Dee Ann was raised the youngest of seven children in a small suburb of Massachusetts. Gifted with a sharp imagination and natural talent for writing, she discovered Stephen King when she was a teenager and learned that she could express her own dark thoughts best through her own writing.
Her interest in the fields of sociopathy and psychopathy fueled her writing and eventually she attracted interest from agents and publishers for her international-thriller The Consequential Element, which she ultimately opted to self-publish.
Dee Ann Waite Interview
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Books by Dee Ann Waite
Dee Ann Waite Transcript
Tim Knox: Hi everyone and welcome in to another edition of Interviewing Authors. Dee Ann Waite is my guest today. Dee Ann is the author of the action adventure thriller The Consequential Element and the psychological thriller Mists of Bayou Rhyne, and the upcoming thriller Where Demons Hide.
Dee Ann’s study of sociopathy and psychopathy fuel her imagination. One of my favorite quotes from the this interview is when Dee Ann asserts that you could be walking down the street and not know that 9 out of 10 people around you are sociopaths. The best quote is “sociopaths are a dime a dozen.”
And that was just the tip of our interview. Dee An talks about how she writes, how she publishes and markets her work, and her plans for the future.
A great interview with a writer that you’ll definitely be hearing more from in the coming years.
Here then is my interview with Dee Ann Waite, author of The Consequential Element, on today’s Interviewing Authors.
Tim Knox: Dee Ann, welcome to the program.
Dee Ann Waite: Thanks, Tim. Thanks for inviting me.
Tim Knox: I’m happy to have you here. You and I have a whole lot to talk about. Before we get started though, if you will, give the audience a little background on you.
Dee Ann Waite: Alright, a little background. My name is Dee Ann Waite and I’m from central Florida, around the Cocoa Beach area. I am an author of action adventure thrillers. I wrote a book called The Consequential Element, which is an action adventure military international thriller. It starts off in the streets of Boston, Massachusetts and ends up in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I also wrote a book called Mists of Bayou Rhyne, set in the Mississippi Bayou. My intense interest in psychology and my studies of psychology led me to my third novel, which is a psychological thriller with a working title right now called Where Demons Hide but that could change.
Tim Knox: That’s a great working title though.
Dee Ann Waite: Thanks. It’s part of a I’m hoping to be trilogy – Where Demons Hide, Where Demons Play and Where Demons Die. It’s got to do a lot with sociopathy and psychopathy, and it gets into detail, more in-depth detail about those two issues.
People don’t realize that they could be walking down the street and 9 times out of 10 the person standing next to them could be a sociopath. They’re very, very common. It’s very, very common and people just don’t realize it. Psychopaths are a lot different but sociopaths are a dime a dozen.
Tim Knox: How did you get interested in this? What was your background before you started writing books? What did you do?
Dee Ann Waite: I did a lot of different things but some of the things I did kept leading me towards law and the military. I have a strong background with that in my family, with my brothers. They were all in the prison system – not in the prison system but they worked for the prison.
Tim Knox: Let’s clarify.
Dee Ann Waite: Let’s clarify, yeah. I myself was a private investigator for five years so I did a lot of street work with some not so good people. We’ve got some FBI in my family down the line. When we had a party at our house it consisted basically of law enforcement or prison personnel and detectives and that kind of thing. That was the conversation that was always going around. It was eventual that I was going to end up in that sort of field.
It became kind of dangerous, the private investigating. My brothers wouldn’t allow me to work at the prisons so I got into private investigating and it got very dangerous actually. After having a gun pulled on me a couple of times I decided I needed to get behind a desk because I had children and I didn’t want anything to happen to my children.
Tim Knox: Are you originally from Florida? I’m getting like a Jersey accent.
Dee Ann Waite: I’m from south of Boston.
Tim Knox: I’m from Alabama. Everyone either sounds like they’re from Mississippi or New Jersey. Let’s go back a little further than that. How long have you been writing?
Dee Ann Waite: Oh I’ve been writing probably since I was a teenager.
Tim Knox: When did you first get interested in writing and was it when you were a teenager?
Dee Ann Waite: I think I got interested in writing when I was about eight years old actually. I was on a long… it was supposed to be a daytrip but turned into a weekend trip with my folks. To appease me they kept throwing notebooks at me so I could color or scribble or whatever.
My mother inadvertently just yelled out one time, “Why don’t you just write a story? Write a little story to me,” and so I wrote this little story and they made a big deal about it, a great big deal about it. Then I just started writing little stories after that.
When I was about 13 I started my hand at poetry. I was sort of one of those dark teenagers and so I started writing my feelings out that way through poetry. Then I think when I was about 17 I wrote my first short story and I’ve been writing ever since.
Tim Knox: So you kind of got the bug early. Do you remember what that very first story was about?
Dee Ann Waite: A flea circus.
Tim Knox: A flea circus. I love that. I always ask that question and I always get it’s a flea circus or a pony or something along those lines. But that early encouragement is what led you to continue going on and on. Did you go to college?
Dee Ann Waite: Yes, I have some college but it wasn’t writing. In fact it was in accounting. I had to take some writing classes and my suppository writing professor came out one day, took me down the hall. He had said the very first class that he does not give ‘A’s. “If you get a ‘B+’ in my class consider it an ‘A’.” I got straight ‘A’s in his class.
He took me out in the hallway one night and he said, “You have to write.” It was about 25 years later when I actually wrote my book.
Tim Knox: That’s one of the things that I find is kind of a common theme among writers who started off early and did some writing in college but then life gets in the way and family, career, that sort of thing. 25 years later, is that when you decided to pick it up and do something with it again?
Dee Ann Waite: Yes, actually the book that I wrote, The Consequential Element, that came about… it was a bit of an accident. I peck around on the internet a lot and I get into these little political areas and what not.
One day a few years ago I was looking at some things and it came up about China and the rare earth element issue between China and the United States and how it affects us, not just by our daily uses of cell phones and going green and that kind of thing but how it affects our military. That again goes along with my law enforcement, military background and everything. It’s dear to my heart. The military is very dear to me.
To think that our borders could be at risk or anything like that intrigued me so I dug into it deeper. Then I started talking about it with some friends and family and I was amazed that nobody knew about it. Everybody knew about the healthcare issues and all this other stuff but nobody knew about rare earth elements. Or they may have heard about it but nobody ever knew what was going on.
It consumed me because I thought we’re not going to have to worry about healthcare reform if we lose our borders. So I started to write what I thought was going to be a nonfiction book and, okay, this sounds a little weird but voices started talking to me.
Tim Knox: It’s not weird at all.
Dee Ann Waite: Characters started coming out of nowhere and then it turned into a fiction with the underlying element of the rare earth issue but it’s not really the prime subject of the book. I wanted to bring that to people’s attention.
Tim Knox: I was going to ask you about that because it really is a geopolitical book. I mean it starts off with a young girl escaping this rebel regime in Africa and then she goes on and discovers some things that could result into bad things for the entire country.
I thought it was very Tom Clancy-ish and believe me that is a very high compliment.
Dee Ann Waite: Thank you so much.
Tim Knox: How long did you work on the book?
Dee Ann Waite: Two years. I had a full-time job so I was working on it between and it took me about two years. I was doing research with it. To be honest with you, the whole time that I was writing the book, I never actually thought I was going to finish it. It was almost like a continuing work in process.
Then when I got three quarters of the way through I started to realize, wait a minute, I actually have a book here and it actually speaks to people. It has a message in it. Then I started more concentrating on the end and I actually wrote the words, ‘The end’, went out and had some wine and chocolate.
Tim Knox: So when you ran out of wine, that’s when the book was done. Let’s talk a little about the process because you did have other things going on. Did you just write whenever you could grab a few minutes or did you try to work on it every day? How possessive was this project for you?
Dee Ann Waite: I’d say the first month of writing was basically just getting thoughts on. I didn’t even realize I was writing toward a book. I just wanted to get some information out. Like I said, I started off in a nonfiction capacity. I was just trying to get things down, facts down and that kind of thing.
I was doing a lot of research because that stuff interested me. I was going into different sites and I was looking at different things and reading different things. The more I would read, the more my blood would boil and I’d start writing down more.
Then I think around the second or third month is when I started putting it into some sort of context and making it like a book. It almost became – I know this isn’t a word – but diary-ish, sort of like a diary. That’s when I started getting characters. This Danielle Montgomery and this Kayden Moreau, these people started coming through and then it turned into that.
That’s when it turned into a book and I started actually putting concrete time into it and that’s when I started to try and write every day. I became obsessed with it.
Tim Knox: How many words did it end up being?
Dee Ann Waite: Way too big. I had to cut a lot out.
Tim Knox: So as you were working on this book… was this your first work of fiction? I assume you were learning to write fiction as you went along then.
Dee Ann Waite: Yes, exactly, completely from scratch. I mean I didn’t even know… I knew nothing. I didn’t know how to develop characters. I didn’t know how to write dialogue. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know how to shape a plot. I didn’t know what subplots were, how they affected the story. I didn’t know anything. I started completely from scratch.
I joined circles. I joined free writing clubs. Just anything I could do where I could pick brains I did. I’m a quick learner.
Tim Knox: Did you self-edit?
Dee Ann Waite: The final product?
Tim Knox: Yeah.
Dee Ann Waite: No. Along the way I did a lot of self-editing. I took some English classes, quite a few actually. I was heading toward an English degree and then I ended up going into accounting. So I did a lot of self-editing along the way but the final product was professionally done.
Tim Knox: I think that’s one of the hardest things that authors have to do, is edit their own work. It’s very smart to let someone else do it.
Dee Ann Waite: Absolutely. I would never suggest self-editing a final product.
Tim Knox: So you wrote this book and at some point you decided, hey, this is pretty good. This is something I can get out there. What was your process for bringing the book to market? Did you self-publish?
Dee Ann Waite: I did actually but it wasn’t because of noninterest. I go to several conferences throughout the year and I had gone to one of my writing conferences and I pitched the book to a couple of agents there. All three of the agents that I pitched to asked for the full manuscript. I sent it and while I was going through this process I was also researching publishing, researching publishing houses, agents, what was going on with the market and the industry.
You can remember at the time two years ago when I started publishing this, all of this was blowing up between self-publishers and publishing houses and all of this. I was getting so many conflicting stories. “Oh you have to self-publish.” “Oh you need an agent. You have to go with a publishing house.”
There were so many different things and when I actually got an agent and I actually started going through the process, the traditional process… okay, I’m a little bit greedy. When I found out the bottom line I thought, okay, this is my first book. It’s probably not going to be top shelf. The chances of me getting picked up by Random House is probably going to be a little bit slim.
I want to go ahead and self-publish my own book, get it out there, get the feedback, make mistakes, see what I need to do with this thing and then on my second book that I wanted to write with The Consequential Element which is set in Tibet. On my second book then I maybe want to shoot for the more traditional route because then I’ll know both ends of the market.
Tim Knox: I don’t think that’s very greedy at all. I think that’s brilliant. A lot of first time authors, even if they get an agent to give them the time of day, they would I don’t want to say sell your soul but a lot of them would not even worry about the amount of profits that they’re going to get or control or the first impression. I think that’s very important.
You have a longer view of it and were more worried about what’s going to happen down the road then the first impression. I think that’s very smart.
Dee Ann Waite: Oh yes, thank you. When I was in the middle of writing that book and realized that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to write, I started with long term goals. I wanted to make this more than one book. This is going to be three, four five. This could be 10 books down the road. This is what I want to do.
When I started looking at it in that aspect, that’s when I started taking things…. instead of rushing into anything I wanted to take my time and pan it all out. As you know, writing is not a fast turnaround. It’s a long, lengthy process.
Tim Knox: Well there has to be an amazing amount of self-control to say, “Hey I’m going to keep this. I’m going to do it myself then we’ll talk down the road.” So you decided to self-publish. When did the book come out?
Dee Ann Waite: It came out on June 28th, 2012.
Tim Knox: Tell me how that went. You did via Kindle and Amazon.
Dee Ann Waite: Yes, I went through Amazon only. I went through Amazon first and KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. Again, not knowing anything it was all trial and error. I didn’t sell anything. I sold like 24 books in two months, 12 books a month. I wasn’t even devastated. I was just sort of floored. I didn’t know numbers. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know authors or agents. I didn’t know anybody so I didn’t know what was good and what was bad but 24 books in two months wasn’t great.
So I started to research. I didn’t know marketing. That’s not my background. So I thought well what do I need to do? I need to research marketing because obviously that’s a whole other end of this that I have to do. So I spent the next couple of months researching marketing, trying to figure out what’s the best thing and how do you get a book out there? Of course there’s tons of reading on how to do that and there’s tons of websites and blogs and people.
That took another five, six months. The book was out the whole time and of course I utilized KDP’s free days. You get five free days in like a three month period. So I utilized that. I made a lot of mistakes. You get five free days in three months. Well I used all my five free days in the very first time. I had to wait three months before I had more five more days. So there’s a mistake. There’s something learned. You’ve got to stretch that out and then you’ve got to advertise for it and I didn’t know. I put the book up for free and then I went online and said, “Oh here, my book is free.” I didn’t tell anybody beforehand. There was a whole lot of learning going on with that.
I’d say the first year of having my book out, I did sell and I was very surprised that it was selling but in that first year it didn’t sell stupendously because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was learning it all.
After that first year I started to connect because during all of that I was building my social network too. So now I’m meeting more people and I’m learning more things and I’m meeting the right people because I’m weeding through. This doesn’t sound so great but I’m trying to weave through the people at my level and I’m striving for the people way beyond me so that I can learn and pick their brains.
I hooked up with some people and they gave me the right advice and I started marketing my book with their tactics and my book sold.
Tim Knox: Can you share a couple of those tactics? What did you learn?
Dee Ann Waite: Well social media is huge. That’s my biggest avenue I think. I lean heavily on Twitter. I know people will deny it and say, “No, Twitter’s no good.” Well it’s bringing me sales. It paid for my entire Christmas last year.
Tim Knox: Oh wonderful.
Dee Ann Waite: And I do a lot with Facebook. Even though I only do a couple of posts here and there with Facebook, it’s enough for people to be involved and I sell books there, and Goodreads too and I’ve got quite a following now.
Tim Knox: Were you surprised that you had to become this entrepreneur marketer?
Dee Ann Waite: Absolutely.
Tim Knox: You wanted to be a writer but now you’re in business, huh?
Dee Ann Waite: Oh absolutely. If I didn’t have any business sense from previous things then it would have been that much more of a struggle for me. I have had small businesses in the past that I’ve developed and sold for myself. One was an office business that I had up north. Before outside sourcing was big I started a small business for outside sourcing to large corporations. So I built that up and ended up selling that. Then I had a photography business that I was doing for quite some time and I ended up selling that too. I’ve had some business experience along the way.
So when I started doing this, this was completely different to me. It was like, wow. This was a product but it wasn’t like the services. I’ve always offered services and this was a product. How do I get my product out there? That was my big thing.
So through all of my research and talking to these other people, a lot of it was getting the product in front of the right audience. So I had to research my audience, learn who my audience was. That was big. You hear that all the time. Who’s your audience? How do you answer that? My audience is pretty much everybody. No, you’ve got to narrow that down. That to me was one of the hardest things that I had to do.
Tim Knox: What you described there is it really is the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business. You realized that your readers are your customers and your books are your product.
Dee Ann Waite: Right.
Tim Knox: It really is entrepreneur 101. So let’s talk a little about your second book, Mists of Bayou Rhyne. How did that come about?
Dee Ann Waite: When I finished writing my first book, which everyone said was epic, my best advice that I got from my agent was you need to write something completely different. Get your mind off of it, something you don’t have to put a whole lot of research in, something that you know and something you can just breeze through. You need to keep writing so write.
I have been in Mississippi. I’ve been to the Bayou up there and I had kind of a creepy experience up there. I was by myself and I had taken out a canoe and I went through the Bayou and there happened to be a lot of mist. Like I told you, I like photography.
So I was out there doing my thing and these two guys came out and they were standing on the bank and they reminded me of that Clint Eastwood movie where those guys are up in the woods and… I forget the name of that movie.
Tim Knox: It sounds like Deliverance.
Dee Ann Waite: Deliverance, that’s it. For a moment there I felt like I was a part of that.
Tim Knox: Did you hear banjo in the background?
Dee Ann Waite: Yeah in my head. This woman came out of nowhere and she started yelling at these guys and they turned around. She was just yelling about what they were doing and they should be doing this. They just turned around and walked away with her. I thought that was really weird.
When I decided to start writing a book, I thought I’ll write a young adult book about a young girl in the Mississippi Bayou and then it turned into a young adult thriller. She gets kidnapped in the Bayou. Then it turned into sort of some paranormal influence where there are spirits in the mist that speak to this girl and they help her solve a murder and they help her rescue.
Tim Knox: So this was a young adult thriller book, if you will. How different was writing in that genre than the one you had come out of with the first book?
Dee Ann Waite: Hugely different. My first book was very intense. There was a lot of violence because there’s violence in Africa, I mean in the Congo itself. In fact I have a friend who was a survivor form a rebel raid on her village. Her and I did a lot of communicating while I was writing my book so there’s a lot of truth in my book as well. It was very heart wrenching in a lot of ways, the things that the rebels do when they kidnap a village and they take the children. All the stuff that I wrote about in that book, that’s actual. That’s true. That’s what they do. So it was very difficult, it was very emotional to write.
This young adult thriller was actually just fun. I had a blast writing it. I wrote the book in less than three months. I had it complete in less than six. I had it professionally copyedited by my 7th month and it was prepared and ready to go. It was just a fun read, a fun write. It’s due to come out in December of this year. Now I’ve already put the arch out and have gotten a lot of feedback and everything has been very positive with it.
Tim Knox: Is this one being published traditionally?
Dee Ann Waite: I have an agent who’s looking at it and she’s very interested in it and she’s thinking of taking it over. In fact she’s told me twice that she will take it; I’ve just got to make some changes to it. I’m still in the, “Well you know, I could do it myself,” thing. I’m still not positive on how I want to do it. I’m leaning toward the self-publishing of it. She’s fine with that. She wants to help me with that as well. She’s an awesome girl, awesome agent. She’s out of New York and she’d go with me either way I want to go with it.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about your journey. You did have to learn all this and you put in a lot of research. I think the one thing that… I took notice of you because I found your blog and you offer a lot of advice. You offer a lot of insight. I honestly thought you had been writing a lot longer than you had because you’re dead on with some of your advice.
Talk a little about character development and dialogue because that’s one thing a lot of authors sometimes miss when they’re writing. Give us your best advice there.
Dee Ann Waite: Yeah I’ve been told by a number of people that I have very strong characters and I’m really good with my dialogue. I think that comes from people observing. I am huge on just sitting on a park bench watching people. I love to do that. I’m not a stalker; I just like to watch people. I’ll do that in a mall and things like that.
I think that comes from my private investigating. When I was sitting out there and had to sit in my car and watch these people, I watched everybody because you don’t know who’s good or bad. A kid 12 years old could come out in a parking lot and go to a car and you don’t know if the kid’s good or bad. Most people would look at him and go, “Oh he’s a 12 year old kid with a skateboard,” but I knew better because I knew where I was. I knew the places I was.
So I looked at these kids or these people, these women and these men, and I’d watch how they acted and how they’d communicate with each other and it would stick with me.
So when I was writing it was easy for me to reach in and see, okay, well this woman’s from Africa. How would she speak? If I didn’t know I’d go online and I’d run a clip on what the language was like and I’d listen to it. That way I could incorporate that into my writing.
So I learned how to build my characters up and that is one of the biggest pieces of advice that I try to give writers. Character development and character dialogue, they have to be believable because you’re building characters. You’re creating a human being. You’re bringing that person into life and you have to make that person very, very believable even if it’s not a person. It could be an alien from another planet but we have to be able to relate to that as if it was an actual being, a living, breathing being in this world.
Tim Knox: I know you have a character development worksheet that you offer to authors on your website and I agree that you have to go in-depth. If not, if you just prick the surface of these characters, sometimes it’s hard to make them believable.
Dee Ann Waite: That’s right. If you don’t know who they are, your readers are never going to know who they are.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about eth amount of research that you do for your books. A lot of authors go in deep and will spend years and years researching a book. What is your process there?
Dee Ann Waite: I definitely agree with that. I try to find every nuance of where I’m writing. When I wrote in Boston it was easy because I’m from that area. So when I started off The Consequential Element in the streets of Boston, I knew that area and I knew those people. I know the people from the streets. I know how they act and talk.
When I got into Africa, it was a lot more complicated. I had to do a tremendous amount of research but it paid off. I went right down into the details when I would talk about the wildlife of Africa or the plants or the trees. I would name the tree and I would even name the fruit that grew on the tree and I would bring that into conversation so that my readers had a very good idea of where they were.
I even was told by many readers that they could smell the desert. They could smell the sand and taste it. I feel very proud of that because people thought that I actually went there.
I wrote about this bourbon café that’s in Cagalli. It’s on the other side of the mountains and I wrote about the bourbon café very, very briefly but I mentioned the coffee that they have. My men, the mercenaries, were eating at the café to learn about each other to develop a team so they could go into the extraction.
So they met at this little café and they had a few words and they left. Well lo and behold I get an email from a woman from Cagalli who bought my book and said, “I was so thrilled that you had the bourbon café in the book because my husband and I go there all the time.”
Had I not had the details right, had I not researched the café this reader would have been, “We go there every day and there’s no such coffee like that. There’s no outside sitting area. The streets don’t look like that,” and I would have turned her off. Detail is so important when you’re writing. Research and details. You’ve got to get down to the nitty gritty.
Tim Knox: Can you imagine trying to do research without the internet? Wouldn’t you hate to be an author in like the 1950s? It would be terrible.
Dee Ann Waite: I think it would have pulled at my imagination a lot more.
Tim Knox: Right, exactly. I read somewhere that back then most of the books took place in fictionalized locations because it was so hard to do research. Thank you, Al Gore, for creating the internet.
In the last few minutes that we have let’s talk a little more about advice for authors. One of the things that attracted me to you as an interview subject is the advice that you give on your blog and you talk about so many things that authors need to be aware of.
By and large the audience for this show are authors who want to do what you’ve done. They want to either self-publish or traditionally publish a book. They want readers. They want to be building the body of work there. Just give us a little advice to these authors as to what they need to do.
Dee Ann Waite: You’ve mentioned my blog a few times. It’s called Getting Published for Fiction Writers. What it is, like many blogs, it’s my trials and errors. It’s where I’ve gone from beginning to where I’m at now. It’s the advice that I can give.
I’d say 85-90% of the posts that I do on that blog are for writers, new writers, trying to teach them how to write, publish and then market their books. I try to bring them through from the beginning to the end.
A lot of that encompasses, well first, where do you even begin to write? I actually have a small series going out right now, Let’s Write a Book Together. It’s the very preliminary things you have to do. You have to research your audience. Do you even have an audience for this book? The idea may be wonderful but if you don’t have an audience for it, it’s not going to do you any good unless you’re just writing for yourself, which is fine. If you’re writing to sell a book to an audience, you need to determine if there’s an audience out there.
It’s things like that – determining an audience, determining whether or not you know enough about this book. You have to find out what you don’t know and then know it, learn it.
Tim Knox: I think it’s really cool that you share your experience with other authors. It can be a really daunting task and I think the process itself will run off folks that could be really good authors.
Dee Ann Waite, what are you working on now?
Dee Ann Waite: I’m working on a psychological thriller called Where Demons Hide and it’s my baby. I’m loving this book.
Tim Knox: You think this is going to be a series?
Dee Ann Waite: Yeah I’m planning on it being a series. People around me that know me say they’re a little concerned because they think I’m getting into the book too deeply with the psychopathy part of it. I love psychology absolutely and I’ve done a lot of studying with it and I’ve done a lot of research with it.
I’ve got an awesome book right now called The Psychopathy Whisperer and it’s really amazing. Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff that I’m working on right now.
Tim Knox: Did you read Secret Window by Stephen King?
Dee Ann Waite: Yes.
Tim Knox: About the author who gets a little too close to his stories, so be careful there. This has been wonderful. Tell the folks where they can learn more about your books and your blog and you.
Dee Ann Waite: You can find stuff about my books and me on my website, DeeAnnWaite.com. Right from my website you can get hooked up to my blog and see what’s going on there if there’s anything you want to learn about writing a book. I also blog now and then for contests and things like that to help readers as well as writers to be able to acquire things free. That’s one of the biggest things out there is free.
Tim Knox: Exactly. This has been fun. When you get the demon book out will you come back and tell us about it?
Dee Ann Waite: Definitely, that’d be great. Thanks very much.
Tim Knox: Great having you. Stay out of Mississippi.