1. Tell me a little about yourself.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy nature walks and rescuing cats. Okay, not exactly, although I do have a rescue cat that enjoys peeing in my tub every morning. I’m a native New Yorker and part time Mainer. I ride the line between responsible adult/father and overgrown kid, which I now get to tell my wife is all part of the creative process. I do have a day job, working at the same company for 14 years now, which is like 75 years for the previous generation. I’ve always been a big reader, which is what got me interested in becoming a writer. I’m still celebrating the Seahawks Super Bowl victory. And before you ask, I’m not a bandwagon fan. The ‘Hawks have been my team since Jim Zorn was chucking it to Steve Largent.
2. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I spend as much free time as I can with my family. My girls are teens now and it feels like I was just taking them to the park and hustling them through bath time. I don’t know where the years went! Now we go to concerts and malls and I get to hear all about the boyfriend du jour. I also read a lot. Sometimes I feel like Burgess Meredith from the Twilight Zone, bemoaning that there’s never enough time to read.
3. How long have you been writing?
Wow, just thinking about that made me realize how long it’s actually been. I didn’t have aspirations to become a writer until I was in my mid-20s. Well, that’s been 20 years ago this year. I started with short stories and worked my way up to full-length novels and novellas. There were a ton of pitfalls along the way but I never gave up. I have a Cool Hand Luke streak of stubbornness that served me well.
4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
That’s easy. It was my friend and fellow author, Norm Hendricks. We both worked absolute crap jobs at the phone company and one day I peered over his shoulder and saw he was writing a book. If Norm thought it was a cool thing to do, I was on board. Once I started, I simply couldn’t stop, not matter how bad the writing or the number of rejections.
5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
The most challenging thing is all of the marketing you have to do as an author in today’s world. Writing a book is less than half the battle. If you want to succeed, you have to get your name and your work out there for everyone to see. It’s a ton of work! Thank God I now have a publicist who helps me with blogs tours and publicity. Without her, I’d go mad.
The best part is just getting to that last sentence of a manuscript. Writing a book is filled with highs and lows. There is no greater feeling than knowing you’ve finished what you started.
6. What books do you enjoy in your free time?
I’ll read anything. Naturally, I love horror books and thrillers. But I’m also a big fan of mysteries, classics, non-fiction and lately, westerns. Who knew there were so many new western novels coming out every month?
7. Who is your favorite author/book and why?
Hemingway is the man for me. As a human being, he was flawed, which makes his work all the more appealing. Imagine being the person who changed the way people write and read! Just incredible. Studying his work has greatly helped me hone my own craft, but I know I’ll never measure up to his accomplishments. Every year, I read A Moveable Feast to recharge my writing batteries. It’s a great glimpse into not only a life surrounded by legends, but the creative process of a master.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The first rule I have for any aspiring writer is simple. READ. You’d be surprised at the number of people who tell me they want to write a book but hate reading them. It leaves me speechless every time. The second thing to do is WRITE. Carve out the time every day to write something. Everyone has free time. Turn off the TV and you’ll be amazed by how much you find. And finally, FINISH. Don’t be one of those people who carts their book to every critique group in their city and spends a lifetime editing. Polish it as best you can and submit it. Then start the whole process all over again.
9. Can you tell us about any of your new work?
My latest book, a thriller called The Montauk Monster, was recently selected by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. A fan recently came up to me at a conference and said, “It’s like Jaws…on land!” It’s about the New York town of Montauk being overrun by deadly creatures washing up on the beaches and terrorizing the town. They may be coming from a government run secret facility off the coast. If they bite you, you’re dead. When the night comes, they rule.
The craziest part of it all is that a lot of what’s in that book is true. People in Montauk have seen and taken pictures of bizarre animals and there is a crazy lab on an island nearby that was once run by an actual Nazi. If you read it, keep assuring yourself that it’s just a story.
10. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
If you could be anything other than a writer, what would it be? For me, starting pitcher for the Mets. I’ve always wanted to be a baseball player. Instead of a rubber arm, I was blessed with one made of glass. Some day soon I’m going to write a book about baseball. It’s the closest I’ll get to the majors at this point!
You can check out the review of The Montauk Monster here: