My next book is titled Lost Island Smugglers. It’s the first in a new series called The Sam Butler Adventure Series. Two more books will be released later this year. Their titles are Captain Jack’s Treasure, and River Rampage. I’m spending most of my time, right now, increasing word count on these from the low 20,000 words to the mid 30,000 words.
How did you research for this book?
Most of my research is a combination of Internet and library research, or places I’ve visited. But I also like to contact primary sources for background information. Once people understand that my book project is about something they care about, they are happy to help. This has included simple email responses, all the way up to books and videos that have been sent to me on my various writing projects.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s a combination of the newspaper, radio or TV news, magazines, or stories I’ve heard from various sources. When a new story emerges, it comes fully formed in my mind with a beginning, middle, and end. I don’t know about the details of the stories or the characters at that time. As I write, it’s like watching a movie I’ve never seen before.
What has been the hardest part of writing your latest book and how did you overcome it?
When I began writing, nearly ten years ago, my stories didn’t come as a traditional series. They arrived with different characters, settings, and plots. Now that I’ve been asked to develop a series, I’m adapting some of those earlier stories by using the same cast of characters. This had been a challenge. In addition, having to increase word count has also provided interesting challenges.
What do you hope people will take away from reading your book?
I hope my books will provide some escape and adventure, especially for tween boys, while teaching various character and spiritual issues – without the reader tripping over those principles.
What new projects are you working on?
I have to develop four more titles for the Sam Butler Adventure Series in 2011. It’s possible that another publisher will pick up some of my other stories, under an umbrella “series.” By that I mean that the books have different characters, but will be grouped under one series name. On one of those manuscripts, I’ve already done a first revision that increased the word count to over 30,000. Since I’ve completed thirty-five manuscripts over the past few years, several could need similar alterations. I also have an interest in picture books, and have been developing a few of these manuscripts. And then, my first publisher went bankrupt late last year. That returned ownership of my first 7 books back to me. I’m working with Terry to see if we can get these re-published because a good market still exists for them.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing? The programs and speaking that you do?
Books For Boys Blog
Author Web Site
50 Pages of Reviews
What is the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?
Best – Never give up.
Worst – Write every day.
Anything else you’d like to take this opportunity to say?
Publishing is not for the faint of heart. I like Terry’s advice concerning the things we have to do to make sure we aren’t eliminated early in the submissions process. I’ve spent the last three years building my platform, which I think will be essential for any hope of success in the future. And I’m doing everything I know to build name recognition by writing articles and short stories for magazines like Boys’ Life, and shorter material for places like Guideposts Books. Having a book published is only the beginning of the work we authors will be required to do.