In 2009, I couldn’t even spell author – now I are one! Who would have ever guessed I would witness the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, lose my construction superintendent job building a Hole in the Wall Camp for terminally ill children and meet Jane Seymour all in the same month? Meeting Ms. Seymour was defiantly the high point of the year.
After realizing that there were no construction positions anywhere in the U.S., I decided to do the one thing I had always dreamed of doing, but never had the chance, money or guts to try. I decided to write a book. Having no idea of genre or if I could even accomplish the task at hand, I did know that after 48 years building projects that looked impossible due to budget and scope of work, there was really no reason to be skeptical. I had always pulled off the hard jobs…there was no good reason why I couldn’t pull off a good book if I put my mind to it.
Thus “Evil in the Mirror” was born. I admit to taking the line of least resistance by using my life with an identical twin brother as the model for the book. After all, I had firsthand knowledge of twinship and being that we were born in Tucson, Arizona – what better place for the setting of a novel? It was perfect, there was much less research involved, and after spending many years working in Tucson, I had plenty of stories to tell. Now all I had to do was choose a genre.
I did research genres so the choice would be something people would be interested in. The hottest books on the market at the time were historic novels. Deciding that this choice might not be the best for a newbie author, I picked murder mysteries. Two evil twins sounded good to me and what better time in history than the hippy movement of 1968? Good vs. evil, flower children, drugs, sex and mayhem…perfect fodder for a good who-done-it.
I will never forget the day my author copies arrived and I could look at my book on Amazon. It was magic and I started my second book post-haste. “Day Stalker” was born because a real day stalker was raping women left and right in Tucson, Arizona, around 1969. I remember the news stories about a cocaine addict who terrorized women, but the police could not catch him. It went on for months until his final demise by his own hand. I named him Otis Buford and he turned out to be a dastardly bad guy. With the publication of this book, it was a no-brainer that I might as well write a trilogy. Thus “The Phoenix Code” was born from the ashes of Otis Buford.
The average writing and publishing time for my first two novels was one year each. My third sequel took much longer. My identical twin brother passed and this event turned my world up-side-down. Besides grieving, I no longer had my collaborator. If I had a question about Tucson locations, timeline or just advice, there was no one to call. I didn’t feel like writing at all and the book sat half-finished for months.
My brother finally got fed up and came to me in a dream. His message was simple; finish the damned book, you lazy bum. Finish it I did after two years of agonizing spells of self-doubt, guilt trips and profound sadness. It was worth the effort to see this book in print. “The Phoenix Code” has special meaning for me and always will.
Yes, I have started my fourth novel and Jon and Manny go private thinking it will be less hours and much safer. We all know that will not be the case. Wired for Murder is coming along quite nicely, thank you very much.