Tell me about yourself.
I live in Massachusetts with my wife and two daughters. My wife is originally from Illinois, so when we moved up here together after a brief stint in South Carolina. She really helped me re-appreciate all that’s wonderful up in New England. And of course, seeing absolutely everything anew through my daughter’s eyes has been nice, also. I like to exercise, travel and make my girls laugh even if it involves personal injury (running too fast behind the family car, bonking my head).
What is Upload about?
Streaming torrents of data and information are being uploaded every second. My main character, Jay Brooks, accidentally dips his technological fishing line into the wrong stream, and at the wrong time. Jay quickly finds himself at the center of a deadly conspiracy. With his mother recently deceased, and father so remote as to seem also deceased, he has no choice but to fight his way through to the truth, with the help of his best friend hacker, Bennie, and Bennie’s sister, Chloe.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Right after I gave up magic, as a boy. I wasn’t a horrible magician, but I recognized early on that I lacked the on-the-spot finesse required, the large personality and the charisma required to carry off the cooler tricks. My trembling fingers inevitably let the pea slip out from the shell, splashed too much salt on the card deck to hold my place, scratched an obvious amount of crayon on my fingernail (these are real tricks!). I wanted to be a magician because I wanted to be behind the scenes of all this enchantment. I was wowed by it. Similarly with writing—I could study the inner workings of very good literature, and if I tried, produce some bit of it myself. But writing has a major advantage over magic: a somewhat more agreeable audience that waits patiently as you attempt over several tries to produce that rabbit you had promised.
Did you learn anything from writing Upload? If so, what did you learn?
I learned small technological goodies while researching what I needed to. But my greatest learning came after the first few drafts, when I became engaged with the talented editors at Red Adept. With their help, I was able to structure and neaten my story, and eventually learn neat tricks I could perform while structuring my story. Something akin to the riffle shuffle with cards.
What do you like most about writing a thriller?
I really did enjoy the act of writing this thriller as visually as possible. I imagined each and every scene as I would hope to see it on the movie screen. I can also be a big cagey, and I think that can help in writing a thriller that has some twists and turns. I get to type with one hand and snicker up the sleeve of the other.
What are you currently reading?
I tell people this and I bore them to death with it. I’m currently re-re-re-reading The Gift by Nabokov. Between lighter stuff, I like to read Nabokov’s works in chronological order, over and over again, because I get something new and fantastic from it each and every time.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Momentum is key. I say for first drafts, write as freely as possible—just keep going. It’s like running, you take your next step into the air, not quite knowing where your foot will land, but you have to have confidence it will, and you’ll do fine.
Where can we find you?
My Blog: http://gatheringfluff.blogspot.com/