One of my favorite things is ancient history. I've always found the Romans to be fascinating. Vicious, but fascinating. Roman government was effective and efficient.
It is my pleasure to introduce the book MARCHING WITH CAESAR, CONQUEST OF GAUL
R. W. PEAKE
about the book:
Marching With Caesar-Conquest of Gaul is a first-person narrative, written in the form of a memoir as dictated to a scribe of Titus Pullus, Legionary, Optio, First Spear Centurion of Caesar's 6th and 10th Legion. The memoir is written three years after his retirement as Camp Prefect, when Titus is 61 years old.
Titus, along with his boyhood friend Vibius Domitius, joins the 10th Legion in the draft of 61 BC, when Gaius Julius Caesar is the governor of Spain. Titus and Vibius are assigned to a tent group, with seven other men who will become their closest friends during their times in the legion. Titus, Vibius and their comrades endure the harsh training regimen that made the legions the most feared military force in the ancient world. The 10th Legion is blooded in a series of actions in Spain, led by Caesar in a campaign that was the true beginning of one of the most brilliant military careers in history.
Three years after joining the legions, the 10th is called on again, this time to be part of the subjugation of Gaul, one of the greatest feats of arms in any period of history. During the subsequent campaigns, the 10th cements its reputation as Caesar's most favored and trusted legion, and is involved in most of the major actions during this period.
This first book of a completed trilogy closes with Caesar crossing the Rubicon, and the 10th preparing to march to war, this time against fellow Romans.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK AND AUTHOR AT
MY INTERVIEW WITH R.W. PEAKE
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL IN A TIME MACHINE, WOULD YOU GO BACK TO THE PAST OR INTO THE FUTURE?
Ooooh. Tough one right off the bat. I would go back into the past. I am increasingly feeling like an anachronism in our society today, because the values I cherish most; Honor, Courage and Commitment, the core values of my beloved Marine Corps, are considered useless by so many people. We live, to steal from Jerry Maguire, in a cynical age, where such finer feelings are a luxury that in fact may hinder someone in their pursuit of what they define as "excellence", which all too often is tied directly the number of zeroes in their checking account.
So I just don't fit in much, and the truth is I never did. Even when I was much younger I felt as if I belonged to another age. Back then, I would have loved to be living in the Old West, but that had more to do with loving Louis L'Amour than anything else.
Now, for probably obvious reasons, I would love to drop in on Rome, say around March 14th, 44 BC. Just to warn Caesar and see what happened as a result. Then I would have even more fodder for my blog, Caesar Triumphant!
IF YOU COULD INVITE ANY 5 PEOPLE TO DINNER WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Easier. Caesar, first and foremost. But he would be the only Roman in all likelihood; I have a feeling if I invited Marcus Antonius we would end up in a brawl after he threw up on me. And Octavian frankly I find a little creepy.
So, after Caesar who would it be? Augustine would be another guest; his writing had a profound effect on my life at one point. Plutarch, for another, for similar reasons. Now that leaves two. Hmmmmm. Lance Armstrong, so we could talk cycling, and I could ask him a couple questions from some of the races we did together back in the late 80's and early 90's, when he was a brash 17 year old just starting out. I got to witness firsthand the things he is capable of on the bike, and since that is such a huge part of my life, I would love to discuss cycling with him. Which I know would bore the shit out of everyone else at the table, but as an old bike racer I'm used to that.
That leaves one. Okay, this probably will expose the pig in me, but for the final guest I would choose Salma Hayek, simply because I have long considered her the most beautiful woman on the planet. And I really think if she got to know me, I would have a chance!
IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WHAT 3 THINGS WOULD YOU WANT WITH YOU?
Okay, now I have to admit that I have a very wide streak of smartass in me, so my immediate answer would be something like a satellite phone, a water desalinization device, and a yacht so I could get off the island whenever I wanted.
But I know that's not what you're looking for. So, first I would say I would want my current best friend Sadie with me, my Yellow Lab who's been with me almost a year now. She came into my life after Luke, my best friend of 9 years died of cancer last year. He's the guy on the back cover of my book, because he was there with me throughout the whole process, but he didn't live long enough to see me published.
After Sadie, I would choose a copy of Plutarch's Lives, which I consider the best work of its type of any age.
Finally, I guess I would want to take a survival kit of some sort, with fish hooks etc. I can't completely escape the practical side of me.
WHAT IS ONE BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ?
See above. Plutarch's Lives, but not the abridged version of just Roman Lives, which seems to be the most popular, but the whole thing. There's a lot of wisdom and examples from history that one can learn from to apply in everyday life. For example, look at Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra. The lesson there is be careful who you fall in love with!
ps. being a lover of history, I have read Plutarch's Lives. I agree with you- everyone should read this book!
IF YOU WERE A SUPERHERO, WHAT WOULD YOUR NAME BE?
Hardass. That comes from the first "adult" conversation I had with my daughter, who's now 33. I asked her if she had to sum me up in one word, what would it be? I was looking for something......well, I'm not sure what I was looking for, but I do know that wasn't it.
Still, as far as a descriptive name, I think it probably fits. That, or Accident Prone or something.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Given my past, and how angry I've made people, I think probably being bulletproof would be the most valuable. When someone tells you, "You could make Jesus Christ cuss" you know you have a rare talent for trouble.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM?
Uh-oh. I'm about to betray my Texan heritage here, because up until I moved up here to Washington, I would have said Blue Bell Pralines n' Cream. But now, I have to say Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter has supplanted Blue Bell. I have been known to down a whole half gallon container in one sitting.
IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON WHO HAS DIED, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
My dad. I never knew him because he died 3 weeks before I was born. And because of other circumstances, I not only didn't see a picture of him until I was a (young) adult, I didn't know anything about him or his family until then. In fact, while it's his name that I am using as my pen name, it's not the name under which I grew up and have used my entire life. So I would really love to meet him for the first time.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST?
Pancakes. And I in fact eat that almost every morning, now that I have resumed eating breakfast. And I've been eating breakfast for 4 years now, and I would say that I have eaten pancakes at least 90% of the time since then.
Yeah, I'm one of those people. When I was a bike racer, my dinner every night of the week was two chicken breasts and a package of pasta. Every. Single. Night. It was so bad that when my daughter would come to stay with me EVERY OTHER weekend, she would beg me not to make her eat chicken and pasta.
To no avail. Hence the "Hardass" moniker.
NIGHT OWL, OR EARLY BIRD?
Night owl for as long as I can remember. In fact, it was the one thing I HATED about the Marine Corps; they're not big on lolling around in the rack until noon. Nor are they big on allowing you to ease into the morning by hitting the snooze button for an hour or so. Nope, when you're up, you're up. I hated that.
ONE FOOD YOU WOULD NEVER EAT?
Well, liver is on my list (relatively short) and while I would say bull's testicles, or sheep eyeballs, I have to put liver out there simply because of its longevity.
In fact, when I was growing up, Wednesday was "liver" night. But it wasn't liver and onions. For some reason it was live and bacon, and to get to the bacon, I had to eat the liver, at least two bites. Whenever I would balk, I would get the "starving children in Africa" line.
So one week, I had had enough, and I planned a protest. When the inevitable moment arrived, and the inevitable words were uttered, I got up, went to my room and returned with a box I had filched from somewhere, and on which I had written in Marks-A-Lot, "Starving Children In Africa", whereupon I dumped the contents of my plate into the box and said, "Here, you can send it to them."
It was one of the more memorable beatings I got, in a childhood full of them.
Ooooohhhh. Right now, because of the current political climate, I have to say my pet peeve has to do with the hypocrisy that I see practiced on both sides. While I am somewhat conservative, I'm not an ideologue by any stretch of the imagination, and I despise the Religious Right as much as I do the far left. But what really sets me off is when I see either side applying one standard of behavior for THEIR guy, and a different standard for YOUR guy, so that when Obama (or Romney) say or do something that is objectionable, it's an "honest mistake", or "misconstrued." But when it's the OTHER guy, even when it's essentially the same thing, they're quick to shout that it's because the guy is evil, or has some sinister motive.
None of this is helping, and right now it doesn't really matter (at least to me) who's "right" or who's "wrong". There's plenty of blame to go around, and we all share in it equally. At this point in our history, you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem, and the people on either end of the spectrum, and their intransigence on any number of issues, is part of the problem.
So that's my biggest pet peeve right now. Oh, and the fact that people here in Washington are the slowest freaking drivers I've ever seen. I mean, seriously, I would KILL for them to actually go the speed limit; I've long since given up on being like Texas, where 10 miles over is the minimum speed.
SKITTLES OR M&M'S?
WHY SHOULD WE READ YOUR BOOK?
Ah, my favorite "Define the universe, give three examples" kind of question.
Because it's good.
ANY OTHER BOOKS IN THE WORKS? GOALS FOR FUTURE PROJECTS?
Actually, this series of books is already written. When I sat down to write what would become Marching With Caesar, it was originally going to be one book. But, really quickly, I figured out that it was going to be more than one. So I was faced with a decision (this was in 2009), and that was; do I stop and work on what I have, which will be the first book, or do I finish my character's entire story?
What I decided to do was tell my character's entire story, which encompasses a 42 year career in the Legions, during the most tumultuous period of Roman history, which is saying a lot. Titus Pullus is one of the lucky few men, and they did exist, who survive an entire career, rising through the ranks and retiring as wealthy men. Titus is one of these lucky men.
But what I recently figured out is that it's not a trilogy, which is what I've been telling everyone. It is in fact going to be FOUR books, and all but the very, very end of the fourth book is written and ready to go. I've been putting that off because I have become very attached to Titus, and don't want our relationship to end just yet!
I don't intend on writing in just this genre, although it's looking very much like I will have a fan base that will expect this from me. Marching With Caesar isn't actually my first novel; I completed a novel in 2006 that actually got interest from agents. However it's on a subject that is such that I decided to wait until a later time to pursue it being published, mainly to wait for some people to pass away so they won't be hurt.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
Because my plans on making it as a winner of the Tour de France, or as a football player didn't work out.
Seriously, this is something that the people who have known me have been pushing me to do for years. But I was pretty foolish, because it wasn't something I wanted to pursue, for the dumbest reason of all.
I've always been attracted to taking the hardest road available to me; one doesn't join the Marines, or go into the Infantry, or go even further and become a sniper for an easy path. Nor was I a natural athlete; I come from a long line of professional classical orchestral musicians, so a good 40 time wasn't in my blood. But that made me more determined to make my mark in some sort of athletic endeavor, and completely ignore the talent I had in writing, because it came so easily to me.
I always liked to write, and I always liked the praise and accolades that came when I DID write, but again, it wasn't as important to me as it should have been. I know now that I squandered a gift, and it's something I am determined to take full advantage of, mainly because I have no backup plan. I didn't save money for retirement (I never thought I would live this long), so this is it for me. If I'm not successful at this, at 53, I've got some problems. Fortunately it looks like this is going to work out okay.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE SINCE BEING PUBLISHED?
Ironically enough, it has nothing to do with being published or writing.
As I mentioned, I didn't know my dad. While I won't go into details, what I will say is that life, as most of us over the age of 20 know, is messy. And it's part of that messiness that I have a half-sister who is 6 months younger than I am. I wasn't even aware of her existence until I was in my 20's, at roughly the same time I first made contact with my dad's family. But when someone in my family (which is an embarrassing chapter in and of itself) reached out to my dad's widow, and asked if her daughter would be amenable to meeting her brother, the answer, understandably in my mind at least, was no.
However, that turned out to be a decision that my sister knew nothing about. She became aware of my existence at roughly the same time as I did, but her mom never let her know that I had reached out to contact her.
So we both went on with our lives thinking that the other didn't have any interest in getting to know the other. It wasn't until I sent a picture of the cover of my book, using my real name, to my dad's sister, the only member of that side of the family that I know, that we actually made contact with each other.
It turned out that we were both interested, and it was because of the book that we made contact with each other. We now communicate regularly, and we're going to meet face to face. I am an only child, and until I saw a picture of my dad, nobody around me looked (or acted or thought for that matter) the way I did. But when I saw the first picture of my sister, it's hard to describe the feeling, as good as I may be with words, that comes from seeing the same set of eyes staring back at you. And it turns out she's athletic as well, and has just started in triathlons after being a runner for 20+ years!
IF YOU COULD JUMP INTO A WORLD, AND LIVE IN THAT WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would like to jump into (strangely enough) the world of The Stand, by Stephen King.
Second would be the Old West, particularly the Four Corners are of Colorado, as brought to you by Louis L'Amour.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM CAST FOR YOUR BOOK?
Funny, but we've actually been talking about that. I made no secret that Ray Stevenson, the actor who played Titus Pullo in the HBO series Rome was the model for my character. In fact, Titus Pullus WAS Titus Pullo until the week before I published, because he is one of the few men from the ranks whom Caesar names. However, the real Titus switched sides in the civil war, and my Titus stays true to Caesar. So Titus Pullus it became, but in the book part of his prowess comes from his size when compared to other Romans.
But Ray, as perfect a fit as he may be, is a little long in the tooth to be a young Titus.
So otherwise it would have to be someone who is physically larger than everyone else, since that is a key element to the story. I can't think of anyone off the top of my head.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK AS A CHILD/TEEN?
As a child, the Hardy Boys was my bread and butter. As a young teen, Reilly's Luck, the first Louis L'Amour book I ever read, was my favorite.
IS THERE A SONG YOU COULD LIST AS A THEME SONG FOR YOUR BOOK AND CHARACTERS?
Conquest by the USC Marching Band perhaps. (I had to work in a plug for my favorite football team somehow)
ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Jeeze. I feel pretty pretentious giving advice, particularly since I'm self-published. Although I will say that I actually made that decision not so much out of desperation, as it was a deliberate choice. I heard Amanda Hocking speaking on Anderson Cooper; I had been really down on myself because I had been rejected around 20 times. Then I heard her story of a THOUSAND rejections, and remarkably, I didn't feel so bad after that. But it got me doing some research, and I realized that self-publishing is an absolutely viable alternative, IF, and it's a big "if", your work is not just good enough, but edited and presented well.
But if I were to offer one piece of advice, it would be what I told the writer's group of which I am a part. I was in a seriously dark and bad place at the end of last year and beginning of this one. As I mentioned, I had just lost my beloved boy Luke to cancer, and I was getting rejected. So I enrolled in a Creative Writing class at the local college. At first I felt really weird, because not only was I one of the oldest, but because I realized that I had actually finished my books. Most of my classmates were what I would call "dabbling"; lots of great starts, lots of great endings, but very, very few completed projects.
After the class was over, a few of us started a writer's group, and it was at the last meeting before the summer that I issued a challenge/piece of advice, and that was to FINISH something.
I was a great starter; I have so many story openings that just finishing all those would fill the rest of my career, but it wasn't until 2006, when I finished my first novel, that I ever felt like I was TRULY a writer. And that's the first step to being an author. Both of which I can say I am.
And I'm lucky, because I'm one of the few who can say that this is what I do for a living, that I have no other occupation at this point, which gets back to the fact that I put myself in a position where I MUST succeed.
So finish what you start.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONLY ONE TIME PERIOD AND PLACE TO LIVE, WHEN AND WHERE AND WHY?
I would say Rome of course, but only if I could jump in with the knowledge I have now, so I would boil my water and really cook all my food, and know how to make aspirin and penicillin and that stuff.
IF YOU COULD BE ONE OF THE GREEK GODS, WHICH WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
Hmm. Apollo I guess. Wasn't he the ladies' man of all the gods?
IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
I would go back to Paris. I lived there for a year in the mid-90's when I was working at my software company. It still ranks as my favorite place.
Houston, Texas would be second I guess, but only as long as my daughter and son-in-law are there. They're dual citizens with plans to move back to London, where they lived for 7 years. So then it would be London.
Veni, vidi, vici.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU 'GREW UP'?
Oh wow. I pretty much did what I wanted to be, and that was a career in the military. At the time, however, I wanted to be in the Army, because one of the only things I knew about my dad was that he was in the Army. Fortunately I grew out of that.
It was in my teen years and early adulthood I planned on being a cop, and in fact I was accepted to the Houston Police Academy, but when I was accepted, I was a construction worker, an ironworker to be exact, the guy who rides the beams up buildings like the WTC and bolts them up, and I was making a lot more money than a cop would make.
Then I joined the Marines, and I grew out of the cop thing.
IF A MOVIE WAS MADE ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO PLAY THE ROLE OF R.W. AND WHY?
Well, when I was about 12 or 13, a couple of counselors at my summer camp said I was the spitting image of Peter Ustinov, but since he's dead, I have to come up with someone else. Jeeze, I don't know. Russell Crowe I suppose? Not conventionally handsome, but has the square jaw needed to play me. Not to brag (much) but I was considered for a recruiting poster, although I didn't make the final cut, and I was always the media representative when the local TV stations came along when I was a recruiter. Mainly it was because of the jaw, or so I was told.
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD BECOME AN AUTHOR?
Because everyone kept telling me I should be one.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS OF ALL TIME?
Already mentioned. Louis L'Amour, Stephen King (but really only for The Stand, which I consider not just his greatest work, but one of the great novels of our generation), Plutarch, Caesar, Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman et. al.
CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Sure. I put a lot of me in Titus, particularly as it pertains to the military stuff. And my first novel is kind of based on my life, although in my novel the character who plays me is on Death Row, and is executed. So far, that hasn't happened.
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST WRITING IDEA YOU'VE HAD?
Haven't really had anything I would consider crazy. I've lived a pretty crazy life; I've been shot once, run over twice, stabbed or cut a half-dozen times, had 20 surgeries and I stopped counting broken bones at 30, and I have the scars to prove every one. So it's kind of hard for me to get crazier than that.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
The first week a recruit goes to Marine boot camp, they don't actually meet their real DI's. Instead they're shepherded by a Marine who is called a Receiving DI, named after the barracks and process in which a recruit spends their first week. After that week, the night before we were introduced to our real DI's, our Receiving DI, Staff Sergeant Glenn, walked among our racks (bunks) during what they called "quiet time", the period right after the lights went out and before we were allowed to go to sleep. It was always during "quiet time" that we would be given pep talks, ass-chewings, or in this case, the best advice I ever got.
"Privates, you're about to meet your real DI's. This system is (at that time) 207 years old. We process 10,000 recruits through here every year, and there's always someone who thinks they will beat the system. You won't, nobody beats the system. The DI's are in a no-lose situation; they're either going to break you and make you a Marine, or if they can't do that, they're going to shitcan you and send you packing. Either way they win. For you to be successful, you need to keep your mouth shut, your ears open and do what you're told, to the best of your ability. If you do that, you'll be successful, and you'll become a Marine."
As it turned out, a lot of my platoonmates had fallen asleep. I did exactly what SSgt. Glenn advised, and I breezed through boot camp, but more importantly I excelled. I was tops in 2 out of the 3 graded individual events, not just in my platoon, but in the entire training Company of more than 400, and more importantly it set the tone for my career.
I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. I learned that from a friend of my mom's when I was about 10 who was undergoing therapy for a stroke and trying to recover from a stroke. I thought it was fun. It turned out to be pretty useful. Who knew?
Oh, and I'm actually a really good singer, or at least so I've been told. But I never do.
Hmmmm. Fried shrimp has to be at the top of that list. I'm a boy from the Gulf Coast of Texas after all.
But I do love me some pot roast and potatoes.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
WHAT MOVIE OR BOOK ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
Movie-wise, nothing much. I love movies, but I'm not a Batman freak or Harry Potter fan or stuff like that. Oh wait, I guess the next James Bond movie. I like Daniel Craig as the new Bond better than anyone since Sean Connery.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDRENS' BOOK?
Okay, how weird is it that my favorite book that I read when I was about 10 was Jomini's Art of War?
And second was (gulp) Diagnostic Methods in Veterinary Medicine? Yeah, I was a weird kid.
Nothing that anyone would say to my face.
HOW DO YOU REACT TO BAD REVIEWS?
Good question. And I know how this is going to come off sounding, but I haven't had one yet. I am currently at 17 in the U.S., and they are all 5 star, and 13 in the U.K., and all but one are 5 star. I got a 3 star, but even that one was one that finished, "I'll buy the next book that comes out." His major complaint is that it was too long, which I liken to the scene in Amadeus where Frederick says, "Too many notes."
So I haven't had anything scathing yet, and I honestly don't know what I will do or how I will react. I have a pretty thick skin in general, but I'm finding that with this, it's a little different to all the other things I've done.
IF YOU WERE A BIRD, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE?
Seriously? People really ask that question? Uh, I don't know. A mockingbird I suppose. Because I tend to be a little......sarcastic.
IF YOU WERE A SUPERHERO, WHAT WOULD YOUR KRYPTONITE BE?
Anything that makes me nauseated. Seriously, when I get really sick to my stomach I become a whining little bitch, all curled up in a ball. And since I have Crohn's Disease, I spend a fair amount of time like that.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A SIGNED COPY OF ANY NOVEL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Whoever the rarest autograph would be that would bring the most money.
YOU HAVE WON A MILLION DOLLARS, WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU WOULD BUY?
Actually, I've been thinking about this quite a bit. I've been vacillating between a fur-lined sink and a gas-powered turtleneck sweater.
But then I would buy some dumb stuff.
Seriously, I would buy a Cervelo P4. And a free book to anyone who knows what that is without looking it up. But since there's no way to prove that, never mind.
WHICH AUTHORS HAVE INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST?
Louis L'Amour is the first one who comes to mind, and he had a huge impact on me as I've already mentioned. In fact, my VERY first novel I wrote when I was 10 or so, and I still have the notebooks and recently re-read them. What's interesting is that you can trace my influences through the story arc. When I started it, I was deeply into WWII, so when the godless Soviets chose MY block to invade, me and my friends were armed with Tommy guns, M1's and other ordnance from that era (which I explained by virtue of a friend's father being a gun collector), and we fought the entire might of the Red Army to a standstill. I wrote a few more battles into the story, all still centered on my block. (I never really went into why it was MY single street that served as the focal point of the invasion)
Then I discovered Louis L'Amour, and between his stories, and the fact that many of them are set in a region of Colorado with which I was familiar, since we went camping there every summer, my band of marauders and I relocated from Texas to outside Silverton, Colorado. Given that my only experience with any kind of driving vehicle at that point was a riding lawnmower, my friends and I "souped" ours up so they would go a whole 25 mph, and throwing some armor plating on, we drove all the way up to the mountains.
When we got there, we traded all the modern weaponry for six-shooters, Winchesters etc., and ditched the lawnmowers for horses. By that time, I guess I was around 12 or so, I had become a steel-eyed gunslinger, and like my L'Amour heroes, I would mosey into town from our hideaway, and slap leather with some Russkies. Again, why the Soviets thought that a town of less than 2,000 people in the middle of the Rocky Mountains was strategic importance I didn't go into.
Then puberty hit, and I developed other interests, so alas, the story is unfinished. Who knows, maybe this will be my Great American Novel?
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
I'm either riding my bike, playing with Sadie, or playing NCAA13 on PS3. I may be 53 but that doesn't mean I have to act like it.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
It's already written, and the title is Damning Secrets. Aside from the Death Row thing, it's pretty much an autobiography. As I mentioned, it got some serious attention from agents, but I made the decision that having it published would cause people I care about a lot of pain.
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.
Being a night owl, my day starts between 10:00 and 11:00 and ends at 2:00 A.M.
The weird thing is that right now I have less free time than I had before because of the book. Being self-published means that it's all DIY; hence, this interview that I'm doing that's not arranged for me. I spend most of my day answering fan mail, which right now only takes about an hour; then I scan the blogosphere looking for places where I might be able to plug the book. I'm helping another writer with his own book, so I spend some time with that.
Then I ride my bike, play with Sadie, watch TV, play video games. I have to say that it's good being me right now.
What's your favorite season/weather?
Well, since I've moved up here to Washington from Houston, I've actually been subjected to that thing called seasons. In Houston we don't have that much; basically there are 10 days a year where it's a nice place to live weather-wise, 5 in the "spring" before it gets too hot and 5 in the "fall" before it gets too hot.
I used to say I liked gray, cloudy days the best. But now that I live on the Olympic Peninsula, I've had more than enough of that, thank you very much. But when the sun is out, it's really hard to beat this place.
Season-wise, I guess fall up here, because the leaves turning color and all. But it also means we're heading into winter, and the one thing that's been tough to adjust to, even more than the weather, are the hours. Being this far north, the days are really, really short compared to what I was used to, and couple with the gray, makes it pretty sucky.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
All the stuff I've mentioned before. If people tell you something enough, gradually you start to believe it.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I didn't really. I'm still kind of in shock now, even more than 3 months later. I got my first "big" check today, the 23rd of July, so it's starting to sink in. The way I put it is that every morning is like Christmas right now, and while it's an awesome feeling, it is a little strange.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Uh, Tillamook chocolate peanut butter ice cream I guess.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?
Hands down, the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. In fact I am trying to get over the fact that Emily Maynard opted to wear sacred underpants over hanging out in the pit lane of an Indy Car race. And I'm watching Bachelor Pad right now, which is a new low.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is....
The Stand. Epic, simply epic.
Favorite places to travel?
France. Provence in particular, although I'm finally going to Italy for the first time in my life, which is ironic considering that it's the proceeds of a book about Rome that is paying for me to go see what I wrote about for the first time.
Everything. If one were to look at my collection, they would insist that it belonged to more than one person. I can go country, and I'm talking REAL country; Merle, Willie, Garth et. al., or I can go Ice Cube. Or Brahms. Or Aerosmith. Or............you get the idea.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Either Simon Scarrow, or Stephen King, although I don't know what Steve (you know, us authors call him Steve) and I would write about.
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