From narrating short stories to eighty-thousand-word novels

I have three daughters. As children, I used to tell them bedtime stories, which I made up as I went along. They included tales about fairies, dragons, or things that go bump in the night.

At one time I was a teacher and used to take some of my pupils camping. The highlight of an evening would be to sit around a campfire. Here I would tell them more off-the-cuff stories about ghosts or headless mail coachmen being chased by highwaymen.

I started jotting these stories down and amassed a collection of twenty or so. I forgot about them for some thirty years. When I retired I came across the again, backed up on a 3½″ disk. This was the incentive to start writing.

I must confess I do not always prepare an outline. Sometimes, I begin by writing the opening chapters and then the conclusion, skipping around in the middle as ideas come to me. In truth, both methods seem to work.

Bernadine, my wife, is a great resource. She helps with the plot, makes constructive suggestions about what works and what does no. She is a forceful editor and a dogged proofreader. I am indebted to her.

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