1. Why do you write?
Writing is an affliction, a calling. You have to follow what Keats called the “heart’s affection and the truth of the imagination.” I caught the bug when I was seventeen. Twelve years on, I’m still working at it harder than ever. It’s become ingrained in me. It’s not what I do. It’s who I am.
2. How many books have you written?
Two. Contrails is my second novel, but it’s the first I’ve formally published. My first book is titled The Unaccounted For. It’s a semi-autobiographical account of my time working in Detroit as an accountant. Once the sequel to Contrails is released, I plan on publishing it next.
3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
I gave The Unaccounted For to a very good friend of mine to read when I finished it in 2010. He’s read most of my short stories so I knew he would actually take the time to read it. It helps to have a friend you trust to read your work and who will give you an unbiased review. He read it in three days and was astounded. He started toying with the idea for a novel about a pilot (his profession) and gave me 10,000 words nine months later. I edited it, changed it, made it my own and gave it back to him. We both were blown away. We’ve been working on it nonstop since. He’s been a tremendous help which is why I dedicated the book to him.
4. What is your favorite genre to read?
Literary fiction. Hands down. It’s those nuggets of truth that shine a light on our own lives that—to me—make reading such a pleasurable experience.
5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
Absolutely. I think all writers start out imitating their favorite authors’ styles. You develop your own over time, but never totally shake your influences.
6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
Contrails. It contains some of my best writing and is the accomplishment I am most proud of.
7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
Writing is the most vital tool at humanity’s disposal. Story has existed as long as language has. It’s how we convey to future generations what the past was like. I can’t imagine civilization without it.
8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
Stay at it. Persistence is key. Slow and steady wins the race. In writing a novel, these clichés turn out to be true. It is such a massive task that it’s going to require stick-to-itiveness to prevail. But in the end, the reward exceeds the challenge.
9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with plots or characters?
Nothing humorous enough to mention. I draw a lot from real life a la literary writers like Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. I typically start with something trite or banal and end up flipping into something interesting enough for fiction.
10. Coke or Pepsi?
Pepsi, although it seems, like a lot of things in life, that the longer you stay away from Coke, the better it is once you taste it again.