The novels I've written under my own name involve ordinary people caught up in a web of intrigue in foreign locales.
I prefer exotic locales because it adds to the sense of danger and the unknown.
Rather than kick-ass protagonists, I prefer characters who have to reach into themselves and find the courage and ability to overcome a deck stacked against them. I tend to have a lot of plot because I prefer keeping readers guessing about what is happening rather than mindless action scenes.
I make no pretense at being a literati. I had a fractured education that didn’t include the great works of literature. My present excuse is that I can’t get into them.
My mother was a crazy Italian with the soul of a gypsy.
We lived in 17 towns and 30 houses by the time I was 15 years old. We not infrequently failed to stay one step ahead of sheriff deputies as we left town and once in a while ended up with beans and a bunk at the Salvation Army. I left grammar school halfway through the 8th grade, bounced around three different high schools and managed to complete a full year (the second year, not the first), worked washing cars, loading trucks, selling shoes and other jobs before returning to school as an adult, completing college and law school.
The day I passed the California bar exam, I became a small town sole practitioner.
Ultimately the "small town" was Los Angeles and my office was in Beverly Hills.
I handled criminal and plaintiff cases, trying a wide variety of actions in state and federal court. My last trial was the federal case arising from the Chippendale murder.
Although I technically have seven years of college and have taught college courses, I have struggled with "literacy" my whole life because of a lack of education in the fundamental English grammar taught through high school.
My formal education in American literature was B-movies and pulp fiction—hard boiled private eyes, sci-fi and westerns.
Once at a dinner party given by a literati, a woman asked me what writers inspired me. Expecting me to say Faulkner, Steinbeck, or maybe Hemingway, she was caught by surprise when I said Raymond Chandler. I am too polite to repeat her response.
I have also written under the banner of Harold Robbins, Gary Jennings and other individuals.
Not a recent picture!!!