How many books have you written?
45 as of today and still writing more.
Will you be writing any more Lou Boldt or Walt Fleming books?
I am currently writing about John Knox and Grace Chu, the first book in which they appear is The Risk Agent. I have many more ideas for both Boldt and Fleming and would love to write more about them both sometime.
Have you found certain methods or tricks for writing novels?
I don’t have tricks. It comes down to hours and hours of work. I rewrite every novel no fewer than four times, sometimes as many as nine times. You can’t believe how many hours that consumes. It’s ENDLESS. You have to be patient to be a published writer, and you have to practice humility, because the editor (or teacher) is nearly always right.
Being an experienced author, what do you generally have to submit to a publisher to get your book published?
My experience now, 45 published novels, and that of the beginning novelist are VERY different. Typically an agent (it’s critical to have an agent) want to see a completed outline and three or four really well-written chapters. The competition out there is fierce. My agencies receives 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year–with thousands of solicited manuscripts to read on top of that.
Do you have any writing advice for beginner writers?
If you read, read, read and study the way various authors make characters come to life on the page you will see that working both with the five senses and internal thoughts can really help. My advice is to read the character descriptions in the books you love and to especially pay attention to how they speak and what they say as that is what shapes people’s impressions of us and therefore readers’ impressions of characters.
Most importantly, pick an amount of time each day, 30 mins, 1 hour, and sit down and DO IT.
What inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas?
I love telling stories. I’ve been a storyteller much of my life, and I think the novels allow me to express that. My ideas come from experience, newspapers, listening to others, observation. It’s all around us. Everything has a story if you take the time to listen and look for it.
Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
I always have a beginning, middle and end in mind when starting a novel. Sometimes I have a 50 page outline. Sometimes only a collection of thoughts on character or plot. But the big mistake first time writers make is filling up the car, getting behind the wheel and starting off driving without knowing a destination. A quick formula for running out of gas.
Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories or different characters?
Within every novel you enter so many mind-sets. You have to be the beautiful woman, the psycho criminal, the judge, the jury. That’s the role of an author: to play everyone. if you don’t play them convincingly, your characters are cardboard.