Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting.
The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.
Spontaneity is one of the joys of existence, especially if you prepare for it in advance.
Dawn was written well before 9/11. People speak a lot today about the banality of evil, but not all evil is banal. Some of it is carefully structured and well-thought-out. That's where the real danger lies.
Living gives you a better understanding of life. I would hope that my characters have become deeper and more rounded personalities. Wider travels have given me considerably greater insight into how cultural differences affect not only people, but politics and art.
I see the Jedi mission as giving up a normal life in exchange for protecting the innocent. It's a life of sacrifice. There are rewards, but also a certain degree of sterility.
How much research I have to do depends on the nature of the story. For fantasy, none at all.
I usually do one con a year as a GoH and try to make the World Fantasy Convention for business purposes. Last year I went to a worldcon for the first time in two decades. I may go again this year.
Advances have fallen, generally, for everything except the biggest potential bestsellers. Given all the changes, both economic and technological, SF hasn't done too badly.
I've been writing full-time since 1978.
Writing allows me the time to travel and see the world, which is what I always wanted to do. I'd really like to have been Sir Richard Francis Burton, but it's the wrong century.
Besides the mistakes that are pointed out, I love the way readers become involved with the characters. When readers start asking about character motivations instead of concentrating on the special effects, it means you're connecting with them on a personal level.
In one book, CACHALOT, just for my own amusement, every character is based directly on someone I have known.
I enjoy listening to classical music and heavy metal. I play basketball and try to go diving at least once a year. I don't really have hobbies in the traditional sense... I engage in too many activities already through the actions of my characters.
Growing up, I never gave a thought to being a writer. All I ever wanted to be was a traveler and explorer. Science-fiction allowed me to go places that were otherwise inaccessible, which is why I started reading it. I was going to be a lawyer, but I got saved.