Why did you start this blog?
I wanted to share my second book, Traps, in a new way. Or perhaps this is actually a very old way, in a modern medium. My idea is to serialize the story. That way people can easily join and read it as it goes along. It is more important to me to have readers than it is to make money, so I made it free. I hope readers get so wrapped up in the progression of the story that they look forward to reading every new chapter.
How did you come up with the title Traps?
It started with the locked unit on which I worked as an aide many years ago. Although we never called that unit the "Trap," it seemed to me that it was a trap for the patients, like a lobster trap, easy to enter, difficult to leave. And then the idea of traps grew in my mind. The characters are trapped in many ways, by their own psyches, by their circumstances or by the manipulations of others.
Why did you pick Boston for the location of the book?
Once again, it's the old saw "write what you know." I lived and worked in the greater Boston area for 20 years after college. So I know it well... its many neighborhoods, the twisting narrow streets, the tony suburbs. And unlike New York City where I now live, Boston is small enough and insular enough not to be jaded. They haven't "seen it all" so incidents such as those in the book are still shocking to them.
Are the characters in the book based on real people?
As with my first book, some of the characters, such as Rick Creaton and Steve Sawyer, are completely made up. Others, such as the "Jims" and Franklin are loosely based on actual patients I knew from working in psychiatric hospitals. And some of the staff in the book also were loosely modeled around actual people. Names have been changed of course, and some traits, behavior and dialog were invented to serve the story.
Why would you write about a young girl being kidnapped and abused?
I am aware of what a sensitive subject this is. All I can say is it happens. There are psychopaths out there who will do what they want without regard for the feelings of their victims. That kind of evil fascinates me. I don't know why, but I felt a need to explore it and expose it to the light of day. I think it makes for an exciting and dramatic basis for a mystery.
What do you like to read?
I especially like police procedurals. I always enjoy the slightly jaded and edgy detective who, despite his faults, has a moral core and catches criminals in sometimes unconventional ways. Favorite authors of this genre include C.J. Box and Michael Connelly. I also like historical fiction, especially novels that trace families down through multiple generations.
Do you have a writing schedule?
For this book, I developed a regular writing schedule. My first book took three years to complete. Life is short and I don't have that kind of time. So, I had to get more structured to ensure that I got it done more expediently this time around. Right now, I devote two days a week to writing (Tuesdays and Thursdays). But the story is rattling around in my head all the time, and often I write on other days as well.
What do you like about being a writer?
I love the process of imagining a scene, letting it come to me. I enjoy immersing myself in what my characters are feeling and then depicting the dialog and actions as they emerge naturally in my mind's eye. If I have set the scene and the characters well, I find the dialog flows out of me almost automatically. It is that sense I have heard other artists describe of not feeling as though they are actually doing the writing. It is more a sense of recording what is happening to them, of the words flowing through them from an unknown source.
Do you have another book in the works?
I'm not sure what will come after Traps, but I am sure another book idea will surface. I have many notes for other books, but I have to find the one that grips me. I don't know what that will be yet, but I have to pursue whatever feels most compelling, and only that. Writing a novel is so demanding and time-consuming that I can only do it if the subject feels important in some way. I want to have something to say with my writing in addition to telling a good story. So I have to find that, the message, as well as the story/plot idea.