Marc Cameron Writing for Tom Clancy ~ Interview (part 2)

Alaska office

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

MC. I do a great deal of freewriting and plotting at the beginning of any project. The lion’s share of that is done with a pencil or fountain pen. I’m partial to Blackwing 602 pencils. I buy them by the dozens and always make sure I have a bunch with me when I travel. I carry a small brass sharpener on my keychain every day. My wife gave me a very nice Montblanc fountain pen years ago when I was promoted to chief deputy with the Marshals Service. I write a healthy portion of each book with that pen, pencils, or some other fountain pen. I have several manual typewriters and I sometimes bang out a chapter on one of them for fun, to remind me of the good old days when I couldn’t cut and paste. I like yellow Rhodia notepads for longhand work. The paper is great for pen or pencil. I burn through five or six pads for an Arliss Cutter or Jericho Quinn novel and as many as ten for a Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan. Still, my laptop gets plenty of use too.

Horse pack camping ~ eldest son ~ Idaho 1996.

Q. Do you have pets? Tell us about them and their names.

MC. I was a mounted police officer for my department in Texas and a horseshoer to help make ends meet in those early years. We had a number of ranch horses during our time in Texas and while I was station in Idaho, but not Alaska. My family has had blue heeler cattle dogs as well as a cat or two for most of my adult life—maybe a reason my wife and I find ourselves steering our grandkids toward watching Bluey during their scant TV time. We’ve had Rowdy, Bandit, Belle, Pepper, Havoc, Mazie, and a few others over the past thirty-plus years. Mazie, our last, passed away a few years ago at the age of twelve. We travel so much now that we’ve held off on any new dogs…for the time being.

Q. Do you enjoy writing in other forms (playwriting, poetry, short stories, etc.)?
If yes, tell us about it.

MC. I grew up reading short stories. My short fiction has appeared in both Boys’ Life magazine and The Saturday Evening Post. My other commitments keep me focused on longer projects, but I always have some little story hanging around out there to toy with for fun. Lately, I’m dabbling at some screenwriting. I enjoy reading poetry, but writing it eludes me.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

MC. I think a lot of procrastination comes from fear. Fear of not knowing where we’re going. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of someone not liking our stuff. Twenty-five novels and a gob of short stories down the road and I still remind myself that it’s normal to make mistakes. I don’t have to get everything right the first time. I can fix anything but a blank piece of paper. Deadlines help too, either from the publisher or self-imposed as long as there is accountability. I’ve asked my wife to check on my word count periodically throughout the day. Also, I don’t read my Amazon reviews. Good or bad.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

A. Almost thirty years of law enforcement has afforded me a deep roster of interesting characters to draw from. Most everyone I write about is inspired by some combination of people I’ve either arrested, investigated, or worked alongside in the trenches. I’ve kept a small notebook for years and written down descriptions, names, quirks, etc. that show up in my books all the time.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

Part 3 will follow next week….

Did you miss Part 1 of this fascinating Interview?

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Watch for more interviews with authors.  October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM, November:  Horror writer, Kevin J. Kennedy, December: Marc Cameron, writing for TOM CLANCY




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