Boyd Morrison (also a co-author with Clive Cussler) interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Sep 2, 2016 4:30:18 AM

Boyd Morrison interview with David Alan Binder

Dear Writers and Dear Readers, this is the second author I’ve interviewed that is a co-author with Clive Cussler.

Here is his bio from his website (caveat; it is long but informative and he is quite accomplished): My wife and I had a unique agreement. After we had been married for three years, she decided to attend medical school, but having earned an English degree in college, she needed two years for her pre-med requirements. So that meant nine years of pre-med, med school, and residency, during which time I was the wage-earner with a full-time job, unable to spend much time on my passion, writing fiction. When she became a practicing physician, I got nine years to make my dream come true and become a published author as she supported me. It was a great deal. I did it in less than five years.

I took a roundabout route to becoming a novelist. Fresh from earning a BS in mechanical engineering from Rice University, I got a job with Lockheed working on the Space Station Freedom project at Johnson Space Center. I got to play with a lot of cool stuff like the space shuttle and station mockups, the robot arm, and the Precision Air-Bearing Floor, which is like a giant air hockey table that simulates microgravity. The best experience I had was when my job required me to fly on NASA's Vomit Comet, the same KC-135 plane used to train astronauts for zero gravity and to film the space sequences in the movie, Apollo 13. I didn't vomit.

After a couple of years at NASA, I decided to go back to grad school and get a PhD in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech. My specialty in ergonomics came in handy at RCA, where I designed electronic program guides for TVs and digital satellite systems. During my career at RCA, I earned eleven US patents.

When my wife and I moved to Seattle for her residency at the University of Washington, I got every ten-year-old boy's fantasy job in the Xbox games group at Microsoft. As a usability manager I got paid to play video games. I was credited on both PC and Xbox games, including Project Gotham Racing 2, Flight Simulator 2004, and Forza Motorsport. I left Microsoft to become a full-time writer, but I'm still a gamer.

In 2003 I fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a Jeopardy! Champion.

As a professional actor, I have appeared in commercials and films and in stage plays such as Noises Off, Barefoot in the Park, and The Importance of Being Earnest.


Face Book:


1. How do you pronounce your name?

It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled.

2. Where are you currently?


3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

If you want to have a writing career, you have to be persistent. There will be lots of ups and downs, and you have to believe in yourself through all of them. For writers, patience is a virtue.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I tend to solve vexing story problems when I go for a walk. The fresh air must get the brain cells working.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is about what your strengths, preferences, and goals are. If you like complete control, you’re prolific, and you’re very good at many different things besides writing (e.g., marketing, formatting, cover art, publicity, working with independent editors, and more), then alternative or self-publishing may be the way to go. But if you don’t have those skills and want to concentrate on just the writing, maybe traditional publishing would be better for you.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I have many publishers in many different countries. Some of my US books are published by Simon and Schuster (New York), my books co-written with Clive Cussler are published by Penguin (New York), and my British publisher is Little, Brown UK (London).

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books?

There shouldn’t be any eBooks vs. print books. Those are just delivery methods for your writing, and you should publish in both formats because different readers have different preferences. And don’t forget audio books.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? Unfortunately, there are no secrets, shortcuts, or formulas. It’s simple to say, but hard to do: Write a great book that people can’t stop reading.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Most agents require email queries now. There are tons of books about how to write a great query. Writer’s Digest also has good tips every month. I’d also suggest attending writer’s conferences where you can pitch agents your story (that’s how I found mine).

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Don’t stop writing when you’re done with the first book. If you want to write as a career, finish that first book and then go on to the next one. Treat it like a job, which is what you want it to be. If you get published, your publisher is going to want one book a year, so you might as well get used to the schedule now.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

That excitement for a story wears off as you get into months of writing it. It’s hard to stick with a novel for a year or more. It’s how you deal with those rough spots that determines whether you’re going to finish the project or not.

11. How many books have you written?

Eight: The Catalyst, Rogue Wave, The Ark, The Vault, The Roswell Conspiracy, The Loch Ness Legacy, Piranha, and The Emperor’s Revenge.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Read, read, read. Learn from the best, which means the successful writers in your genre. Analyze their stories to see why they work, and figure out what is similar from story to story so you can see why plots, characters, descriptions, and scenes are memorable or resonant.

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Seed them early in the story so they pay off later. Surprises come out of nowhere, but good twists are apparent in retrospect. I call it honest deception. The writer has to play fair, yet make it difficult to see the twist coming.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

A fast start, chapter endings that impel the reader to keep reading, and a satisfying conclusion that makes the reader want to pick up the author’s next book.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Other than social media, I use a service called Bookbub to promote my self-published books when I put them on sale. The other great promotion is to come out with a new book. That always generates interest in previous books. Lastly, and I can’t emphasize this enough, write a great book. A great book will sell itself through word of mouth.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I’m pretty happy with where my writing career is right now, so I don’t know if I’d do anything differently. Who knows if I would have gotten to this place by another route?

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

It’s a quote by Mary Heaton Vorse: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”