Q – What is your book, Extinction, about?
A – In one word, survival. Imagine a future where an unknown virus infects almost all your family and friends. Due to its highly contagious nature, this virus spreads throughout the world before doctors and scientists even realize it exists. Infected people begin to mutate becoming much stronger and more agile. They cease to speak, grow fur, develop claws. They lose their ability to reason and become murderously hostile toward anyone not infected. Now imagine this rage being so consuming that the mutants attack until they kill you or you kill them.
The main characters are part of a single family and genetically immune to the virus. Extinction follows them and chronicles their efforts not only to survive but also to find and rescue others.
Q – How much did you develop the story before you began to write?
A – The idea for Extinction developed from an earlier story, which takes place twelve years after the setting for the novel. The earlier story is set in a primitive world where only small pockets of humans still exist. These creatures, mutated humans, are little more than wild dogs and they attack on sight any people they happen to see. I had finished the main storyline and needed two or three chapters of back-story to explain the world situation and these creatures. The back-story took on a life of its own and by the time I finished the “back-story” there were four books.
The Extinction storyline simply unfolded as I started to write. There was no outline, just a few images of events along the way. The list of events grew as the survivors found themselves in more and more different situations.
Q – You say the idea “unfolded” as you wrote. Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?
A – Very much so. For example, a situation occurs in another story where the main characters are talking and the female character makes a statement which ends with the phrase, “And you know I’m right.” And she is. It changes the whole direction of the remainder of the story.
My stories are character driven. I don’t use pages of notes or long detailed outlines. Other than some particular waypoints I want to include in the story, I follow my characters around and try to write down what I see and hear. I basically think of my characters as real people. I think my theater background helps me to develop a multi-dimensional character. They have their faults and quirks like everyone does and sometimes even the heroes do things that are not heroic.
Q – How has your background influenced your writing?
A – As I would assume of most writers, I grew up in a family where reading was encouraged. My mother in particular, was always reading. After the children left home and my dad died, she bought a bookstand to hold her book so she could read while she ate.
Another aspect is my choice in settings. I was raised in a rural/small town area and that is the type of location I have chosen for most of my stories. As a native of North Carolina, I am well versed in the way country people express themselves and the way they look at life.
Q – This is a two-part question. What genre do you most often read, and what are you reading right now?
A – I read more science fiction and mysteries. I particularly like it when they come together. Right now, I am reading book five of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series, A Dance with Dragons.
Q – Where can we go to learn more about you and your stories”
A—From my publisher at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=84&products_id=194