Geri: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
John: When I was about ten years old, I wrote a story about Rinny,
based on the Rin Tin Tin German Sheperd dog that was
popular in the 1950's.
Geri: What type of books do you enjoy writing?
John: Fiction, and non-fiction!
Geri: Did a special person in your life inspire you to write?
John: Not really! No one in our family were writers. The city editor of The
Birmingham News offered a Creative Writing Class, while I attended
Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After I had written a
couple of stories for him, he invited me to work for the newspaper.
Geri: Have you written any books based on a true life story?
John: The Cry Of The Cuckoos, my current novel, comes as close as it can
to drawing out similarities between the main character, and myself.
Geri: Who is your favorite author?
John: Sydney Sheldon
Geri: Are your characters created from people you've known in real life, or
are they from the imagination?
John: Both! I took some family characters, and exploded them into colorful
composites with a lot of flawed characteristics that they didn't actually
have. I had some family members in mind as I built the characters.
When they read excerpts of the book, each of them said, "Is That Me?"
I left them guessing!
Geri: How many books have you written?
John: One, and one eBook, From Mount Olive Road, a collection of my
newspaper columns over the past three years.
Geri: Where can your books be purchased?
And Available soon on: Authors Edge
Geri: Describe how you felt the first time you were published?
John: My first newspaper story was published when I was eighteen years
old. I was estatic when I saw my byline on the story. I still get a
buzz when I write a good article for newspapers and magazines,
and see my name as the author. Seeing my book for the first time in
print will be the ultimate for me as this is what I set out to do when
I retired, write novels.
Geri: Do you have any current work in progress?
John: The Cry Of The Cuckoos!
Geri: Do you have goals set for the future?
John: Lots of them! I plan on a sequel to The Cry Of The Cuckoos,
and a script!
Geri: At this point and time in your life, are you exactly where you want
John: I am exactly where I wanted to be at this juncture in my life. I am
sixty-four years old. When I was young, I dreamed of writing for
newspapers for ten years, magazine writing and editing for ten
years, and publishing for ten years. I owned a printing company,
and produced magazines in the 1980's, now comes the sunset years,
Geri: What can help authors to reach their dream?
John: Never give up! Practice, practice, practice! Don't let critics get in
in your way! Polish your writing, read other works that capture
your imagination. Become your own authentic self as a writer.
Geri: Have you ever experienced writer's block?
John: Oh yes! When it comes, I sit in meditation! I ask the universe to be
my guide. I hold two Doctorates in philosophy and religion, and I
am ironically something between a practicing Christian, and Buddhist.
Prayer and meditation offer me insight when I get writer's block.
Geri: What advice can you give to prevent writer's block?
John: De-clutter the brain! I just recently wrote an article about Taming
The Monkey Mind to De-clutter the brain. We have to free our minds
of all the clutter that goes on inside our brains when we are trying to
be creative, at peace with ourselves.
Geri: As a child, did you have favorite books?
John: I can't remember reading that much as a child. Nothing sticks out
in my mind.
Geri: As a child, did you enjoy reading?
Geri: If you had the opportunity to one day live the life of a famous author,
who would it be?
John: I like to think I am my own authentic self, so I don't want to be like
any other writer. I just want to be me. I'm not tied up in knots about
being famous. If someone likes what I write, and it becomes a
best-seller, then that's great! But, I do not set my goals on being
Geri: Many authors feel a sense of self-satisfaction, a sense of achievement
after publishing a book, can you relate?
John: Yes! If it is not truly vanity! Self-satisfaction is seeing a project through
until the end of the day when you can say to yourself, "Well done!"
Geri: How do you balance occupation with writing?
John: I am mostly retired now, but what keeps me in the community is
driving special needs kids to school each day. Each kid is something
special, even though they have various challenges. I get to spend about
three hours a day with them, and I continously learn from them.
In my sequel to The Cry Of The Cuckoos, there will be a special needs
kid in the book.
Geri: How did you feel at your first book-sgning?
John: I am waiting on my first complementary copy, and copyright copy.
Geri: If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would change?
John: It would allow me to continue to write, without any outside financial
Geri: As writers, we begin with a manuscript, and end with promotions.
What was your most difficult task?
John: For some authors, writing is the only thing they know, they leave
marketing up to other people. But I like to market and sell as much
as I like to write. I guess that's because I'm a salesman. I worked at
Bantam Books as regional sales manager in the early 1980's.
Geri: Some writer's need to listen to music, or look at flowers, or the ocean
when writing. Do you have a particular scenery?
John: I listen to new age music when I write. It's soft, and some of it includes
sounds of the ocean, or waterfalls. It's soothing, and I can listen for
hours. It provides tranquility of mind, and goes back to the question
about writer's block, and meditation. My office looks out into the wooded
area on my ten acres of land. We live in a log house. I can sit and watch
the critters of the earth for hours as they scamper around the woods,
Deer especially! I have a redbird and bluebird that perch on a limb nearby
everyday. They fly to my windowsill as if they are wondering what the heck
I am doing watching them. I recently wrote an article about The Redbird
In My Window Sill-A Spirit Guide!
Geri: If you were to publish a book in a different genre, what would it be?
John: I'm unsure! I didn't intend on The Cry Of The Cuckoos to become a
mystery. It just evolved into it. It started out as a historical romance
of a man and a woman during World War Two, and the romance between
the two. But things changed as I continue to write it, and I wanted to be
up tempo, and contemporary. So voila! That's what I got!
Geri: Thank you kindly for your time. Your interview was quite interesting!
John: Your welcome!