RWA: It’s a little generous to call it a schedule, but I write whenever I get the chance. Sometimes I take time during my lunch hour, sometimes during my kids’ piano or martial arts classes. Most often I write when they go to bed, from about 9pm to about midnight. My wife and I work opposite shifts to have time for our son and daughter, so that sort of plays into my writing schedule a bit.
M&M: How long does it take you to write a book?
RWA: It takes me more than a year generally, but that is because I still have a “day job”, and the other commitments I mentioned earlier. I also tend to work on other projects, such as articles, book reviews, and short stories. Then there are the promotional activities for the current book, and I read as much as I can to stay sharp.
M&M: Tell us about your book/s.
RWA: Lake Effect is the first book in the Joe Banks PI series, where Joe is called in to look into the carjacking and drowning of two children in Lake Erie. He is forced to open some old wounds in the dysfunctional family in order to get to the truth and prevent another tragedy. In Key Lime Squeeze, Joe gets involved in the case of a runaway husband whole stole more than a million dollars from his crime family in-laws. Saddled with the family enforcer as a traveling partner, the job becomes more complicated and dangerous as friends become enemies, and allies are unexpected. Lake Effect is available from multiple on line booksellers, including Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million, and can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore. Key Lime Squeeze is coming soon from my new publisher, Enspiren Press, and I am hoping for a February/ March release date.
M&M: What advice can you give the novice writer who wants to become an author?
RWA: Be an avid reader. You can learn a lot about your genre and style by reading the works of those people who are successful in your genre. Then write what you know, write what you feel, and don’t be afraid to scrap it all to do it better. Listen to the advice of people who are better/smarter/more experienced, and don’t take it personally. If you can avoid the “artist syndrome,” there is a lot to be learned by listening and paying attention when little nuggets of truth are tossed your way. I was fortunate to be able to have some very good people read my work, listen to what I’m trying to say, and teach me ways to say it better. I think Key Lime Squeeze is a much better book because of the input from other writers and editors
M&M: Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received?
RWA: I had a teacher in high school who once told me, as a budding writer and musician, to “follow your muse, but don’t quit your day job.”
M&M: Would you tell us about a few of your favorite authors?
RWA: A sentimental favorite would be Stephen King. He wrote the only book I have ever read entirely during the day (“Salem’s Lot”), and the first book I ever read more than once (“The Stand”). I am a huge Robert B. Parker fan, with his Spenser and Jesse Stone Characters being among my all time favorites. I also enjoy Janet Evanovich, Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver, Raymond Chandler, Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum. If I could, I would recommend to your readers a couple of up and comers I have had the chance to read and thoroughly enjoyed. Add Kim Smith, Mirella Paetzer, Rosalie Skinner, and Regan Rothe to your next reading list. I’m sure you will enjoy these talented writers.
M&M: Do you belong to any writing groups, organization or book groups?
RWA: I am involved in several online writers/readers groups, including the paranormal mystery group on Yahoo. I also belong to several writers groups on Bookmarket.ning.com, including Published Authors, Crime Space, Thriller authors, and others. I am hoping to join the Mystery Writers of America following publication of Key Lime Squeeze.
M&M: Tell us about the cover of your books.
RWA: The cover of Lake Effect was based on a photo taken by my wife of the boat landing I describe in the book. She doesn’t get enough credit for everything she contributes to my writing, so I wanted to let your readers know she gets credit for that cover. As for the cover for Key Lime Squeeze, the publisher and I went for a sort of dangerous, sexy, tropical look. As a matter of fact my editor’s husband refers to me as the guy with the sexy book cover. There are worse things to be known for I suppose.
M&M: What motivates you to sit down to a blank page?
RWA: Usually it starts with an idea or a thought about something. For example, I had a friend tell me about a time when a whole series of Asian people walked through his back yard, soaked from the skin from crossing the Niagara River from Canada. Then we had a series of “massage parlor” raids here in the Buffalo area, and a big push on the human trafficking trade. I started working with those ideas, and I have blocked that into the next installment of the Joe Banks series. It is a work in progress, but that’s a fair explanation of how I get started.
M&M: Tell us how you plot your books, the research invovled in writing your books, the characters and breakdown the best way you have found to flesh out your characters.
RWA: When I get the idea for a story, I try to flesh it out in one or two paragraphs. I get the basics down, and then start outlining the progress of the story. The characters, especially the new ones, I try to put on to index cards as I come up with them to organize and give them some depth, and to keep the who’s who from becoming a problem. It also allows me develop the key elements of the story, from conflicts to actions to resolution. I may have an idea what I want the story to say, but until I get to know the characters in the story, I won’t know exactly what happens, or if it makes sense to take the story in a whole different direction.
M&M: Do you have a website? If so would you please give us directions to the site?
RWA: My main site is http://www.ronaldwadams.com/, and I try to keep it as up to date as possible with news and information about my writing, blogs, friends and colleagues. I am also looking to make my books available for sale through that site as well. I try to make it as interactive as possible, to keep it user friendly. I also have three blog sites, http://www.ronaldwadams.blogspot.com/, http://www.wordpress.rwadams.com/, and http://www.shadowsandnight.com/. I also have a Myspace page at www.myspace.com/rwadams with links to a lot of other authors and artists. The Shadows and Night site has short stories of a different sort from me and some of my friends, mostly in the horro/thriller genre. It’s worth a look for something different.
M&M: What is your favorite meal, book, dessert, and movie?
RWA: To be honest, my favorite meal is almost anything my wife makes. She is an exceptional cook, and I prefer her cooking to almost anyone anywhere. My favorite book is a toss up, either “Taming a Seahorse” by Robert B. Parker, or “The Stand” by Stephen King. I am also a big fan of the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and have discovered Harlan Coben recently, much to my pleasure. No kidding, my favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie, hands down. My favorite all time movie is “The Natural”, shot right here in Buffalo. I always watch it when it comes on, and always cheer for Roy when he comes up to bat in the ninth and blasts the ball up into the lights.
M&M: Please leave us with some sage words of wisdom or a quote.
RWA: This is my favorite quote, and helps me to maintain perspective when I need it:
" It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. " -Theodore Roosevelt
Thank you for the interview,