An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin

Could you tell us a little about your early life like where you grew up and in what kind of household?

I grew up in Warren, Ohio, the second of six children. A huge woods in back of our house served as an escape into fantasy. We lived on a dead end street, played football and baseball in an empty lot nearby, and picked blackberries to sell in the summer. Our household, loud and sometimes chaotic, seemed typical type fifties as I remember it.

Where does your love for books and storytelling stem from and when exactly did it start?

I became an avid reader at a very young age and borrowed everything they allowed me to from the bookmobile. I developed a passion for storytelling when I attended college after a four-year stint in the Navy. A college professor in my creative writing class showed me how much I enjoyed storytelling. My first story in his class I wrote from a dog’s point of view. When critiqued in class, one of my classmates said, ‘you can’t write a story from a dog’s point of view’. The professor said, ‘he just did’. I was hooked.

What got you into the crime fiction/suspense/action genre(s)? As a writer who likes to incorporate many genres into one book, how do you balance between them so that one doesn't overpower the other?

Easily for me because I’m a storyteller. If something doesn’t serve the plot, it doesn’t get in the book. My novels are action packed stories, utilizing suspense and crime fiction as it blends into the story I’m telling.

As a seasoned backpacker, tell us about your favourite backpacking trip and why you loved it so much.

My favorite place backpacking in the Caribou Wilderness is the Triangle Lakes area. The most memorable trek happened on a late season October trip when after one day of sun, it rained and hailed for four days. We packed out hours before a snow storm. The best part to me was our group never complained and joked about the conditions constantly.

Among your four continuing series (Hard Case 1-10, Cold Blooded 1-8, Rick Cantelli, P.I. 1-7, and Demon 1-7), which one would you say is most labour intensive in terms of research? Where/how do you do most of your research?

They all take intense research on weapons, places, real life facts and even paranormal events, including haunted places. Many I experience myself. What I can’t experience, I research using the best tool a writer has: the Internet.

What do you love most about the character Jim Sotello from "Sotello, Private Investigator"? Which book are you most proud of in the Action Thrillers series?

Jim Sotello embodies everything I wish we could conjure in a politician: untouchable honor and a moral code. I had a lot of fun writing the sequel to ‘Sotello’ in my ‘Novella Double Feature Book 2 – Commander in Chief’, where he runs for and wins the Presidency. If I had to pick only one in my Action Thrillers Series, it would be Cold Mountain. Jeremiah McDaniels combines violence, stealth, and love of country into a no-holds barred pulp fiction titan.

Who was your inspiration for John Harding? Are there any aspects of him that you personally relate to?

I forged John Harding as if Conan the Barbarian journeyed into present day life. I personally relate to his love of country, honor, family and friends. The violence within him sometimes drives all other thought from his mind.

What are some similarities between John Harding and Nick McCarty? What are the things that make them different and both special and unique in their own way?

As explained and detailed in the crossover events starting in Hard Case Book 7: Red Waves, Nick McCarty and John Harding share a violent nature combined with special forces training. Both kill without mercy, but Nick suppresses a nearly psychotic nature in being an assassin.

What inspired the Mike Rawlins and Demon the Dog Book series? How was writing this series different from other stuff you've done before and in what ways do you think this series helped you grow as an author?

‘Grow as an author’ doesn’t apply to me. I’m a storyteller. I have an imagination without bounds. As to the inspiration, it was the cult hit and actor Don Johnson’s first role: ‘A Boy and his Dog’. I laughed through the entire writing of my Demon characters. It threads modern day threats with paranormal ones seamlessly… at least in my head.

Which of your standalone books was the easiest and hardest to write? How does writing a standalone differ from writing a series?

Blood Lust was the easiest, latest, and hardest to write, only because I knew it would have a limited audience. The dark humor in it enticed me to the point I couldn’t stop. Marketing plays a part in all things.

If you could live out the rest of your days as any character in any of your books, which book and character would you pick and why?

Without doubt, I would want to be in Mike Rawlins’ crew in Demon. Interacting with the crew of Demon Inc would be the best.

A big ego can obviously be a hindrance to almost any career. So what are some ways in which authors can keep their heads from getting too big? And inversely, what are some ways in which you think having a big ego might even be helpful as a writer?

All writers have big egos. We share stories with the public and hope they embrace our storytelling ability. I’ve always had a day-job as a mechanic, owning my own auto repair shop. I write, create stories and love every minute of it. Naturally, anytime a thinking human being casts out something of themselves into the public domain… they have an ego. You cannot as a writer share your work with the public without an ego. Embrace it… but never quit your day-job.

What does success mean to you and do you think you have achieved it? What is some of the best advice you have ever received and can share with other regarding being successful?

Frankly… I’m too old to care about any of the glitter. I have achieved success, but that’s not why I write. I write because I love it. My advice to writers is write what makes you laugh, cry, pump a fist in rage, and makes your blood boil in anticipation of sharing it. Everything else is just fluff.

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