I play guitar, very badly. I’m a much better keyboard player, and that’s what I’ve played for most of my musical life. As personalities, we keyboard players are a rather quiet, analytical bunch, so I made Rolly a guitar player. They are far more dramatic personalities, in general.
You obviously have a very good understanding of what went wrong in the dotcom industry. Was this a lesson that you learned the hard way though personal involvement?
MP3.com was pretty much at the epicenter of the Internet boom. I started working there a couple of months before it IPO’d and left a few months before it was dissolved, so I got to see all phases of the dotcom boom up close. It was a great experience working with a lot of great people. I’m glad to have gone through it, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to do it again. I need my sleep.
As a musician, do you actively play? Where might the average Black's Beach Shuffle fan find you serenading?
As I like to say, I’m still a musician, but they don’t let me out in public anymore. I’ve been known to sit in with a few bands in town, at Patrick’s II or the House of Blues.
Are you pleased with how early sales are going?
Not really, but after talking to some other authors and reading a little bit, I know it can take a year or so to really get a book moving. As a first-time author, it’s hard to break strong from the gate unless you’re getting a big PR push from the publishing company. I’m really trying to look at this long term. I’m hoping that modest sales and PR on the first book will give me more leverage with publishers on the second and third.
What is your next book going to be about? And when should we start keeping an eye out for it?
Black's Beach Shuffle is the first novel in a “Rolly Waters” trilogy I’m working on. I’m about three-quarters finished with the second installment, Border Field Blues, which gets Rolly involved with illegal immigrants, right-wing talk show hosts, endangered bird populations, foreign bride services, and video games. No publishing contract yet, but I hope to start shopping the novel by Fall of this year.
The third novel is entitled Slab City Rockers, and it involves bad cops, historical racial tensions, a reclusive rock star, and hippies living “off the grid” in the desert east of San Diego. I realized after I put together my notes for the trilogy that I had each of them looking in a different direction towards the “edges” of San Diego. Black’s Beach Shuffle points to the beaches and the upper-class echelons of North County. Border Field Blues points south to the Mexican border and Slab City points east to the mountains and desert.