DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Interview with Award Winning Author, Simon Wood

Engineer turned Anthony Award winning author, Simon Wood, is a former Brit now at home in California with his wife. With nearly two hundred short stories, and four novels to his credit, his latest thriller release, TERMINATED, is receiving rave reviews. On the horizon is ASKING FOR TROUBLE – stay tuned at http://www.simonwood.net/ for its release date.

Q) What was the defining moment or event that sparked your desire to write?

A) Coming to the US sparked my writing career. I worked in the oil and gas industry as a project design engineer for ten years, which proved to be very demanding. I’d work anything from a 60 to 80 hour week for several years straight. There was never any time to think about anything else. When I put all that behind me to move to the US, I found myself in immigration limbo and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a job or any distractions. I’d always been a bit of a daydreamer with ideas for stories running through my head and for once, I didn’t have an excuse not to entertain them. So I decided to write. I wasn't sure I was going anywhere with it until a short story and what became my first novel both placed in a statewide writing competition. There was no stopping me after that. Who knew the Immigration Service would be responsible for a writing career.

Q) You are a pilot afraid of heights, racecar driver, soccer player, comedy club enthusiast, have skied in Transylvania with wolves, and pretty much traveled the world on foot. Yet you author, besides nonfiction and literary fiction as Simon Wood, superb tales of horror under the name Simon Janus. What draws you to that genre since your thriller novels are so engaging?

A) I know there's the old adage, “write what you know,” but I think you have to write what you love. I grew up reading horror and pulp novels and watching Hitchcock movies and Twilight Zone, so naturally when it comes to writing, I want to emulate the genres I enjoy, so I have to write crime stories and tales of terror. Anything else just wouldn’t be right. :-)

Q) Society, in general, still fails to understand dyslexia, and some people continue to misinterpret the condition as ‘illiteracy,’ failing to understand it is society’s own prejudices, which border on ignorance. You not only are dyslexic, but take a stand of publicly declaring it, and for that I truly commend you. For those still hiding or embarrassed by their conditions, what encouragement can you offer them?

A) Essentially, dyslexia is an input-output communication error. Something misfires in the brain so what comes out on the page or what someone thinks has come out on the page are two different things. However, dyslexia has no power over imagination, dreams, desires or drive. If someone really wants to succeed at something, there's nothing stopping them. Whatever limitations dyslexia or other learning disabilities hinders a person, they can be circumnavigated. It’s all about addressing the problem and coming up with a solution. Personally, I’ll be damned if anything will stop me from attaining my goals.

Q) Lovers of longhaired dachshunds, you and your wife have also adopted five cats. As an advocate of the ASPCA, you have personally raised over $30,000 for that organization. Where does your affinity for animals come from?

A) I think the affinity comes from the love and companionship the animals in my life have shown me. Show an animal any kind of affection, and you'll get it back in spades. It’s something we don’t see in people, and we’re considered to be the superior species. I think it’s for those reasons that I find it hard to see an animal in distress and not do something about it, especially when they're being mistreated. Sometimes, animals are not in a position to help themselves, so I have to step in. Their power to forgive and move on is humbling.

Q) What advice do you have for those who think they would like to write?

A) Write. Revise. Submit. Repeat.

You’ve got to be writing every day, making sure it’s as good as it can possibly be, sending it out there and, regardless of whether it gets accepted or knocked back, doing it all over again. There's no other way.

An Interview with Multi-Talented Mike Ricksecker

Author of DEADLY HEIRS, the first novel of the Chase Michael DeBarlo mystery series, Mike Ricksecker is a versatile and talented writer who sees mystery in all aspects of the world around him. “Give me a bare room with a box, and I’ll have a field day. What’s in the box? Why is the room bare? What I love about writing mystery fiction is that it’s one big puzzle, and I enjoy challenging other people to figure out the solution.”


But while Mike is receiving acclaim in his mystery prose, it is his latest venture into the realm of factual paranormal activity drawing an ever-expanding fan base. http://www.mikericksecker.com/

Q) What was the defining moment or event that sparked your desire to write?

A) I've had a desire to write ever since the second grade. I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books and I tried to mimic them with little mystery stories of my own. I also wrote a few stories about the American Revolution at that time that were recognized by some of my school's leaders. With encouragement from my mother and an opportunity to read a few of the stories in front of the class, which garnered a positive reception, my interest in creative writing was propelled forward.

Q) I have to ask the obvious here. The leap between private investigator Chase Michael DeBarlo and documenting ghosts and spirits is so vast Evel Knievel couldn’t jump it. What was the driving force that caused you to investigate and write GHOSTS of MARYLAND, and with your current work in progress about ghosts in Oklahoma, do you foresee a trend here created by the public’s increasing interest and demand for your works in this nonfiction genre?

A) I've been interested in the paranormal for quite some time and have written a couple paranormal short stories (one is available to read for free on my web site). Like a good PI novel, I see a number of mysteries within the field: What are the spirits around us and why do they exist? How might hauntings and other paranormal activity be explained? What happens to us when we die? People are starting to feel more comfortable in talking about the paranormal and their experiences thanks to the increasing popularity of the subject, so the demand for information continues to rise.

Q) A husband of 16 years with four children, how do they feel about Dad ‘digging up the dead?’

A) They have their own questions about the paranormal and generally find it interesting. My 15-year-old daughter will watch Ghost Hunters and other shows with me, and she'll ask me questions about what I've discovered and details about investigations on which I've taken part.

Q) You’re an ‘everyday guy.’ A former baseball player (we’ll forgive you being a Red Sox fan), Air Force vet, network administrator; your hobbies include wine making, baseball card collecting, rock hunting, playing the guitar, and you create computer games. Nothing is more important to you than your family. Being a published author requires you to be on the road with personal appearances and book signings. How do you juggle it all so your family remains at the top of that long list?

A) I secretly pray for more hours to be added to the day. You're right that it is a juggling act and I try to minimize the hobbies as much as I can right now. I figure that there will be more time for those once they're grown and out of the house, but I will still dabble in them when I find some extra time. In fact, I've been working on some pomegranate wine and I need to find a few moments to rack it. I will also try to involve them with my passions to introduce them to other aspects of life. For example, my wife and I have taken the kids rock hunting a few times (the Morefield Gem Mine in Amelia, Virginia is wonderful) and a couple of the boys collect different trading cards.

Q) What advice do you have for those who think they would like to write?

A) Write, write, write! And read. The best way to hone your passion is to keep working on it.