How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
I do not consider “writer” as something I am, but one of several aspects to go along with being a husband, father, lawyer, and guy who cuts the lawn. In terms of taking on book-length manuscript writing, a journaling event did ignite my novel-writing passion. My best friend and his parents had given me a standing invitation to stay at the parents’ beautiful home on Lake Windigo in Northern Wisconsin. Great people! They encouraged visitors to write their experiences while at the lake in a house journal they kept in the living room. In addition to writing entries, I also read the whole thing. It inspired me to make my first effort at writing a book-length manuscript based on that journal, to preserve the history of experiences at this home. Although a portion did make it into Elgin Community College’s Black Dirt Literary Review, and another portion in a Wisconsin newspaper, the manuscript as a whole was never published (and stylistically for good reasons as my first book-writing effort). However the act of completing a full length book manuscript in a reasonable time, and learning from that experience, plus the joy homemade copies brought to my friend’s family, formed a passion within me to try again, and again and again . . . and the passion and experiences remain as strong as ever.
Describe your writing process.
Life gets in the way of any regularly scheduled time of day to write, and the business aspect of writing, from newspaper and magazine deadlines to literary agent, publisher, and editorial requests, have caused me to hit my stride (hopefully) at any available moment during the day or night. I do not impose a write-every-day in one-spot-only demand on myself as that attitude I find, for me, drains the joy. My pre-writing ritual is – turn the computer on! I find editing / revising previous chapters (often) as exciting as writing new chapters because doing so allows me to add both new ideas and the better expression of ideas already written that I otherwise would have missed, as well as create cleaner copy for my editorial readers. As to research, yes, out of respect for the readers, for both fiction and nonfiction, research is a must in all my projects – with this reading the habits and history of the bald eagle and red-tail hawk.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
Truly Waiting for Godot. After reading Beckett’s play again, I wondered about people who recklessly chase after great expectations rather than impassively wait for it (or God). What happens when the chase that is on for a single object by four different people, for different reasons, changes for all of them by new circumstances, disenchantment, or unexpected barriers? And One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Kesey’s novel shows remarkable and energetic creation of its characters’ unique personalities. Plus a hardcover copy of Cuckoo’s Nest appears as a weapon one main character uses more than once! I chose the selection for the Waterline presentation in part because I needed a reading that the good people of BATV wouldn’t have to work up a sweat using their “bleep-out” machine prior to airing.
What are you working on now?
I just finished up final edits (hopefully) to Henriette, completing Chasing Godot, and getting back to a YA book titled DisPopularity. Plus my Silent Sports magazine monthly column. I’ve got an Appellate Court appeal going on too, which some in black robes say includes some of my best fiction writing.