Where did this story come from?
I am a stalker victim, stalked by the same woman since 1988. I can’t say much more than that here, because she’s reading this. I’ll just say that a few of the most bizarre elements of this story are based on my own experience. I’m sure she’ll recognize them.
How did you come up with the book title?
Wanton Disregard is a familiar legal term. I registered the domain name wantondisregard.com with every intention of using that as the book’s title. Halfway through the first draft, I was smitten with inspiration while in the shower one day (happens all the time) and I dropped the dis. The title of Wanton Regard then fit the plot by describing the villain’s behavior perfectly.
What was your first overall plot concept for Wanton Regard?
I knew first that it would be a stalker story. Then, I basically wanted to have a protagonist with a good, secure, safe life slowly unraveling at the hands of a scary person she could not control. She’d eventually find herself controlled by her stalker almost completely. It’s the type of loss of control that would scare anyone. That wasn’t enough, though. Hailey’s stalker is not the only element of her life that will make her feel stalked and controlled. The story becomes a virtual dog-pile of stalking.
Why did you choose a female protagonist?
It was the only way I could get the book out of me. Writing this book out was cathartic for me. I had put it off for three years, wondering if I could stomach reliving and soaking in the uncomfortable experiences I would need to remember. Choosing a protagonist of the opposite gender kept Hailey’s experiences at arm’s length for me and made the story easier to write. This allowed me to totally immerse in the story without inducing the same stress I’ve experienced during my ordeal. Eventually I sat down and started typing. It was more comfortable than I thought it would be.
Speaking of the villain… Tell us about Gage.
Stalker stories with creepy villains are a dime a dozen. I wanted a characteristic in this villain that would set him apart. That turned out to be Gage’s patience and undeterred persistence. I can cope with someone screaming at me in frustration because I understand the emotion. They’re pissed off and reacting accordingly. What creeps me out is calm tenacity by a villain who seems to be ubiquitous, knowing he’ll get what he wants. His lack of urgency envelopes Hailey, displaying a calm confidence that is terrifying.
How long did Wanton Regard take to finish?
I began dabbling with the first draft in mid-January of 2013. For several months I jotted little more than a couple of hundred words every few days. On July 15, I buckled down and began writing a minimum of 1,000 words a day and finished the rough draft at the end of September. After stepping away from the manuscript to let it properly age in a drawer, I brought it out for 4-5 months of revision and editing.
What’s up with the Echelonians? That was weird.
When the Echelonians were introduced into the story, I had become fascinated with the wanton disregard with which many religions evangelize in the effort to convert people to their faith. There seems to be no attempt to modify their jargon or to make their verbal approach palatable to a non-believer. I’ve been approached by eerie, hollow-look-in-their-eyes zealots while they recite phrases that have meaning only to them and they seem confused that others aren’t eating it up. Many times members of these religious groups feel superior because they think they are doing God’s will. I wanted to imbue the Echelonians with these amusing, annoying and scary qualities. Convincing one of these zealots to leave you alone can make one feel precisely like a stalker victim. It became a convenient additional element to add to Hailey’s dilemma.
Did Morana, from Dire Means and HR, really make an appearance?
Yes. Everything fit for her cameo. She showed up briefly as a nod to people who have read all my books and so far readers have loved seeing her again. Of my three books, Morana Mahker is the character that I hear the most about from readers. She will return as a main player of the forth novel I’m drafting.
All of your books begin with the word “if”. Why?
I didn’t set out to begin each book with the same word, but by the time I began the third novel, I had noticed the pattern and decided to keep it. For me, it’s the easiest word to begin a story with. The word “if” is the basis of all fiction. It triggers all my scene ideas.
Have you started writing a new book?
Can you tell us what it’s about?
I can tell you only two things.
When will it be available?
That’s the most difficult question for an Indie author who’s not on a publisher’s deadline. I can’t answer, but I do know I will finish it in less time than any of my previous novels. Though I’ve improved, I’m not anywhere near as prolific as I dream of being. I want to put out two books a year. Starting …right now.
How can I be notified when you release new books?
I have a Readers Group where you can add your email address that I use with the ultimate respect. Joining this list puts you in my inner circle where you will likely see free material, inside scoop and other goodies that I am thrilled to share with readers who trust me not to spam them. Developing a mailing list has been mutually beneficial because I can easily reach readers and they seem to appreciate getting first notice of my finished projects.