INTERVIEW WITH BOB LITER
Hi, Bob! We've published several of your fine stories and thought it was time to find out more about you. How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing since high school. I think I started writing to impress the girls. It was before World War II, thus so long ago I’m not sure.
Q. What types of stories do you write?
I write mysteries and romances, sometimes combine the two. I’ve been a mystery reader forever.
Q. For you, what is most frustrating about writing?
The daily grind of doing it. I’m always glad to finally finish a novel and, once I settle on a plot and theme, excited to start another.
The money, what little there is of it.
Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammet, Anna Quindlen first come to mind. So many others.
Q. How do you handle rejection letters?
At first it was annoying, sometimes difficult if it involved something I particularly liked. I’ve received so many rejections by now that I just consider it part of the business.
Q. If I were sitting down to start my very first story, what would your advice be?
Do it! Writers write. Those who wish they were writers just think about it.
Q. Do you have days when the words flow?
Yes, I think all writers do. Maybe the next day, when I look at them I wish they hadn’t popped out so easily, but other times they seem pretty good.
Q. Do you have days when the words don’t flow.
Yes, often. I squeezed them out like the last drop of toothpaste.
Sometimes, when I look at them the next day, they seem pretty good, other times they stink.
Q. What’s a typical writing day like for you?
I get up around six every morning, make coffee, drink orange juice and eat half a bagel. Then, without any stops along the way, I go into the computer room and write. Nothing else. No side trips. I go back five pages on whatever novel or short story I’m working on and edit them. By then, I’m into the thing and just continue to write. At the start of a new project I am enthused enough by the plot idea that I have no trouble getting started.
The best writing advice I ever read?
Show, don’t tell and write a story that features human conflict and emotion. Show don’t tell is sometimes hard to grasp. Mary was angry.
That’s telling. Mary slammed down the telephone receiver and swore. That’s showing anger.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I garden, bowl, play golf and watch my favorite teams on television.
Q. Do you have a ‘golden rule’ of writing that almost always works for you?
Stick to my schedule.
Q. What’s your opinion on "How-to" books on writing?
How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein, Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, Words Fail Me by Patricia T. O’Conner and The Art of Fiction by John Gardner have been helpful. I’ve undoubtedly learned from others. The danger here is that you get so involved reading about writing that you don’t write. Once you understand some of the principles of good writing the best thing to do is study the construction of books you like to read.
Q. Do you have a favorite reappearing character or type of character?
Nick Bancroft is my very favorite. He’s the protag in my mystery novels. I’m in love with Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone at the moment, but I’m fickle.
Q. Would you list the names of the novels you have written?
Gladly. August is Murder, Death Sting, A Point of Murder and Murder by the Book are Nick Bancroft mysteries. Coming soon is Tune-up for Murder, another Nick Bancroft. Other novels include Murder Inherited (Nick has nothing to do with this one) Danny Boy and Rainy Day Lover.
All of these ebooks are available at http://renebooks.com