Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from the suburbs of Chicago, born and raised in the western suburb of LaGrange Park and currently residing in the northern suburb of Libertyville, Illinois.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Insurgency grew out of one of the many political discussions my brother and I have had, usually over a cocktail or two. Chicago is and always will be a hotbed of political corruption, so the idea of infusing the aforesaid into a genre-fiction thriller was exciting to me. Consequently, Chicago is such a beautiful city, steeped in world-class architecture, fine art, food, and history that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share what really makes it so iconic.
How do you create your characters?
Like so many authors, my characters are created from people and personalities in and around my own life. Since I write pulp fiction, I often like to play up my heroes and villains with a heavy dose of clichéd characterization.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
During my senior year of high school, I was blessed with being a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Poetry. That distinction, coupled with professional publication in a few professional anthologies during college, fueled the realization that I could and should write.
I draw inspiration from so many different venues. I’m a huge fan of local color realism, so I brought the common dialect and mannerisms of Chicago into my recently released book. In regard to a few of the shorts I’ve written, I tapped the Southern gothic culture, primarily since my family owns a cattle ranch in central Arkansas. All of the aforementioned make for dynamic characterization and interesting settings.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I write on a seven-foot long table that sits perpendicularly to a secret window in my house; it’s quiet, and I get a tremendous view of the tree line and greenbelt behind my house.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I get my ideas from family memories, news excerpts, anecdotes derived from being an educator, and even a few from cocktail-inspired tirades with my brother, Kenneth.
What do you like to read?
Since I write genre fiction, I gobble up anything thriller and horror…the pulpier the more delicious. But this by no means constitutes a dislike for literary fiction because I’m a huge fan. I get to read and teach so much lit fiction inside the classroom setting that I typically retreat to genre fiction in my free time. Authors who are personal favorites include William Faulkner, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Hunter S. Thompson, and John Steinbeck.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regard to writing?
Go slow. Never rush the process because just when you think you’re finished with a draft, you never are. In addition, always share your work with several sets of trusted eyes, and ensure those eyes have honest mouths that will shoot you straight on what’s working and what isn’t in regard to your writing. Critical feedback is vital if you want to grow as an author; consequently, criticism will strengthen your literary backbone, too.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I just want to give a big thank you to The Pen & Muse for this wonderful opportunity.
Book Blurb :
OCD afflicted Alan, a Generation-X do-gooder turned serial killer, is the only thing standing between the President and his assassination at the G20 Summit.
Alan, a Gen-Xer with obsessive-compulsive disorder, is randomly targeted at a local dive bar outside Chicago with a synthetic drug called Red Phase. This particular narcotic, with an effect similar to the common street drug “bath salts,” prompts its users into manic and ultra-aggressive behavior, spanning a half-life of 1-2 weeks.
After leaving his part-time job as a standardized test scorer, Alan meets a friend at a local dive bar for a beer. This is where a group of college students randomly “roofie” Alan’s drink with Red Phase, causing Alan to perform an atrocious series of murders he doesn’t even realize he committed until the discovery of alarming physical evidence in his home the next morning.
Upon Alan’s aforementioned realization, he contacts a former undergraduate classmate and friend, George, who is a defense attorney in Chicago. After a quick phone conversation, George commutes to Alan’s house and convinces him it best to turn himself in, but under the umbrella of his counsel and protection.
While Alan is sitting in lockup, sleeplessly wrestling with his OCD, The Hand, an underground black bloc group of military-skilled insurgents, liberates him from confinement. After Alan is transported to their underground compound nestled in the recessed boroughs of “Old Chicago,” he meets the leader of the domestic terror cell and discovers it’s responsible for the creation of Red Phase. Consequently, this brotherhood plans to mass-distribute the synthetic drug during the height of the G20 Summit in Chicago, hoping to throw the city into a chaos of apocalyptic proportions.