Your story involves a ghost writer who isn't a ghost. :) How did you come up with the idea for "Dead to Write"?
I have several writer friends with whom I chat regularly and occasionally collaborate. One of these friends, Brad Filipone, is primarily a playright and I speak with him a few times every week. He does write some fiction but he struggles with getting things finished...we have a joint project that has been a work in progress for years. Anyway, we were talking about my zombie stories and funny concepts and he planted a seed for this story in my head. He has a quirky sense of humour and a great imagination. With his permission, I used the idea to write "Dead to Write." A lot of my story ideas are sparked by things friends and family say.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? (For example, do you have to be alone, do you play background music, etc.)
I'm a full-time accountant with a busy household: a stay-at-home, self-employed husband, two kids, one a teenager and one with special needs, a mother-in-law and a cat. I also have chickens and a demanding garden. What this means is I have to steal time to write whenever I can get it. Usually it's when I'm on the bus, commuting to and from work, or during my lunch hour. I like to have music on when I write, but it's not required. I find it inspirational.
With short stories I find it's one quick burst of an idea and I write around it. With novels, I do a lot of plotting. While planning, I start with an ending, go back to the beginning, set out the major plot points that will get me to my end and fill in the gaps. The characters create themselves as I go and my writing is very fluid. The outline is there as a guideline, but it can change with little warning.
Do you see writing as a career for you, or a sideline?
Maybe when I retire ... if I retire ... it may become more of a career, but for now it's a sideline that helps keep me sane when I'm stressed. I'm quite happy with my day job. I have a great boss and co-workers and they support my writing efforts. It's secure, pays well and makes good use of my education. I only have one pro-rate writing sale (and a few semi-pro sales) so far, along with several token payments and royalty contracts. I'd need a great deal more than that before I could consider giving up being an accountant.
Do you have hobbies? If so, do they influence your writing?
I love to read, listen to music and draw, all of which influence my writing. I also like to dabble, trying out varous sports, crafts, art forms and leisure activities. I also like to travel. I think a broad range of diverse experiences translates to more fodder for stories.
What is your next project?
My current project is working on the sixth novel in my Fervor dystopian series. I'm more than halfway through the first draft. I'm not sure what my next project will be - wherever whimsy happens to take me, I guess.