What’s a typical day like for you?
Typical day… well, I’ll get up around 5:30 or, if I’m lazy, 6:30. Then it’s firing up the machine and waking up with a cup of coffee (one milk, three sugars). I’ll start working one hour after getting up and try to get in about nine 20 minute sprints for the day. Don’t know what sprints are? Read Chris Fox’s “5000 Words Per Hour.” Some days I can’t get anything going and some days life just hits head on, but about nine sprints is what I can do in about 5-6 hours.
Then, I try and work on second drafts in the afternoon, and that’ll take about two hours or so. It’s a seven to eight hour day. With the exception of producing a few pages Saturday morning, weekends are usually off.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I really don’t know. This was the job I wanted, to tell the truth. Probably something where I could be driving. I did actually try to become a cop in the early years, but my eyesight held me back. Private security might be interesting as well. Even delivering packages as a private courier or something like that.
But I wouldn’t be working at a pizza place. I enjoy pizza too much.
Or a plumber.
What is the best line from a book, TV show or movie you wish you had written?
The best line, the best line…. There are so many but the first one that pops into my head is from the movie “Speed.” At the end where Keanu and Denis Hopper are wrestling atop the runaway subway train, and Denis is repeatedly telling Keanu “I’m smarter, see, I’m smarter…”
Until Keanu comes up with a comeback line, ending the conversation in spectacular fashion.
Won’t repeat it here in case there are actually people who haven’t seen the movie. But yeah, that’s one.
Having said that, it might still happen. “Mountain Man” has been optioned by Matt Deller (“Manhattan Undying”) and picked up by Danny McBride’s Roughhouse Pictures. I don’t have any interest in doing the comic book anymore, but if Dark Horse or Image ever approached me with an offer, I’d damn well sit down and listen.
How has your writing developed creatively over the course of your career? Is there a certain area you’d like to improve?
It certainly has developed. I have perhaps about 400K of words written that will never be released. That’s two novels and a handful of shorts stories that, when I read now, I cringe. Just cringe. The ideas are fine, but the writing is not.
I’m always trying to improve upon something. Building relationships between characters is something I’m always trying to get right. It doesn’t always work. Pacing is a challenge as well as I tend to chop out a lot of what folks might call “filler,” to a point where I feel the story might be going too fast. Dialogue can be fun but sometimes I tend to be wordy, which then gets chopped in the second draft.
So, yeah, there’s always something that can be improved upon.
Do you ever see yourself branching outside the horror and fantasy genres? If so, what would it be?
Oh yes. I’ve got one idea already tucked away. There’s a story about a bunch of kids and their summertime adventures on a softball pitch. No monsters or violence (I don’t think there’s any…) planned in that one. That’s a novella/novel I think I’d like to write in the summertime.
I even wrote a children’s book called “Flight of the Cookie Dough Mansion” which is for ages 5-7. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford an artist for the book, and until I can, the story’s on sale for .99 cents. I think it’s a good bedtime story.
So, the zombie apocalypse has hit (as we all knew it would). Which characters from books, TV and movies would you want to team up with? (No superheroes, that would be cheating)
Probably none. I’d probably be the guy dying in the early hours of the apocalypse.