How did you do research for your book?
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
My interests in life seem to be studying what came before and where we are going as a species. That led me to be highly involved in the Green Party political movement and to study population growth, ecology, and think a lot about possible futures.
Since I also like telling stories, all these topics are worked in between the lines of my fiction. This is important since, if the themes were overt, I would be accused of preaching, which I’m glad to say I’ve never been accused of. You see, despite the underlying themes, I like to write action-packed stories, where characters grow emotionally.
What advice would you give budding writers?
If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?
However, to write at a professional level is to be past the point where you are simply being purely self-expressive. My experience was that after about hour five hundred of my early attempts at learning to write, all the little idiosyncrasies started to fall away and I began to just tell a story.
As far as where am reside in the books, I’m the stupid kid, saying something naïve, or being a know-it-all. I’m the person who likes to be a mentor. I’m a bad guy, killing someone, something that my reptilian brain causes me to fantasize about, but what my ‘civilized’ brain says not to do. I’m in the male, female, young and old characters. Then again, most of the characterizations aren’t me. They’re people I’ve seen in life and am imitating. I, like most writers, are people watchers, and that comes through.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
No, I have never experienced writer’s block. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing, so I rewrite. Like a high school art teacher of mine, Mr. Meechan, said; art is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. So, I write by ass-mosis. That is, I put my butt in a chair at the same time every day, and I don’t get out of it till so much time has elapsed. But writers block? I’ve found that if I’ve done enough research, it’s never a problem. Research inspires a writer’s imagination.
In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
But as for the question of do I write things out long hand still. Occasionally, when I’m somewhere and I get an idea, without my laptop. But when I’m writing that note, I think about how I’m going to have to retype it onto my computer. Wow, talk about laziness.
I would like to ask about your dyslexia. How did it affect you in school, when were you diagnosed, and what did you do to overcome this when writing?
Of course, they didn’t know what dyslexia or ADD was in those days, so I did really poorly in school, barely getting out of high school. Again, I was always at the bottom of my class in marks, except in English literature, where I used to correct the teachers in their interpretation of passages in books.
There’s a lot of life story in between, but I’ll skip to my diagnosis.
In my mid-forties, one of my children was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD. I bought a book to learn about it and, by page three, all became quite clear. I too was ADD and dyslexic. That answered so much. I’ve always been a person who believes that as soon as a problem is understood properly, the answers become evident. (or at least where to find the answers become evident)
For me, the biggest problem to overcome was the insecurities that developed from so much failure in my early school days. It’s incredible how that sticks with you and permeates every aspect of your life. What did I do to overcome 40 years of insecurities? Three years of therapy, some therapeutic drugs, (after I stopped self-medicating) lots of reading, videos, audio books to make up for my slow reading, a speed reading course, and more. Again, there’s lots more to the story, but I must keep this short.
What I do now when I write is drink lots of herba matte tea, which helps me concentrate, and sometimes a bit of Ritalin, which I think is fine for adults, but I’m still on the fence about kids using it.
It may sound like I’m saying that dyslexia is a deficit, but I don’t think of it that way. I believe that it is nature’s way of having a certain percentage of a tribe’s members see things a bit differently, so new ideas are found, by mistake or otherwise. It’s analogous to random mutations in cells, so evolution happens. For me, this is an aspect of creativity.
In today’s world, where being a straight arrow who just plows through work in a straight forward fashion is what gets rewarded at the lower levels in society, yes, dyslexia may seem a burden. And yes, dyslexic people do have to work harder in some aspects of mechanical work, but I think it’s all worth it. After all, there is no choice.
I’d love to hear from any readers or bloggers who would want to follow up on this topic.
What is your next project?
Tammond’s love interest is Enheduanna, the daughter of King Sargon, ruler of the first known empire. However, “Yuanna’s” mother is a time traveler from the 31st century. So, we have a 24th C.E. century boy in love with girl who has one foot in both 24th century B.C.E. and another in the 31st century, C.E. And, just for good measure, it unrequited love.