People often ask me...

...how I got started as a writer.
 
My first experience in creative storytelling goes back to my childhood, when I used to tell stories that I made up to my friends in the neighborhood back in Brainerd, MN. In grade school, I became fascinated by the Medieval period and read everything I could about Robin Hood, Monasteries and Monks. My original storytelling was about cowboys and indians. In high school, I loved history and creative writing, one of my teachers published his first book and that was exciting. In the monastery, where silence reigned, I was obsessed with writing: poetry, history and biographical material. My first novel, the Windrider dates back to the '70's as does my second, The Shack. It took almost thirty years to get back into the medieval novel started in the '80's, which was published as "Jihad 1095 A.D." this past year.

...what I do when I cannot think of anything.
 
My approach is like an immersion process, and if I hit a dry spell, I raise the imersion factor. I love to forage in contemporary fiction for inspiration when doing a project. THis might be movies (Writing for me is very visual), tv shows, or written sources. The internet is amazing for this kind of resourcing. When writing about the siege of Antioch, I had one computer screen showing images of the landscape around the city today, in order to gage the mountains and view, that the attackers might have seen a thousand years ago. Each story is unique, no matter where the inspiration comes from. The city of Boston has help me in this way, sitting in Boston Common, walking the downtown area, all help fix the images that I write about.