First of all, tell us a little about yourself.
A prolific reader as a kid, I devoured classic sci-fi and Agatha Christy with equal voracity. I left my job as a computer consultant/analyst with IBM when the kids came along – now the first is working at IBM himself, and the second is in college. I spend my days taking care of my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, and my nights trying to keep my own brain engaged. Writing is one of those engagements.
How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?
I signed up for NaNoWriMo three times before this year. However, I live in New Jersey and hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012, leaving me sitting in the dark for nine days. Let’s just say that I opted not to start the novel that year. But, I did go on to “win” the next two years, with two wildly different stories.
First in 2013 was a cozy mystery (remember my love of Agatha Christy?) about a scrapbook sleuth. By 2014 I had joined a punk writing group, and wrote a cyberpunk version of Macbeth for an anthology of punk stories inspired by Shakespeare for Writerpunk Press (titled Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk). I also did Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2015 and wrote another Shakespeare inspired story (a cyberpunk Henry V) for our second charity volume which will be released on December 1!
What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?
I am being a bit of a rebel and mixing in TWO stories. One is the sequel to the cozy mystery (which has yet to be published, cough, cough), and the other is a punk version of a Poe story for the third Writerpunk Press anthology. As soon as I figure out which Poe story I’m doing, I’ll let you know (smile).
How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?
The best way I’ve found to stay focused and on track is to have a few writer buddies who are also doing the same thing… it even carries over after November is over. My local region has some folks that sponsor write-ins and I’ve been going to the same hipster coffee house every Tuesday night for years. We give each other moral support, read each other’s work, and offer an opportunity to talk through a plot problem.
And advice for anyone wanting to try NaNo? Do it. Some people are “pantsers” and write by the seat-of-their-pants while others are “plotsers” and work out a plot in advance. I prefer to write up a story synopsis of about 1200-1500 words, then split that up into a document with a paragraph blurb for each chapter. When I sit down to write during NaNo, I just open up the chapter and write the action that is described by the blurb. Takes a LOT of pressure off of thinking, “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?”
If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?
Check out my punk work at www.punkwriters.com for details about our series of punk anthologies where the profits go to support PAWS, a non-profit animal shelter and rescue that has helped over 200,000 animals since 1967. Our second anthology, Once More Unto the Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2 (for which I was also the Managing Editor), comes out on December 1!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Did I mention the anthology comes out on December 1? Oh yes, I think I did. But as for NaNo, don’t get hung up on the whole “win” or “lose” thing – I really hate that terminology, because in my book anyone who makes the attempt and writes anything more than they would have otherwise is a winner.