What do you read for pleasure?
I read all kinds of books but I enjoy character-driven adventures the most. If I read stories with police or forensic characters, the investigative details had better not be fantasy. I laugh out loud when I read about cops spray painting outlines around murder victims. Can you imagine the destruction of evidence? The overspray alone would contaminate the scene.
Stories in unfamiliar cultures interest me but I shy away from sci fi where all the impossible-to-pronounce (even in your head) names were invented by the author. If I stumble over too many Agrrokzs or Bww-ngeths and can't keep the Yrxxr, Yrvaav and Yrziiz Planets straight in my mind, I shelf the book and go to the next.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my Android tablet or my smartphone. It's great because they sync as soon as I finish and I'm always at the right location, no matter which device I pick up.
Describe your desk
Glass-topped wooden desk with leather chair. Big screen computer front and centre. Printer/Scanner squashed in at my left. I have a selection of pens and a notepad shaped like a body outline given to me by my wife. In the corner is the remote control for the sound system.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My mother was cleaning up old boxes recently and mailed me a story I had written in grade six. She sent it to me because she thought it would interest me, and it did. I'd forgotten ever writing that story, but when I read it, the whole experience came back. I had agonized over each word, and tried to make it exciting. My careful longhand had been copied over and over until it was as perfect as I could manage. And I'd signed it with a curly F, my best signature.
My story was about a pencil that was inanimate during the school day but came to life at night. It yearned to go home and sought ways to escape. It was a silly story, but reinforced for me how imaginative I was at that young age. Anything was possible. Now logic and reality have limited my vision, but now and then I get a taste of the imagination I had as a kid.
How do you approach cover design?
I like the creative control that allows me to do my own covers. I have a background in both design and photography, ensuring that I have all the right tools on hand. If I don't have an image already in my mind, I research hundreds of covers to find concepts that appeal to me. I use stock photo agencies and try a number of photos before I narrow it down to the one that works best. Basic fonts are effective for most cover text but I may pay for a specialty font or design my own in a vector based drawing program. The last step of my project is to print the cover and put it where I can see it numerous times a day. If there is an imbalance in the layout, or anything that needs to be tweaked, it will be more apparent after I've stared at it for a week.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a remote town in Northwestern Ontario, surrounded by beautiful and rugged Canadian Shield. The area was rich with outdoor life and the best canoeing in Canada. My family moved away in my teens but there my heart remains. Because my early memories were so vivid, they make their way into everything I do.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when my police career changed from crime scene investigation to website design and graphics. This impacted me so much that I wanted a written record. And creative expression was therapy, in a way, for all those bottled up emotions.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Burning Intuition, is the second in a trilogy. It tells the story of a small town Minnesota cop and her intuitive girlfriend who are trying to catch a killer. A killer who evaded them in the first book. Their pursuit takes them across the Canadian border to Winnipeg where they must stop the killer before there are more crimes, and more victims.
What are you working on next?
My next book will be the third and final book in the Intuition Series: Fatal Intuition. This book is due out later in 2015.
What motivated you to write a character with second sight?
I grew up hearing family stories about unexplainable events. Stories about people "feeling" things, like predicting a baby's birth, being uncomfortable in a home, or sensing an impending tragedy. Most were vague but there were times when the prediction couldn't be dismissed as mere coincidence. Everyone gets a flash of intuition now and again. Everyone knows what déjà vu feels like. What if I ramped it up a bit? I wanted to write a thriller with a twist, and I felt that readers would be able to relate to this characteristic.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hunger. And the need to pee.