Author Interview: The Agreement
Is The Agreement your first published work?
No. First I published a trilogy character study of an assassin, then a conservative political commentary. The Agreement is my first short (20,000 words) love story.
Your writing is very diverse, why did you choose a romantic story?
The love story was a personal challenge; I actually find crime stories easier and enjoyable to write. After developing a murder sequence for a proposed detective/mystery story I realized it could be modified to become the conflict in a romantic novel and went with it.
Apparently I lean toward character studies, because The Agreement follows a man and a woman while single and explores their reasons for getting married. Then it focuses on the conflicts they encounter before developing a mutually loving relationship. I like the idea of getting inside the character's head and exploring what their reactions might likely be.
Since the plot was originally for a crime story is there a bad guy?
Yes, but while he is crucial to the plot he is not a central character. He's more of a catalyst to cause conflict the married couple must face up to and deal with.
Why did you choose the short story length?
I didn't. The story is a simple one and to make it longer would have necessitated adding a lot of filler or changing the entire story line. I believe the story line should determine the size of the book, not vice versa.
Do you feel this romance story will appeal primarily to females?
Yes, but I think some men will appreciate the story too. That probably will not include the extreme macho type, but then not all women read romantic novels either. I'm not targeting it at any particular group; I just write what appeals to me and hope others enjoy my writing.
What do you intend for the reader to take away from this story?
A true sense of who the two central characters are. Hopefully they should experience the changes the couple undergoes as their relationship evolves. They initially get married for different reasons, but become one in the end.
How would you best describe your writing style?
Blunt and to the point. I don't depend on a lot of flowery prose, although I envy those writers who can use such vibrant detail. I feel my writing is simple and straight forward. While I typically use a lot of detail to describe the settings this book focuses on the personal and intimate relationship between the primary characters instead of their surroundings. The guts of the story are in the couple's private thoughts in addition to two party dialog.
In John and Karolyn's internal dialog I tried what I think is a unique approach to show the similarity of their thoughts on the same subject, but from opposing perspectives. I am curious to learn whether the readers spot it and if they approve of it.
Will there be follow up romantic novels?
I can't say. When story ideas develop in my mind I go with those thoughts and let them lead me. I don't decide to write several crime stories and then try to force the development of them. The individual story idea has to generate and develop first.
Do you feel it will be harder to gain recognition when jumping from one genre to another?
Yes, I'm sure it will be. But that's the price I'll pay for writing the stories I want to instead of confining myself to one genre. Commercial recognition would be great but personal success is more compelling at this stage of my life.
Are you a disciplined writer; do you set a goal of writing a set number of hours each day?
No, even though I'm retired I have responsibilities and interest that keep me busy, especially in the spring, summer and fall months. My wife and I have a large yard with lots of plantings that keep us busy in the warm months. Winter is when I am free to devote the most time to writing. Plus, with three children, five grandchildren and one great grandson there is always family involvement and responsibility.