Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Jeffery Deaver, Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston…. Star Wars books, playing Dungeons and Dragons, reading Dungeons and Dragons books, playing Magic the Gathering… during my late teens and early twenties, I probably read more epic fantasy than anything else, and that was a great influence in regards to mythology creation
What made you want to be a writer? The desire to work in your pajamas. Though as a dentist who wears scrubs every day, I pretty much work in my pajamas now.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Staying off the internet. Off of Facebook. I’ll admit, it was easier 20 years ago before the internet and Windows and computing in general was what it is today. I have a very short attention span. The instant gratification of screwing around on the internet is sometimes a real big distraction. Sometimes I wonder how much more I would get done with just a typewriter.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? It taught me that I could, indeed, write a book if I put my mind to it. It also taught me where the legal brothels are in Nevada. Just saying…
Do you intend to make writing a career? I hope I can one day but I’ll be honest, I make a nice living as a dentist. I’d have to be a relatively successful writer to be able to give up dentistry. And besides, I get to help people at work. I get to hurt people. And it’s a social job. Writing… it’s a solitary profession. You sit at home on a computer by yourself. But still, yeah, I’d like to have more time to do it.
Have you developed a specific writing style? Yeah… you’ll have to read my stuff to discover what it is. The short stories are a good place to start.
What is your greatest strength as a write? The ability to write stories, whether they be funny or creepy or scary, that keep the readers thinking long after they’re done reading. My writing style, as well. I think it’s engaging without being too simple or overly complicated and stilted.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? All the time… I have a list of ideas and concepts to build off of, but from the time I finished editing Blood, Smoke and Ashes up until two weeks ago, I had no idea what I wanted to write next. I had ideas but no stories, no characters. Going to the gym helps to free my mind.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Another horror/thriller. It was actually the first book I tried to write as an adult after finishing my residency ten years ago. The main character is a dentist (several of my short story protagonists are dentists as well) with a disturbing history. His life starts to unravel the day before Thanksgiving when a patient, who is a gypsy, calls him an abomination before storming out. This is followed by the death of his grandmother and a disturbing scene at his grandparent’s house the night before the funeral. I plan on releasing it as a 4-5 part serial.
How did you come up with the title? Blood, Smoke and Ashes… it was easy. That’s what you see when an execution by electric chair goes horribly wrong. The execution of Molly Blackburn by an electric chair is the impetus behind the story. That’s why there is an electric chair on the cover of the book. Both covers. Blood, Smoke and Ashes conveys something very visceral about the experience.
Can you tell us about your main character? There are four main characters in Blood, Smoke and Ashes, and what I love about them all is that they are all tragic in their own ways. I think the best stories are those where the line between good and evil is blurred; where the bad guys are bad but you understand why they are bad; where you can empathize with the evil characters. Stories where the good guys aren’t necessarily all good; where they have the same faults and weakness as real people do. These characters are all dear to my heart because none of them-and I mean none of them- get what they deserve in the end, and the reader is left wondering if they would have made the same decisions.
How did you develop your plot and characters? I wrote the opening scene and the “bad guy’s” history, and let the story write itself. While my newest project is outlined from beginning to end, Blood, Smoke and Ashes was written night to night depending on what the characters were doing and how I felt. The prologue was even an afterthought. Hell, I thought that the story was going a certain way half way through. Certain of it. Then bang, one night I’m writing a scene with two of the female characters on the stairs talking with each other and I said to myself… what would happen if this one was pregnant? And that was it… the story went in a completely different direction. For the better. Is the story what I envisioned when I started it? No. It’s better. Because I allowed the characters to create the story.
This is the second edition of the book, and the errors noted in several of the reviews have been corrected.In the Fall of 1955, the state of Nevada used the electric chair to execute a prisoner for the first time.
It was also the last time.
Molly Blackburn, nicknamed Jane the Ripper by the Las Vegas press after killing eleven men while posing as a prostitute, was strapped to the chair without incident. The switch was flipped.
Everything after that went horribly wrong.
Since that day, a copycat Jane the Ripper has appeared almost every decade in a different city, mimicking Molly’s choice in victims as well as her methods of murder. She kills eleven men then disappears, never to be found. The similarities between the bodies left behind each decade is uncanny. As if they are all the victims of the same murderer, not a copycat.
But that’s impossible, of course, because Molly Blackburn is dead, her execution witnessed by a dozen people.
FBI Agent Jack Shaw, the lead investigator in the Jane the Ripper cases since the seventies, finally catches a break in 2009 when the intended fifth victim manages to turn the tables on the newest copycat . Everyone believes that the horror has finally ended with her capture. Shaw is not so sure, though, wondering if someone else will take up the mantle and kill seven more men to complete the cycle. But when no more bodies with her distinctive markings show up over the next two years, Shaw allows himself to believe that maybe he has seen the end of the Jane the Ripper murders.
As it turns out, what he thought was the end was only the beginning.
His hunt will take him across the country, and even when he thinks he’s finally discovered the truth, he quickly learns that not everything is as it seems.
That not every monster is created equal.
That the nature of good and evil is not as black and white as he has always believed.
That not everything that is broken can be put back together.
That not every fractured soul can be saved.
When blood, smoke and ashes rise, no one comes out the same on the other side.
Blood, Smoke and Ashes is a 115,00 word supernatural thriller that also contains the first half of my crime/thriller novella “I Never”
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Genre – Thriller / Horror
Rating – PG13 bordering on R
(Horror with some violence / Some sex, not overly graphic)
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