ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An English major at Elon College, I earned a master’s degree at Appalachian State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership at the Sage Colleges. After thirty-five years in higher education and after retiring as Interim President of a public community college, I turned my attention to my first love, writing, while continuing to teach undergraduate and graduate courses on an adjunct basis at a private college in upstate New York. I saw my first UFO as a young man while camping out at Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse, New York. I saw my second while living on the beach and surfing at Emerald Isle, North Carolina, back when it was still a wild and undeveloped stretch of dunes. And I chased a black triangle along the Taconic State Parkway (NY) a little later in life. My four-volume Dan Arrow series is based on these experiences and on current conspiracy theory lore, combining the UFO mystery with national and global politics and the rumored agenda of the New World Order.
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SP: Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. First, tell me how and why you got into writing fiction? How long have you been doing it? And how do you go about creating a story? Elaborate here.
ED: In undergraduate school, I authored the college’s satire magazine and was editor of its creative writing journal. Then, as a community college English instructor, I wrote several stories that were published in local journals. I completed one novella, but never tried to publish it. Then my career took an administrative turn and for thirty years I wrote only reports and grants. When I retired, I wrote a 119,000 word novel in the first three months of retirement, followed by a 108,000 word sequel in the next four months. I never published them. Next came the Dan Arrow series, now at four novels, published by Black Opal Books. My first three novels flowed out of me as I wrote with no outlining or planning. When I finished them, I had to read them to discover what was in them. Now, I tend to jot down a one-page general outline, but as I write, twists and turns reveal themselves and the finished product is never what I first envisioned. Every time I read one of my own novels, I discover things that I had forgotten were in them.
SP: Tell me about the protagonist and antagonist of your latest book. What are their goals in the story?
ED: The protagonists are Dan Arrow, a private detective. and his love interest, FBI special agent, Mona Casola Arrow. Dan is the muscle and Mona has the brains. In Dan Arrow and the Three-Headed Ophidian, Dan discovers that his nemesis is still alive and that the New World Order is planning to implement the first commandment of The Georgia Guidestones (maintain the population of the earth at 500 million people). Realizing that ninety-five percent of humanity must be destroyed to reach that goal, Dan travels beneath Antarctica’s ice cap to foil the NWO’s plans. But, he can’t accomplish his mission without Mona.
SP: Which do you prefer, character driven stories or plot driven stories and why should readers care? Which do you write?
ED: In my novels, plot unfolds through character dialogue. Story moves quickly. To my mind, a good plot without memorable, well-developed characters will fall on its face.
SP: Tell me about your story point of view preferences, tense preferences, and any other thing of interest to you along these lines as we delve further into the mechanics of creating a story.
ED: In my novels, the principal point of view is always through the male protagonist because that is what I know. Some chapters are told from the point of view of the female protagonist, but it is difficult to feel her emotions since I have to guess at them. Sometimes my wife helps me understand how a woman might react to a specific situation, and her suggestion is often something I might not have expected. In all my novels, certain chapters are told from the point of view of the antagonist, where his plans are revealed to others in his circle. Although I have written several short stories in the present tense, my preference is almost always to write in the past, the way a person would relate a past event to a listener.
SP: What are your all-time favorite books – top three? Why? Don’t skimp here. Explore it with us? Tell us what genre they are. Who is your favorite author, if different
from your favorite book?
ED: Hands down, James Lee Burke is my all-time favorite author. Of his family of works, I prefer the Hackberry Holland series over the Robicheaux series. His descriptions are beyond beautiful. I mean, how would you describe a boat’s coming into a landing through description of its effects and without telling the reader what’s actually happening? Burke’s characters dwell in the underbelly of society. I loved Bitterroot and The Jealous Kind.
SP: What do you find is the most difficult thing about writing fiction? The easiest thing? Elaborate.
ED: When writing science fiction, the most important (and most difficult) aspect is keeping abreast of scientific advancements. For example, would John Q. Public know that a scientist has developed a telescope that enables us to see anti-matter? Research uncovers such things, and they are always important elements in my stories.
Most recently I broke away from sci-fi and wrote a historical romance based on the exploits of Major Robert Rogers of Rogers’ Rangers fame. The most difficult aspect was keeping the dialogue, behaviors, and activities in the 1750’s. I spent an abundance of time researching Rogers’ life and bringing in characters he really knew. In the end, however, it was a piece of fiction and I added an element of cryptozoology that was first mentioned in the personal journal of one of Rogers’ soldiers in 1759.
Getting back to sci-fi, I love to study conspiracy theories and always weave them into my stories. Researchers have discovered that if a person believes even one conspiracy, he is likely to be open to believing another. And, if someone disproves the conspiracy that a person believes, the very act of debunking that theory becomes part of the conspiracy itself, thus reinforcing the belief. I find it easy and fun to weave conspiracy theories into all my novels.
SP: Tell me about your travels. Where is an interesting place you’ve been? Do you travel to research your stories, or is research important to you for your stories?
ED: As a military brat, I traveled widely, crossing the country three times before I was twelve and driving a stick-shift car from Virginia to California when I was only sixteen. I have lived in Puerto Rico, Guam, and seven states on the US mainland. Most recently I took my family to Iceland for Thanksgiving, where we saw the northern lights and enjoyed Icelandic culture. A year ago, I traveled by air to Denver, where I hoped to snap a few pictures of myself beside the murals that have been widely acclaimed to connect the airport to the New World Order conspiracy. Most of the controversial artwork had been removed or painted over, which disappointed me, but which also convinced me that the rumored conspiracy is probably true (see my answer above).
SP: What kind of stories do you refuse to read?
ED: I don’t read stories that are overtly pornographic because I believe that in most cases those depicted scenes don’t carry the story along but are included only to capture a buyer. I guess I’m old, but I prefer a story that excites my intellect or that makes me wish that it wouldn’t end.
SP: Finally, the most important question – DC or Marvel? Or does that even matter to you? What is your favorite comic book character ever? If none, just make something up!
ED: DC, I suppose. I used to love Superman comics. As a kid, among my favorite heroes were The Phantom, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and Lash LaRue. But I don’t write westerns…Go figure.
Pick up Ed’s work at his social media sites, and, by all means, when you’re finished reading any of his novels write a review and post it to Amazon and other places like GoodReads. Believe me when I say, authors crave reviews.
EXCERPT from DAN ARROW and the THREE-HEADED OPHIDIAN
“Dan, that Santilli telescope is the latest technology. Have you tried it yet?”
“Not yet. I just got it this afternoon. What’s so special about it?
“I’ve never looked through one, but I think we should try it tonight. The Santilli uses concave lenses instead of convex, and what you actually see is anti-matter.”
“Yeah. It’s like propulsion…you know, for every action there is an equal, opposite reaction. It’s the same with matter. For all matter there is an equal amount of antimatter. You can see matter, but you can’t see antimatter. The Santilli telescope lets you see antimatter!”
“So, why is that important?” I asked.
“Santilli has found objects orbiting the moon and the Earth that are made from antimatter. That means that we can’t see them with the naked eye or with conventional telescopes. Around Earth, they seem to hover above important military bases, as though the bases are under surveillance.”
“This sounds interesting, Mack,” Mona said. “I think you can count on me to join you in stargazing tonight. But first, I’ve got to give Stella a bath and put her down.”
“Good night, Daddy,” Stella said clearly.
“Say goodnight to Uncle Mack, Honey,” Mona prompted, taking Stella into her arms.
“Goodnight, Uncle Mack,” Stella repeated.
Mack blew Stella a kiss.
“Goodnight, Sweetheart,” I said. “I’ll be up to kiss you as soon as Uncle Mack leaves.” I hoped that he got the not so subtle message that I was sending.
Carrying Stella, Mona left the dining room and headed upstairs to run Stella’s bath.
“So, is this telescope Italian?” I asked.
“American made,” Mack replied. “Santilli lives in Florida.”
It was nearing sundown, so I suggested that we head outside to set up the telescope while we could still read the directions in the fading light. Between the two of us, Mack and I managed to set it up in fifteen minutes. The interesting aspect of it was that it included a camera to take digital pictures of whatever we were looking at, which was good because we could study them closely after going back inside.
Mack adjusted the telescope, focusing on the moon. He used coordinates that he brought with him, wanting to see if invisible objects that Santilli had already identified were, in fact, really there. The camera didn’t snap an instant picture but, instead, its lens stayed open for fifteen seconds. Then its screen popped on to reveal what the camera had found.
The first two pictures that Mack took yielded nothing, but the third picture of the moon revealed a dark spot that was disk shaped. “Got one,” Mack exclaimed.
I looked at the screen. It looked like a human egg floating in fluid. “Are you sure about this?” I asked. “Is the lens dirty?”
“Through the traditional telescope, you see nothing, but through the Santilli you see objects. And, they’re really there. Santilli’s research has been corroborated by others. That pic is real.”