Award-winning author
Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

23 September 2009

Interview with romance writer Karen White-Owens

Karen White-Owens’ newest novel, I Can Make You Love Me (Dafina), will be released 6 October. In this contemporary romance, childhood friends rediscover each other, but time’s wounds interfere with renewing their former affection.

Karen, thanks for visiting my blog, and congratulations on the publication of I Can Make You Love Me.

Thank you.

In addition to being a multipublished novelist, you’re a librarian, an editor, and a writing teacher. I’m guessing you love books. What did you read as a child?

The book that comes to mind is Seventeenth Summer, written by Maureen Daly. I remember checking it out of the school library and loving the story. Seventeenth Summer was a beautifully written story about teenage love, choices, and angst. It started my hunger for romance novels.

Maya Angelou is one of my favorite authors. When I was in high school, I checked out all of her books. I love her poetry. I'm in awe of all poets because they say so much in very few words.

How do these other careers help or hurt your writing?

All of my work experiences help when I'm writing my stories. As a librarian, I meet and help all types of people with interesting gestures, emotions, and habits that find their way into the pages of my novels.

Also, working at a library gives me the advantage of doing all of my research at work. When I need to know something, I go to our computer catalog and find what I want. The added bonus is I can check it out for long periods.

Teaching at Wayne State University was and is still one of the thrills of my life. I was enthralled with the idea of teaching at the university where I earned my undergrad degree. But I soon learned it took a lot of work and preparation to teach a class effectively. Working with aspiring authors taught me compassion. I learned how to express ideas while respecting other writers' work, even if I didn't agree or understand the subject matter.

What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is the creating. I like to sit down at the computer and let the characters take shape and tell their story.

What writers have had the greatest influence on you?

I believe Stephen King is the person who influences me the most. No one drops you into a scene the way Stephen King does. At some point, I hope to be able to do the same, plus rip your heart out with my prose and then wipe away your tears with a satisfying ending.

Are there certain themes or topics you’re drawn to in your writing?

Many of my books involve growing up, taking responsibility for yourself and your family, and being a good parent. Whether we want to believe it or not, when you have a child, he or she must come first in your life.

What is your writing regimen? Would you recommend it to aspiring authors?

I get up between 4 and 4:30 am and write for approximately an hour or two and then I go back to bed for about an hour. When my alarm clock goes off at 7 am, I start getting ready for work. On my lunch hour, I edit the pages that I wrote that morning. After dinner in the evening, I make the editorial changes I made during the day.

Do you have any other advice for my readers who are working on their first novels?

“Finish the novel” will always be the best advice I can give anyone. Join a writing organization is my second suggestion. The best thing I ever did when I first started writing was becoming a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and forming a critique group. Both were incredibly helpful.

What are you working on next?

I'm working on a manuscript that will be released October 2010. The story is connection to my two previous novels, The Way You Aren't and I Can Make You Love Me. Some of the characters will appear in Where Love Begins.

Karen, thanks for visiting my blog, and good luck with your next book.

You can learn more about Karen and I Can Make You Love Me at her Website at and her blog at Her book is available at your local bookstore as well as online from, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.


Win one of Karen’s books—or a book by anyone else I’ve interviewed at this blog—in my Birthday Bash contest. Enter by posting a comment at my 17 September post by 26 September.

22 September 2009

Blogging today at Novel Spaces

I'm blogging today about setting as inspiration at Novel Spaces. Please stop by if you have a chance, and check out the posts of my fellow Novel Spaces bloggers as well.

17 September 2009

Second annual birthday bash contest

To celebrate turning 53, I’m holding a birthday contest again this year.

To enter, comment on this post by 11 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday, 26 September. Any comment will suffice, but if you need a topic idea, I suggest listing something you like about getting older.

Two posters will be chosen at random to win a book of their choice (up to a $20 value) by me or any author I will have interviewed here by the end of the contest.

Those authors (with links to their original interviews) are:

romance writer Karen White-Owens

horror writer Terence Taylor (New this week! See post of 15 September.)

Western writer Jack Martin

historical fiction writer Linda Weaver Clark (She is having a birthday contest too. Enter by posting at

novelist DeAnna Cameron (GoodReads members can enter until 8 October to win The Belly Dancer at

sword and soul writer Milton Davis

historical fiction author Dianne Ascroft

fantasy writer Leslie Ann Moore

historical and fantasy romance writer Jade Lee

historical fiction author Mingmei Yip

fiction writer Amy MacKinnon

historical romance writer Lynna Banning

mystery writer Ed Lynskey

mystery writer June Shaw

fiction writer Carleen Brice (NEWS: Orange Mint and Honey is being made into a Lifetime TV movie called "Sins of the Mother.")

fiction writer Therese Fowler

historical romance writer Jennifer Blake

romance writer Hailey North

historical mystery writer Laura Joh Rowland

humorist Christee Gabour Atwood

historical mystery writer Candice Proctor

speculative fiction and nonfiction writer Charles Gramlich

romance writer Farrah Rochon

15 September 2009

Interview with horror author Terence Taylor

Terence Taylor’s first novel, Bite Marks: A Vampire Testament (St. Martin’s Griffin) debuts today, 15 September. Publisher's Weekly called it “Truly enjoyable and imaginative...sure to delight any vampire fan” in a starred review, and the quote on the cover from New York Times bestseller L.A. Banks says, "Terence Taylor delivers masterful world-building, edge-of-your-seat prose, and characters to die for—his is an exciting fresh voice in vampire literature." In his urban horror story, the vampires of New York hunt a dangerous threat to the secret of their existence: an infant vampire accidentally set loose by a vicious vampire with a serial killer mentality.

Welcome, Terence, and congratulations on publication of your first novel, Bite Marks: A Vampire Testament!

Thanks, Shauna! It’s pretty exciting, especially after all it’s taken to get here. Hopefully it’s the first of many more. So thrilled you could fly us to the gardens of Castle Dracula for the interview. The blooming wolfsbane is especially fragrant this time of year... (since it’s a virtual interview we can have it “virtually” anywhere, right?)

It seems an appropriate setting. Your book has one of the scariest covers I’ve ever seen and makes it clear your vampires hark back to the evil creatures in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Did you have any input into the cover design?

I did not, deliberately. I do design work myself, and I paid bills while finishing Bite Marks doing print and video graphic design and animation, so I really appreciated the final result. I kept myself from making any suggestions ahead of time, even though I’d designed a few mock covers over the years to put over my desk as inspiration while working. What they sent me was wildly original and nothing I would have come up with on my own. I’ve decided that a full-time graphic designer can do a better job than a writer who does it as a sideline.

Contractually, I had an opinion. The background was originally black and white, and I suggested the sepia tint, which they added, so they do listen. I don’t know whether the artist actually read the book before designing the cover, but it captures the tone of the novel perfectly for me.

Why do you enjoy reading horror, and what do you think readers will like about your book?

I’ll answer the second first. While I think it’s great that the vampire has become such a darkly romantic figure in the past decade, I think we have to leaven passion with fear...these are nearly immortal beings that would have to view us as food or playthings. Vampires are not like us, and frankly, I think it’s time to “bring scary back” to the vampire novel. My cover definitely says that! I think there are readers are looking for that again, the same kind of chills they had reading Stephen King’s Salem's Lot or Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. So I’m calling this my ScaryBack Tour, with apologies to Justin. If he can “borrow” Michael Jackson’s moves, I can appropriate his marketing campaign.

With Bite Marks, I tried to write the kind of horror story I enjoy, which is horror as a branch of classic myth, fantasy, and folklore, whose purpose is to give us something we can walk away with into our everyday lives. My life may be bad, things may look bleak, but if I read a story or see a movie about someone taking on horrific forces that make mine look tame, even laughable—and win? I feel better equipped to take on my own real-world demons when I wake up the next day.

I hate movies and books that pile on gratuitous violence based on a slim premise and end with the bad guy just wiping out anyone who’s left. Take the American sequel to “The Grudge.” The original played out the moral roots of the story; the U.S. version just made it a series of grotesque death set pieces, pure gornography, killed EVERYONE, and the DVD extra was the death of the one character we didn’t see die. What does that leave me with as a viewer? As gruesome as “Hostel” was, at least it ended with the one survivor brutally killing the man who killed his friend and started it all for him, as we cheered him on. There was a catharsis of some kind. I need to leave a horror story with a sense that I can win in the world, not that it‘s a hopeless morass of all-consuming evil I can never hope to beat.

My exception to that rule is stories like “Tales from the Crypt,” about horrible things happening to terrible people, which still give you a release. They’re twisted morality plays that still reflect the light, even while they revel in the muck. All I ask of horror writers and directors is that they not leave me alone in the dark when they shut down and go home at the end of the day. The added advantage of promising not to abandon your readers actually gives you the ability to go even deeper into the realm of fear, because your readers trust you to get them back out into the light before you leave.

What writers have had the greatest influence on you?

I got interested in the genre because of my maternal grandmother, who got me into ‘50s B horror movies, horror comics, Fangoria, but also had Bullfinch’s Mythology, classic fairy tale collections with all the blood intact, The Arabian Nights, Dante’s The Divine Comedy with the Gustav Doré illustrations, books on ghost hunting and flying name it. They all merged into one big mass for me, and I saw the connections between my favorite horror movies and classic myths and fairy tales long before I read Bruno Bettelheim or Joseph Campbell. As I grew up I found James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, Robert Graves’ The White Goddess, Montague Summers’ books, and a host of other books that expanded the discussion for me.

Oddly enough, most of my literary influences are a variety of writers not read nearly enough today. Most black writers I read when young dealt with social issues, not horror stories, except to the degree that their work detailed real-life horrors. So I tracked down Roald Dahl’s stories after seeing the credits of the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” adaptation of “Lamb to the Slaughter” and read everything I could find. That led me to another British writer, John Collier—BRILLIANT—and recommended reading to anyone who likes a chill and a laugh at the same time. I get much of my twisted sense of humor from him. Then on to Ray Bradbury and Saki...

Ismael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo was a big influence later, along with William Burroughs’ work, in showing me how free you could be with reality and still comment on it. I read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita when I was ten because it was in the house, never forgot it, and always cited it as an influence. I re-read it recently and moved it up to one of my top five favorite novels of all time, along with Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, George Orwell’s 1984, and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. It was weirdly amazing to see that I’d spent twenty years getting back to what he did in the Forties, in blending prosaic reality and social commentary with wildly paranormal events and characters. It locked in a literary template I’ve been unconsciously following ever since.

Now I read Tananarive Due, an amazing writer and good friend; L.A. Banks, another black horror writer whom I know mostly through her work; and a host of new writers coming out. The great thing for me is seeing the rise of so many writers of color in the field of fantasy, when there were none I could find growing up. For years we only had Octavia Butler and Sam Delany to point out in science fiction.

There are so very many more writers of color being published, and wild young voices exploring all the possibilities the field has to offer, and writing for everyone to read. I love the idea that my being in print may inspire new writers who never saw themselves or their sensibilities in horror before, of any age, color, creed, or preference.

Are there certain themes or topics you’re drawn to in your writing?

Loss and redemption, so far. My Catholic roots coming back to haunt me, maybe. I keep finding after I’ve written things that they often seem to address those issues, in different ways. How everything is temporary, but in losing one thing we find another, sometimes greater, good. I suppose it’s been a theme my whole life, moving almost every two years as an Air Force brat while I grew up. It seems to be a bigger issue for me than I thought it was, because it’s always there in the end.

If anything, I get so immersed in the worlds I create as I’m writing that whatever I may have intended to say when I went in often changes. I find meanings in my work when it’s done I never realized I was putting in when writing. It’s a very revealing process and leaves you feeling vulnerable when the book is coming out and you realize how honest you’ve been. If you’re doing it right...

What is your writing regimen? Would you recommend it to aspiring authors?

Regimen... Yes. Well. That would be a strong word to use. I now sit at the keys pretty much every day, though it took me a long time to get there. My opinion is that writers are always writing, we’re just not always writing it down. You see things all around you that feed the beast, you work in your head on story or characters or other elements of whatever you’re working on while you do errands, spend time with friends, clean house, cook dinner.

What I learned working on the final drafts of the first novel was that the writers who always said you should write every day were right. I used to binge—work out stuff in my head then spend two or three days just downloading everything from my brain into words on the screen. Working on Bite Marks I got into a daily routine—get up late morning and check the news while I eat, do e-mail, read last night’s work and do a little tweaking, then make phone calls, all the while downing cups of hot Assam tea with milk and honey. Go out to deal with the world, do errands, come home, crash, go out for dinner or a drink with friends, or make dinner at home and watch a little TV. Comedy mostly. I need a few laughs before plunging into the dark.

Anywhere from 9 to 12 pm (I have to take a break for the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report”) I hit the computer and start writing. I re-edit what I did the night before again, to get back into the head and up to speed, then plunge forward until around 3 or 4 am, when I crash into bed, sleep, wake, and start the whole thing over. Walter Moseley wrote a great slim book called This Year You Write Your Novel and he says three hours a day gets a book done in a year, and he’s right. Any more than that I may as well get a day job.

That’s three hours of writing down. Don’t forget, you’re ALWAYS writing, even while at a party or fighting with a lover or friend—a part of you is laying aside lines for a chapter, or throwing out lines to see the reaction for later when you’re alone with the book...your true love...

Do you have any other advice for my readers who are working on their first novels?

Finish it. Whatever you do, no matter how awful you think it is while you’re doing it, finish it. That’s when the real work begins. You have something from beginning to end, you know what it is, and why it sucks, and if you see the problems, you can identify and fix them.

How do you balance writing children’s television shows and writing adult horror novels? Do you ever get confused and add an inappropriate element to one or the other?

People always look at me funny when I tell them I wrote kids' TV for years before going into horror, but some of the scariest stories in the world are written for kids. I always remind people—they killed Bambi’s mother. Blam! Right in front of us, I don’t care how subtle and artful it was! Was anything more horrifying than that? How could I top that?

What I learned in twenty years of writing for kids of all ages was how to write moving stories with fully drawn characters, containing conflict and resolution with social issues layered in along the way. Some were funny, some scary, and both abilities come into play when I work on my horror novels. In short, I learned how to screw with people’s heads, and if I can keep a three-year-old child quiet and locked to a screen, involved in a story about socializing and sharing with others, thinking it’s a funny story about colorful characters they’d like to hang with—scaring the crap out of a grown up is easy.

I actually stopped writing kid’s TV when I seriously started to finish the book because I was afraid of bleed through. When I spent my days working on happy upbeat moral fables for young minds, what I wrote at night was relentlessly grim, the far side of the coin. There was no balance of light to dark. Doing graphics while I worked on the book involved a different part of the brain, and I didn’t have to switch hats in the same way. I think if I had tried to keep writing the kids’ shows at the same time, it would have been a very different book. Much smaller words for one thing, and no vampire baby. Or a very cute one.

That’s not to say I’ve abandoned writing for younger audiences. I have a scifi teen book series I am working on with a friend in L.A., and one day could see doing some Halloween-based kids’ special or series.

When will your next book come out, and what will it be about?

The next book will be out in April 2010, Blood Pressure: A Vampire Testament, the second in the Vampire Testaments trilogy, which sets the stage to continue with books set in almost any time period. That’s done, so no one needs to worry that I don’t know where to take the story next.

It was great fun to write, even if I took seven years to write the first one and had one year to write the second, because I rolled right into it from the first. I was up to speed, and I got to revisit characters I had to leave behind when I finished the first book. It was like a reunion! Twenty years older they are at least a little wiser...but there are still a few surprises. I can’t say more without spoiling the first book.

Right now I am working on a novel called Lucid Tea, which I keep calling “Faust meets Orpheus and Eurydice.” It’s about a freelance graphic artist who comes back to New York for his uncle’s funeral a year after losing his fiancée in a car crash. He’s wracked with guilt, and as he faces the one-year anniversary of her death, he begins to see her in dreams, along with his dead uncle, who’s trying to pull him into a plan to save the world from an early Apocalypse.

It’s my anti–Chosen One novel. I got tired of seeing characters born into destiny, who were always intended to do something great. This book is about the also ran. He’s not the chosen one—the chosen one was his dad, but they lost him—so Carlton’s the guy they could get. That’s how I felt a lot of times working in TV—I wasn’t the guy they wanted, but a lot of times I was the guy they could get, who got the job done.

Then it’s on to the third of the Testaments in January. I’m still working on a title...All I know for sure is that it's going to open in Shanghai, 2027, with a family of survivors from the second book about to return to New York to settle the escalating war between vampires and humans once and for all. My sister just moved there for three years because of her husband's job, and while I made plans to go visit next year, it occurred to me I could do some research, some writing, and even deduct everything! ;) The oddest things affect art...and I get to pull in and create a whole new Chinese vampire myth.

Terence, thanks for visiting my blog, and good luck with your new books.

Thank you for inviting me, and best of luck with yours! Is Transylvania Air sending a car to get us back to the airport before nightfall? Or are we running for the border from the wolves over there? Just hand me a branch of that wolfsbane, will you?

You can learn more about Terence and Bite Marks: A Vampire Testament by visiting his Website at He also blogs twice a month at Novel Spaces at His book is available at your favorite bookstore as well as online at, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.


I'll be posting twice this week. Come back Thursday for a chance to win a book by anyone I've interviewed at this blog in my second annual Birthday Bash Contest.

09 September 2009

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

If you’ve ever wanted an intense writing workshop experience, it’s time to start scrimping and scraping together your pennies for next summer. The 2010 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop has a fantastic line-up of instructors for next summer: Delia Sherman (wife and collaborator of Ellen Kushner), George R.R. Martin, Dale Bailey (horror writer), Samuel “Chip” Delaney, and, for the team-taught final two weeks, fantasy writer Jeff VanderMeer and editor Ann VanderMeer.

For more information on the 2010 Clarion workshop, see, and for more information on the instructors, visit

I expect that one day, looking back, going to Clarion will be one of the most important events of my life and of my career. I wish every one of my friends and blog readers could experience it.


Next Wednesday, I’ll have my second annual birthday contest. Stop by and post, and you may win your choice of a book by anyone I’ve interviewed here or my 5 October release, Like Mayflies in a Stream.


I’ve opened a Café Press store with Like Mayflies in a Stream teeshirts, sweatshirts, mugs, notebooks, and other paraphernalia. Please stop by and check it out.


Need to fill space at your blog? I’m available for interviews and guest posts. If you’d like to do a book review, please contact me with your mailing address at ShaunaRoberts [at] ShaunaRoberts [dot] com or leave me a note below if I have your address, and I will send you out an ARC of Like Mayflies in a Stream.

Book clubs who read Like Mayflies in a Stream after it comes out, I’m happy to attend your discussion by phone. If you’re in Southern California, I’ll try to come in person.


Please don't forget to get your flu shot soon. There needs to be a few weeks separation between getting the seasonal flu shot and getting the H1N1 (swine flu) shot, so even though it's early September, this year it's the right time to get a flu shot.


Okay, so I lied about the puppy dog tails.

07 September 2009

Blogging today at Novel Spaces

I'm blogging today about worldbuilding at Novel Spaces. Please stop by if you have a chance, and check out the posts of my fellow Novel Spaces bloggers as well.

02 September 2009

Interview with debut Western author Jack Martin

A long-time devotee of Westerns, despite being Welsh, Jack Martin published his first Western novel this year. The Tarnished Star (Robert Hale) is an old-style Western about a sheriff who finds himself on the run from hired gunmen.

Congratulations, Jack, on publication of your first novel, The Tarnished Star!

Thank you.

Tarnished Star’s a traditional Western, and I make no excuse for that. You can have social commentary and tackle serious issues that are relevant to today’s society and all its ills. But sometimes it’s good to have some pure escapist fiction with thrills, suspense, and action. That’s what I hope Tarnished Star provides.

What was your favorite part of writing The Tarnished Star?

That’s a difficult question—I’m not sure how to answer that. Sometimes I very much enjoyed the writing, but at other times, when inspiration was short, it became something like trudging uphill thorough heavy snow. But, and stretching the metaphor somewhat, when the thaw came things were coming up roses again. I think the creation of any novel is half agony and half ecstasy. You’ve just got to go with the flow.

I still love Westerns, and I know other people who do, too. Why do you think the popularity of Westerns has declined?

I’m not sure if the Western has really declined, but it’s definitely not as visible as it once was. I think there was a lot of overkill at one time and the Western started to parody itself, but there’s always been good work out there in both books and movies. I think now that the Old West is drifting further and further into history, the books are starting to have an historical worth.

These days there seem to be two kinds of Westerns—the revisionist and the classic, escapist kind. There is room for both. And another good thing that not only affects Westerns but other genre fiction is that pulp-style fiction is starting to get the image of being cool when once it was frowned upon by pompous bores. It used to be that even writers such as Raymond Chandler, these days an acknowledged genius, would get only grudging praise.

How did someone from the other side of the pond come to love American Westerns?

I was brought up on a diet of Westerns, and the sense of freedom that goes with the genre appeals to the wanderer inside me. When I was a kid, John Wayne seemed the ideal to me, and I always preferred Westerns to any other kind of entertainment, a passion I inherited from my grandfather. When my friends were watching “Star Wars,” I had my nose buried in a Louis L’Amour.

I used to think this was strange myself and that to write Westerns you had to be American, but then I thought, that’s crazy—H.G. Wells didn’t come from Mars, and Jonathan Swift certainly didn’t hail from little people land. The West of the Western is a mythical land that never really existed and is as much a fantasy as, say, Middle Earth. It’s an imaginary place and I think anyone, anywhere, can set stories in this landscape of the imagination. But the Western is as much an attitude as anything else. And what I mean by this is that it’s all about being an individual and realizing a person is in charge of his/her own destiny and that we all have this inner strength. Mind you, it’s also about fun, adventure, and frolics. I don’t think you necessarily even have to visit the Western states to write a Western.

Mind you, I am looking forward to visiting the US for the first time next year and seeing some of these places that have been a part of my imagination for so long. To many people, names like Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and many more may be nothing but place names, but to me they sound like strangely magical places the exist somewhere over the rainbow. I know I’m romanticizing things, but I don’t care because anywhere is what it means to you, and the West is very much a part of my makeup.

What writers have had the greatest influence on you?

Ian Fleming has always been a favorite—I don’t think any writer has ever mastered pacing the way he did. British Western writers such as George G. Gilman hugely impressed my young mind and still do and kept my interest in the West when times were lean. And for many years Stephen King and James Herbert encouraged my imagination. But I’ve so many writers I admire—Louis L’Amour, Mickey Spillane, Owen Wister, Elmore Leonard.

These days I’m enjoying the works of Richard Stark, Raymond Chandler, Elmer Kelton (who just passed away in August), and a lot of the old pulp writers, whom I am actually reading for the first time. And I think Max McCoy is a brilliant modern Western writer. But I guess in some way everyone I’ve ever read has influenced me to a degree. The imagination is like a sponge and it soaks up all kind of things.

Are there certain themes or topics you’re drawn to in your writing?

Independence and self-reliance are very important to me, and I think every character I’ve ever created holds these traits as a core part of their makeup. I like the theme of the Everyman facing up against huge odds and prevailing. It’s a classic theme—goes all the way back to David and Goliath. But then again, I also love to read about adventure and exploration. Hey, I like a gunfight as well as the next man.

As actor Gary Dobbs, you’ve appeared in episodes of “Dr. Who” and “Torchwood.” Who is your favorite Doctor?

Well, I grew up with Jon Pertwee, and I never missed the show in those days. I’ve liked them all, though, and I think each has brought something to the character. Matt Smith, the new kid, is going to be superb.

What is your writing regimen? Would you recommend it to aspiring authors?

I’m an odd person and I have no set routine other than to write something everyday, but when I’m working on a story it demands every waking moment. When not actually writing I’m churning things over in my mind. Obviously there are times when I just don’t feel like it, but you’ve got to be firm and get down to it. It’s like any other job, and the more you do it the better you will become.

Do you have any other advice for my readers who are working on their first novels?

Keep at it, no matter what. There will be times when you think you’re wasting your time but ignore these negative feelings that are part of all creative endeavor. Just keep going, pushing, shoving, and always have a belief in yourself that will carry you through the rough times.

When will your next book, Arkansas Smith, come out in the United States, and what will it be about?

Arkansas Smith is an enigma—he is intended to be a series character, and he should grow through each book so that the reader gets to know more about him as we go along. In the first novel, which is to be published in the UK next March and will be available at the same time in the US, we get his origin, and believe me, it was a grim and gritty beginning.

But there is still much that we don’t know about the character, and at the end of the book many questions will have been answered but a great many more will have been thrown up. He’s a classic Western type character, but he is something of an enigma, known to the Sioux as The Whispering Wind, and hopefully this will endear him to readers and keep them coming back. Book by book I plan to place Arkansas in every situation of the classic Western. I want to use all the clichés but at the same time make them somehow fresh.

Jack, thanks for visiting my blog, and good luck with your writing and acting.

Thanks it’s been great talking about myself.

Learn more about Jack (a.k.a. Gary Dobbs) and The Tarnished Star at his Website at and his blog at His book is available at and the British bookstore The Book Depository. (Note: Because The Book Depository has free shipping worldwide and lists The Tarnished Star at a lower price than, it’s actually the cheaper way for Americans to buy it.)