brick over time, imagination and experiences.
11: Tell us what are you currently working on?
A middle grade contemporary adventure called WONDERLAND GARDENS, in which 13-year old Ellis must rescue his bitter rival after she’s kidnapped by a demented dance instructor in the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community.
12. Wow, that sounds intriguing. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I am a husband, a father of three, a lifelong Kansan, and work as a molecular microbiologist. I have a deep interest in promoting reading by boys and young men.
13. I think my grandsons would like your books. Tell us where can we find you? Website? Blog?