I would certainly define my writing as not being lyrical. My writing will not match up with the prose of Steinbeck or Faulkner or anyone like that, but I would say my style of writing is normally in third person, which allows me to go inside the heads of several characters. With dialogue, I want the reader to gain a sense of the personalities of the characters by what they say to other people and how they say it. As a mystery/thriller writer, I want a reader to start my books and not be able to put them down until they get to the last page. I’ve always enjoyed writing and wanted to become a writer when I started college as a freshman at Marshall University. At that time, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Unfortunately, the state of the newspaper industry is not good, so I decided to develop my writing craft by taking a bevy of History and English classes. Those classes helped me as a reader. I have always been a reader, but taking classes in those disciplines helped me to become more of a critical reader and to become more engaged with texts. Reading with that approach in mind really helped shape and influence my writing. I am a slow writer, but also a creature of routine. I write really well early in the mornings, before everyone in my house gets up and moving. I’ve found that if I chip away at a book a little each day during my writing time, then in about a year or so, I will have the first draft of a manuscript finished. I think it’s important to set books in places you know well. I grew up in Charleston and I had family that lived in Cleveland and in the suburbs of Cleveland for many years, so I am very familiar with those cities. I’ve spent years visiting and living in those cities. For example, I know what those cities smell like on a scorching hot day, or how bad the traffic is during rush hour. Those small details really help the setting come alive in the minds of readers. Also, Charleston and Cleveland are both port cities, located near large bodies of water and ship traffic is a significant part of their economies. I love port cities located near water because those places are a mix of elegant neighborhoods and business districts, but also feature parts that are old and craggy. The mix of those two types of environments located inside the same city really allow for many rich opportunities to set a plot in motion.
I am the author of four novels: Breakdown at Clear River, Making Arrangements, Fragile Brilliance, and Code for Murder. I live and work in Huntington, West Virginia. I became a writer because I love to tell stories and read about stories. Two of my novels (Breakdown at Clear River and Fragile Brilliance) are set in West Virginia. My novel Fragile Brilliance was a finalist for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize in 2016 and it received the Literary Merit Award from the West Virginia Library Association. In addition to writing, I currently teach English at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia.
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