One of the fun things I do as a result of my writing is taking my books to sales and signing events. The people are incredible and supportive, inquisitive and constructive in their feedback. Inevitably, I get asked some of the same questions at each event.
How do you come up with ideas?
My answer has always been the same: I observe my world. Like Stephen King said (paraphrasing badly), sometimes two or three completely unrelated events take place, collide, and an idea forms.
For my book, Caught in a Web, I was reading the paper. On one page was an article about the rise of adolescent and young adult deaths because of a deadly mix of fentanyl and heroin. A couple of pages further, there was an article about MS13, a deadly gang that had its origins in El Salvador. It seems that the gang is making inroads in my area of Northern and Central Virginia, and not only among high school kids, but middle school kids. The idea hit me to combine the two into a book, and Caught in a Web was born.
For my book, Spiral Into Darkness, my background is counseling and psychology. I was having a conversation with one of my teachers, who taught psychology, and we discussed Nature vs Nurture. I went home that evening and watched a Criminal Minds episode about a serial killer. I wondered whether a serial killer was born or if it was caused by an outside event that triggered it in someone, and Spiral Into Darkness was born.
For my trilogy and prequel to the Lives Trilogy (Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives), I spent 13 years as a counselor, and several of those years I worked with the Wetterling Foundation for Stranger Abducted and Sexually Exploited Children in educational outreach. I would teach parents how to keep their kids safe, teach kids how to keep themselves safe, and for caring adults who work with kids, what to look for and listen for. When my wife and I had our own children, instead of picturing Johnny Gosch, Etan Patz, and Elizabeth Smart, I thought of my own children. As a result, I had to take a break. But I always wanted to tell the story of missing kids. The Lives Trilogy and Prequel was born.
The other thing I remind people about is that once you write, ideas come on their own. Like rabbits, they multiply.
Another fun thing I get to do is take part in other writer’s blogs. Here is a post by Kimberly Charleston on Negativity and Criticism, something all writers have to deal with. You can find it here: https://kimberlycharleston.com/the-authors-journey-stepping-into-the-negative-space/?fbclid=IwAR3rmtPP4duzvTBLv_gHno52CTaarM0hG4YlNPE5MnXxZbYs7knP59p-f1Q#
And, there are always interviews. Here is an interview I had with Literary Titan regarding my newest book, Fan Mail. I hope you enjoy it. https://wp.me/p3cyvH-e00
Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. Also, here is a list of my books and their descriptions.
Fan Mail: New Release!
A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers. Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad.
As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart.
Would he once again have to put himself in harm’s way to save them? And if faced with that choice, will he?
Blaze In, Blaze Out: Best Action Crime Thriller of 2022 by Best Thrillers! A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Readers’ Favorite Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
Betrayed: Two Top Shelf Awards: 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; and Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
They found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives