Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up mostly in Olympia, Washington.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
A: I've always enjoyed writing but until now I've never been very serious about it. I took creative writing as occasion offered in school and I've written a few magazine articles and dabbled with short stories, but until now my most popular works have been my family Christmas letters, which people tell me they like.
I've always had the ambition to write a novel and made several abortive attempts. I finally realized that I needed to actually get off my butt and do it—or wait until the next lifetime. So, I guess one way to characterize the project would be to call it a bucket list item, but once I sunk my teeth into telling the story it became much more than that.
Q: How did you come up with the title Redemption on the River?
A: Oh boy, I wish I could tell you that that was the title from the start, or that it came to me in a flash of inspired genius, but it didn't become Redemption on the River until very late, and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The working title was Overboard, and I got to the point in my late drafts (there were a total of 12) that I was asking my beta readers for suggestions, and I made a list of titles that grew to be very long.
The final title came from me, and when I conceived it I knew it fit. Redemption is a major theme of the story, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are the setting, and I like how the title flows off the tongue.
Q: I think Redemption on the River does fit better! Are any of the characters in your novel based on or inspired by real people in your life?
A: Oh, certainly. I'm sure that Silas, the protagonist, is partly me, and Hannah definitely has elements of my wife.
The scrappiness of the Jacobson brothers are based on two brothers I knew who would fight anyone together and each other all the time. A very minor character, a pugnacious steamboat mate, is named after a friend of mine.
Q: What was the most fun about researching for your book and did you learn anything new?
A: The most fun was researching steamboats and their captains, pilots, and passengers. It was an incredibly colorful era, and there are true stories that, if they were put in a novel, would be difficult to swallow.
One actual incident that I did recreate in the book was repeatedly questioned by my beta readers, but my response is that it happened just as I wrote it. I provide an Historical Notes section at the end of the book which lists the actual historical people, places, and events in Redemption on the River.
Q: The Notes section in the back of the book was extremely interesting! If you had to do it all over again, would there be anything you would change about your book?
A: That's easy. I wish I had written it years ago, so I would have more years left to continue writing. As for the book itself—I'm very satisfied with it, although a few typos snuck through.
Q: What book are you reading at the moment?
A: The Complete Writings of Abraham Lincoln. I had thought I appreciated Lincoln before, but I had no idea. The usual superlatives fail me, so I'll just say that he was truly great.
Q: What is the strangest object on your desk and/or workspace?
A: If not the antique silver assay bar that I use as a worry stone, it would have to be the scores of Toy Story Alien figurines. My call sign in the Navy was Alien, and my kids have been giving my Toy Story Aliens for years. They're all over my office, my dresser, my truck, my flight gear, etc.
Q: Haha Toy Story Aliens? That's funny! Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?
A: I sincerely hope that you enjoy Redemption on the River, and I humbly request honest reviews on Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, and wherever else you'd like to give your opinion.
Thanks again for stopping by!
If you guys would like to check out my review on Redemption on the River you can click this link CLICK ME!
And now for the giveaway! I will be giving away my signed paperback copy to one of you lucky readers out there. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This giveaway will be U.S. only this time. Just do the tasks on the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. :) GOOD LUCK!