Name: Dennis Higgins
Age: The common age.
Where are you from? Chicago, USA.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.
I went to Catholic school for elementary and high school. I had some community college, but not for writing, for electronics.
I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my wife, two silly dogs and three birds.
I have three grown kids who are all away from the house.
I love writing and time travel.
Here are the titles of my three available books:
Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66)
Katya and Cyrus Time Pilgrims
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Dennis: First of all, thanks for having me, Fiona. I have recently completed my forth book and the last in my Time Pilgrim series. It is currently being reviewed by my publisher. I am now between projects and that is why I have time to do fab interviews like this one.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Dennis: I have always sort of wanted to write. I just didn’t know I really could be published. Years ago, when I met my wife online, we started writing one of my early fantasies…to time travel to 1871 to the great Chicago Fire. We did it for fun in a never ending story type of format, where I would write a paragraph and then she would. It was terrible because we were falling in love and it was mostly our characters heading off into a barn or a carriage or anywhere else they could find to be alone. Later, I took on the project myself, but that ended up being my second book, Katya and Cyrus Time Pilgrims.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Dennis: With my first book, Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66). I knew I was a good story teller, I didn’t know if I could put it all down in book form. But I had this idea that I knew had never been done before. A time travel story about a man desperate to find out what happened to his Grandma Kate who disappeared down Route 66 back in 1946. He follows her path and ends up in her time following her as a young woman. I wrote it and people loved it. I was a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dennis: As I said I always wanted to. My wife said to me one day, just write the first paragraph. I did and I sent it to her on email. It is still much like the opening line in Parallel Roads.
“Grandma disappeared only weeks after giving birth to my dad. She left Chicago via Route 66 on March 22, 1946, but never arrived at Aunt Karen’s in Burbank. Today they call it postpartum depression, but back then I’m sure she felt like she had gone insane.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Dennis: I would call it simplified. Straight forward, the way people talk.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Dennis: Parallel Roads was my wife’s brainstorm after reading my manuscript. Katya and Cyrus were the characters we used in our original never ending story, but I came up with Time Pilgrims because in these stories, my young characters are just learning what time travel is all about. So they are like pilgrims embarking on a new journey. Almost Yesterday is a play on words and tenses.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Dennis: Not really. I did get angry with the books that treated faith or the Catholic Church like the enemy, such as the DaVinci Code, so I throw in everyday faith in a positive light, not just Catholic, but multi-cultural faith. Not everybody in my books have it but it is mostly taken for granted.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Dennis: Except for the time travel itself, all of it is accurate. I research events and places from the past. I’m also careful about how each character speaks. Even my UK characters.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Dennis: Not really, but I think all authors put a touch of themselves and the people and places around them.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Dennis: Somewhere in Time, The Time Travelers Wife, Time and Again and Harry Potter.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Dennis: Richard Matheson who wrote Somewhere in Time, What Dreams May Come, Stir of Echoes. They were all great movies too. He also used to write for the Twilight Zone series. Unfortunately, he has passed on.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Dennis: All Bottled Up by Angela Rose which ironically is a Scottish adventure. I recently discovered that I had more Scottish in me, than I thought. I am related to the famous American, Davy Crockett and he was Scottish and Irish. I recently traced my ancestry back to a single family who came to the new world in the 1600s from Scotland.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Dennis: Sure, I have a lot of Indie author friends and I love some of their books. Too many to list.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Dennis: I sort of answered that above about my latest news. I am working around something in my brain, but it’s a secret.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Dennis: Sometimes virtual friends you meet on social networks can be more supportive than family members. I met a super talented multi-genre author who specializes in children’s books who I have made my virtual sister, having lost mine years ago to suicide. Her name is Author Virginia Wright.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Dennis: I want it to be. I know I will do it for the rest of my life. Still can’t quit my day job, Fiona.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Dennis: When I was a young boy is school, I was called a daydreamer. Today I’m sure I would have been diagnosed with ADD. I could always think up stories in my head. I never suffer from writers block. The stories always flood out.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Dennis: Sure. I have my characters doing pilgrimages in the American Civil War, where they address the issue of slavery. Another falls in love with an Indian maiden before the white man came to the land. Others meet Paul Revere during the Revolutionary War, experience the infamous Oklahoma Dust Bowl, and take a trip to Greenwich, England to meet their adversaries face to face. This is just to name a few. Secrets and mysteries that started in Katya and Cyrus are all revealed when this one comes out.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Dennis: I was once told I am all about dialogue and action. I have to concentrate on descriptive writing. I tend to tell stories through people talking to each other, much like in the movies.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Dennis: I should travel more, like a book tour, but I have other responsibilities at home. I have done a lot of travelling in the past which helps my writing be better-rounded. I have been to the UK, Malaysia, Europe, China, and the Philippines. Plus all over the United States, including Route 66.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dennis: Parallel Roads was designed by me but done by my ex daughter in-law. Katya and Cyrus Time Pilgrims and Almost Yesterday were made by my publisher from my descriptions.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Dennis: To me, it’s not the writing, but the promotions.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Dennis: I learned lots of things. I had to research the past, so I could submerge myself in how people talked, felt and responded to things in other times and places. I learned tons about the publishing world and I even get to be interviewed by a nice Scottish lady. My first actually.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Dennis: All writers I know go through this period where they think they suck. They think they are frauds and not real authors. The truth is, they are and they don’t suck. Realize that someone or many people will be loving what they write.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Dennis: If you read me and you’ve liked what you’ve read, take the time and leave a review on Amazon or where ever you got my book from. Know that my books are full of fun and a touch of romance. They are easy reads, never too heavy.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Dennis: Old Yeller. I don’t even know who wrote it, but I used to love dog stories. That’s why I have a dog time traveler in Almost Yesterday as sort of tribute.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Dennis: Not so much anymore. Writing and social networking has taken up most of my hobby time. I still work a day job to pay the bills so the next question will be easy to answer, since I come home tired and crash in front of the TV at night.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Dennis: My wife and I watch a lot of different shows. We like edgy shows like Being Human and The Walking Dead, but also enjoy comedies such as The Big Bang Theory and the Simpsons. We watch Doctor Who and recently found a UK show called IT Group that cracked us up. For movies, I like the Marvel ones, like Iron Man and the Avengers, anything time travel related and even the romantic comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Dennis: Pizza, hands down, but if the readers of your blog have never been to Chicago, they don’t know exactly what I am talking about. My favorite color is teal or any mixture of blue and green. I like pop/rock music. I have always loved the Beatles and the Moody Blues, but I like modern rock as well, such as Mumford & Sons, Estelle, Lorde and Muse.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Dennis: An actor of screen or stage. I would have liked to be in musicals, such as Phantom of the opera or West Side Story.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Dennis: Fiona, thank you again for the interview. It was a lot of fun.