This list, although long, is by no means complete. It’s just a sampling of the questions I get asked most often by students when I give talks at schools, by aspiring writers, by friends, or by people who are simply interested. If the tone of certain answers sounds a bit rushed, well, what can I say. These are frequently asked questions.
And the answer is…
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. A long time. I started writing short stories when I was 13, in 1973. I’m still writing today. That’s more than 40 years.
Q. When was your first novel published?
A. 1989. Brainchild.
Q. Did your first novel take a long time to write?
A. I wrote the first draft in about 3 months. But I worked up to it, writing a lot of stuff that didn’t work, before I finally hit my stride with Brain Child. For most of my books, I took about six months to write and revise them before submitting them to my editor.
Q. Why did you name your first novel Brain Child? Isn’t there another horror novel with that title?
A. I did not name the novel Brain Child. Zebra Books named the novel Brain Child. My working title was Breakthrough. Marketing departments often change book titles in order to improve sales. Sometimes they make bad decisions.
Of all my books, half were published with the titles I gave them. The other half were retitled by my publisher. The books that have my titles, or alternate titles that I provided, are:
- The Forgotten
- Near Dead
- Seeing Eye
Q. Did you write a lot of stuff that didn’t get published before you sold your first book.
A. Oh, yeah. Tons. I wrote five (at least) unpublished and probably unpublishable novels before I wrote Brain Child. Only one of them was a horror novel. The rest were SF, mystery, and mainstream. I also wrote a lot of unpublished short stories. Brain Child was my first professionally published piece of fiction.
Q. How long did it take after you sold your first book before it was actually published?
A. About a year.
Q. Who publishes your books?
A. Zebra Books. They’re a New York publisher, part of Kensignton Publishing. They also publish Pinnacle Books.
Q. Do you have an agent?
A. I wrote and sold my first 10 books without an agent. I sold my last four books through an agent. I currently do not have an agent.
Q. Would you recommend me to your agent?
Q. Would you be willing to read my manuscript and critique it for me?
A. No. I might do that for people I know. Sorry. I’ve got a family, a career, and my own writing. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for critiquing work that’s not my own.
Q. When’s your next novel coming out?
A. I don’t know. Although I have completed a couple of novels in recent years, I have not attempted to publish them or sell them. I continue to write fiction, and have a short story appearing here or there, once in a while.
Q. Where can I buy your books?
A. You can find new digital editions of my books at amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com, or smashwords.com or wherever you buy eBooks. You can also probably find them in used bookstores.
Q. Can I buy books directly from you?
A. No, I’m not set up to do that, and I don’t have enough extra copies of my books.
Q. Where can I get the foreign translations of your books?
A. I have no idea. I’ve seen the Italian version of Brain Child online, but that’s about it.
Q. Have any of your books been a bestseller?
A. No. Most of my books sold between 30,000 and 50,000 copies.
Q. Are your books still in print?
A. No, but they are being republished as eBooks. Check your favourite eBook seller for more information.
Q. Do you still make money from your books?
A. Not so much any more. I received royalties for many years for my books, but they eventually shrank and stopped coming. I do occasionally get paid for a short story.