What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Code Blue?
In researching a scene that didn’t make it into the final manuscript, I came to realize that only automatics have a safety, while revolvers don’t. I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever use that in the real world, since the NCO who gave me my small arms qualification test in the service advised me that my best use of a gun for protection would be to “throw it at ‘em.”
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
The major challenge is to make myself sit down at the computer and write. It’s a beautiful day outside, my golf clubs are calling me, but I have to knock out 2000 words. That’s tough—and I don’t always win that battle.
Otherwise, I suppose my challenges center around a lack of understanding by friends of what an author’s life really involves. There’s no automatic fame, the monetary rewards aren’t great, and you’re only as good as your last book. But I wouldn’t give it up.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The absolute joy of reading something I’ve written and edited and honed, then put down and forgotten, only to pick it up and think, “Wow. Did I write this? It’s pretty good.”
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
I’m firmly in the middle. When I start, I know the main characters, I have an idea of the hero’s journey and “have-to” situation, and roughly what the final scene is going to involve. But I truly don’t know who the villain will be until I get to the last chapter. I keep my options open. That way, the reader has to consider everyone a suspect as well.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Oh, definitely. After I completed my first book (still languishing on my hard drive), my wife and I would constantly talk about what “Ben and Rachel” (the main characters) would do in such-and-such a situation.
And I still recall how down I was when, two-thirds of the way into another unpublished book, I realized that one of my favorite characters had to die. That was tough.