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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Neal Wiseman, Author, Psychologist, Previews New Children’s Book, The Elephant and the Jackal: and other Bedtime Tales

Neal is a most interesting person, and I think you will find his visit very enlightening on how he uses his training to write for both adults and children.  He has quite a sense of humor as well.

Born in Boston and grew up in in a place called Chelsea, a small city about 7 miles north of Boston.  Received a B.A. in Psychology from Northeastern University in Boston and followed that up with a doctorate in School Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  I later established a private practice in Psychology and learned to embrace the “existential” and “humanistic” approaches to psychotherapy.  A large part of my training as a Gestalt Therapist was a rather deep and enduring acquaintance dreams and dream work. What people are really telling us through their dreams has been a main focus throughout most of my writing and much of my art.
Tell us about the genre of your work.
My writing falls in “Self-Help” or “Psychology” categories.  However, I am, basically, a simple storyteller.  My book on relationships, Couples at the Crossroad-Finding the Path with a Heart, (available online at, and tells stories about couples whose partners need to establish their own values and esteem.  The book is complete with scales measuring what I consider to be the three dimensions of love, i.e. Passion, Intimacy and Commitment—a throwback to my undergraduate days at Northeastern when I was involved with research and assessment techniques.  However, I also help the reader measure destructive behavior, compatibility, and basic personality traits that either help or hinder the growth of relationships.  There are many case studies and examples of dream therapy. Perhaps more important are a series of exercises readers can use to gain insight into their own behavior, their needs, the influence others have on their lives, their level of creativity, and the life scripts they wrote for themselves when they were barely old enough to walk.
I am more excited about the children’s stories I wrote several years ago (and of course am still writing because it just never seems to say what I want it to).  There are ten all together, and again they are designed to teach as well as to entertain. 
Harry Finds a Home is about a little man who lives in his hat, and when his friends and neighbors have no place to live, he keeps adding rooms until it is 12 stories tall.  He wants to help his friends, yes, but he also wants to have a home of his own…what to do, what to do…can he have both? Yes…
Grandfather Wu and the Five Fingers tells the story of a wise old man who helps handicapped children discover how they be happy despite their disabilities…and then there is Paki and the Terrible Dreaded Two-Headed Troll and Chico and the Trapped Angel
There are six others and each character became very dear to me as I worked out dialogue, motivation, and the solution to each one’s unique problems.

Writing can be very satisfying.  It can also be maddeningly slow and tedious.  Finding the right word and effective segues requires loads of time, concentration, and patience.  When I retired several years ago, I found that other forms of art appealed to me.  I began to pursue training in photography and photo-editing techniques.  But even here, there appear to be two overriding themes: first, tell a good story and secondly, give the piece an ethereal quality—in short, each piece of art becomes a dream printed on canvas or paper (or, in my case, silk).  My photo art can be found at
Why did you choose this genre?
I am afraid I had little to do with it.  The genre picked me and I had little choice but to follow.  One of the benefits (or side effects) of growing up in humble settings is that you begin to rely on relationships with friends, and you rely on stories and humor to communicate your needs, fears, and desires.  Story telling became an extremely important part of my approach to therapy, then later my approach to my writing and now my approach to the visual arts.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

I choose places that I am most familiar with, and I often name my characters after friends.  In the case of one of my kids’ stories (Paki and the Terrible Dreaded Two-Headed Troll), because the story takes place in Africa, I used Swahili names (e.g. Tembe, is the Swahili word for Elephant).  Half of the kids’ stories are true stories: “Joey the Invisible Boy” for example is really about a former patient who dealt with his fear about virtually everything—including his wife—by making himself “invisible”: if no one could see him, he believed, no one could hurt him.  It must have worked, he told me, because the bullies at school never beat him up.  Unfortunately, his wife did…

What is your favorite thing about your book?
What I like in all my writings—and in my photo-art as well—is the process of finding a solution to a seemingly impossible situation.  How can couples overcome lifelong obstacles to healthy growth?  What do people do when they find out that they are incompatible with their spouses or partners?  How do people find their feet again, i.e., courage and strength so that they can make healthy decisions for themselves and their children? What can people do to change their life scripts, especially when the scripts have been written as tragedies—e.g. “Dying for a Drink”, “Getting High”, or “Getting Even.”
The same is true in the kids’ stories. How can Paki—a deaf eight year old—save his village from the Terrible Dreaded Two-Headed Troll?  How can Joey the Invisible Boy learn to fight off the monsters that live in grandpa’s closet?  How can Princess Marcela, Family Doctor, convince her dying mother that she still belongs in the home and not in a hospice setting?  How can The Girl Who Couldn’t Talk help make her sick grandfather happy?  
What is your writing schedule?
I save my writing and my other art work for after-hours.  I work on creative projects religiously from 11 PM to 2 AM—one of the benefits of being retired. I enjoy the silence and the solitude.  There is no room inside my head for more than one voice at a TV or radio or telephones ringing.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
My next writing project will be a book called: “Children’s Dreams—What Kids Really Want to Tell Their Parents.”  I am doing research for that book and have another one in mind as well.  In addition, I am becoming more involved with my photography.  I visit (horse) racetracks all over the U.S. shooting photos I can use to create picture books about jockeys, trainers, horse owners, and the horses themselves.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
Read, read, read! And, after you get through reading, go to the library and borrow audio-books by the best writers you can find.  And then, listen, listen, listen!  The writers I like include Evan Hunter a.k.a. Ed McBain, Michael Connelly, Robert Parker, Lee Child, Tom Wolfe, and James Lee Burke.  Then after you listen, write, write, write, and begin the cycle again until the muse calls to you.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I write, I shoot photos, I print, I frame, I grow my small photo art business and I revise my work over and over again until I like it.  It is a very full time job. Of course, I study the Daily Racing Form and bet horses accordingly. 

(Note: Neal is letting us have a sneak peek of the cover of his new children’s’ book, The Elephant and the Jackal: and other Bedtime Tales.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Visiting with Linda Lovely, and Getting a Preview of Her New Book, Dear Killer

When I interviewed Linda, I discovered that we are both transplants from the Midwest to the South.  As a matter of fact, we are almost neighbors. Her new book, Dear Killer, sounds as if it is going to be a really good read.

A native of Iowa, Linda has called the South home for more than thirty years. She lives with her husband beside a peaceful South Carolina lake, where she regularly perturbs the geese and one honking big turtle by jumping off her dock for a swim or pedaling (yes, pedaling not paddling) her kayak. Linda is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Sisters in Crime and the South Carolina Writers Workshop. She feels quite lucky to have found both close friends and exceptional critique partners—snarky, funny, talented and generous—through these writer organizations.

Linda cannot imagine going to bed at night without a book in hand. Thankfully, her husband shares her passion for reading, so she does not have to use a miner’s light to indulge her nocturnal habits.

Her manuscripts have made the finals in fifteen contests, including RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart (TM), Daphne du Maurier competitions, including other mystery contests such as Deadly Ink, Murder in the Grove and Malice Domestic. Her stories dish up a main course of suspense, action and adventure with a generous side of romance. Dear Killer
is set on a fictional Sea Island in the amazing South Carolina Lowcountry, known for its Gullah roots, historic plantations, fabulous food and pirates.   

Tell us about the genre of your work. 

I write mysteries and romantic suspense. However, my mysteries always include a generous side of romance, so the line between these genres is blurry. My mysteries are written in first-person from the heroine’s point of view (POV), while my romantic suspense books include multiple POVs that let the reader into the mind of the hero, heroine and villain.

Why did you choose this genre?

These are the types of books I have always loved to read. I like being on the edge of my seat but still feeling (somewhat) confident that the hero and heroine will survive and justice will be served.  A much more satisfactory read than too many real-world news stories. 

What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

I was a journalism major in college and have made my living as a writer. Over the years, I have written dozens of feature articles for business and trade magazines as well as advertising copy, newsletters, etc. Dear Killer  is my debut novel.

Dear Killer will be released by L&L Dreamspell in June, 2011 in trade paperback and ebook formats. The print ISBN number is 978-1-60318-331-4. I am scheduling my first book signing at The Booksmith, our local independent bookstore. Dear Killer will be available through a variety of bookstores and the usual online outlets as well as some Lowcountry retail outlets.  
Live oaks, palmetto trees, vines and understory crowd a small lane. Not a place you want to abandon a car and flee on foot.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

My book is set in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where I lived there for a dozen years. I loved every minute of it, and I have tried to be faithful to the area’s natural beauty, culture and history. However, I elected to set my mystery on a fictional Sea Island in a fictional county near Beaufort. Since the criminal activities are imaginary, I did not want any readers to mistake them for real locations, or people.  I borrowed some names from my relatives, because I liked them (the relatives and the names!). My hero’s name is Braden Mann, the name of my great nephew. Other names just seemed to fit the characters I imagined.

To give you an idea of the setting in which the the story takes place, I have included some pictures of that area.

Small Shrimpboat-Many Lowcountry bridges
open to accommodate shrimp boats.
Small Dunes-Storms can radically remake sections of beach, obliterating dunes in one location, starting a building process in others.

Smaller than their mainland cousins, 
the deer that populate islands ate everything
in our yard except oleanders.
But watching them provided real pleasure.

Bleached driftwood decorates the beach at a state park.

These fellows are small. When we lived on a Lowcountry island, a gator mama
(much larger than these fellas) had her babies in the drainage ditch beside our house.
The babies chirp like birds.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

My heroine shares some history with one of my best friends from childhood, now an Army retiree, who spent the last part of her military career in military intelligence. Like my heroine, she also was trained as a Polish linguist.

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

My antagonist speaks Polish and is a native of Poland because my heroine is a Polish linguist. The fact that she overhears a conversation in Polish plays a pivotal role in the plot.

What is your favorite thing about your book?

I like that my 52-year-old heroine is smart, feisty, fit and capable of handling her own problems. Yet she has a soft side, loves her friends and family—and loves life.

How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?

I am a pantser. I have a vague idea of where I am headed when I start a book, but I let my characters lead me into unexpected territory. That sometimes means I have to backtrack and “reweave” to make certain the fabric of the plot does not have any loose ends.

Why and when did you begin writing?

I have always loved to write—and tell stories. When I was a kid, telling spooky stories around the campfire or in our basement was super entertainment. (No video games.) I majored in journalism, and  I have written nonfiction ever since. Several years ago, I was approached about ghosting a book. While the project ultimately was shelved, my experience in writing the opening chapters gave me confidence that I could write a novel.  

What is your writing schedule?

I work best in the mornings. Since I have made my living as a writer, I have no problem planting my fanny in a chair and staying at it until I have met a goal. When I am mid-manuscript, I usually set word goals for each week. Of course, my critique partners throw me a curve now and again by telling me I need to rethink the pages I have just written.

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

I am fine-tuning the manuscript for No Wake Zone, the sequel to
Dear Killer. My heroine, Marley Clark, is not going to have it any easier in the sequel. I have also started a historical mystery set in Keokuk, Iowa, in the 1930s. The era is an interesting one, especially for women, who were given new freedoms in the Roaring Twenties and tapped to work in factories during World War I, but were then expected to go home when the Depression hit.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

Read, read and read some more. Then start writing. Join writer organizations like Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America and find compatible (but totally honest) critique partners.

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Enter contests and consider each judge’s comments. You will not agree with all of the suggestions/criticisms, and that is okay. However, keep an open mind. Do not ever kid yourself that your manuscript is perfect.

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

Having a client return one of my invoices and instruct me to redo it—he felt I had not charged enough. Making the finals of the RWA Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier contests.  Signing a book contract!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Visiting with Intercultural Mystery Author, Robert Richter

This was an interesting visit with an author whose mystery novels take place “South of the Border.” If you are looking for a mystery that has a unique twist, then Robert Richter novels are stories you will want to read.  
In Robert Richter’s Own Words:
I have a relationship with west coast Mexico that goes back forty years and lived in the Nayarit coastal village culture off and on for over two years, before that region was much known beyond the limits of Puerto Vallarta.  I return frequently. However, I have lived on the remnants of a family homestead in southwestern Nebraska for thirty-five years.  I farmed once, very small-time, dry land wheat to earn my place to live.  Since giving up my own farming, I have done itinerate farm labor, substitute teaching, and I conducted escorted excursions in Latin America for small groups for ten years.” 
During that time, I was also publishing:  a book of poetry in 1980, and a regional high plains history in 1987. I have written for regional and national literary magazines and quarterlies, including Prairie Schooner, Bloomsbury Review, Sport Literate, Raven Chronicles, and others.  In 1991 my first Algo novel, "Something in Vallarta,” was published.
 "Homefield," a novel about farm life and returning Vietnam vets trying to start life over in their small town cultural landscape, and was published in 2000.   That same year, I also published a biography for young readers of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of Mexico, and I was awarded the Distinguished Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council for my work in nonfiction.  In 2007-8, I was a Fulbright Research Fellow, writing and doing historical research in Buenos Aires for the year.  Since then, writing has been my full time occupation, except when I am nannying my five year old granddaughter.
Tell us about the genre of your work.
 I like to write mystery/suspense novels, particularly cross-, or inter-cultural mysteries, setting questionable American attitudes and perspectives against those of lesser known and more modest “foreign” cultures.  I like to “preach and teach,” I suppose, but unless that stuff is hung in an entertaining story.  A mystery should be, first of all, an entertaining read.
Why did you choose this genre?
 I write many different kinds of things, but mostly I am a pretty boring historian.  A good plot is my biggest challenge, and generally speaking, mysteries are plot driven stories.  It is a real challenge to put interesting history and culture into a story someone wants to read and then does not realize s/he’s learning something, too.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published? 
My published novels are Something in Vallarta, (Sag Harbor, NY: Permanent Press, 1991); Homefield: Sonata in Rural Voice, (Omaha, NE: Backwaters Press, 2001); and Something Like a Dream, (Ogallala, NE: Plain Ventures Press, 2010).
Give a short description of each.  

Something in Vallarta, (ISBN 1-877946-09-5.  Sag Harbor, NY. Permanent Press, 1991).        Cotton Waters is a young American expatriate hiding out on the Mexican west coast in 1972. An ex-student, ex-political activist with uncertain draft status and pending legal problems, he has lived incognito for over a year along a tropical frontier of fishing villages and empty beaches, thriving on cantina life, beachcombing, jungle slumming, and playing second base for a local village baseball team. He is an illegal gringo alien, living a lazy village life and known to his cantina buddies as “Algo”--Something in Spanish.
Armed with a little Spanish and a passion for the Mexican coastal culture, he is a disillusioned dropout, waiting for the rest of the world to regain some sanity. When his money finally runs out, Algo reluctantly goes into Puerto Vallarta to find work for wealthy Americanos who live in Gringo Gulch so he can maintain his tropical hiatus. Aided by a slick village friend who lives off vacationing American women, Algo soon finds himself in a "poor man's" sport car, following a beautiful woman for a jealous lover, and living the Vallarta jet-set lifestyle.
As the chase leads away from the bright resort lights of the Mexican Riviera into the tropical mountains, Cotton Waters encounters a class of gringos living by their own particular set of values that all but excludes the Mexicans and their culture. He also finds himself an unwitting decoy in a drug trafficker's double-cross, and now his only hope of escape is in the hands of the villagers whose way of life he has embraced.
Used copies available from, and new from the publisher.
Homefield: Sonata in Rural Voice, (ISBN 0-9677149-2-3.  Omaha, NE: Backwaters Press, 2000).  At the end of the Vietnam War, Calvin Parsons, a war resistor who fled the country to Mexico, come back to his childhood home to work on the family farm, only to run into the start of the farm crisis of the early 1970s.  Buckwheat Van Anders, a childhood friend and now a crippled victim of the war is also trying to start life again.  This is the story of an end of a cultural and farming era on the tablelands and plains around the fictional Platte River town of Revere, Nebraska. It is about the beginnings of one man’s understanding of himself and where he comes from, and of the bonds of friendship, family, and land. 
Available from the publisher’s website
Something Like A Dream, (ISBN 978-0-9845647-0-5.  Ogallala, NE: Plain Ventures Press, 2010). Cotton Waters is a gringo expat, scrounging up a lazy village living and a little beer money from of the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found--helping some people get lost and finding others--if the price is right or the client’s cause worth the time and interest. When Corina Springfield asks him to find her husband, heir to the Springfield Foundation, ex-cultural guru of the Aquarian Age and protégé of Timothy Leary, missing and presumed dead for over three year, Vallarta’s “Something” isn’t sure he can find her husband, but he knows he wants to try. 
For more reasons than he is willing to admit. His manhunt for a mad shaman takes Waters into a blind obsession and into the sierra culture of the Huichol, one of Mexico’s most mysterious indigenous peoples. On this strange pilgrimage, Waters will find a whole new perspective on reality and dream, on deceit, self-deception, and human spirituality in a miraculous healing ceremony that will change his life forever or simply end it.
This is the second novel in the “Something” series, set in the coastal village culture of western Mexico.  It is available from the publisher’s website,
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

 I try to write accurately about the cultural landscape that my stories take place in.  Therefore, places are usually real places; settings are real settings.  The action and plot in place and set are the fiction.  Character names are difficult for me.  Dickens was the best with character names.  I try to use names I associate with the look and/or personality of the character.  With Cotton Waters, the protagonist of my “Something” series, I wanted an unusual pairing—cotton and water are sort of opposites to me—and, I was specifically looking for a play on words.  The word algodon in Spanish means “cotton.”  If you wanted to shorten the word into a nickname, you could use algo, which means “something” in Spanish.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

I was “something” of a Cotton Waters in my college days, traipsing around Mexico and repudiating the American way of life during the Vietnam War.  Waters is an exaggeration, of course.  I was never tough, clever, or cool and controlled like Cotton Waters.  The great thing about fiction is that you can recreate yourself in your characters, be and do what you never could in reality.

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

Colonel Reyes appears in both “Something” books, but he’s just your everyday bad guy I can insert anywhere anytime to mess with the protagonist, to bring in red herrings, to add another complication.  The real antagonists vary, and are (for me) usually harder to discern.  They are regular people with irregular measures of human weakness like greed, jealousy, hate, self-righteousness, etc.

What is your favorite thing about your book?
 In “Something Like a Dream,” it is the rendering of one culture’s ideas of reality in or against another culture’s version of the same thing while telling a compelling tale.
How is writing in the genre you write, different from other genre? 
A mystery is an entertainment with characters, and a story bigger than everyday life.  I write history, too, for instance, and the challenge there is to make the truth and the facts of everyday life a compelling tale.
Why and when did you begin writing? 
I picked up a James Bond paperback in 1966 and decided I was going to write stories like that.  I was in the first MA writing workshop at Colorado State University in 1973.  I left the program in 1975 to farm and to write on my own.
What is your writing schedule? 
Generally, I work during the winter months when I am pretty shut in on the Nebraska prairie.  Only in the last couple of years has writing become more a full-time occupation.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
 I recently finished a history book called “Search for the Camino Real: a history of San Blas and the road to get there.  It is about this little known historical port in Mexico and my personal search for parts of the old Spanish colonial road across Mexico.  I am finally working on a multi-genre novel/memoir about Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I was a Fulbright Research Fellow in 2007.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
 I do not like to give such advice.  I say, do not do it.  For me, writing is some kind of a disease.  I do it because I am driven to do it.  There are far easier ways of living with yourself.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I travel as much a possible, usually in Latin America.  I still do itinerate farm labor for neighbors.  I garden and have a green house.  I have helped nanny my granddaughter.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
 When I was a Fulbright Fellow, I was living and writing in one of the great cities of the western hemisphere, exactingly as I had often dreamed.  I went around the streets of the city for months with a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin. 

Is there anything else you would like to add about your books?

Yes, I just want to add one more thing about my Something books, and that is that The Huichol Indians of the High Sierras are the real people of Something Like a Dream's story.

Huichol shamans on a sacred journey to gather peyote for religious festivals.
A Huichol family in native dress.
An example of a Huichol yarn painting
like the one Cotton Waters
 must create at the end of the book,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chatting with John R. Lindermuth about His Book, Fallen from Grace

I have a soft spot for newspaper reporters because when I was nine-years-old, a newspaper reporter by the name of Mr. Roberts took me under his wing and encouraged me to write.  Thank you, John, for bringing back those memories it is a pleasure to have you as a guest.

John R Lindermuth grew up in a small city in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. He served in the United States Army and then worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. He says that he covered nearly every beat and doing so, he gained a variety of experience, which has proven of value in my fictional writing. Since retiring from the newspaper, He has been the librarian of his county’s historical society and helped patrons with genealogy and historical research.
Tell us about the genre of your work. 
I think of Fallen from Grace as a historical mystery. Publisher Billie Johnson and acquisition editor Sunny Frazier saw it as a Western in style. They selected it for Wild Oak, the new line in that genre for Oak Tree Press.
Why did you choose this genre?
Mysteries are my favorite read and I love history. It is natural for me to combine the two in my writing. As to Westerns, I grew up and now live again in a house said to have been built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill. My mother said she read pulp Westerns while carrying me and some of the first books I read as a boy were in that genre, both providing additional influence I am sure.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
I have published nine novels to date, including four in my Sticks Hetrick mystery series. My short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines, both print and on line.
Fallen From Grace, 978-1610090117
Being Someone Else, book four in the Hetrick series, 978-1603138895
Corruption’s Child (Hetrick book three), 978-1593743918
Cruel Cuts (Hetrick book two), 978-1593749101
Something In Common (the first Hetrick book), 978-1593744991
Watch the Hour, 978-1-60313-476-7
Schlussel’s Woman, 978-0595299294
St. Hubert’s Stag, 978-0595328697
Most of my books are available in both print and electronic form. Fallen is available from the publisher
In addition, from Amazon, B&N, other major booksellers, or signed from me:
The Hetrick books and Watch the Hour are available from the publisher, Whiskey Creek Press,, and also on Amazon and from other booksellers.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

Arahpot, Tilghman’s town, is a nod to a local Indian. I had used the town previously in Watch the Hour.  In my other life as a genealogist, I compile lists of personal names that strike me as interesting or unique.

My Hetrick mysteries take place in Swatara Creek, a fictional town near Harrisburg PA. I lived in that area for 20 years. There is a creek but no town of that name. My fictional creation is representative of many of the Susquehanna River towns that have become bedroom communities for the more metropolitan areas of the commonwealth.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

Tilghman was a character in two earlier short stories. He asserted himself, as characters sometimes do, and demanded a book. Since his father and grandfather had roles in earlier books, I guess he figured I owed him.

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

Unless it is horror, I do not think a character should be entirely good or bad. We are all a mix of both and any character will be more believable if depicted with good qualities as well as flaws.

What is your favorite thing about your book?
That I was able to inject a bit more humor than exists in some of my other books. Tilghman likes to eat and he is not above cadging a free meal whenever the opportunity presents itself.
How is writing in the genre you write, different from other genre?
There are certain rules that apply to mysteries, such as playing fair with readers by making clues equally apparent to them and the protagonist. Since I am also dealing with history, it is necessary to strive for accuracy. If you do not, some reader will catch you out.
Why and when did you begin writing?
It was a natural progression. I was an early reader. My father had a good library and encouraged me to read what was available. My grandfather was a grand storyteller. Health problems forced him to early retirement. As the only grandson, I spent a lot of time in his company, listening to his tales. Eventually I began trying to create my own stories. I started sending short stories to magazines when I was in high school—though I received advice and even encouragement from a few kind editors, it was much longer until anything was accepted.  I had a talent for drawing early on and envisioned a career in the art field with writing on the side. When I was drafted, the Army decided I had the makings of a journalist and provided training. After my military service, I worked as a reporter and editor until retiring in 2000.  In the interim, I published articles and some short stories in a variety of magazines but novels were still mainly practice. My first published novel, “Schlussel’s Woman,” a historical mystery, was accepted by an e-publisher who went belly-up shortly after. Frustrated, I brought it out in 2003 with i-Universe.

What is your writing schedule?
I believe it is important to write on a regular basis. I do not think it is necessary to lock yourself into a particular quota. When I am into a project I like to get at least 1,000 words a day, but I do not fret if I miss that figure now and again. I know I will exceed it on some other days.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
I am always working on several projects at the same time. At the moment, the main focus is on the fifth Hetrick novel. I am also working on a story for an anthology scheduled for next year, some short stories and articles.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
Read, a little of everything, but especially the type of story or book you want to write. As Dumas put it a long time ago: Writing cannot be taught; it can only be learned.  One learns, initially, by reading. Anything you read will influence your writing style, either consciously or subconsciously. That is why many novelists refrain from reading while working on a book. However, it has been found that reading good writing can provide the impetus for recharging the creative juices when you are stalled or suffering a block. Even junk can be beneficial, but if you want to do creative writing, then you should read the best writing available. You can improve your style, your language and rhythm by the subconscious influence of good literature.
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
Be persistent and have patience. It is a given you are going to get rejections. They are a fact of the writing life. But, do not be discouraged by them. Let them be an impetus to try again. And again.  As to patience, there will be delays in hearing the status of a submission. Deal with it. Use the time to advantage by writing and submitting more, rather than just sitting, chewing your fingernails while you wait for the good or bad news.
What do you do when you are not writing? 
I work three days a week as librarian for the historical society, which gets me out and about with people other than family. I spend time with my children and grandsons. I walk. I draw. I read. I have never been one to be bored. There is always more to do than hours in the day.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
Publication of a first story, article and book were all memorable moments. But, I experience that joy anew whenever someone tells me they have enjoyed something I have written.