Life

Birch Adams sailing in the Netherlands AntillesI read Jules Verne and Jack London as a child and developed a fondness for things scientific, adventurous and exotic. In high school I wrote book reports that made my classmates laugh at places that I didn’t intend to be funny. I didn’t write much after that until I became a research scientist at a national laboratory. There my first attempt to publish my work was duly shredded by an editor entrusted with safeguarding the lab’s reputation.

While I was working on my technical writing skills my boss told me about this great novel he was reading called The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. When I read it I was so thrilled by the intrigue that I quickly read the rest of Ludlum’s novels. I also stumbled across The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy and I became hooked on techno-thrillers.

I later learned that Robert Ludlum had been a theatrical actor and Tom Clancy an insurance salesman before they each wrote novels for a living. I decided that if they could make a living making up stories then I certainly could. I had earned my masters degree in engineering by then and was working in the aerospace industry, so I thought techno-thrillers would be a natural for me.

That’s when a fan of literary fiction took me aside and said that if I had to write thrillers then they should at least be smart thrillers. He suggested that I read John le Carré who wrote spy thrillers at a level that never received the literary acclaim he deserved. I took his advice, read everything John le Carré had written, and developed an appreciation for language and style. When I learned that John le Carré had been influenced by Graham Greene, I read everything that he’d ever written, too.

In my spare time over the next few years I cobbled together a couple of novels and was shocked when not a single literary agent in New York wanted to represent me. I hired an editor who told me to add more description but that didn’t help me get an agent. I hired another editor who told me to take out description but that didn’t help either. That’s when I knew that I had no clue how to write a novel and decided to learn how.

Over the following decade I read books on writing, attended writer conferences, workshops and retreats, and even took a few courses of screenwriting at a local university. Screenwriting forced me to write visually and to rely on dialogue to convey the story. It also showed me that getting a screenplay produced in Hollywood was even harder than getting a novel published in New York. That’s when I went back to writing novels and came up with the idea for The METAPHOR Deception.

When I’m not writing I enjoy reading and watching movies, listening to classic rock and obsessing over college football. I’m twice married and divorced with no children so my nieces and nephews are the recipients of my craziness. When I take a vacation it’s usually to some place where I can snow ski, scuba dive, sail or just enjoy the culture in some locale that I’ve never visited.