- What is your earliest memory of writing?
I remember writing in elementary school. And I remember hating it. Somewhere in those first few years of school, I decided I didn’t want to write. Maybe I really didn’t like it back then. Or maybe I just didn’t like the writing projects because it meant sharing. That makes sense if you knew I was one of those 80s latch key kids with a single mom and a broken home. School wasn’t home, and I didn’t mix the two.
- What inspires you?
People with passion inspire me. I recognized that long ago, in the Army. It was the difference between leaders I wanted to follow, and those we were ordered to follow. Now that I no longer serve, I see all these incredible people using their passion to build and create. Whether it’s an activist creating change or a comedian creating infectious laughter, I see what’s behind their effort. When the words and meaning are stripped away, I see the same leadership I wanted to follow as a soldier.
- What do you think makes a good story, what kinds of stories are you drawn to?
I think some kind of risk is integral to a good story. Following someone’s journey from risk to reward keeps me turning pages. And the less likely the better. I mean, we all love the underdog, right?
- Tell us some of your favorite books, tv shows, movies?
Oh wow. I don’t have a lot of free time for books. So I’d really need to go back a bit. But older Steven King, like Cujo and Desperation, stand out to me. I’m honestly not a big horror fan though. I am a bit of a clown, so I’m drawn to comedy. I loved to watch Monk and most of the movies that spawn from Lorne Michael’s SNL team. 50 First Dates and Caddyshack stand out in that department, but I’m also a big fan of Jaws and Star Wars.
- What is your writing process?
Process sounds like a scary word – like I’m organized. Ha! I just have all these words in my head. When the thoughts and feelings coalesce, it’s somewhat of a mad dash to get them out before they fade. Or worse, they morph into something else. It happens everywhere from the subway to a sleepless night. So I think the process is in collecting notes. For that, I try to schedule time away from the world, with some music and a phone just out of reach.
- What is the most surprising thing you have learned from writing?
The most surprising thing is how much I like writing. I have an engineering degree, so when people hear me say I like to build things they assume tangible objects. Building a story is different, yet similarly satisfying. I like it just as much.
- How did participating in a WGI workshop help your writing, (if so)
Not sure I can fairly convey this because I’m a little biased. But without the workshops, I wouldn’t consider myself a writer. At least not creatively. It’s taken me from this nocturnal note-scribbler to someone who can weave together separate characters into a single story spanning a few hundred pages. It takes me a long time, but I never thought that was possible to do myself. I can’t share that without highlighting the biggest writing boost has been to my confidence.
- How do you make time for writing with everything else?
I physically schedule it. It’s written in my calendar and I plan for it. Sometimes it feels like a self-care date night.
- Do you have a “writing quirk,” if so, what is it?
I get anxious about writing. It’s not about the actual writing, but I sometimes write in spurts and collect fragments. The fragment pile can be overwhelming, like a bulging email inbox.
- Any tips, guidance, or advice you’d like to share?
Every mentor, in every group, everywhere, has said one of two things: write more or read more. I didn’t fully appreciate that until the first time someone asked me for advice. Absolutely write more. Get it all on paper. You can sort it out later. And read more too. All the world’s writers who can’t advise you have already written something for you.