Welcome to Writers4Higher
This issue, Writers4Higher features
Hi, Jack. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I have a science background — a BS degree in Chemistry from Loyola University in Baltimore and a MS degree in Technology Management from American University in DC. When I attended Loyola University, everyone was required to minor in philosophy. We science majors groused about this requirement. Give us more physics, not metaphysics, we demanded. But our professors would shake their heads. “As you grow older, you will find the lessons you learned from philosophy will be more useful in day-to-day living than the science courses you took.” I sincerely doubted that bit of passed-on wisdom at the time, but it has, indeed, turned out to be true.
I served twenty-two years in the US Army which included a tour in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division and graduation form Command and General Staff College. My Army experiences taught me discipline, loyalty, self-assurance, and the value of friendship.
I retired from the Florida Department of Health after thirteen years. This experience taught me the value of community service.
In 2014, my wife Jackie and I will be married fifty years. This experience taught me the values of acceptance and love.
All of these life experiences have inspired and colored my writings. The first book I published on Amazon was Spirit Walk through the Universe. I began writing this non-fiction book in 1999 but didn’t publish it until 2013. It is a collection of my personal essays on cosmology and the nature of God — pretty esoteric stuff, but it brought together the disciplines of science and philosophy in my mind and on paper. I did some research, as I wrote the book, and tried to make sure the science was up-to-date, but I had been a technical writer all of my life and writing non-fiction seemed relatively easy.
Although I had no education or experience in writing fiction, I wanted to write a novel. My first attempt was a children’s book titled The Land of Lost Socks. I floated it around to a few friends as a trial balloon. It got mixed, but mostly negative comments. The plot involved a five-year old Jeremiah (named after my grandson) who crawled into a dryer in search of a lost sock. The drum started turning and the dryer took him to another dimension. After meeting strange, yet familiar characters, the dryer took him back home. His mother tried to convince him that he was knocked unconscious in the spinning drum and dreamed his inter-dimensional experiences. But he knew what he experienced was real and vowed to find a way back.
The plot didn’t work well for me either. I decided to write an adult science fiction novel, Loose Strings, based on Jeremiah as a twenty-five year old genius quantum physicist whose research is leading him to find a way to open dimensional portals using string theory. In the first two chapters, Jeremiah is undergoing psychoanalyses to uncover the basis for his recurring dreams about inter-dimensional travel. The dimensional journey includes side excursions into quantum theory, dream theory, betrayals and conspiracies, mental augmentation, military operations, the code of the warrior, ghosts, dementia, a smattering of adult content, life after death, and the irrelevance of time — something to pique nearly everyone's interest. More information about the Loose Strings premise, plot, and characters is found at the web site; http://www.loosestrings-scifi.com/. The cover art is String Theory 2, a painting by Robert Hollingworth of Melbourne, Australia, used with permission.
Because I had no experience as a novelist, I had to learn about plot consistency, setting scenes, building characters, and writing dialogue. I attended a creative writing course presented by Adrian Fogelin in the spring and retained her as a creative writing coach. I’m still learning, but she gave me the inspiration, confidence, and courage to publish Loose Strings on Amazon.
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I definitely want to keep writing. I am currently writing another science fiction book called Moon Shadows. It’s about the exploration and exploitation of our own moon and the moons of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. I haven’t quite decided on the format, it may be a collection of short stories strung together by a common theme — kind of like Ray Bradbury did in the Martian Chronicles. I may do a re-write of Spirit Walk through the Universe. And I left room for a sequel to Loose Strings. Life is good.
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I work as a volunteer for the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross as an orientation and a disaster response instructor. I also volunteer at Big Bend Hospice. Recently, I am hoping to get more involved at the Veterans Domiciliary Home in Lake City.
Would you like to find Jack?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Fiction with a Southern Twist