Why did you decide to start writing?
I travel a lot and I’ve spent many hours waiting for the next mode of transport to take me away. I observed other humans and their busyness, their behaviors. I started to put pen to paper years ago, taking notes and forming ideas. I’ve written a lot of short stories – many of them based on my travels, my friends and their quirks, my love of detail.
What’s the worst part about being a writer?
The revising, editing and the cost of self-publishing.
Are you available to talk to my book club?
Yes. If you’re in Southern California, I may be able to appear in person, but if you’re elsewhere, let’s talk on the phone or a Google Hangout. My schedule is available here, but contact me too and we can talk about what works best for you.
What kind of impact do you want to make with your Unplug & Connect movement?
We need to start treating each other better, and spend more time looking at the people we love and care about, and quit looking at a smartphone, a video game, or a computer. I don’t even put a cell phone in the story until the last page. Tell the folks we care about how much we care, rather than say, “it just didn’t work out.” I don’t have anything against technology at all – just limit time spent separating from our people. Be accountable, be vulnerable – the good old days aren’t really that old. But even for those 35 and up, having a beer with a friend has been replaced with a wall post and 140 characters or less.
Do you have artists and authors who influence you?
Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen, Cormac McCarthy, John D. MacDonald, Garrison Keillor. Great story tellers, great humorists. I am not writing comedy, but am writing like life is, which is not funny sometimes, and funny other times. I met Garrison Keillor, and met Carl Hiaasen. Both were a real treat.
That’s a beautiful book cover – who designed it?
Rachel Walling from Indiana. It’s an award-winning cover, no less. She did a great job. I love it, and it gets lots of comments.
What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
Quit thinking about it and start doing it. With no offense to the writing conferences out there, and there are some good ones, go to one, go to two, and then get to writing.
I know so many people that say they want to write a book, or have been thinking about writing a book, but have not started. You have to put pen to paper, because you can have those things with you all the time. Rewrite until you are nearly ill from rewriting, then get a professional editor to pull it together. Other writers can’t help you, so don’t call them, or me. An editor can help you. Being friends with other writers is OK, but don’t expect help, certainly not mental stability.
Write; after all, misery loves company.
Where do you prefer to write?
My office at home in Encinitas, but while traveling, I stand at the bar with my Moleskin journals and favorite pen. I’ve done a lot of editing at my local library, where it’s super quiet.
How can I get more information about your speaking engagements?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or use this Contact Us form. Or click on the calendar to see what dates are booked and which are available. So many options. We love wine bars, distillers and luxury retailers who would like to host me – the ones we’ve had so far have been a real hit.