Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Will Shakespeare and the Ships of Solomon is the first of a series of novels about a secret militant order within the Masonic Knights Templar that operate above society in a secret world. This particular book is how one of the surviving members of the order is racing to save the Holy Grail from being devoured by a hurricane while another secret society is trying to stop him. It's basically Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown. The real impetus for writing it was to explore secret societies from the vantage point of the secret societies. The mainstream point of view on secret societies is generally negative and full of sensational mistruths. After so many years of research, I wanted to cast groups like Masons and Templars in a new light.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
I'm a workaholic, so it's a tough question to ask for me. In many ways writing is relaxing for me--but only when it is going smoothly. I do try the standard tips: yoga, good sleep, etc. For me, though, relaxation is being with the family--turning off work for a while and watching silly YouTube videos with a 5 year-old or going to the local botanic garden. It's important to keep connected with your family, no matter your workload or stress level.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write daily, usually about 500 words and when I have downtime. Usually in the morning with coffee before my family gets up or sometimes at night after everyone is in bed. I may be working on concepts throughout the day, but the actual writing part of the process doesn't take a tremendous amount of time on a day-to-day basis. The important part is that it is done consistently so that the work doesn't back up.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
I'm very organized when it comes to writing and will often pound out the plot, without too many details, long before I start the first paragraph. I rely on tools like Scrivener, a wonderful piece of software by Literature and Latte, to keep me organized. Generally the process goes like this: from an idea, I formulate a plot outline and then begin writing at least 500 words per day until the manuscript is done. If I have trouble writing a particular scene I will pigeon-hole it and then move onto another scene and will often write out of order, just to reorganize later (using Scrivener). Once the manuscript is complete, I leave it alone for a couple months and then go back for a major edit. After that edit, I give it to my wife for feedback and comments. Then it goes to a professional editor, finally a proofreader, and then to the publisher. The whole process can take 1-3 years.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it - What keeps you going?
I think most writers have a neurotic compulsion to keep on writing, no matter what is happening in their lives or what the product seems to be. The challenge for me isn’t to continue to write, but to finish what I’ve started. Not only finish the manuscript, but to take it through the whole editing and publishing process. I have finished countless manuscripts that are sitting under dust on my computer. It’s one thing to write, it’s entirely another to turn a manuscript into a product. Finding the motivation to do that is very difficult, but gets easier with each passing project.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I admit whole-heartedly that I am not a literary author. I stretch my legs in literary fiction from time to time, but my secret sauce is adventure storytelling. Those are the movies I love, the books I read, and my inspirational focal point. That being the case, I have no delusions that my words will be shifting mountains, altering societal movements, or providing awe-inspiring emotional moments for my readers. Frankly, if someone felt awe-inspired after my book, I’d wonder if it was my book they read.
However, I do have an underlying theme in my fiction, which is to demystify much of what has been bastardized over the years with regards to conspiracy theories and secret societies. If a reader were to leave with anything, I would hope they left with a broader perspective on what is true regarding history, religion or politics. We take so much at face value, I like to go in and disrupt thinking so that people may second guess what we think we know about Christopher Columbus, the American founding fathers, or the real reasons for war. Scratching just beneath the surface can make us wonder why groups like freemasons have been so vilified over the years—or what agenda religious organizations may have against secular institutions. I also believe the undercurrent of my personal philosophy must be evident in my fiction.
How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
Whether or not Facebook and Twitter are good things is completely beside the point. Social media is here to stay. It isn’t a fad, it’s a new normal. I think it is very easy to fall into a timeless black hole when using these sites, so while it is important to put a strict (time restrictive) process in place as well as a marketing goal, strategy and set of tactics, before launching into social media, there is no doubt that all authors should be using it. The tricky part is to find that balance of promotional content and social content. And to do it in less than an hour a day. Also, don’t forget Google+ and GoodReads. Very important outlets for authors.
What’s your next project?
It is very likely that my next book will be the collaborative novel series my wife and I have been working on the past few years. Based upon our current trajectory that is the most likely to “pop” first. The series takes place in the present day (a departure for me), and follows the events that lead to the end of civilization as we know it—specifically as told by the Book of Revelation. The catch is that, coming from a secular point of view, the Second Coming is a bad thing and the heroes of the story are the villains in the Bible. Look for it hopefully sometime late 2014.
How do you feel about self-publishing?
It’s getting harder and harder to differentiate. I’m with a micro-publisher who, by some eyes, may be on the same level as self-publisher. It certainly doesn’t have the deep marketing budgets or broad distribution that other publishers have. With digital technology, limited distribution channels, and the rise of eBooks the traditional model is certainly antiquated. As long as the book is edited and marketed with the same diligence that traditional publishers have, then I’m all for it. Successful self publishing, however, requires that the author be embedded in the whole process from start to finish and an expert on the industry. While it is true this helpful for any author, the role of the author should be to write. That is one reason seeking out an independent publisher may make more sense for someone that is a great writer but that can’t design, distribute or market books. Too many wonderful books and authors fall into the self-publishing trap and, because it is easy to do so, put out subpar artwork and unedited manuscripts with no distribution or marketing. This can hurt them down the road as they try to pursue independent or mass-market publication. My advice on this topic is: if you have the skills to take it all the way, proceed—but proceed with caution.
In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church. With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father's property. The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world's most coveted treasure.
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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
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