Where do you get your ideas?
The truth is that they can come from anywhere. Inspiration has come from songs, news stories, books I've read, or even a phrase that occurred to me. As a historical fiction author, I'm always looking for ways to show the human face of actual events.
When did you first start writing?
I don't remember the time before I started writing, to be honest. Even in elementary school I was writing little stories and plays to share with my friends.
What was your first published book?
Back in 1995, I was working for the Dept. of the Army as a newspaper editor. The three-star command where I worked was scheduled for inactivation, and I was given an assignment to write a souvenir book about the unit's history. It was a great opportunity to delve into four decades of photojournalists' archives for photos and first-person stories.
It wasn't without its challenges; I ran into a couple of "hitches" in the process and mentioned the issues to a colleague. He was a military historian by hobby at that time (he is now a military historian by profession), so he co-wrote a couple of the difficult pieces with me.
I remain grateful for this project, which became "Born of War ... Dedicated to Peace: A History of Sixth US Army."
What's the story behind your latest book?
"His Beloved Infidel," was inspired by a book I read. "Daughter of Persia" is the autobiography of Sattareh Farman Farmaian, who was the first social worker in Iran. She lived under three very different government regimes, and was almost executed by the Ayatollah Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
That got me thinking about how ordinary people are affected by extraordinary events ... and gave me the idea to write Farukh and Catherine's story of love in the time of revolution.
"Clytie's Caller," about a woman who suffers PTSD, came from studying the disorder ... as well as my own experiences with panic attacks.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote a lot when I was growing up because it rained so much, to be honest; it gave me an escape.
Interestingly enough, only one of my tales, "The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)," takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like the idea of controlling the whole process, from story ideas to genre, even down to the cover art. There are so many great stories to tell, and the Big Five don't always seem interested in making sure that they see the light of day.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I cannot say enough good things about Smashwords. I came on-board in 2009, before the extended distribution/Premium Catalog was even available. I sell more books through the Premium Catalog than any other outlet.
I love that Smashwords is so easy for authors to use, which encourages me to publish more works.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Bringing new characters and situations to life!
What do your fans mean to you?
I am grateful to each and every reader ... each and every fan on my website or Facebook page ... all of you! Knowing that my stories make a difference in your lives makes me smile every single day.
What are you working on next?
I've just released "In The Eye of The Storm," the sequel to "In The Eye of The Beholder," and my first Regency novelette, "Clytie's Caller." The next items in the pipeline are an eBook "box set" of my paperback, "Brief Interludes," which is a collection of my short fiction, and an omnibus edition of the "Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes" series.