Q. What inspired you to write, Love from the Crucible?
A: I was inspired to write it after I heard my grandparents tell me the story of how they met. Although, to be clear, I enhanced that story a lot. Therefore, the book shouldn't be taken as a reflection of my grandparent's story.
Q. Would you call, Love from the Crucible, a personal story?
A: Ahhh...Not that I would admit it! Ha-ha. No, seriously...I wouldn't say it is very autobiographical. Of course, there are elements of me in it, but my goal wasn't to talk about myself. I wanted to write an entertaining story, and I think that is what happened. A lot of the book had its roots in real life though...I will say that...
Q. Your own life?
A: Not really...Mostly incidents I have seen and heard about over the years. I modified and disguised them as I worked them in. So please don't try to figure out which happened to who, where...Real life was a heavy influence on this book...but it is still a fiction story.
Q. What was your goal in writing, Love from the Crucible?
A: My goal? Hmmm...Entertainment for sure. I believe that is my business...However, I do have something to say in this book. I don't want to give away the story though...Generally, the story is about learning to look outside of yourself and your own problems...Oh, and finding love...But I tried to give love a little deeper twist than the usual boy meets girl thing...although the boy/girl element definitely is a part of the story...I guess it's about finding goodness in tragedy...Love from the Crucible.
Q. Was this book easier or harder to write than your others?
A: Definitely harder...I started in 2004...and it has been a long and difficult journey until now. I'm just thankful that it is available at last...
Q. What's next in your writing schedule?
A: I'm working on a sequel to, A Priceless Christmas. That should be available...sooner than later hopefully. I think it will lean more toward the mystery genre...But it isn't finished yet...so you never know.
Q. What is Beauty in a Scorched Land?
A: For me the title can mean a few different things...Ah, the book is about Africa...which is not just a continent of war and famine, it is also a land of beautiful scenery and wonderful people. So there is that angle. In a more poetic angle...the thrust of the book is targeted at the west...in a way, our society has been scorched and desensitized by the media...Are we still capable of compassion? Is there still beauty in a scorched land?
Q: What were your goals in writing this book?
A: There was a couple...We wanted to raise money for African aid and at the same time raise awareness and participation. Personally, I didn't want to write yet another book about those poor little children over there...Although, they are poor and over there...I wanted the book to be about us, about the similarities in the human family...
Q. The human family?
A: Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strange...but what I mean is...Well, I think that people are basically the same...no matter how much money, what color skin or anything else that affects the external. I think it is convenient to put people in compartments and minimize them...You know how it is; the problem is over there in that box. We don't need to worry about that... My point is that the problem isn't with them...it's with humanity collectively. With us all. Make sense?
Q. Who is Charlene?
A: Charlene is my sister, and the co-author of Beauty in a Scorched Land. She also came up with the title and contributed pictures taken during a trip into Zambia. She worked in Zambia as a nurse for part of 2006, and came back with a new perspective. She shares some of that perspective in the book. Incidentally...any profits from the book will go to the organization she went to Zambia with...MATE...www.matefcc.org
Q. It sounds like a pretty serious book...is it?
A: It is a serious book. However, don't panic! I worked hard to make the book entertaining. I didn't want it to be another dry sermon. There is romance and humor where I could fit it in. As I said, I wanted it to be human. Not just about the bleakness...People in Africa have a lot of the same desires that anyone else does...They aren't living on some other planet. They joke, they love, and they feel...Just like anybody else.
Q. Any last words?
A: Hey, you can download the book free...but please buy it. Maybe put a copy in your church/school/tree house ect...You will help spread the word, and we will put 100% of the profits toward African relief work. It is a win win situation with the winner being Africa. Thanks a lot for your help.
Q: Give us an overview of, Revelry in Reverie
A: Hmm...Revelry in Reverie is basically a collection of poetry. Most of it was previously published in different and diverse places, so I thought; why not collect some of it in one place? With that in mind I picked some out some suitable poems, and then added some unpublished ones to the mix...I wanted to fill out the book a bit...so I wrote a short story around the poetry.
Q: What do you mean around the poetry?
A: Ahh...so that the story and the poems fit together. Yes...I wrote the story to fit with the themes in the poems. So the story explains the poems, and the poems continue the story, or fit together with it, depending on the situation.
Q. What is the book about?
A: Life, love, loss, war...Basically it is about a guy who answers a knock at the door and finds a poem...this brings back memories that he would rather forget. I don't want to say any more than that.
Q. Have your original meanings been sacrificed for the story?
A: Yeah I thought of that...in the back of the book, I put comments on every poem along with the previous publication credits. I think the story gives the poems different angles that I hadn't thought of during the original writing. Yeah...It was interesting to explore them again in a different light. The original thoughts are in the comments section...Pick your meaning...Enjoy...
Q. Do you work all the time?
A: Pretty much. That is one advantage of having no life! Ha-ha. Speaking of work...I better go...there are things to do you know....
Q: Tell us about, A Priceless Christmas.
A: What can I say? It's a romantic story, I set it in my hometown. Let the fireworks begin! (Laughs.) Yeah, it is a romantic story, but I think it is more than that. It has a bit of mystery, some romance, and a message to the whole madness. And it all starts on Christmas Eve as two strangers pick up a mysterious letter...To find out what happens after that you need to read the book.
Q: What was the creation process behind, A Priceless Christmas?
A: It is like this...our family had something diffrent planned for this Christmas. We picked names...not very unusual...The catch was that all gifts had to be handmade, or they had to help somebody else at the same time. So, I began writing the book as a gift for the name I picked. (No it wasn't my girlfriend/wife! Ha ha.) Eventually I emailed the manuscript to my sister...she read it and gave it a very good review...so I decided to share the book with the world! Which is why you're reading this interview now. Oh yeah, I did give a special (longer) edition of the book to the person whose name I picked. And that is how it all started...
Q: What do you wish to accomplish from your writing?
A: I hope that people are entertained. I believe that is the job description of every fiction writer. Beyond that, I usually try to insert some thoughts for discussion into my writing. So I hope that while the reader is entertained, they will also glean some chocolate for thought from my scribbling.
Q: What did you hope to accomplish by writing, A Priceless Christmas?
A: Well, I don't want to give anything away...but I do hope that people think more deeply about the real meaning of Christmas...
Q: What would be an inspiration behind your writing?
A: Many things. I think as a writer I get inspiration as a gift. You can't explain it. I hope that doesn't sound too mystical...but I don't know how to explain the concept of inspiration. As a Christian, I believe that the inspiration comes from God. Sometimes it arrives at the strangest times...
Q: Anything to add?
A: Just that I hope people enjoy my writing. I hope it adds the merry to Christmas. And on that thought I better quit. (laughs)