Friday, February 19, 2010


A reader who is reading Searching For Mom for a class she is in asked me several questions. I am posting them here so you can also see the answers I gave:

Where are you from?
I am from southeast Missouri, which is also the area in which Searching For Mom takes place. I took some artistic license with the town in which the story takes place, but the heart of it is very much like what you might find in the area of Cape Girardeau and Jackson.
How old are you?, Are you married?, Where do you live?
I am 34 years old and I live in Fort Worth, Texas.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a young child, I wanted to be a fireman. To some extent I lived out that dream in that I helped setup a volunteer fire department in a rural community and I spent one summer during college working for the fire department at a large diaper plant.
What books have most influenced your life most?
At the top of the list of books that have influenced my life, the Bible sits very comfortably. To say it has influenced my life is something of an understatement in that I can trace so many of the decisions I have made back to it and it is so engrained in my daily life. Other books that have greatly influenced my life include a book on how to program a TRS-80 Model 4. Though I have forgotten the name of the book, I doubt I would have considered software engineering as a career without it. The book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder has had an influence on how I write novels.
Can you share a little of your current work with me?
I am currently writing a non-fiction book about plot devices. It looks at many of the plot devices that writers include in stories and how we use them.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As I child I had thoughts of writing a book. In college, I had a professor who came to class and showed us his book. He told us that the royalties only amounted to enough to pay for a night out at a nice restaurant once in a while. I liked that idea, but I didn’t actually write a book until ten years later. I think it took me that long to convince myself that I could write a book.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family loves my writing and are always anxious to get their hands on the next book.
Aside from writing, what is one talent you wish you had?
I’ve often thought that I would love to be able to play the trumpet and a number of other instruments. I can play the piano and the recorder, but I have never taken the time to learn some of the others.
Why do you write books?
I write books in order to communicate. Some people write for the money, but that’s before they realize there really isn’t much money in it. Most authors must supplement their writing efforts with a day job or the income of a spouse. People who don’t have a better reason to write won’t stay with it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I read a lot as a child. I suppose my interest in writing originated from that.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing is somewhat influenced by the work of Cynthia Voigt. One of the things that has impressed me with her work is that nothing comes easy to her characters and what passes as a happy ending is that her characters survive. But her writing is also very emotionally tiring to read. It is my hope that my readers will find my work a little easier to read.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I have written one non-fiction book and four novels. As with most writers, it wouldn’t be wrong for me to say that my favourite is the last book I wrote. The title of that book is And Thy House. It is the story of a man who discovers that everything he taught his daughters about God is wrong, but it may be too late for him to teach them what is right. But For the Love of a Devil also has a special place in my heart. It was inspired by the book of Hosea, which tells of God’s love for Israel, but that telling comes in the form of a man who marries a woman who leaves him for other men. He does what he can to continue to care for her, but she continues to reject him. She is eventually sold into slavery, but he buys her back, takes her home and loves her.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I completed my first book in 2007. I was 32.
What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book is a non-fiction book called Church Website Design. While there are many good books on website design, I felt that one of the problems a new church webmaster would face is that with so many options available he would be overwhelmed or might try to do too much too soon, when all he really needs is someone to give him a path that would get him started.

The first novel is Searching For Mom. It was inspired by a scene from a made for television movie called Mary Christmas. In the scene, a young girl is eating cookies and calling all the women her dad knows, trying to find anyone who might make a suitable wife for him. That story followed a different line, but I wondered what a girl might do if she had her heart set on finding a mother. So the scene with the telephone became an Internet dating service and Santa Claus doesn’t appear in my story. Instead, Sara must find a way to do it herself.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Though he is now deceased, Glen Fox is one of the best mentors I have had. The books he wrote can’t be found in bookstores and he isn’t well known outside of the circle in which he wrote, but I learned much from him in the way he lived his life.