I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, my writing activities, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here occasionally.
Q. I’ve read the first two books of the Big Lake series but haven’t noticed a physical description of Sheriff Weber. I like to picture people I read about in my mind. What does he look like?
A. I like to think that every reader has their own mental image of my characters. I never did go into much of a description of Sheriff Weber. In my mind, I see him as late 30s with dark hair and a medium build, kind of like the country singer Randy Travis at that age.
Q. I have read mention of you being a firearms instructor at West Point during your Army days. My mother-in-law was a nurse at Keller Army Hospital there in the early 1980s and she remembers having to go to the range and qualify once or twice a year. She said it was always a lot of fun but wondered why the nurses had to do that. Her name was Vanessa Maab back then. I was just wondering if that range a bell?
A. I don’t know how things are in the Army now, but yes, back then even nurses, cooks, and administrative people had to qualify every year when I was in, and that was part of my job. But your mother-in-law’s time there would have been after my tour of duty at the Academy. I left there in 1974.
Q. Alli is beautiful! I am glad you chose to get a rescue dog instead of paying a breeder for one. Not that it really matters, but did she come with papers or do you know anything about her history?
A. Though we don’t have papers on her, I have been around German shepherds long enough to believe Alli is purebred. I know that she had at least two owners before us. One was a lady who I understand was unable to care for her, and then the family we got her from, who had several children and other pets. At some point she had some basic obedience training, because she understood commands like Sit, Stay, Down, and Come, as well as walking on a leash, though she needed a bit of reinforcement on some of them.
Q. I have not read anything about you cutting any of your appendages off with the chainsaw. Is it safe to assume you have not fired it up yet?
A. Not yet. Last week it was so hot it was miserable just going out the door to take the dog for a walk or to check the mail. This week has been a little better, but I’ve been working on my new book and haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s just as well, because we’ve had a lot of rain lately and the ground is very wet and soggy.
Q. In yesterday’s blog you mentioned doing some shooting when the weather improves. Is there a range nearby where you can do that? As you found out living in Florida, where we do, it is difficult to find a range that doesn’t charge a fortune to join and/or isn’t crowded all the time.
A. We have about eight acres out in the country, and a lot of our neighbors shoot. Our son and I will be building a backstop out of railroad ties for a range on our property so I won’t have to go anywhere to find a place to shoot.
Q. I am just curious how you come up with the names of characters in your books. Do you have a program that creates them, or do you pick them out of a phone book, or what?
A. A little of everything. There is a computer program I use at times called Fake Name Generator. Some, like Roberta Jensen, the blind attorney in my Big Lake series, are real people that I know. Others are first and last names of two different people I see on Facebook or even in the credits of a movie or television show. And occasionally, like with my current book, I sneak in a name of a friend to see if they catch it.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Titanic 1912: The original news reporting of the sinking of the Titanic by Ken Rossignol, including first-hand accounts of survivors as told to reporters who met the ship bringing them from where they were saved from lifeboats. The surviving crew describes the crucial moments after the ship hit the iceberg and a crewman testifies just three days after the sinking that the ship had a fire in its coal bunkers from the time it set sail.
To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I don’t know where this is, but I guess I shouldn’t complain about our Alabama heat anymore.
Thought For The Day – Time flies, but you are the pilot.