First of all, tell us a little about yourself?
Well, my fiction career began with an in-class book report written in Mrs. Baer's eighth-grade English class when, due to a conflict of priorities, I failed to read the book, necessitating an exercise of imagination. I snagged a B, better than the C I received on my last report when I actually read the book. Thus began my life-long apprenticeship as a teller of tales and, some would snidely suggest, as a lawyer as well, but they would be cynics, a race Oscar Wilde warned us, that knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. I am the author of the legal-suspense novel, In Deepest Consequences, and a recipient of the 2011 Mighty River Short Story Contest and the 2010 Hackney Literary Award. My short fiction has appeared in Big Muddy, Adelaide Magazine, and Lascaux Review. I am now at work on two novel manuscripts and a collection of short stories. I am an attorney in Irvine, California, where my practice focuses upon white-collar crime and tax litigation with my clients providing me endless story fodder. I graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and in the upper ten percent of my class from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where I was a member of the Environmental Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Conflict of Laws.
What inspired you to become an author?
My first fiction class in college was taught by Walter Tevis who wrote The Hustler, The Color of Money, and the Man Who Fell to Earth. One of the stories we read was "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a dangerous writer for young men to read but I just fell in love with the man's prose.
What was the main inspiration for your most recent book?
Literary inspiration came from Johnny Got His Gun, Legends of the Fall, and The English Patient. Personal inspiration came in part from my late-wife’s uncle who may have been the last American combat death in Viet Nam and is the only American to have died on an MIA recovery mission. Also, I came of age during the Viet Nam war. From 1963 to 1975 it was television and front page news every day. I only missed getting shipped to Viet Nam myself because I pulled a high enough number in the draft lottery.
America involved itself in Viet Nam because after the Republicans bludgeoned the Democrats at the polls as being responsible for losing China in 1949 (not that it was ours to lose) neither party was willing to be the party in power should another country fall to the Communists. But once America involved itself in Viet Nam, it only committed enough resources to not lose the war, never to win it. A study contained within the infamous Pentagon Papers opined that the United States would have to accept 50,000 casualties a year for five to ten years in order to defeat the Communists. By the end of World War II, the American public was rebelling at comparable losses and was one of the reasons for the Hiroshima bomb. They would never have accepted losses of 250,000 to 500,000 to defeat the Communists in Viet Nam.
Who influenced you the most in life?
My father. Grew up dirt poor on hard-scrabble farm in Ohio. Served in World War II. Came home and attended college on the GI Bill and managed to graduate second in his class while working at a full-time job with a new wife and child at home, and was always there with a hand out for anyone who needed it.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever said and or done for you?
My late wife requested she be buried in her wedding gown. Unfortunately, she did not go a good job of taking care of it. Her gown suffered from water damage and mold as well as the normal deterioration from age. I took it in to be cleaned anyway but the clerk was doubtful. I ask them to do their best. When I picked it up, the gown looked as good or better than new. The owner came out and shook my hand. He refused to charge me but he had to have worked hours cleaning her gown.
Do you have a favourite author? (Or name a few)
My favorite (I really wish you English would learn how to spell) living author is Cormac McCarthy because he writes with the vividness of William Faulkner and the conciseness of Ernest Hemingway. Then of course there is good old F. Scott.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Writing is a craft as much as it is art. You can learn a craft; the art will follow.
Did you always want to be a writer and if not what did was the first thing you wanted to be or do?
One way or the other. My first career pick was to be a foreign correspondent when I was maybe eight, but I have always enjoyed writing. As a lawyer, I am always writing, although it is persuasive writing and not always fictitious.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, who are your favourite artists?
I enjoy listening to classical music, especially sacred choral music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras that put me into a proper contemplative state of mind. Favorite composers include Thomas Tallis, Antonio Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, and Motzart.
What helps you write when you're stuck and or have writer's block?
Fortunately, I have never been afflicted with writer's block although sometimes I have problems of figuring out where my plot should be going. For those occasions, the What if? game never fails.
After a long day of writing etc, do you have a favourite tv show you like to watch?
I have not watched a television show in years but after a long day of writing I will go out on my patio with a double Irish and a good audio book and watch the sun slip into the Pacific.
What are you working on currently?
What are you working on currently?
Working title is the Song of Deborah: Before a grief-stricken bounty hunter risks the wrath of the Midwest mob that hired him to track down their fifteen-year old runaway, he must come to terms with his culpability for the suicide of his teenage daughter.
When you're not writing, or working, what do you like to do?
My practice and writing consume just about all of my time but I do enjoy annoying book bloggers. Also watching movies is not only relaxing but useful for learning the tricks of structure and plotting.
What are some of your most favourite books of all time?
Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian.
Which of your characters do you love the most and why?
Betsy in Revenants. She just has such spunk.
Which of your books are you most proud of?
Revenants because to the time it took. As in gymnastics, sticking my landing was the most difficult. Over 8 years and 14 major rewrites, the beginning did not change all that much. It was the final third I couldn’t stick. I finally found my ending when I was working on a short story that eventually became my new chapter 1. When I had my beginning, the ending just flowed out of it.
What is the title of the last book you read/was it good or bad?
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I thought it quite good. Both Vance and I are former rustbelt Ohioans (though from opposite ends of the state) and both lawyers now living in California. His family is from Appalachia as is my mother's.
Is there anything specific you'd like to try writing about in the future?
I am simmering up a plot based upon England's SOE during World War II.
What is an interesting or hidden talent you have?
I'm really, really good at annoying book bloggers.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why would you choose it?
When I was ten I thought it would be so cool to have Superman's X-Ray vision so I could see through Mary Ann Jensen's dress. I guess now that's not a Politically Correct super power to wish for anymore.
Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know?
Only to thank them for reading this far.
Where can we find you on social media?
You can always find me on Goodreads.
Don't forget to check out Scott's book, Revenants!