Crasher’s April Mailbag

Once a month I’ll answer questions about my book, the writing process or life in general. This edition brings a wide variety of questions. If you have one you’d like answered in the next Crasher’s Mailbag, post them in the comments section.

Ruby asks: Do you jot down pages upon pages of notes from which you craft your story?

I don’t. I do quite a bit of research and then save the websites where I found the info in a special directory in my favorites list so I can go back and find them when I need them, but keep very few actual “notes.” It’s one of the benefits of writing fiction in that I can just make things up. When I need to know how to do a particular action, such as picking a lock or making a bump key, I watch videos or talk to one of several friends of mine tasked with bringing down the bad guys. When it comes to the story itself, I have most of the plot floating around in my head. Usually the first few chapters and the last few. I allow spontaneity to fill in the rest.

Linda asks: Why isn’t the word phonetic spelled like it sounds?

One day, when I had way too much time on my hands, I researched this very question. It seems there are two main reasons which made sense to me. The first is, the land from which our language hails, has seen invasions by Normans, Romans, the French and others, all of whom brought their own dialects and spelling, making the U.K. a huge melting pot when it comes to how words are spelled. Then, with the invention of the printing press in the 1440s, master printers chose the spelling they liked the most, sometimes making very odd choices. Just think about someone like me, who can only spell with the help of a computer, got to pick how words were spelled just because I was the first kid on my block with a printing press? Things wud be spelt a lot diferentle. Would it be better if we, as English speaking people, started spelling words phonetically? Yes. But so would changing to the metric system. How did that attempt turn out in the good ole U.S. of A.?

Bill asks: I am what I am! Unless I are what I are?

It would depend on what your definition of are, are. I’m guessing you’re not saying you are equal to 100 square meters as I know you are an All-American Kentucky boy and would never use metrics. So I’m guessing you’re using are as the plural form of the present tense of be. Which would mean…well..hmm…what was the question?

Jan asks: Who will win the NCAA tournament and will it ever get warm?

First off, the winner will be the one who scores more points than the other team. And I’m guessing while it will get warm here eventually, it won’t in Hell anytime soon, seeing I predicted Hell would freeze over before the University of Louisville wins another NCAA championship and I think they will cut down the nets on April 8.

Kurt asks: In The Hand of God (available from Hydra Publications on all the major book websites, shameless plug now inserted) who’s your favorite character other than Vic and why?

(Minor spoiler alerts. Skip this answer if you have not read the book)

Choosing among characters is much like choosing among children, but since they cannot give me coal for Christmas (which my children have threatened to do) I’ll say my favorite would have to be Samantha. Samantha is a character who shows both vulnerability and great strength of will. She stuck her neck out to try and stop a group she knew to be incredibly dangerous just to try and save her own father. Now, when it comes down to whose dialogue I enjoyed writing the most, of course, it would have to be Kurt, the loveable computer geek. Happy, Kurt?

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