It’s not often an author makes himself into a hero—literally. Or literarily, I suppose. Why did you use your name? What gave you the idea?
My editor, Eva Marie Everson. I thought I should use a pen name for the book like, say, Nicholas Sparks. But Eva assured me readers wouldn’t mind that I basically wrote a memoir of how I dealt with all my problems as a writer – the biggest one being that I’m a fraud and can’t get dates except through my PR gal. (Which I fired, by the way, so that position is available if anyone is interested.)
Tasers are a big part of the story in Summer’s Love. What’s your connection? Have any personal life experience with them? Do tell.
Not in the sense that I’ve actually let someone electrocute me but I know someone who is packing and I stay far away from her. I have tased myself with electrical outlets, car batteries, and spark plugs. Did you know a surge of voltage shooting through your body can lead to male-pattern baldness and memory loss? I never knew that. But then I never knew a lot of things. Still don’t. What was the question again?
Hattie May Hall is a side character who’s larger than life. She belts out truth like a cat o’ nine tails. Is there a “real” Hattie and/or Hattie’s upon which you based this character?
Yes. My aunt Hattie May. She’s Mom’s younger sister. (all Mom’s sisters were younger). But aunt Hattie May is nicer. The character Hattie is based on a compilation of women I’ve met at writers’ conferences and in critique groups. They have strong opinions of right and wrong and mostly tell me that whatever I am doing or thinking is wrong. My agent thinks Whoopie Goldberg should play the role of Hattie in the movie but I doubt Whoopie is available.
Tell us what an average (I know, as if) writing day looks like for you.
I start with coffee, write for one hour, then take a nap. After my nap I wax my board and hit the surf. If it’s a good day I’ll surf until around 11. Then I grab lunch, usually rice and fish, take a nap, grab a cup of coffee and write for a couple of hours. If the surf is still good, I’ll catch an afternoon session, come in, get a beer, write for an hour, and have dinner. Usually rice and chicken. Then I watch old DVDs on my laptop. Sometimes I’ll write a letter to my publisher. He’s always hounding me for stuff, like this interview, and that really cuts into my writing and surfing time.
What’s been the most surprising thing about the writing journey that’s slapped you upside the head?
That I got busted for hiring a ghostwriter to write my books. Didn’t see that coming. I mean, my ghostwriter signed a non-disclosure, non-compete-whatever that was supposed to insulate me. I guess I’m too trusting of people. And book publishers, that’s another thing that caught me off guard. I had no idea they could be so heartless. I mean, I made them a ton of money for them with my other books and they cast me aside like whatshisname, that guy that can’t get a book contract anymore and is self-publishing his books. I forget his name.
What’s one nugget of sage advice you can give to a newbie writer?
Last but not least, just gotta know…is that really your picture on the back of your book or some gorgeous hunk of surfer you found on the beach somewhere?
It’s all me. Of course, I was younger then. And about twenty pounds lighter. All that rice and beer can put on the weight. Is it okay to mention that I drink beer? I get complaints from some readers that my characters shouldn’t drink and think lustful thoughts. But I think both are mentioned in the Bible. At least that’s what my editor says. Just to be safe, let’s take out that part about drinking beer. We’ll lie and say I drink water, even though the water on this island is pretty sketchy. But then I’m a sketchy guy. Are we done yet? I really need to get back in the water.
Stu expects the flirty smiles and women fawning praise, but when his editor phones to inform Stu that his latest manuscript failed to impress the publishing board, his carefully crafted career begins to unravel. Stu has one week to deliver a complete rewrite that meets his reader's demanding standards. And he would if only he could write. But he can't. Not a lick.
For years Stu has paid a church secretary to ghostwrite his novels.Only now Hattie May Hall feels God calling her to write paranormal prairie Amish thrillers with an evangelical, Cinderella twist. With Stu's career on the line and Kate's big taser sale in jeopardy, an unlikely pair of hearts collide, providing a shocking climax at the world's biggest stun gun ball.