1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Given my schedule, I have to just write and draw whenever time avails itself. Of course, the drawing itself is the biggest time consumer. I find the best time is late at night, after my wife and daughter have gone to bed. This is the time the house is quiet and all I can hear are my thoughts. This is also a good time to work on phrasing the caption of a cartoon, and the dialogue in the speech balloons.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen,or is it all on the computer?
Generally, an idea for a cartoon can come to my mind at any moment. It may occur during conversations with friends or co-workers, walking around the mall, shopping at the grocery store, etc. At that moment I have an idea, I will jot a note down on a post-it note, scrap of paper, or anything immediately available. When there hasn’t been anything to record the idea with, I have, on occasion, asked my family to remember a catch phrase to help jog my memory when I get home.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
All I can say here is, “Life.” Most of my best ideas come from observing people and from conversations. I will observe a person doing an everyday, mundane task and think to myself, “What if a cow did that?” My mind seems to be able to take ordinary life tasks and put a bizzare, funny spin on it. I can also get an idea that I liked initially which morphs into something completely different from what I originally thought. I can also get an idea that no matter how many different angles I look at it, I cannot get it to work to my satisfaction. Those just go into an Excel spreadsheet and later, sometimes days or months later, I will look at the idea again and I’m able to make it work. Lately, I have found Twitter a great place to get ideas. I see a lot of tweets that, with a little twist, become funny.
4: When you sit down to write, do you set goals for yourself, such as word count?
Of course, word count is not a good measuring tool in cartoons, but I try to get two or three cartoons done in a week. Due to work and other things in life, I rarely reach this goal. However, if I were financially motivated, I could probably find a lot more time to draw. (hint, hint).
5: Are you a published or a self-published author,and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am self-published and I did the art myself. The cover for my book is just a colorized expansion of a cartoon found within the book.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I started writing “The Bean Straw” in response to comments from family and co-workers about my unusual sense of humor. Initially, I didn’t know how to channel this talent. Since I was a fan of Gary Larson’s “The Far Side,” I decided to try cartooning. I would describe my cartoons as light on the art and heavy on the humor. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I believe my cartoons are loaded with humor.
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
I own the Kindle 3. I purchased it this past December. My primary reason for getting the Kindle was to help in editing the Kindle version of my book. I wanted one anyway, so I bought it to see what my book would look like on the actual device. Amazon puts out a Kindle viewer, but I couldn’t trust that to accurately represent the Kindle itself. I must say that since purchasing the Kindle, I only read a standard book if I absolutely have to. I had no idea that I would enjoy a reading device so much. I love my Kindle.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what are you reading now?
Actually, most of the authors I read are from the classics: Mary Shelly, Jack London, Herman Mellville, Charles Dickens, etc., as well as various Christian authors. I did recently read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. That is a great book - I highly recommend it. Of course, being a cartoonist, my all-time favorite is Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” series.
9: What do you think of book trailers, and do you have any plans to include them?
Book trailers can be very effective, if they are done well. I have seen book trailers that have piqued my curiosity, even though the book genre is one that I don’t particularly care for. Of course, on the opposite side of the coin, I have seen videos that are a complete turn-off. I have released a book trailer for my book and it can found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORNmnUmHIDs
10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
The title “Non-Flying Objects” is a phrase that captures the essence, if you will, of a cartoon that is a personal favorite of mine. The following image, I think, tells the whole story. Of course, there are many other instances of cartoon characters that manage to find themselves falling through the air for some reason or another.
11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am working on the next book in “The Bean Straw” series; the title is yet unknown. I am about one-third of the way through the book now. I am also considering writing a humorous novel. I have an idea for a possible story, but right now it is just a couple of stray neurons firing around in my brain.