Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and raised in the Queens section of New York City and spent twenty years with the NYPD before retiring in 2005. I moved out west, to Central Illinois, and enjoyed retired life for a bit, but then I started to get restless. I went back into law enforcement in 2010 and spent two years as the chief of corrections for a local sheriff’s department. In 2012 I ‘re-retired’ and my wife encouraged me to try my hand at writing. My first book, Perfect Pawn, was released in 2013 and I have since followed that up in with the release of three other novels: Queen’s Gambit, Small Town Secrets and Bishop’s Gate.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Bishop’s Gate is my latest release and is the third book in the James Maguire series. The book is in the mystery / suspense genre, but also includes some geopolitical issues. Interestingly enough, the original outline for the book was written in January 2014, although if you read it today you would think that I had just pulled the story from the headlines.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Besides drinking heavily ? No, actually I just sit back in a comfortable chair with my laptop and write the scenes as they unfold in my mind. It’s sort of like watching a movie, then I just have to choose the best dialogue to match it.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
This is always an interesting question to me, because it is such an eclectic group. I have basically read and learned from the best. But to pin down a few of what I have really enjoyed: Tom Clancy (Patriot Games), Frank Herbert (Dune), Robert Parker (Night Passage), Robert Daly (Man with a Gun), Joseph Wambaugh (The Choirboys), George Lucas (Star Wars).
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on the final edits for the sequel to Small Town Secrets, which is my Alex Taylor series. I hope to have released later this summer. It’s an interesting process for me, because I actually have two main protagonists: James Maguire and Alex Taylor, along with two series. While the stories stand alone, the characters appear in each others works. They are completely different personalities and I get to do things with each of them that I couldn’t with the other.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I probably connect with the largest audience through Twitter and my blog. These venues allow me to reach the biggest audience, while not pulling me away from writing.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My biggest advice to aspiring authors is: Write! I know that may sound overly simplistic, but so many people have great ideas for stories and yet never put pen to paper. Will everyone love your work? No, but you’ll find your niche, if you persevere. I have a copy of a letter that was written to Paul Hewson back in 1979 from an executive at RSO Records. They informed him that the demo tape he sent was ‘not suitable’ for their company. I don’t know what the record executive over at RSO is doing these days, but I certainly know what Hewson is doing, although most probably know him as Bono from the group U2, is doing. Imagine what would have happened if he had taken that rejection to heart!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Write for yourself” – You will never be able to please everyone. I have had people love my books and others hate them. Just as no two writers are the same, no two readers are. Write the books you want to read and your audience will find you.
What are you reading now?
Ironically, I find that since I have started writing I have almost no time for reading. The last book I read was a year ago and was a non-fiction work dealing with World War II.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Next up for me will be a non-fiction work on the history of the insignia of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit. It is a story that I have felt compelled to write for a long time and I am just finishing up the research on it now. After that it is back to the 4th book in the James Maguire series.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Oh wow…….. that’s like asking to pick my favorite dessert. If I were REALLY pressed to choose…… I would have to say Dune by Frank Herbert. Fifty years later, I think that it is still relevant today.