With the release last Monday of my novel “The Travelers” then the contract offer on Friday for my novella “Castles Burning”, I’d like to discuss my own approach to writing and my Queen Mary collection since so many have emailed me. I went to college in the early 90s and was taught that the proper steps for an author were creating, revising, editing, revising again, query letters with chapter excerpts via USPS with SASEs, and, of course, the dreaded rejection letters. The internet was not prominent at all back then and the idea of submitting query packages electronically was unheard of. I am amused by the though of my mentor’s reaction today in the world of Kindle, Nook, and iPad. Every single publishing house I queried required electronic submission. I even signed my first contract with Champagne Book Group electronically. I personally feel that this electronic approach is superior to the bulky packages mailed through the local post office. One editor who requested a full manuscript replied that “slush piles” are a thing of the past. An author still has the harrowing wait for a response but it comes much more quickly. I am pleased to be part of the ebook phenomenon.
As for “The Travelers”, it was completely hand-written on yellow legal pads, revised again and again before lastly being typed on Word. The “Big Six” in New York are no longer the only means of becoming a published author by a bona fide publishing house. Many, if not all of my friends, unknown fans, and family members prefer the electronic editions they can purchase and download in minutes then take their devices and read at the beach, work, air flights, etc.
I scratch notes of lyrical sentences, dialogue, and plot turns on any piece of paper available whether it be a grocery bag, calculator tape, or even the backs of junk mail envelopes. When the idea hits, write it down immediately as I promise you will not remember it for a later, more convenient time. I have even woke up in the night with dialogue or a scene description in mind and scrambled to the tiny notebook I keep on the nightstand. So, my author’s desk is anywhere and everywhere a literary thought occurs. That’s not to say that sitting in front of a blank computer screen and contemplating what to type is not a perfectly valid method for writing. But I want that physical presence of the written word first and foremost before entering the new, phenomenal world of electronics.
I have been a collector of furniture and memorabilia from the 1930s luxury liner Queen Mary since the third grade. My love (compulsion, really) of writing took hold of me at the same time and I ferociously wrote juvenile tales involving the great liner. “The Travelers” is a product of that lifetime obsession in the fact that the retired liner permanently docked in Long Beach, California plays a very pivotal role in the plot. Urban Fantasy intertwines with the liner’s history to form an enigmatic portrayal of her personality. (And, believe me, she still has a soul that no other liner possessed, not even Titanic. I know because I have vacationed and spent nights aboard her in magnificent staterooms! She has a quality of alertness that refuses to be ignored.)
Although the novel has substantial fantasy elements, it is essentially a character-study of a World War II GI and his British war bride who just happen to have an extraterrestrial encounter with an otherworldly, desperate mother and her two small children. My college mentor read the manuscript before I began querying and was impressed and encouraging. He told me that if “The Travelers” were made into a movie, it would be a David Lynch version of the film Ordinary People!
So, I am pleased to be a part of an electronic publishing house in the age of ebooks and pray that the phenomena continues to explode.