f.a.q. Page 2
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
answers to questions i've been asked.
Last updated January 2020
Who is your favorite actress?
Many. Diane Keaton. Jennifer Lawrence. Sharon Stone. Marilyn Monroe. Jodie Foster.
Who is your favorite director?
Several. Steven Spielberg. Sam Raimi. John Schlesinger.
Do you dream of being a wealthy writer?
I guess that is true. I do dream. But the truth is I enjoy writing. Oh, it’s work. But I enjoy it so if I can earn a healthy middle wage ( middle class ) salary from writing books I can be happy.
You know I have met many writers in the past year and all of them were either middle class or lower middle class. At present I do not know one writer personally who “got wealthy” from writing.
And when people tell me they want to write a book “to get wealthy” (yeah I have had people say that to me) I usually suggest they try a different occupation, such as a stock broker or become a lawyer. My feeling is go into the field of writing for the love of writing not for the money. It’s a very very very competitive industry and only a small percentage of writers earn the big advances and such.
What are some other myths of writing or publishing?
Some people remark to me how lucky I am work in such a “glamorous” or “exciting” occupation. Glamorous? I admit if a person earns great money for travel, is invited to be on television, I admit that’s glamorous. But that hasn’t happened with me, nor any other writer I know personally.
I can’t afford a copy of your book, but I want to read It. What do you suggest?
I understand in this economy, it’s tough. It’s rough. The best suggestion I can make if you want to read the book (and isn’t that sweet of you!) but can’t afford a copy is to contact by mail or phone your local library. Request that the library consider adding the book to their collection. If they add the book to their collection you can “check out” a copy from your local library.
If one of your books does have a great sales run, what will you do?
Jump for joy! Then buy new shoes.
Have you ever been married?
No. And it's one of my biggest regrets. I did propose marriage once, to a pretty female ballet instructor in Russia. We cared for each other, but geography got in the way. I wanted to live
in America. She wanted to stay in her small village in Russia, which was a small town with harsh winters 4 months a year. The nearest movie theater or shopping mall or fast food restaurant was a 2 hour train ride away. Plus, what would I do for a job if I lived in that cold and snowy village? There was a lot of poverty there. It just wouldn't work out.
What's wrong with you? Why didn't you ever marry?
Truth is, I don't think I was a "good catch" for marriage. I would be fine to date and go to a
movie, golfing, to play tennis or out to dinner, but marriage is as much about love as it is
about financial stability. This is especially true if a woman wants to have a family. I was taking care of and assisting a mother with polio and a sister with a chronic illness, so I was able to work but my career and job opportunities were limited by this. I couldn't join the military. I couldn't move to other cities where my talents matched more closely the job opportunities, I couldn't "go Hollywood" or run to New York to work an internship in advertising. So, to be blunt, I was very poor and I guess women didn't see me as a great catch for marriage. I'm sad, but I don't regret I sacrificed moving up the financial ladder to help my mom and sister. Yeah, I know, I know, people tell me all the time, I know I'll get my reward in heaven for my sacrifices.
What's your biggest regret in life?
Easy to answer. Two things. One, I never had children, a family. When I was a young man in college, I always thought (and wanted) to have two or three children. I wanted to marry and have a family, but I guess it wasn't "in the cards" as they say. Two, I regret I couldn't give my
mom financial assistance and nice things in her old age. Her husband, my father, died of a brain tumor when I was a young kid, and my handicapped mom with polio had to raise three children on her own on a government social worker's salary. And she had to raise three small children while paying back a huge, huge hospital bill, as my dad did not have medical insurance. It was difficult, and when she reached retirement and old age, I tried very much to assist her financially, but i discovered the hard way that it's not easy to go from being poor to affluent when so many jobs pay ten dollars an hour, or less. I wanted to give my mom nice things, such as tickets to local ballets and operas, and a trip to Austria or to see the Redwood trees in California and to see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Instead, I was stuck in low paying jobs that only allowed me to move on to other low paying jobs. My mother died poor. I feel very guilty about my inability to help her financially. My mom was a very inspirational person.
Any lesser regrets?
I regret I never went to film school. I like film studies. Would love to have been a film director. I think camera angles and cinematography are fascinating subjects. I regret I didn’t travel more when younger, again due to finances. Yeah, I have regrets. I wish I had backpacked across Europe in my twenties. Austria, Germany. I wish I had seen the Swiss Mountains. It's such a big world and I regret I didn't travel more when younger. I've always liked learning about other cultures. I dream to see the Far East. Singapore. China. Japan. Thailand.
Who is the biggest idiot you ever met?
I didn't meet the guy, I just talked to him on the phone. Some guy ran an ad on the Internet stating he was looking to hire a person to write his 30 minute television pilot. I answered his ad. We talked on the phone and the guy was all giddy and he liked my writing and my sense of humor, and the college-age guy was like, "Can you finish the pilot in the next two weeks?" So I was like, "Ah, dude, we haven't even discussed my fee." So the guy said, "Your fee? You mean I am supposed to pay you to write my television show pilot? You expect to be paid?" I was almost speechless. I said, "Ah, yeah, you ran an ad looking to hire a writer. Didn't you know you are supposed to pay a person?" The man responded, "Gosh, no, I thought we just partnered up and split the money if the tv show sells." I was without words. Even more amazing, or horrifying -- take your pick -- the man was a college student and he was an economics' major! Yeah, I would classify him as an idiot!
Have you ever planted alfalfa?
How do I get started? Writing a novel seems so daunting how do I even begin?
You begin at the beginning. Okay, I know, lousy humor. Seriously, I suggest if you’re thinking of writing a novel try writing a short story first. Or several short stories. You'll gain a better understanding of the writing process and will very likely know quite soon if writing is an occupation for you. I wrote many short stories and many, many, many poems before I even thought about writing a novel.
Name a life-altering movie you have seen?
Do you believe in luck?
Is your memory as good now as when you were age eighteen?
Can you repeat that? I forgot the question.
Do you usually write in the day or at night?
I usually write late at night, often after midnight. No, I've never heard an owl hoot while writing late at night, but I've heard stray cats hissing in nearby bushes.
Who's the biggest slob you've ever met?
Now that's a question for the ages. I must tread lightly, as I'm hardly a dashing dresser myself and I've even been known to leave crumbs from bread on the table I'm dining on. Some might call me a slob, I suppose. Many years back, I was at a traveling carnival, and this man was working the walk through funhouse as a ticket taker. His pants were torn and stained with grease. His shirt was soaked in sweat. He had dried mustard across his chin. Dried ketchup across his cheeks. Dried pickle relish across his neck. He wore a filthy baseball cap so chewed up, it looked like a tiger had gnawed on it. And his shoes smelled like old cheese. I won't even mention the bad breath and dirt under his fingernails. Oops, I guess I just did. When one woman exited the funhouse with her daughter by her side, the woman told the man the funhouse needed to be cleaned as it smelled bad. The carnival worker simply shrugged and told her it wasn't the funhouse that smelled bad it was him. The funhouse was downwind from the worker understand.
Favorite era of movies?
The 1960's and 1970's. Why? Because back then they didn't have all the innovations in
special effects and computers and the movies had to focus on characters, suspense and
good, old fashioned quality, charming dialogue. Many of today's movies focus too much on
the special effects and ignore the simple premise of telling a great story with compelling
characters that we can sympathize with.
Tell of your best angry man encounter?
Oh my goodness. There's a lot of beauty and kindness in this world and there's a lot of angry men ( and women )
Geesh, let me think. Angry man. Angry man.
There's a few I suppose. The man who threw a bag of jelly beans at a cashier because the scanner overcharged him. The man who threw a buttered soft roll at a waitress because she was too slow bringing the ice tea. The homeless man who begged for five cigarettes and when I told him no because I don't smoke he growled at me and said "you pig." Or maybe the woman who made an obscene gesture at me on Christmas day in a drugstore parking lot because I didn't exit my parking space fast enough.
A lot of anger out there.
I suppose the manager of the movie theater would be one of my memorable angry man encounters. I was in New England on vacation and I went with a friend to a local theater to see one of those dinosaur action adventure movies. You might know the movie, it was where a bunch of velociraptors are not in the best of moods and don't try to hide this fact.
Well, apparently, neither was the manager of the theater in a good mood.
I was buying two tickets at the window and I noticed the theater was packed. A sell out crowd? Possibly. So I asked the teen aged cashier if my friend and I went in if we couldn't get two seats next to each other could we leave and get a refund? The female cashier freaked, almost shrieked. She didn't know. She didn't know. She called for a manager using such a high pitched voice that a customer inside the theater almost dropped his popcorn so shocked was he.
A manager with forearms seemingly bigger than a football's width, tattoos across the arms and one of those jaws perfect for a boxer in the ring, grunted and groaned as he marched up to me, getting in my face and inhaling so forcibly his large gut almost pushed me back. In a one to one battle between this manager and a velociraptor, I would give odds to the dinosaur but by just a hair.
The manager asked who I was, almost barking at me with breath that was pure garlic! He must have just eaten a pizza! The garlic odor was sooooo strong!!!!!
"I'm just a customer," I said.
"Just a customer," the manager grunted while tugging up his belt and sucking in his gut so much his massive shoulders seemed to expand.
I asked the manager if we could get our money back if we couldn't find two seats side by side. Seemed like a reasonable question at the time.
"Wanna see the movie?" the manager barked about eight times in a row.
"Yeah but I want to sit next to my friend," I said.
I asked the manager if he understood why a person wanted to sit next to their friend at the movie theater. Well, the manager revealed to me he didn't know what that was like because he didn't have any friends and hadn't had a friend since, in his words, "the great flood."
An angry man(ager)!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way, we could not find any seats side by side. But we did see the movie.
Do you like peaches?
What's the strangest telemarketing call you ever received?
When I was in my early twenties, I got a call at my home on a dark and stormy afternoon from a gravely-voiced old woman who was selling cemetery coffins and pre-paid funeral services. When I told her my age, she grumbled, "Oh forget this" and she hung up on me.
Do croutons make the salad?
Oh wow, in my opinion croutons do make the salad. I love them.
Does sour cream make the baked potato?
I must confess I think a baked potato without sour cream is boring and bland.
How do I know if I would be a good writer? How do I know if a writing career is for me?
I have no idea!!! In my case, I had what other people, yes other people, told me indicated I would be comfortable in a career as a writer. I’m a people watcher. I’m creative. I have quite an imagination. That’s what other people said about me.
What’s more fun to write non-fiction or fiction?
I’ve written several non-fiction books that I have not yet published. They were fun to write, but I must confess I prefer by a long, long, long, long yardstick writing novels.
Probably the number one reason is because I like to write. I’m not so much into research, so with fiction I can sit down and start writing. If it’s non-fiction, I might have to spend weeks or months researching stuff depending on what the subject matter is.
Did you have to do a lot of research to write April Curran Meets the Vampire of Crimson Cove High School?
Not so much. I researched Romania and Romanian culture. I researched the Romanian language. I had already read and seen enough films to know the vampire clichés, which I then tried to avoid in my novel or if I did put the clichés in, I tried to do it as a parody or satire.
Are you a huge vampire fan?
I like vampire stories and I’ve read some vampire books and seen a lot of vampire movies. Now let me say, I am not a vampire fanatic. I have read some Anne Rice books and I have read some
( not all ) of the books in the Twilight Series. One of my favorite vampire movies is the old 1970’s classic Let’s Scare Jessica to Death.
Do you like horror movies and horror novels?
Again, I’m not a fanatic. Yes, I like horror. I must say I like the old 1980’s and 1970’s horror movies that relied more on atmosphere, tension and suspense instead of many of the modern horror films that go for the “gross out” violent scenes so disturbing a coroner might be appalled and walk out of the theater. No reason for such violence and gore. I think Clive Barker and Stephen King are great horror writers.
What do you find to be the easy parts of writing?
For me, dialogue and imagery is not what I would call difficult. I don’t know if I would call dialogue easy, but to me it’s not difficult.
What do you find to be the most difficult parts of writing?
For me, I find point of view to be the most difficult.
Did you use ghost writers on any part of your vampire novels?
Use a ghost writer to write a vampire book! Nope. All the writing in April Curran Meets the Vampire of Crimson Cove High School was done by me.
Were you a good student academically?
I did okay in middle school and ninth grade of high school. I had what I would say were "average" grades. By tenth grade, I regret to say, some of my grades did falter. Middle school and high school were difficult times for me, and I didn’t excel academically. Nor did I participate in many sports or activities.
Part of the reason was years earlier my father had died abruptly after brain surgery and I was quite traumatized. Even today, I am devastated by the loss. After high school, I did go on to college. I wasn’t on the honor roll at college, but I did okay as far as grades are concerned and I graduated. I majored in business.
Do you like writing?
I do, especially novels. Short stories. Poems. But I take my work seriously, even when I’m laughing at my own characters' foolish dialogue on occasion. Even if it’s fun it’s still work. Oh, trust me, writing is work!!!!
Are other people in your family talented in writing?
My father was an excellent story teller. Just awesome. My mom’s a big reader and she is talented at writing. One of the first poems she wrote was accepted by a well known mystery magazine with a wide readership. That’s quite an accomplishment. Competition is quite fierce at some magazines.
Have you ever purchased anything from a door to door salesman?
As far as I can remember, the only thing I ever bought from a person at the door was cookies. When I was a child my mom purchased a mop from a man selling them door to door. My mom felt sorry for the salesman because he was hot, sweaty and crying. Yeah, he was crying and begged my mom to buy a mop because he had knocked on doors since late morning and hadn't made one sale. The commission-only salesman's head was low and he was crying. My mom felt sorry for the guy so she purchased a mop from him. Unfortunately, it was not a quality product and the mop tore apart the first time my mom used it. She was not happy.
Name a goofy gift somebody has given you?
Some years back a friend from out of town arrived at my house after a road trip. When he pulled up and I went out to greet him, he said "Oh my wife and I brought you a gift -- something we got while on the road."
Noticed he said brought not bought.
I smiled, as it was near my birthday and it sounded groovy. What? What? What? I wondered. Potted plant? A wax alligator? Chocolates from a chocolate shop? A beach blanket? A new wallet? A shirt? What? What did he bring me??
He handed me a piece of paper towel from one of those bathroom paper hand towel dispensing machines from a diner that they ate at in New Jersey.
At first I was a bit perplexed. Yeah, I realized it was a joke gift but then I stood there expecting my real gift. This friend of mine was quite wealthy, likely a millionaire but possibly a multi-millionaire. I stood there like an idiot waiting for my gift and he was like that's it. Okay, it was a joke gift. Yeah, hah hah heh heh.
Can you name an inspirational person in your life?
My mom. She was handicapped by polio when a very small child and had to raise three children on her own after my father died when I was a child. That's a difficult life.
What do you find boring?
Daytime soap operas. Sorry, daytime soap fans. I don't mean to offend I'm just being honest. Too many repeating plots involving doctors, lawyers, nurses and relationship problems.
The one time I did watch a few minutes of a soap opera this beautiful beautiful beautiful woman had just gotten out of a long coma. And I was thinking you look like a supermodel and you just got out of a lengthy coma?
The woman looked healthy enough to jog eight miles! And she just got out of a coma? ( Gasp! ) She even had a great tan. Wouldn't a person be a tad pale if they had just been in a hospital out of sunlight for many months?
To me it just didn't add up. Something was almost comical about it, but it wasn't a comedy. I didn't see a doctor slip on a banana peel. There was no laugh track.
Now I did love the old comedy Soap from the 1970's. Now that was funny!
Which would you rather go for a swim in? A lagoon or the ocean?
I've seen the movie Creature from the Black Lagoon and that creature was
ugly with a big capital U so I would have to say the ocean.
Name a creepy room you've seen in the movies?
Captain Quint's storage loft / office from the movie Jaws comes to mind. All those very sharp shark's teeth laying around the room. Gave me the chills. When the Captain scratched the chalk board, I also got the chills. What a great movie! Great director!
What's the scariest cemetery you've ever visited?
I don't remember the name, but I remember it was in New Orleans.
Name some American cities you would like to visit or have enjoyed visiting?
Soooo many indeed that I would like to see. I've not been west of Texas, so I would like to see Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Fran and also Anchorage. Cities I have been to that I consider fun to visit include New York, New York, Boston, Wash DC, Savannah and I can't forget the Orlando area.
Name some far, far away places you would like to visit?
Kualu Lumpur in Malaysia. Thailand. Japan. Tokyo. Mount Fuji. Oslo. Hong Kong. Sydney. I would also like to visit England and London. Those cute phone booths they have in England. Oh I must not forget Singapore.
What do you find difficult to resist?
Oh my freaking gosh chocolate cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Name something you like a lot?
Are you religious?
Yes. I was raised Catholic.
Are you on Facebook?
Tell of a time you messed up at a job interview?
Nobody's perfect as they say. Yeah, I messed up at a few job interviews. I suppose one that was a big mess up was when I was applying for a job to bring in shopping carts from a parking lot for a store. Yeah, I know, putting my business bachelor's degree to task on that job. Well, they call it a "Great Recession" and I sort of agree it is.
So I arrived at the store to fill out the lengthy application and submit my resume. A storm had just rumbled through, as Florida summer thunderstorms often do. It was a hot and steamy summer afternoon ( gosh sounds like the beginning of a suspense novel doesn't it? ). I parked my car and I noticed this knee high giant puddle of water in the parking lot and there were a bunch of shopping carts parked in that water. Great, I thought. Trotting through the water several times a day in the heat and humidity fetching shopping carts and all for minimum wage and probably few, if any, benefits.
When I walked in and asked for an application, the man handed it to me and asked why I wanted the shopping cart job. Without thinking I blurted out "I don't."
We were both somewhat startled and wide-eyed.
Do you smoke cigarettes?
No, and I don't understand why people do smoke. It's smelly. Expensive. One of my early jobs, before all the clean air laws were passed, I worked in a sales office where of the twenty employees, eighteen smoked. It was not pleasant being cramped in an office with eighteen people smoking cigarettes. Not pleasant!!!!!
What scares the heck out of you?
The amount of student loans I have to pay back. Yeah, I'm a shaking. My big fear is I'll be paying off my student loans when I have dentures.