Fan Mail – Podcast Interview and Thoughts

With Fan Mail launching on all outlets March 30th, I have been involved in a number of promotions recently with more to come. So far, the reception has been exceptional, which is fantastic for you the reader.

I was interviewed on The Author’s Spot Podcast and you can find it at:

The interview, which was released yesterday, involved my life and my writing, and of course, my newest book, Fan Mail. I hope you take a listen.

What was interesting to me was that I was interviewed about mid-February, and I listened to it yesterday upon its release. Of course, it was edited and polished for you, the listener, but I discovered two things about me and my writing.

First, the interviewer, K. E. Robinson, was prepared beyond belief. He knew my books and my writing, and it made speaking with him not only easy, but also enjoyable. He referred to my books as cautionary tales. I had never thought about my books in that way, but the more I listened to the podcast and mulled the term over, it fits. My stories, from book to book, involve what the characters do to protect themselves, but more importantly, each other. For several of my characters, this drive is stronger than some of the other boys. But I think the cautionary aspect of my writing comes from my work with kids, primarily as a counselor. I think the guidance I tried to provide them appears in and amongst the pages of my writing.

It is never more apparent than in Fan Mail. Faced with a car bombing that may or may not have been a part of the fan mail onslaught, dealing with their father’s heart attack, letters and messages that at first were benign but escalate to threats, the patchwork group of adopted brothers try to cope with the stress and strain of all that is going on. They seek to understand and to protect each other. It isn’t easy. Their closeness, their brotherly bond embedded in friendship and love, is threatened and the family nearly disintegrates before the reader’s eyes.

The thing is, I watched this happen in the counseling office, in the classroom, the locker room, and in the school hallways. While some of the brothers are better equipped than others, they are still kids. Their reactions and judgement are suspect and at times, faulty. Told through Brian’s eyes, this family struggles with trust- with love for each other and in one or two cases, love for themselves. So yes, I guess Robinson was right when he called my stories cautionary. Those of you who have read the Lives Trilogy and Prequel, Caught in a Web, Spiral Into Darkness, Betrayed, and Blaze In, Blaze Out, will recognize the cautionary aspects in each.

Second, when I sit down and write a story, I don’t think “long term” in terms of themes and threads. I don’t even do that during the editing process. Simply put, I write a story about an idea I have. But as I listened to the podcast and as we talked a little about my life, I didn’t realize how much family, and the protection of family played a role in my writing. I just write, not that I don’t have an idea of where it’s going, but as I said, I am blind when it comes to themes until after it is written.

But the themes of family and love run deep in each of my books. Yes, even with the explosions, with the gun fights, the fires, and in some cases death, the threads of family and love run deep in the pages. I think that is what draws the reader in and why they keep coming back.

When I talk to kids or other authors about story construction, about the importance of character development and setting, I use the movie, Jaws, as an illustration. In the movie, you have three major characters and a shark. Yes, there are other characters: the sheriff’s wife and his two kids, the mother of the little boy who died, the town mayor. But ultimately, the story centers on the shark, the sheriff, the oceanographer, and the captain of the ship. And other than fear and suspense, it’s hard to “feel” anything else about the shark. It’s there. It will eat what it eats when it wants to eat. But you can’t empathize with a shark. There is no relationship the characters have with the shark other than not to be the shark’s lunch. It’s the sheriff, the captain, and the oceanographer who bring the story to life. It’s their relationships to one another, their strength and weakness, their support of one another that drive the story.

I think in any good writing, in any good book, there has to be more than a menacing shark. There has to be at least one, maybe two characters the reader can cheer for, love, and cry and laugh with. Just like life. And I think, from what I heard in the podcast, and from what readers share with me, these qualities come out in my writing. This is what drives Fan Mail. At least, what the early reviews tell me.

I hope you have an opportunity to listen to the podcast. More than that, I hope you pick up a copy of Fan Mail. I think you’ll enjoy it.

As always, thanks for following along on my writing journey. I would love to hear what you think, so please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Thanks for this consideration.

Purchase Fan Mail prior to the publication date of March 30, 2023, and use the promo code: PREORDER2023 to receive a 15% Discount!


Barnes & Noble Link:

Book Trailer for Fan Mail:

YouTube: Literary Titan:

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