1. Reading about your novels, I like that your lead characters are artists. How do you choose your characters' professions and other key details about their lives?
Because I've been around the arts all of my life, either through songwriting, poetry, or over the last four years, writing novels, I tend to include at least one character in each novel who is an artist. In the first and second novels, I chose musicians. In the third, one of the main characters is a poet. It's a way for me to write, at least in part, from something I know and love well. The artists in my novels tend to be surrounded by folks who are not traditionally artistic which provides lots of contrast.
2. What inspired you to leave your job in technology and pursue your writing career?
Back in college, my English professor told me he would teach me to write novels if I switched majors from engineering and business to English. I was broke, so I stayed with engineering and business, but the desire to write remained with me all of my technology years. A number of years ago, I got the idea to write three novels about different kinds of love, and decided to leave everything technology-wise behind and go for it. It was the best decision of my life. The Color of Home, about romantic love, came out in 2013. The Big Wide Calm, at its core about platonic love, was just released. And The Beauty of the Fall will hopefully be out next year. After that, I have ideas for ten novels floating around, and plan to write for the rest of my life.
3. How does your previous experience in songwriting carry over into your current work as a novelist?
In two ways. First, I sometimes write about the songwriting process in my books. How one goes about creating a song is a process many people have not seen in detail, so it adds richness and authenticity to the main characters. Second, because songwriting is in part about conveying emotion and about the beauty of a phrase, I try to carry that over in my novels. Sometimes I'll spend an hour just on one sentence trying to get the words just right. With that said, because the first two novels had musicians in them, I've decided not to include any in The Beauty of the Fall.
4. What do you find most fun--and most challenging--about writing novels?
I like the process of writing every day first thing in the morning. When I wake up, it's loads of fun to start with a blank page and create something new. But not just that. I really love all aspects of writing. Creating something new. Re-writing. Word-smithing a sentence or phrase. Plotting. Pacing. Becoming a character for a time. All of it. The most challenging part is knowing I can only write five hours each day. After that, I'm toast. I have so much to write about, I wish I could up my hours. Smile.
5. What do you see as your goals as an artist over the next few years?
I'll finish The Beauty of the Fall. After that, I'll just keep going and write the next novel. I tend to love literary fiction, so I'll probably keep writing novels with which focus on truth, honesty, kindness, compassion, and love. Or more accurately, how folks intentionally and unintentionally have a hard time living their lives in those things.