That's a big yes. My favorite book (or books) of all time is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I reread it every year from start to finish. I'm now into my 20-something reading and I'm on my third set. Even when they fall apart I can't bring myself to throw them away, so all three sets are still on my shelf.
Have I ever gone anywhere to do research on a book?
The book I'm working on now is a romance titled Chasing the Swallows. It's about a couple who meet in the garden of the mission at San Juan Capistrano. My partner and I went up there a few weeks ago on the train so I could get some material for the story. It's a beautiful old mission. I also once spent a day at the Museum of Man in San Diego to do research for a children's book I self published called Tonk and the Battle of the 200. I needed the research because one of the characters was a Mexican museum mouse called El Curador.
What is the best piece of writing advice I ever heard?
I read once where C.S. Lewis once said, if you can't the sort of book you want to read, then write it yourself. So that's what I do. I write books that I enjoy. (It's always a nice bonus if a few other people like to read them too.)
At twenty-six, Gordon Stafford figures his days are numbered. At least he hopes they are. Wearied by guilt and regret stemming from a horrific automobile accident two years earlier in which a man was killed, Gordon wakes up every morning with thoughts of suicide. While the law puts Gordon to work atoning for his sins, personal redemption is far harder to come by.
Then Squirt—a simple homeless man with his own crosses to bear—saves Gordon from a terrible fate. Overnight, Gordon finds not only a new light to follow, and maybe even a purpose to his life, but also the possibility of love waiting at the end of the tunnel.
Gordon never imagined he’d discover a way to forgive himself, and in doing so, open his heart enough to gain acceptance and love—from the very person he hurt the most.