What books/authors have influenced you and why?
In my high-school days, I particularly remember John Steinbeck and Erskine Caldwell. I liked the gritty realism they conveyed in their work. Then I discovered Ernest Hemingway and a little later J. D. Salinger. They totally captured and shaped my creative vision of the written word, largely because of their mastery of "voice." But I was also somewhat eclectic--I loved the poetic philosophy of Omar Khayyam. And Robert Frost. They helped teach me rhythm in language.
What are your current/future projects?
I recently signed AND EVE SAID YES!, a literary collection, with Waldorf Publishing. http://www.waldorfpublishing.com/
I'm currently working on a memoir with the working title Blossoms on the Vine. It's something of a cross between the old Reader's Digest "The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met" and Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten--a focus on people I met along the way that had the most impact on my thinking and life choices. When that's complete, I'll return to two novels-in-progress. One is set in Germany during the Vietnam War and the other traces the life of a Mexican-American through childhood and into the eighties when he strives to become a novelist.
What has been a fascinating writing research experience for you? Does a memory stick with you?
Yes indeed. When I began working on my first novel manuscript, which was set in Hollywood in the sixties, I went on the road to research the setting in detail. That was in the seventies and I'd worked in Hollywood in the latter sixties. I slept in a junkyard in Albuquerque one night, retraced my steps around Hollywood Boulevard where I'd worked years before, interviewed people in the area who remembered how it had been during the turmoil of the Vietnam era. Almost got into a brawl with a pimp one night. The research might have become another book in itself!
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
Basically, I've come to believe in what the ancient Greeks referred to as "Muses." Or, angel guides, if one prefers. So, I call on them before each session for help and input with the creative endeavor. Hemingway once said, sometimes I write as well as I can and sometimes I write better than I can. I credit "the muse" with that latter accomplishment. I try to write every day, preferably in the morning, but often it's more e-mail than manuscript. However, I've learned to write about any time if I'm trying to hit a deadline.
What does literary success look like to you?
I'm a literary writer. My "dream come true" would be to create a work as successful and lasting as The Catcher in the Rye or The Sun Also Rises that would endure and give readers insight and entertainment and something to ponder long after I've left this earthly plane.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
I blog on two sites: The Grant Journal and Scriggler. Comments can be left there on my posts. I'm also on LinkedIn and messages can be left there also. My web page is on WritersNet.com and an e-mail address is provided on that site.