My most recent book is The Ticket Master (Return of the Forever Man). It is the third book in the Clive Aliston Mystery Series and the third part of a trilogy. The first book in the series was, “The Forever Man” and introduces you to Clive Aliston, a County Sheriff in southwestern Pennsylvania. He is a no-nonsense by the book lawman, but will do whatever he must do to defend the people in his jurisdiction. In the first book he is on the trail of a vicious serial killer who has an agenda. He must find the answers to why it is happening and stop the body count. It is a fast paced mystery that leads the reader in multiple directions. It is also the introduction to a man who is no super cop. He is as human as you and I. He makes mistakes and has regrets both on the job and in his private life. The book ends with a bloody thread remaining and Clive believes it isn’t over.
Book two is “Tail of The Scorpion”, and is life interrupted for Clive who would like to continue with unfinished business. He and the people of the county and the country are thrust into their worst nightmare, a second terror attack on America. It is more wide spread and lethal. Clive must forget the previous murder spree and dedicate his life to save the lives of a family of close friends caught up in this national disaster. It is in this second book that you feel the true personality of Clive Aliston. The second book is based on a short novel I wrote between high school and college. Little did I know then that it would all come true on September 11, 2001. It has been updated to a second attack.
The third and most recent book is the conclusion of the trilogy but not the series. “The Ticket Master (Return of The Forever Man)” proves that Clive was right. What the readers have learned in the first two book all funnels down into a final conflict. What Clive must face now is a chameleon that changes color with each twist and turn. It is a battle that becomes very costly and personal.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in North Carolina but have lived most of my life in southwestern Pennsylvania. I graduated from a local high school and then received a degree in Aerospace Electronics from a school in Pittsburgh. I worked for a period of time in the Aerospace industry in Maryland then returned to southwestern Pennsylvania where I spent the next thirty plus years in the industrial/electrical field retiring in 2002. I have been writing most of my life. My interest in literature and writing began after my introduction to a wonderful English teacher in my junior year of high school. As I mentioned, I wrote my first short novel between high school and college. I have written numerous short stories, seven of which are to be published. They are not mysteries but more mystical or paranormal. I am also writing a science fiction novel, and separate novel that is a love story/thriller and is being co-written with my wife, Linda.
What inspired you to write this book?
Writing these books is just something that I have always wanted to do. I was not published until after I retired. It was my wife, Linda, who was the push behind my being published.
How did you choose the titles?
The title for the series and the books have been in my mind for years. There are now seven, three published and four to be completed. Even the Sheriff’s name is something that has stayed with me for years.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting these books published? How did you overcome them?
I was very fortunate to have been accepted by the first publisher that we contacted. As I have learned over the last four years, they are very particular about what they publish. My biggest obstacle in getting published was myself. I was afraid to try. It was because of the faith my wife had in me that the dream of a lifetime has come true.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I think since that junior year in high school I have known this is what I always wanted to do. I was just too busy making a living for the family to get started. Retirement opened the door and as my wife has said, “It was time.”
Do you have any writing rituals?
I have three basic writing rituals. Write only when I really feel the story and the satisfaction of putting it on paper. When I sit down to write it is for two hours minimum or half a chapter whichever comes first. If it’s flowing like water from a spring there is no time or limit.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
The names for my characters are a mix of what I come up with and name’s other people choose. In many cases I do clipboard interviews with people that have interesting personalities, both from law enforcement and normal everyday life styles. Many of my characters are actual people with a name they have picked for themselves. I have found that many real life people are more interesting than any fictional ones I could come up with. Many of my characters are a combination of several real people.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
If I have learned anything from writing these books it is you get out of it what you put into it. Writing is not an easy road. No matter how you are published you must work hard to see results, both before and after being published.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I were to do this over again, I would have started much earlier in my life. But then again maybe the timing was right. Maybe I needed to learn more about myself and others before I wrote about someone else even if that someone else was fictitious.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
For my own personal preference in reading I would choose many different types. I love mysteries but also science fiction and historical fact. I also enjoy books on the unexplained. My favorite authors range from Tom Clancy to Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Tony Hillerman, John Grisham and the old master’s Hemingway and Steinbeck. I guess I just love mystery. Even history has its own form of mystery. For human’s mystery is a part of life no matter who you are.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am presently working on three separate projects. The forth book in the Clive Aliston Mystery Series, the book of short stories I mentioned earlier and the love story/thriller that my wife, Linda and I are writing together.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The best advice I could give other writers is write from the heart. If you can read your own thoughts and it brings fear, suspense or even tears to your own eyes then you have done your job well. If you can’t feel the emotion yourself then how can you expect the reader will. Remember something that I was taught a long time ago. “You are only as big as the dream you dare to live.”
Who is the perfect reader for your books?
The perfect readers for my mystery series is someone who wants to feel what the characters feel. Someone who wants to see the scene in their minds and yet be allowed to color it themselves; someone who wants to move and breathe with each of the characters as if it was their own experience; or someone who can relate to the characters in the book as if they were as real as their neighbors or their best friend. If the characters breathe for you then you can reach out and touch them and be touched by them.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?