Often times, when I am doing book signings and appearances, people ask me about my writing process so I thought I would take a few minutes to address some of the most common questions.
Do you write every day?
I am an attorney and mediator, so my days are often long. However, I always try to write every day, even if it is only 100 words. I also try to blog at least three times a week.
What inspired you to write your first book and how long did it take?
My first book, Betrayal of Faith, was inspired by a legal case I handled in the mid-1980s. After the case was resolved, I felt that there was more to the story. I was compelled to write, and what resulted was a fictional account from the victim’s point of view. In total, I spent about a year writing, but I was then unable to find a company willing to publish it, nor was I aware of “self-publishing.”
I came to realize that sometimes the book or the world isn’t ready when you want them to be. My book sat on the shelf for almost 20 years until similar cases returned to the public eye. It was at that time that I dusted off the manuscript and spent about 8 months updating the book before it was published in November 2016.
What are some tips you would give someone struggling to write a novel?
Write the book you want to read. Write about something you are passionate about and let some of that come through. Even if you are not writing a memoir, the book is still partially about you – what you see, the way you think, the experiences you have. For me, that is the desire to pass along an engaging story that highlights serious social, legal, and political issues in modern America. Also, don’t be too critical of yourself at first. It’s ok to let the first draft suck; it should be just your attempt to start unfolding the flow and logic of the story.
What are the biggest things you learned in becoming an award-winning author?
One thing is to do as much research as possible and be ready to amputate entire chapters. Secondly, as an author, you must expect to be part of the marketing process (especially if you are a self-publisher), and the sooner that process starts, the better. And, probably the most important lesson learned is to find an editor that is brutal, and as an author, don’t be resistant to their edits. I have found that my books have only gotten better during the editing process.