|Front side of an old Christmas promotional postcard. Art: Jeff Austin|
|Reverse side of Christmas postcard|
One of the perks of being a writer is getting to meet some of the most interesting people. Whether it is at conventions, store signings, through the Earth Station One podcast, writer’s groups, on social media, and sometimes just from people I run into on when I venture out of the cave I call my office, and they have questions. Sometimes they are about writing or what I’m working on. Other times they’re out of left field. I thought it would be interesting to share some of them along with a few answers. Regardless of where they come from, here’s a few of the latest.
Check out past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, Part 7 here, Part 8 here, Part 9 here, Part 10 here, and part 11 here.
Star Trek First Contact. There was a movie he starred in called Safe House that I rather enjoyed as well.
Q: Your Favorite Robert Downey, Jr. Movie?
Iron Man. Followed by Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Avengers.
Q: What's your dream achievement?
Q: when you work on a novel, do you normally use an outline?
No. I've tried outlining and it doesn't work for me. It feels like writing the story twice. I do have a loose plot and ideas of things that are going to happen so I have "signposts" along the way that I know have to happen so I write to them and then see where it goes. This allows me to know the bare bones plot of my story and allows for freedom to follow the characters wherever they might lead me. It works for me. I know there are other writers who do things differently. You just have to find what works best for you.
I love the initial spark of an idea. There’s something thrilling about taking an idea and seeing it form into a story before your eyes. The first 1/3 of every story seems to just spill out of me fast and furious at that point.
Q: Do you have a favorite Doctor?
I grew up with Tom Baker and love him as the Doctor. David Tennant is my favorite of the new Doctors. I also like Matt Smith and am excited to see what Peter Capaldi will do with the role.
Yes. In Deadly Games!, Benjamin West has just moved in with his girlfriend, Sarah. John Bartlett, on the other hand, is not in a good place when the book starts and is not in a relationship. In Evil Ways, Harold Palmer is married with a young daughter.
Evil Ways probably takes that honor. I have a real soft spot for that one as it was my first sold novel.
Q: Your favorite Amy Adams movie?
The only movie I've seen her in is Man of steel, which I was only lukewarm about, although I thought she did a good job in it. I kind of vaguely recall her appearances on Smallville and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Good question. I’ve gotten a lot of advice over the years, some more useful than others. Author Beverly Connor once told me that no one would care about my book as much as me when it came to promotion. That stuck with me. I had an editor once tell me, “there’s too much story in this story.” That one stuck with me as well. Sometimes we writers can make things too complicated or go too in depth. Sometimes the K.I.S.S. method works best. K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Stupid.
By the way, if you've not read any of Beverly Connor's books, you should look them up. Highly recommended reading. I am a big fan of the Diane Fallon series.
Anywhere and everywhere. I pull bits and pieces from so many different places. Go out and people watch. It’s like going to a character supermarket. Take a trait here, body type there, and you can build a good character. The important part is getting the voice right so you can hear the characters talking and thinking. Once you, as the writer, get to know your characters, the more real they will feel to you and therefore more real to the readers.
Q: What’s the funniest or strangest looking character you ever created for a story or novel?
Life In The Faster Lane comic strips I did for Keeping Up With Kids magazine from 1995 - 2005. The character was (kinda) loosely based on my Dad, whose nickname is R.O. The rest of the cast is also loosely based on my family, although R.O.’s wife didn’t start out similar to my Mom because she wanted no part of it. Over time she accepted it and the character started morphing closer to her. The strips were fun. One day I need to get around to collecting them in a book.
Q: What was the last important thing you forgot in your writing, and how it did it come around to either to bite you in the butt, or be a major breakthrough? Was it a technique? A bit of research? A simple story adjustment that slipped your mind?
|FOX's The Following|
Q: How come you’re never allowed to say what film your working on? Do they make you sign paperwork?
They do indeed. Working on set is usually confidential and I have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. When the movie or TV show premieres I can mention being in it, but not before. They don't want word leaking out early, which makes sense.
JAWS, of course. I love that movie. It’s one of my Top 5 favorite films. I also enjoyed him in Seven Ups, Cohen and Tate, Blue Thunder, 2010, The Punisher, and seaQuest DSV. Yes, I loved seaQuest, as evidenced by the panel I hosted on that very topic at Dragon Con a few months back. You can listen to that panel here, by the way.
An interesting (maybe) aside... Darrin Morehouse, the villain in my novel Deadly Games! was always portrayed by Roy Scheider in my mind as I wrote his dialogue. I thought he would have been perfect in the role.
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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!