What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I started with short stories and love poems in high school, and then children’s stories when I had kids of my own. When I became a CIA officer, I had to write certain things that weren’t for publication and were stored in a safe or secure computer system. After I left the Agency, I got back into writing short stories and then novels.
Some of the characters in your books share elements of your own life. Are your books autobiographical?
As with every author, there are autobiographical elements to my fiction. My story ideas come from my own experiences, observations, stories told to me, and by simply imagining, “What if?”
Should your books be read in any order?
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
First, I want readers to enjoy the books. Then, I want them to think about the issues presented in the stories and reflect on their own views, while incorporating the information provided through my characters.
Do you have a writing spot?
My thinking chairs. One is a big leather club chair in my bedroom suite, and the other is a platform rocker in my tower office (yes, an actual tower) looking out on the Crab Orchard Mountains of Tennessee.
Have you received any nominations for your works?
I’ve received two awards from the Tennessee Mountain Writers’ annual fiction contests.
Breakfast with Faulkner has been nominated for the Willie Morris Southern Literature Prize
Who are some of your favorite authors?
You’ve done a lot of traveling in your life. How many countries have you been to?
Throughout my career, I lived in 11 and visited 76.
You like to stay busy. In addition to writing, you also travel and give lectures. What do you talk about?
I speak on a variety of subjects that come from knowledge and experience I’ve gained throughout my life. Some of my recent and upcoming topics include: intelligence, espionage cases, leadership, and terrorism.
What are some of your other interests?
I’ve always loved football. I played in college, coached middle school football for a while, and still enjoy attending football games.
Until an injury intervened, I liked to play squash, golf, softball, and flag football. These days, I spend a lot of time reading and writing.