What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Mystery Next Door?
This book was inspired by my granddaughter, Haleigh Rose, who was nine years old at that time. I had just published my first novel which involved the subject of human trafficking, not exactly an appropriate subject for a person of her age. She asked if she could read my book and I told her that she could read my book when her mother said she was ready. “You should write another book that I can read,” was her response. I thought about it and decided that I would accept her challenge. I considered various plots and decided that a mystery story involving a treasure would make a good story that people of all ages could enjoy. I informed her of the basic idea for the book and asked her to name the lead character. She picked the name Zoey Morganton.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Mystery Next Door, what would they be?
For Zoey and Rufus: Young Love.
For Dupree Durant and his wife Moriah: They Call the Wind Maria.
For Moses: What a Wonderful World.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
My preferred genre for reading is historical fiction since I have a deep love of history. The Mystery Next Door was my first attempt at writing on this subject but I can see that there will be other stories that can come from this area for me. I have already considered a related story that would delve deeper into Dupree Durant’s role as a spy during the Civil War.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
I’m currently reading a series by Chris Bennett called Road to the Breaking and a second series by Chris Glatte called A Time To Serve.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
My favorite scene to write was in chapter one where Zoey is exploring her new home and meets Moses for the first time. It is through this exchange that the personalities of both characters were set and guided their roles throughout the rest of the story.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Nothing that I consider quirky but others might think differently! The only thing that I do is I let my wife; Debbie read my story before anyone else. If she likes it, then it is good to go to the paid help for editing.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Life is a journey that is not meant to be taken alone! I believe in love! Being in relationship is what makes life worth living. As I have grown older, I find that my memories of those that I have been in friendship with are my greatest treasures. My friends and my family are what matter to me. When I speak of love, I am not alluding to just romantic love but of the deep friendship kind. It is these types of friendships that allow people to share their greatest moments of joy with each other as well as to gather in support for their moments of despair.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Keep an open mind. People and things are not always what they appear to be!
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