Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a writer: five novels, one non-fiction self-help (tongue-in-cheek), and a book of poetry.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I never thought that I would write a horror novel, but my son kept saying, “Write just one horror novel, Dad, and after it sells then you can write anything you want.” O the irony! Thus, I actually wrote The Vampire for my son, and he loved it. He’d take off upstairs with every next chapter hot off the printer. He said, “Dad, I laughed, I cried, and you scared the _____ out of me.” With a review like that… he was my audience and I knocked it out of the park.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Coffee and peanuts. I start every day with these, add some Janis (Joplin) to the background, and start to write. The best days have rain drizzling down, and I hold the steaming mug of coffee against my chest whenever my fingers aren’t playing over the keyboard.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I grew up a Dickensian, read my first Dickens, Oliver Twist, when I was in fourth-grade, and I was gone. I entered Dickens’s world, more macabre and madcap than the worlds of the most far-flung science fiction and fantasy, and to this day I still live there as much as possible. Not long afterwards, I came across Hugo’s Les Miserables and am to this day a Francophile. I still consider Hugo’s tome to be the greatest novel ever written. And then there’s Kinky Friedman, Tom Robbins, the wonderfully defiant A Confederacy of Dunces which mixed in and mingled with Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, along with all the other foregoing, pretty much constitute my worldview–which is probably why I wear glasses–and my sense of life, which is still one of wonder, though the wonder’s become a bit dogeared and bleary around the edges much of the time.
What are you working on now?
My next work follows in the footschleps of my first novel, a genre bender still unpublished, a dystopian comedy that is an equal opportunity offender, and this present work I hope will prove worthy of the first.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m a writer. The self-promotion makes me feel like a huckster or a carnival barker. I write the books. I do the work. Now, read me, world!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to know how long to wash your hands.
What are you reading now?
William T. Vollman’s The Ice-Shirt, Stephen Kotkin’s biography of Stalin, Ezra Pound’s Early Poems and Translations, Jose Ruben Romero’s La vida inutil de Pito Perez, and Liu Cixin’s The Dark Forest. I keep several books going at once, usually this kind of mix: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, non-English, and something just fun.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Another word. The novel I’m now writing will take years, as did my first novel, its literary predecessor, so I will probably pull off from time to time and finish or carry through on other books I’ve got going or have projected, as a pressure valve release. That first one almost killed me.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Der Bibel (Martin Luther’s translation) and the KJV; these need to be interlinear so I can count them as one. The complete works of the Bard. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. And the one-volume microprint edition of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary).