The book is Better Bass Fishing, published by Countryman Press, a subsidiary of W.W. Norton. During my 25 years as a Senior Writer for Bassmaster Magazine and Bass Times, fishing publications owned by BASS/ESPN, I have talked to and fished with the best anglers in the nation. I’ve also talked to fisheries biologists, meteorologists, and others regarding the behavior of bass. This book combines what I have learned from them with my own experiences to present a holistic approach to bass fishing.
I present a number of quick and easy “secrets” that can help readers catch more fish, as well as explain bass behavior and biology, seasonal migrations and locations, and how fish and fishing are affected by weather and the moon. One of my favorite chapters is about how confidence affects success.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m a full-time freelance writer and photographer, specializing in fishing, outdoor recreation, environment, conservation, and travel topics. I’m a Senior Writer for BASS Publications and Contributing Editor for Stratos Magazine, an in-flight publication for private and corporate owners of planes. I’m on the board of directors of Recycled Fish, a conservation/stewardship organization. I also write for the ESPN Outdoors website.
I am the most recent recipient of the Homer Circle Fishing Communicator Award, presented by the American Sportfishing Association and the Professional Outdoor Media Association.
I have a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and worked for a few years as a newspaper sports and features writer, before moving on to teaching English and journalism in high school and community college. I have been a full-time freelancer since 1992.
What inspired you to write this book?
My years on the water with some of the world’s best anglers, fishing the world’s best bass fisheries, inspired me to write this book. I believe that my experiences can help others become better fishermen and better stewards of the resource.
How did you choose the title?
I chose the title, with approval of publisher, because it accurately conveys what’s in the book, as well as offers nice alliteration (Better Bass . . .) and is easy to remember.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I was fortunate in getting this book published. After she failed to sell my novels, my agent suggested that I try nonfiction because she said that it was much easier to sell to publishers. She was right, at least in regards to this book. The first publisher who saw the proposal bought the book.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Never really thought about “wanting to be a writer.” It was just something that I did, starting with high school newspaper and yearbook. Then went on to journalism school and a brief career with daily newspapers. That was enjoyable for awhile, but not fulfilling in the long run. I wanted to write more than sports and feature stories. Left the newspaper business to travel and then went back to school for teaching credentials. First year as a teacher, I also sold my first magazine article. Taught for eight years as I established my freelance career. Then went into freelancing full time.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really any rituals. But I do tend to do more writing in the morning and take care of the other stuff in the afternoon.
When I was writing two novels (still unpublished), my training to meet deadlines as a newspaper journalist really came in handy. I worked four days as week on my freelancing and then set aside blocks of time early in the mornings of the other three days to write the novels. My goal was to write 2,000 words at a sitting and stop at a place where I was eager to get started again.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
That question always has intrigued me in regard to the most successful writers of fiction. For my unpublished novels and published short stories, I had no established method for choosing names of my characters. Typically, they simply were names that I liked. But occasionally, I also tried to be humorous in regard to names. For example, in one of my novels a couple of the incompetent bad guys were named “Flem” and “Hawk.”
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Mostly what I learned is that outlining and organization can make the job much easier for nonfiction.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would do nothing differently, as of right now. I’m pleased with the product and pleased with my publisher, Countryman Press.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I’m a voracious reader of fiction and read all kinds, but do tend to prefer suspense and humor. My favorite authors include Dean Koontz, Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Deaver, and Carl Hiaasen.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Not working on a book right now. But am working on a website related to my expertise in fishing and conservation.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write about what you know and/or passionate. Be disciplined in your approach to writing, whether it’s an article or a book.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Better Bass Fishing is a good read bass fishermen of all levels, from beginner to professional. I crafted it that way, with the idea being that no one — including me — knows everything about bass fishing and that everyone, no matter how good, can learn from others.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Book can be purchased in stores and from online book sellers, including Amazon.
It’s also available from the publisher, Countryman Press, at http://www.countrymanpress.com/titles/BetterBassi1.html