What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
With 9 children and a job, I write on and off all day, as time is available. Currently, morning, just after getting back from taking the youngest boys to school, is the most productive time, but I also get a lot done after they go to bed.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Always computer. I type faster than I write by far, so I find it much easier, although if I'm somewhere without a computer, and free time, I will pull out pen and paper, even if that's the back of an envelope, and start writing.
What do you draw inspiration from?
Sometimes, ideas just come to me, sometimes, from songs, things I read, things people say. One of my novels came from a passing comment someone made about cleaning out an elderly relative's house after her death, and the things he found there. Blue Bells of Scotland comes from a combination of inspirations: a children's chapter book, an old folk song, and a flash of an image of a man so arrogant and selfish as to gamble away his livelihood (his trombone) and trick his girlfriend into pawning her ring to get it back.
Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write, such as word count?
I usually have some idea which part of the book I want to work on, something that needs editing, small concrete goals like scan through and make sure the monk's robe is the same color through the whole book. My main goal, however, is the rather vague one of 'accomplish as much as I can today!'
Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am published through Gabriel's Horn, a local publishing co-op, where we have a lot of freedom, but also some oversight, accountability and input from others that I wouldn't have with self-publishing. I play around with cover art until I find something I like. Then I play around with it some more until I like it better.
What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I have stories in my head, so I tell them. I feel for many writers, it's more an issue of writing choosing them. It's something, for many of us, that we can't not do.
Do you own an ebook reading device?
No. Although I looked at one today, and looked at my shelves full of books, and thought I might consider it some day.
Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
Ted Dekker, Dick Francis, C.S. Lewis. I'm currently slogging my way through Duanaire na Sracaire / Songbook of Medieval Gaelic Poetry, a 550 page book with facing Gaelic and English translations. I think it's going to keep me busy for awhile! It's a great resource for writing about Niall, a musician-warrior in medieval Scotland.
What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I like them. I think they're a great way to connect and capture attention in a world that's very visual, thanks to t.v. and movies. I have one up at youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ000XxYle4
How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
Until I was 33, I was a semi-professional musician, with trombone as my main instrument. One of the pieces well-known to all advanced trombonists is Blue Bells of Scotland, a theme and variations on an old folk song, arranged by Arthur Pryor to showcase trombone. I wanted to write about the images of streaming banners and noble deeds from the lyrics of the folk song, and also liked the purpose behind Arthur Pryor's arrangement--to show what the trombone is really capable of. I incorporated that theme into the story, that there is so much more to Shawn than he shows the world. So it's a title that's close to my heart and has a couple of layers of meaning.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?