1. Tell us about yourself. I know you teach, Neil. What do you teach and where? How does that work with your career as an author? What sort of impact has this had on your writing schedule? What have you learned through teaching that you apply to your work?
Though back in 1988 I signed up for the new Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Florida International University just to learn to write better, I can see that my classes also taught me how to teach writing. Taking workshops with great writers like Les Standiford, James W. Hall and Lynne Barrett forced me to write and rewrite. I also learned how to take a more analytical approach to writing as I came to understand the basics of character, dialogue, scene, plotting and so on.
Today I teach writing at Broward College, #3 in the country in the number of associate’s degrees granted. (My campus is halfway between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, with a very multi-cultural student body that ranges in age from teenagers to mid-life career changers.) Over 60% of our students enter lacking basic writing skills, so I teach two levels of developmental writing