I interviewed myself recently. Here is the third question I asked and the answer I received.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write books and why?
I’ve always been an avid reader. I started reading mysteries back when I was in middle school.
I know that one of the first books I read was Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie. I think today
it’s called And Then There Were None. That’s probably still my favorite mystery book of all time.
I read that and then I got hooked on reading mysteries. I read everything from Agatha Christie
to Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn series to the Perry Mason books to Sherlock Holmes to Edgar
Allan Poe. I guess I just liked trying to solve the mysteries. I tried reading other stuff over the
years but couldn’t get into the science fiction or the romance or anything like that. Other than
mysteries and literature and some historical books or bios, I just couldn’t get into anything else.
What started me into writing was I didn’t like the end of some book or another. I don’t even
recall which one it was at the moment, but I didn’t like the author’s ending. So, I decided that I
would write a different ending to it. And I did. I started off when the next to last chapter ended
and went from there and wrote the ending that I had envisioned. I like to think my ending made
it a little better. It certainly made me happier than what the author had done. And that was
really my first taste of writing. I suppose if we looked back at that effort, it probably wasn’t as
good as I had in my own mind.
So after that I thought that I would give my hand a try at writing a short story or two. Well,
my first short story just got a little longer and a little longer. It was a murder mystery, a family
feuding over money, someone got killed and all the characters had dark little secrets. I’ve never
actually gone back and looked at that, but here again I suspect it wasn’t as good as I thought it
I spent a lot of time in my youth dabbling in writing—short stories then screenplays. Yeah, I
decided that I wanted there to be more episodes of shows that I liked, everything from the
old TV Batman to Mission: Impossible. So, I came up with some storylines and used those
characters to write screenplays for them. They were pretty basic, and they relied a lot on
dialogue as opposed to prose. I could just say the scene was a bank or a hotel and that was all I
needed to do for the screenplay. I didn’t have to get into the whole describing the setting and
character’s emotions or thoughts or feelings.
My first actual effort at writing a novel was during the first Gulf War. I don’t know why that
inspired it, but it did. I got a notebook and started writing it out by hand. We didn’t have
laptops back then, I know that a foreign concept to you. I still had a manual typewriter that I
had to use for typing. So I wrote everything out by hand then changed things up a little and
added to the story and characters and all that when I typed it up. Needless to say this was a
very lengthy process. When I was done, I put it away and didn’t look at it again for years.
My first novel that was published, Murder at the Ocean Forest, came about in the summer of
2000. I had been doing some research on old hotels and came across information about the
Ocean Forest Hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The original hotel had been torn down in
the 70s, but I was fascinated by the history of this place, so I started doing some research on
it. Well, there wasn’t much out there on the old place. The internet didn’t have nearly as much
information on it as is available now. But anyway, I was fascinated by this place so I thought
it would be kind of neat to write a book set in the hotel back in its heyday. I actually came up
with the characters and the entire outline while I was riding in the back of a limo from Miami
to Orlando. I started working on the actual novel on my laptop, I had one then, while I was in
Orlando, and I finished the manuscript about eight weeks later. Those were some pretty intense
weeks of writing. It was the only time I actually spent ten or twelve hour days working on a
manuscript. I finished it up and never changed one aspect of the story either, and it’s still I think
my favorite one for a number of reasons.