Writing is a precise craft. The right word; the best syntax; the correct sentence…it makes all the difference. If I could choose the perfect word every time, and couple that with a great story, I would probably win a major literary prize or two.

It’s a daunting task (for me, at least. I can’t speak for other authors) and my natural inclination is to begin any project by tiptoeing softly into the story. That’s a tendency that I fight because it sets the wrong tone for the book and threatens to turn the entire narrative into something as bland and boring as oatmeal from a hospital cafeteria. The next thing you know I’ll be writing in passive voice, avoiding dialogue, and creating too many scenes that tell rather than show. That kind of writing is crap. Nobody will want to read or publish it. There’s nothing safe about it.

Taking chances-that’s how I break free from the fear and inertia that can attack me at any point in a project. You can’t play it safe when you have characters that are gay, mixed marriage couples, pirates, sociopaths, sex-obsessed serial killers, or Confederate re-enactors, to name a few of the people that run through the pages of my books. It also makes writing a lot more fun.

I want readers to become immersed in my books and remember the story after they’re through reading it. That’s my goal. If you love my characters, that’s great. If you hate them, that’s even better.