Updated: Aug 18
I have been reading books for as long as I can remember. When I was about eight years old, I discovered the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. I remember sitting with a dictionary and reading his stories. I still love his tales and read and reread them. I found out early that I could go anywhere or be whatever I wanted within the covers of a book. I read so many that I guess it was only natural to try my hand at writing them.
The thing that really got me thinking about writing something besides scouting manuals and sermons was a college English assignment. We were to write a story about the most unusual/interesting place in which we ever ate. I chose a place called Taco Charlie’s in Okinawa. I got a kind of written “See Me” for a grade. My instructor thought the story was too imaginative to be real. I swore it was indeed a real place and offered photographic evidence. I not only got an A, but my writing compared to a real writer—Jean Shepherd (In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash).
My financial struggles trying to make it as a minister argued against serious writing and in favor of a career that paid a living wage. I became a nurse.
It took about ten years of writing in every free moment at work, staying up late and getting up early to decide to start writing my first book. It was originally titled Down by the River and there are still copies of it floating around. After reclaiming the rights, it was resurrected as Death Rides the Red River.
When I saw that book with my name on it in my hands, I was officially hooked. Poe (and Vincent Price’s take on Poe’s stories in the movies), the Universal monsters, and the multitude of Grade B horror movies of my youth are the greatest influences on my writing. This is reflected in my books Bayou Moon, Blood Moon, and Death Rides the Red River. While these books have monsters, they are not about the creatures except as they create a crisis for the characters involved. At least that was my goal from the beginning.
Becoming a publisher as well as a writer has slowed down the pace of my writing to a degree. That too is by design. My goal today is to help new writers get a start in hopes that they will go far beyond me. I have retired from those twelve-hour shifts in the Emergency Room without regrets. I believe it is impossible for me to stop writing until I stop breathing—the two things seem equally necessary for life.