How did you become a writer?
I never had a choice. I fell in love with writing and the magic of words at the age of 12, when I wrote my first poems. In my thirties, I made my living writing non-fiction books and magazine articles on computer technology. Now at last I can follow my passion by writing as a novelist.
What inspires you to write?
I love sharing the strange, kooky ideas and images that bubble through my brain.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I started as a “pantser,” writing by the seat of my pants, but soon learned that I’m at my best and most creative when I have at least a rough plot/outline. My characters emerge from the plot. As I write, though, more characters and surprising plot twists always seem to pop up when I least expect them.
Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
I’ve learned that being a good wordsmith with creative ideas and a flair for prose is one thing; but being a great storyteller is quite a separate skill. I’ve had to really study the art of storytelling, reading over a dozen books on the subject.
Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?
Derek Hyde is a twelve-year-old orphan who was adopted by two quirky morticians, Jack L. Hyde and his wife, Formalda. My favorite trait is Derek’s fear and aversion to all things spooky—which is problematic, since he now lives in the spookiest funeral home in the whole town of Littleburp.
How does your antagonist create conflict?
The antagonist, Norval Nussbaum, used to live in Derek’s new home until he accidentally blew up his parents with his chemistry set. Now he’s mad at Derek for living there and he takes every opportunity to get even.
What are your current/future projects?
I’m now working on a Middle Grade book about young Drippy the Dragon, who flunks Flame Throwing 101. Seems he can only shoot water, not fire. Now he must use his liquid-spewing talents to thwart an attack from humans and a rival dragon clan—or start planning his parents’ funeral.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
I try to write from 7am to 10:30am every weekday. But when I’m not writing, I’m always thinking about it!
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
I’d tell myself not to be discouraged by rejection. Every writing project is a chance to learn the craft, to become a better writer. Every book is a success as a learning exercise, whether or not it’s published.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Persevere. Success is usually hard-won, after many tries. Have fun with the trying and think of publication as inevitable, if only you stick to it.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
Via my website, www.waldenpondering.com