When did you first think of becoming a writer and who or what got you interested in writing?
I've always been a storyteller; I can remember back to 10 years old, coming home from the store with my cousin and, after he broke the milk jug he tossed, I called my mother and told her the story. I started writing at age 16 or so. I had been reading the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels and I wanted to write my own stories; I guess they call that fanfic now. I turned my attention to sportswriting while still in high school, and I've been doing that ever since. I started writing my first novel at 25, about a year after I talked with R.A. Salvatore about novel writing. Bob is a class act.
How would you describe your books and style?
My books are an eclectic bunch, my style ever-developing. I've written 15 books and novellas over the course of the past eight years, under two names, with plenty more coming. I've written sci-fi, fantasy, sports fiction (the English may or may not enjoy my football short story Vuvuzombie, written as John Fitch V and set around the England-USA World Cup matchup), and thrillers. I've always wanted to reach a broad number of readers. Back in high school, I told my English teacher at the time that I only wanted to write sports; I didn't want to do news or anything else. She told me not to limit myself. A few years out of high school, I start doing news on the radio, and that experience was the best civics lesson I could have ever taken. When I first started writing books, I only wanted to write Tolkien-esque fantasy. But once I expanded my horizons a second time, I've grown as an author. Now to pick a genre and stick with it....
When you write do you have a particular routine you follow, and what do you find the most difficult part of writing a book?
Oh yes. I conceive, I outline, and then I write. Probably the most difficult part is writing that blurb for the product description on Amazon/Nook.
Do you start a book knowing what the beginning, middle and end will be or does it take on a life of its own as you write?
I'm an outliner; I need to have that road map for my story. For some books, I'll write a few pages of notes, and that'll get me through the story. For my new book, Model Agent, I wrote a 22-page treatment, as well as several pages of notes for detail. I also took some 80-someodd photos, and that helped with detail, as well. I've tried the seat of my pants thing when it comes to writing, letting it be spontaneous. It didn't work for me. I will admit that while I'm writing, there are times where I gain an idea that is too good to leave out. For the most part, I don't like radical plot shifts.
Are you self-published or traditionally published, and what has been the best and worst thing about the route you have taken?
I am self-pubbed. The best thing is meeting so many readers online; it proves to me that reading is not dead. It's one thing I can do that most traditionally-pubbed authors can't do; you don't see Jo Rowling on the Internet, on an Amazon forum, talking with readers, do you? The worst thing is the fact that I have to relentlessly promote in order to get my books seen. It has involved sacrifice that some wouldn't believe. Another good thing is the feeling I get when I either sell a book or receive a great review.
If this isn't too much like asking a dad which of his children he likes best, which of your characters is your favourite?
Ahhhh, such a tough question. I'd like to say they all are. Right now, Jaclyn Johnson, the heroine of Model Agent and the forthcoming Rogue Agent (set in London!), is my current favorite. Jaclyn is completely bad ass. She's a partially-blind counter-terrorism agent, but she's also a fashion model. You wouldn't expect a fashion model to whip out a gun and start blowing terrorists away. She uses her beauty to get close to targets. She's the woman men would want to drool over, and the woman other women would either want to be or the woman they'd be jealous of.
What do you like to read and do you have any other passions?
Like my writing tastes, my reading tastes vary. I read Lord of the Rings once a year. I read thrillers -- if you're in the UK, you MUST read Steven Savile's SILVER -- sci-fi (Star Wars, of course, although it's starting to temper out for me), fantasy, and the occasional mystery. For passions, I love to cook. I like walks where I can take my tape recorder with me and record pages of prose. And I'm also a huge sports fan (have to be, as a sportswriter); here in the States, I'm a fan of baseball. But I also enjoy the game of English football. I'm an Arsenal supporter (let's NOT discuss the League Cup Final, thank you), and I don't mind cricket, either. We don't get to see matches here in the US, but I try to follow along on the BBC live text. We get the football, though. Loads of it. Several stations of it. I can't go a day without football news. To be honest, I prefer the English game to the American game; other than my local high school's throwball team, I don't pay attention to the NFL or the college game. I love movies, and cuddling with my cat, Caramel, is a must! Cuddling with my girlfriend, Estee, is a must, as well. She is my passion, my muse. I couldn't do what I do without her behind me.
Finally, what are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
I can actually tell you about everything! At the moment, I'm agonizing over my next baseball project. I intended it to be a novel, but I'm thinking it may serve the reader better as a novella, which means RE-WRITE. I also have the next Jaclyn Johnson book, Rogue Agent, to finalize. My next release will be a zombie story set in Tombstone, Arizona. I have my next fantasy novel to publish, and then, maybe I can do some writing. I have several projects in the conceptualizing stage at this point.