1) When did you first realize that you enjoyed writing? What made you
start to put paper to words?
3rd grade. The teacher gave out a group project one day. Nobody in my
group wanted to take charge. So, after allowing a suitable time to go by, I seized
the day. I put my best crayon man on illustration; my best ink man on lettering;
we all covered for the useless dude who didn't want to do any work, and I took
over storyboard layout, design, and story concept. Our book was a narrative
mashup of us going trick-or-treating and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was
so boss my lousy teacher stole it and never gave it back. She was proud; I was
2) Where were you when you finished writing the rough draft of your debut
Good question. The Moon Coin was originally part of a larger work,
The Rinn of Barreth, which consisted of what is now The Moon Coin and The
Dragondain. I had outlined the work extensively, and everything was going very
smoothly until, just three chapters from the ending, I introduced a character I
hadn't planned on bringing in until later in the series. The new chapter worked so
well, and my reasoning for bringing her in was so sound, that I knew immediately
I wanted to keep her in. Unfortunately, the introduction of the new character, who
must remain nameless at this time—she is so troublesome!—tipped the balance
of the ending such that the old ending now fell flat. I needed a new ending—one
with a big finish. The problem was, I didn't have one with a big finish.
I pushed myself very hard in trying to come up with a new ending, working
for days. In the end, I made myself physically sick. And in my weakened state,
I couldn't hold the whole of the story in my mind. I knew the new ending had
to read as though it had always been there; it couldn't feel tacked on. I was
I was sure I'd ruined the ending of my book. The entire work was falling
apart right before my very eyes. I feared I would abandon it, like so many
other previous works. And after I had come so close! In desperation, I reverse
engineered the entire work, condensing the plot points and narrative threads until
everything fit onto one sheet of paper.
I carried around that thing everywhere, staring at it, willing it to resolve,
but it would not. Then, in my darkest hour of sickness and despair, I saw it:
the ending that should have been. And it was big, really big. So big that I
knew I didn't have the strength to write it. I would have to wait until I was well.
Nevertheless, as I sat down to sketch the essence of the new ending on paper,
out it came, flowing out of my fingertips in a fury—completely intact: dialogue,
description, everything. I wrote it out in one go, all the way up until the very last
sentence, which refused to come out. But that didn't matter; I knew it would come
Lightheaded and giddy, I jumped into the shower—I was late for work;
part of being self-employed means working when you're sick—and then, as I was
lathering up my hair, the very last line came to me. I whooped out loud with joy.
I leapt out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, and, dripping wet, ran
to my trusty laptop to record the very last line. So, yeah, I guess I do remember
where I was when I finished my first draft: in the shower, while shampooing my
3)How long did the process of writing take, editing included?
From beginning to end, It took six-and-a-half years to get The Moon Coin
4) So, do you have a most obsessed fan out there? If not I am sure we
can find you a stalker, I mean fan on here...
I'm not sure how one would measure that quality in a fan, but I do have
core group of readers, some who have been there from the very beginning, some
who arrived on the scene a bit later, any one of which might like to lay claim to
5) Ebook or Print? Why?
Ebook. My book has twenty-two full-color illustrations by Carolyn
Arcabascio. As an ebook publisher, I can set the asking price at $2.99 and be
very pleased. I could never do that with a print edition. I'm sure, at some point in
time, that there will be a print edition. The problem I need to solve there is getting
the price down low enough without sacrificing Carolyn's beautiful illustrations.
6) Who was your favorite hero/heroine in any book?
Oh, dear. That's quite a tall order. Hero or heroine, eh? Well, that rules
out Smaug the Golden, the ancient dragon in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. I like
the way he thinks. And I'm quite fond of Ghostwheel, who appears in Roger
Zelazny's Amber series, but he's more of a supporting character. Snowy, from
Herge's Tintin would VERY high on my list. But I suppose if I had to choose one,
it might be Scout Finch, of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I can't think of
another character that has so gotten in my head and set up shop.
7) So if you had to give a tip to the writers of the world, what would it be?
Write every day. And by that, I don't mean EVERY day, but certainly
twenty-seven or more days out of every month.
8) Least favorite subject in school?
9) If you had to grab a book on your way out of your house when it was on
fire, what would you grab?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
10) So I here you own a bookstore, how do you like owning it?
My wife and I started Second Looks Books in 1991, and it has been
spinning like a top ever since. Owning a bookstore means owning a great
revolving library, and one influenced by one's own design. It has been a great
place to work. I've met and befriended many people that I wouldn't otherwise
have met. It's a good crowd. That having been said, we do, as a necessity of
business, have to unlock the doors from time to time and allow the public in. And
while a good many of you are very entertaining, the majority of you are quite
11) Library book or bought book?
I get ninety-nine point nine percent of my books from the shelves of my
bookstore. After twenty years, I've seen millions of titles. And yet, not a day goes
by that I don't pull something intriguing out of a box—something I've never seen
before, and may never see again. It's quite exciting work. A bit like treasure
hunting, I suppose.
I had such a good time reading these answers. I will get my review of The Moon Coin up soon enough. I am such a procrastinator I know but give me time, I will get organized over Thanksgiving Break. I also would love to thank Richard for answering all of my questions even when I was about 3 weeks late on getting them into him.