How did you become involved with this project?
Alex L. Butcher, who put the project together, and I are Facebook friends, have worked together before, and are also involved in Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell™ series.
Tell us a little about your work in this book?
I’d been writing short stories since fifth grade, and then I started playing guitar. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Peter Sinfield who wrote lyrics for King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Keith Reid, who wrote lyrics for Procul Harum, I started writing poems and then soon afterwards, song lyrics. A couple of years ago I started dabbling in haiku.
Please tell us about your other publications/work.
I’ve written three books thus far in my sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy series, Mad Shadows. I’ve also written a space opera and a sword & planet novel, co-authored two children’s books with Erika M Szabo, and co-authored a pirate/horror novel with David C. Smith. I’ve published a number of short stories and novellas, and have appeared in six recent volumes of the Heroes in Hell™ series.
Do you think the written word (or art) brings power and freedom?
Yes! The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Fascist, authoritarian governments fear the power of the word. They fear any artform they think is harmful to their “regimes,” to their plans: art is transformative, it teaches and enlightens us, it makes us hope and dream. To “them,” its greatest threat is that it makes us think, and gives us ideas. Art is truth, and oppressors the world over would bury Truth beneath the dirt of propaganda, censorship and book burning.
If you could have dinner with any literary character or author, who would you choose, and what would you eat.
I’ll pick an author, and not to offend anyone still living, I’ll pick a dead author: Raymond Chandler, because he was the key to my writing my Mad Shadows Triad. Oh, maybe we’d eat pizza or steak, drink whiskey and/or Guinness Stout. Since he lived in California, maybe we’d eat seafood and drink wine.
How influential is storytelling/poetry to our culture?
It’s not only influential, it’s important: it is life affirming. We need poems and literature, music and paintings, and all forms of art. It keeps us sane and healthy. Storytelling and poetry reveal what’s in our hearts. Every art form reveals what we think and dream and hope for. It reveals the depths of our souls. Once again, it teaches and enlightens, as well to help ease the burden of our worries and our troubles.
If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature, what would you be and why?
I’ll go with being a vampire. They dress well, only go out at night, have superhuman powers, and if they invested wisely during their natural lifetime, over the long years of their afterlife, they could live quite handsomely, indeed.
Which authors/books have influenced you the most?
Once again, I’ll stick with dead authors: JRR Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Allen Poe, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Thomas, Larry McMurtry, and the list goes on and on ….
What’s your next writing adventure?
I’m hoping to write a fourth and perhaps final volume of novellas for my Mad Shadowsseries — making it a quartet instead of a trio. I’m also working on my seventh novella for the Heroes in Hell™ saga.
What is your greatest success?
That I’m still alive at age 70! Seriously, I’d have to say my Mad Shadows Triad, my, The MechMen of Canis-9, and the stories I’ve written for the Heroes in Hell™ saga are my greatest success stories, and my personal bundle of pride and joy.
What’s your favourite quote, who said it and why?
I actually have two, if I may: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. That’s because inside a dog it’s too dark to read.” — Grouch Marx. Why? Because he was a comedian, and his sarcastic wit often had truth and deeper, more subtle meaning. And: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” — Anonymous. Why? Well . . . wouldn’t you?
Tell us a silly fact about yourself.
I collect Halloween knick-knacks and cheap snow globes.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
A rock-star guitar god. When I started growing up and growing older, I just wanted to be a kid again. I think a lot of us would like that.
Thank you for everything about this project and for asking me to take part.