1.Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official author’s bio?
I would consider myself somewhat of a “loner”. The activity of writing, isolated with my thoughts, is a good fit. Music has always been a central element of my life, and I find much solace in the company of my guitar. I have also found tennis suitable, as whether I succeed or fail rests solely in my hands. Concerning romance, the last twenty years of living, since that chance meeting with Elizabeth, have been rife with risk and discovery. I’m convinced no prudent or successful man goes the whole distance alone.
2. Do you remember what was your first story (article, essay, or poem) about and when did you write it?
Yes, it was a classic piece of poetic verse, penned while Vice-President of my 3rd Grade class, about a greater personal aspiration. The first two lines were, “I like being Vice-President, but I’d rather be the President. I like passing out papers, those corny PTA capers.”
3. What is the title of your latest book and what inspired it?
CITIZEN WARRIOR: The Spirit World Battle for the Soul of Your City, in part, came as the result of periodic visits, over two decades, to domestic and foreign villages, towns, and cities, as kind of an observer and “inspector” of both the visible and invisible workings within the various societies. A growing conviction that good and evil contend for control of the populace led to certain insight pertaining to the existence and nature of a continuous spirit world battle and how it profoundly influences the destiny of every human being. Although contrary to the dictates of natural reason and intelligence, the acknowledgment of a superior, spirit realm that “overlaps” and interacts with the physical sphere of our existence, wherein war rages between malevolent and benevolent forces, is key in understanding much of societies dissensions, and the ebb and flow of periods of relative peace verses times of major conflict in the world.
4. How long did it take you to write your latest work and how fast do you write (how many words daily)?
CITIZEN WARRIOR was written over a period of five years, give or take. I worked a day job during that time, fortunately, as a surveillance investigator, allowing for more alone time to think/write. I seem to write in “spurts”, anywhere from 200 to 500 words max per spurt, and not on a daily basis. I often engage in periods of contemplation, during which a thought or idea rises, followed by a time of rumination, and then drawing a conclusion. That is when I grab the recording device, pen, or laptop.
5. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have found creative non-fiction the perfect genre for me. Because it draws from recollection and reflection of personal experience, considerable research of historical fact, and, especially, the elusive element of inspiration, I have come to depend on quiet and solitude if anything worthwhile is to be apprehended. It was during long, early morning drives on mostly Georgia and South Carolina highways, and during the night hours, prone on my bed, when inspiration came to visit. I grew to depend on and expect progress during these timeframes. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of timely withdrawal from the din and hubbub of pop culture and opinion, where only the typical and status quo is to be found.
6. Is writing the only form of artistic expression that you utilize, or is there more to your creativity than just writing?
I believe as those created by the hand of God, we all possess the same inherent capacities; to think, to choose, to physically sense in a variety of ways, and for spontaneous intuition. However, we do differ in the “raw” aptitudes, abilities and talents built into us, waiting to be tapped and developed. Those propensities have a way of manifesting as we go through life, regardless of the positive or negative circumstances we face. I find various avenues of creativity in most everything I do; during both the menial, simple tasks and those considered more important or serious. So, I have found ways to mow my sprawling lawn more efficiently, a strategy in luring someone to the net before executing my passing shot, or an efficient methodology in escorting a team of young adults to a distant part of the world (and back) so they are safe, entertained, and, most importantly, edified.
7. Authors and books that have influenced your writings?
These are a few; Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Ethics; Letters and Papers from Prison, The Cost of Discipleship) has been a lifelong mentor, as has A. W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God; Knowledge of the Holy). More recently, Charles Krauthammer’s collection of columns and essays contained within The Point of it All was revelatory. Russian literature is a great source of understanding and came to life during the periods of time I spent among Russian people. Both Dostoevsky and Turgenev have captured my heart, specifically, the novels The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, and Fathers and Sons and Rudin,respectively.
8. What are you working on right now? Anything new cooking in the wordsmith’s kitchen?
Most my time is spent in issuing brief writings challenging individuals and social groups to engage in the present American culture war. Traditional values have been redefined, intentionally misinterpreted, ignored, or canceled as, apparently, they do not fit the narrative and goals of certain domestic and international entities bent on redefining this country. Realization of the American dream can nurture a comfy sleepiness, that allows the insidious workings of those opposed to human freedom and liberty to go unchallenged. On a somewhat lighter note, a reflection on my family life, with a focus on my mother, Trudy Anne Mancha, was previously initiated, and may come off the backburner.
9. Did you ever think about the profile of your readers? What do you think – who reads and who should read your books?
My writing is an appeal to both the secular and religious segments of human society. Most citizens carry one banner or another representing their cause or purpose among our populations. As important as that is, too often the basic, underlying explanation for why our communities succeed or fail is a lack of awareness of who our real enemy is. This ignorance perpetuates conflict, sometimes bloody, on a human level while the real enemy remains unopposed. My book identifies the spirit enemy bent on our destruction, equips the citizen to engage in effective battle, and provides the means to discover and implement the divine plan for their city. Also, my writing provides answers to the most fundamental questions pertaining to life here and now, and the hereafter: What is my origin and why am I here? What is truth? What follows the death of the body? What is the nature of good and evil? Does God exist and what is He like? Important stuff.
10. Do you have any advice for new writers/authors?
We all have our author-heroes and heroines. That is a given. However, avoid the inclination to mimic their voice or style. Tap on the deposit of those contributions within your soul, but the foundation of your work must be your own life experiences. Therein will be your unique contribution and gift to others. Do not be timid or apologetic in your offering. Do not rush writing. Inspiration is not at our beck and call. You cannot order or command the process. You can only order the time and space, and then be patient. Prime the pump with contemplation and reflection. Contrary to present, popular suggestions, anything worthwhile will not be written in 30 to 90 days.
11. What is the best advice (about writing) you have ever heard?
William Faulkner’s timeless observation spoken by character Gavin Stevens in Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.” I always keep this in mind, especially when I write. All that has preceded this moment, continues to speak today. We should be wary of sophistication and the idea that values and meaning are fluid. We must seek to listen to these voices of the past and how they apply to the world we live in today.
12. How many books do you read annually and what are you reading now? What is your favorite literary genre?
Right now, I will have read 5 or 6 books during 2020. I am presently wading through Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. Prose is my genre of choice, both fictional and nonfictional. I am drawn mostly to Russian literature with its stark insight and depiction of the psychological and emotional peaks and valleys of human experience, individually and societally.
13. What do you deem the most relevant about your writing? What is the most important to be remembered by readers?
My writing applies to all people. We are, in essence, spirit beings who will live forever. While earthbound, there is a continuous battle for the heart and mind of every human being, waged in an invisible realm, the outcome of which determines our eternal destiny. We are designed to be direct participants in the process. My writing is an attempt to impress readers to be vigilant over their lives; the choices they make, how time is spent, and what is worthy of their affection and devotion. My work is a caution of readily adopting into lifestyle or practice what is “popular”, and an encouragement to do our own thinking, dig for the facts, hunger for truth, and then stand firm without compromise.
14. What is your opinion about the publishing industry today and about the ways authors can best fit into the new trends?
I’m not well-informed about “the new trends.” I do believe we must guard against the practical pressures and demands of the publishing industry shaping our view of writing as more of a business venture than artistic expression. The most convenient route is often popularized. An expectation of quick success transcends the necessity of the time and “cost” of soul-searching for what will eventually occupy the printed page.