Q: How did you get your start in writing fiction novels?
A: I began my first novel while still in Grad School on a desktop PC. Yes, I’m no millennial. It was an eco-thriller based on the Pennsylvania mining town I grew up in that thankfully never saw the light of day. Since then I have been honing my craft over the years, getting better with each and every story.
Q: Tell us about how you got your first book published?
A: Let’s be clear, I am an epublished, independent author and proud of it. I tried for several years with my literary agent to get my Count Saint-Germain novel published by one of the big NY publishing houses. Umpteen rejection letters later, I decided to go the eBook route and never looked back. With so many bookstores closing today, it turned out to be the right move
Q: Why are you proud of your eBooks?
A: Because its frustrating as an author when a handful of New York City publishing house editors get to decide what the reading public gets to buy in large chain bookstores. With indie epublishing, the eBooks are on-line for all to see and the public gets to decide what to buy and read. So many good indie books by good authors have been epublished since
Q: How did you choose Count Saint-Germain as the main character for your first book, THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE?
A: I stumbled across the Count in a dusty old book on historical mysteries in the stacks of Princeton’s Firestone library. Something about this never-aging man fascinated me? He was not fiction, but a real historical person. Why had I never heard of this guy before? So I began researching Saint-Germain and in the end became a bit obsessed.
Q: Did you have to learn a lot about 18th century Europe for the novel?
A: Hell yes! I knew about 18th century US history, with the Revolutionary War period, but the Count’s story was all going on at the same time in Europe, Russia, Persia, and India. There were so many other wars and revolutions, other coups and invasions, other spies and intrigues to research. I absolutely loved it.
Q: So Count Saint-Germain was a real historical figure and not one of your characters?
A: Correct, the Count is not fiction. He hobnobbed across the royal courts of Europe, never appearing to age for over eighty years. He appears behind the scenes at everything from the Scottish Rebellion in 1745 to the French Revolution in 1789. Some called him an ancient alchemist, while others labelled him a blatant charlatan.
Q: You also write novellas about historical disasters.
A: That’s right, FIREBRANDS is about the Great Chicago Fire of 1887, SWEPT AWAY is about the 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania Flood, and SULTANA AWAITS is about a Civil War riverboat disaster. There is some aspect that fascinates me about the suspense of impending doom, the bravery of the survivors. and the sacrifice of the fallen. I throw my invented characters into the mix to sink or swim, as it were.
Q: Are you working on another book?
A: Yes, my next novel is CYCLONE CITY about the terrible Galveston, Texas Hurricane of 1900. It was a Category 4 storm that literally wiped the coastal city off the map in a single night costing thousands of lives. It was at a time before technology so the poor people had no warning and no chance to evacuate.