Harlaxton College

Q & A

Q: How much are your characters and stories based on real people and events?
A: Some writers have a vivid imagination and the ability to create whole new worlds. That’s not me. I use my imagination and creativity to enhance what I’ve read and experienced. Fortunately, I’ve encountered some very interesting people and unique situations and kept detailed notes. Hopefully, I’ve been transparent enough for those who deserve admiration to recognize themselves in my writing and veiled the negative issues enough to shield the others.

Q: You mention your time in England and the BBC as a big influence on you…how so?
A: Listening and watching BBC productions taught me to concentrate on the character and stories. Most noticeable when I first arrived in England and on my return to the USA was the use of beautiful people and special effects. “UK productions for the most part starred ordinary-looking characters with unusual mannerisms involved in unpredictable stories. While so much emphasis here is on beauty, youth, explosions, car crashes, and murder. Today Masterpiece Theatre is an example of that BBC story-telling legacy.

Q: Can you give me a specific example?
A: Yes, “To Serve Them All My Days”. Almost 40 years later I’m still haunted by the protagonists, a British soldier suffering from shell shock and trying to adjust to society. He takes a teaching job at an all-boys school eventually becoming the headmaster. No beautiful people or special effects that I can remember or a story that would make you take notice. But, every week I couldn’t wait to see how our hero would handle his duties and cope with his anxiety. My heart went out to him and I pined for the show long after it ended. In fact, my first novel Old Main is loosely based on that early 80’s series.

Q: What were you doing in England?
 A: I served as the Dean of Students at Harlaxton College, an American owned and operated English campus catering to American students and faculty wanting to spend a year abroad and foreign students wanting to experience an American college. I was honing my skills to become a college president.