Unlike most authors, your blog isn’t about your writing, it’s about your reading. And not only but, but what you read seems to be all over the place—fiction, non-fiction, mystery, horror and drama. Do you think that what you read effects what and how you write?
Absolutely, the one thing that I care most about in reading and writing is a good story. I have to care about the characters and what happens to them. I read different genres because you meet different characters in different genres. For instance, in romance, there is a lot of drama and personal interaction. Action Adventure is more about what is happening to the characters. Sci/Fi is almost always the struggle of good against evil. Humor just makes me laugh. Non fiction can bring you more into an event than you could have gotten though the local media. It’s like being a world traveler without leaving your house. As a writer, the more you read, the more you have to pull from. Each time you open a book you go to another world, so when you write now you have this rich tapestry to inspire you. I don’t think I would be a writer at all if I had not read so much in my life.
How do you choose the books your read?
There are a combination of things that help me decide what to read. I’m in a book club, so that is one source. My local library has book of the month suggestions. When in a book store, I admit a cover can catch my attention and make me read the description. Friends of course will talk about books they love and I will sometimes read those. Water for Elephants was a perfect example. I really wasn’t that interested, but my friend just kept going on and on about how good it was that I finally picked it up and, of course, it was a great story. Book reviews can help if the reviewer really enjoyed a book and the topic sounds good, I will read it. Then, if I find an author I really like, I will try to read his/her books. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is where I get a lot of my non fiction selections from. I’m interested in history, so if I hear that a history book reads more like a good story, I will sometimes check it out. I think for me no matter how diverse the topic is, I’m really just looking for a good story and you can find those in so many different places.
Do you ever get personal on your blog or is it only book reviews?
Sometimes, if a there is something that I feel I want to share. When I first started it, it was really just a way for me to discuss random thoughts. Then I realized I really love to talk about books I have read, so it seemed like the best place to do that.
How did your blog come about?
My publisher gave me the idea. I always thought blogs were this heavy programming thing, like a web site, and only wanna be reporters who were trying to get jobs in main stream media had them. Then he helped me create one and told me to just write. It was so easy that I just kept going.
A Cup of Latte deals with the business world, do you have a background in business?
I do. My degree is Business Administration and I have worked for several large corporations and it is a topic I feel comfortable with. They always tell you to write about what you know and I feel comfortable writing about business.
Michael Stafford has a job title that most people don’t know all that much about. How did you decide to make his a venture capitalist and why?
I start by coupling. How would two people meet and what would they have in common. My first story took place in Vermont, so I wanted to go different. New York is totally different than Vermont and New York is also known for its financing. Venture Capitalists are like the playboys of the finance world. No one truly understands them, yet they move billions of dollars. It was a way to make the character a bit mysterious without trying to describe him that way.
In the beginning of A Cup of Latte Alan judges Michael because of his job. Do you think people often do that?
I do. Almost any party or gathering I have even been to, when two strangers meet the almost universal question is, “So, What do you do for a living.” I think we feel that somehow we can figure out a person if we know what they do. A doctor is caring, a lawyer, is smart, a teacher is devoted. I always ask people what their favorite color is and I usually get some strange looks. It’s not part of the program.
In A Cup of Latte there’s a character (William) who struggles with living life in the closet. Do you think being gay in the business world is still taboo or risky?
I think it depends on the corporate culture. I worked for a large bank that recognized domestic partnerships for both same sex and opposite sex and therefore there were a lot of coworkers who were openly gay. When Massachusetts first recognized marriage equality, my company immediately sent an email saying domestic partnerships were still recognized but now if it was a same sex marriage you could be covered as a married person, no difference. I think that there are some companies that being openly gay would cause problems. It’s sad, but it’s slowly changing and I can’t wait for the day it no longer matters who you love.
Your first title, The Prize, is also a contemporary romance. Is this what we can expect from your writing? I ask this only because of your varied reading interest.
Ha ha, I actually want to write a sci-fi fantasy. That was my first reading love. Lord of the Ring was my first book I really could not put down. I also really live the Elizabethan time, so I might do something like that. I have to be able to picture the story in my head and want to explore that world.
Do you write every day?
No. Every author tells you to do that and I would give the same advice to anyone who asked me. But, like a lot of adults I don’t take my own advice. I try to write every day, but I just don’t always get to it. I do read every day, without fail.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
The one I’m working on now is a contemporary. It will take place in Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. A fire fighter and a doctor. It will have a bit more spice and there will be more drama. Nothing tells a good love story like a bit of drama. I will also be a bit longer. I have heard from fans that they want more story, so I will make a point of telling a longer tale. As long as the story supports it. I can’t stand when I read a story and fell like the author just couldn’t shut up. So I never want to just go on and on. I always want to tell a good story about good people who you just see a small glimpse of their life and then let them go.