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Author Interview

How did you become a writer? I would like to say that I had always planned to be a writer but that is not the case. When I was a teen, I loved to write and did so for fun often reading my work to my parents who then assured me I was the greatest lyricist to ever set pen to paper and should make a profession of it when I grew up. My path to becoming a grownup was not a traditional one, however, as I spent much of my teens and twenties in and out of the hospital being treated for an inoperable brain tumor. As a result, I didn’t have a job or attend college until my late twenties but was fortunate enough during my studies to land a position in the History and Political Science Department at the University of South Carolina Upstate. It was there under the mentorship of the Department Chair, Dr. Dwight Lambert, that I began to realize the contribution I could make to meaningful academic discourse. From that experience, a seedling of confidence was planted. God Is A Bedlamite was born not long after, drawing on my years of study in political theory and my love of the philosophy of Existentialism.

What inspires you to write?

I recall one of my literature professors once telling the class that the purpose of literature is to “provide an outlet for the soul”. Whether we’re reading or writing it, it’s a method of transacting with others to take into consideration…and here’s where my love of Existentialism comes in again…alternative views of what we understand to be absolutes. When researching and writing God Is A Bedlamite, I’m positive I spent as much time as Nietzsche himself did in each of his own writings questioning everything. In that sense, the manuscript served as an outlet for personal growth for me and hopefully has provoked some thoughts in a reader or two.

I also write romantic comedy. The inspiration behind that? After surviving a brain tumor, all I can say is life is a blast! Live it and love it!

Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?

My biggest challenge as a writer is being visually impaired. Having a brain tumor has caused a loss of vision known as homonymous hemianopsia, a condition that leaves me with a complete left visual field deficit in both eyes. It’s difficult to keep text centered within my line of view, which makes for lots of errors, backspacing, lost thoughts, and many migraines but the final result is always worth it. Honestly, this is just a minuscule hurdle in life. When I think back on those times I spent in the hospital when I was younger, I’m one of the very fortunate ones.

What are your current/future projects?

1) I have two completed manuscripts under consideration for publication:

One is a work of biographical fiction that centers around the love affair between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. Legend paints Lord Alfred as one of the villains behind Oscar’s downward spiral during his Gross Indecency trials but historical facts demonstrate otherwise. I strive to give voice to Lord Alfred by writing of his love for Oscar and the subsequent betrayal of that love.

2) “The Old Mata Hari Trick” is currently under Amy Brewer’s representation. In this romantic comedy of errors, three intrepid flappers in the Roaring Twenties on the hunt for lovers (or “misters”, as they like to call them) get caught up in a spy mission to catch a traitor who just might be on their “Mister List”.

I am currently writing the sequel to “The Old Mata Hari Trick”.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I cannot express enough how important it is to find a literary agent to represent you. The search for a literary agent can be lengthy and frustrating, driving many new writers to turn to self-submitting their first manuscript. It’s what I did with my first manuscript, missing out on some of the finer points of the authorship experience.

Upon completion of my second manuscript, “The Old Mata Hari Trick”, I sought and gained Amy Brewer’s representation at Metamorphosis. Within just two weeks of having signed on, she has revealed to me this entire Author Universe of connections for promoting books. She’s enthusiastically helped me fine-tune my manuscript in preparation for an editor’s quick review as if this were her own baby. Amy’s excitement over this project has really given me the extra boost of energy I need to ramp up the sequel underway.

That’s what a good agent can do, and I highly recommend that all writers take the time to find one, no matter how frustrating the process can be. Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest are a couple of great websites to check out for agent listings.

* What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

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